Tag Archives: sharepoint cms customization

The Role of SharePoint in Your Business’s Digital Strategy

The digital marketing strategy of modern businesses focuses mainly on customer relationship management and customer engagement. Often businesses look for innovative customer relationship management (CRM) systems to enable their marketing, sales and customer service professionals to build long lasting customer relations. The right CRM solution can help your business in implementing a personalized customer engagement model to engage the customers and deliver higher customer satisfaction. Businesses across the world rely on SharePoint as a smart CRM platform to optimize its digital marketing strategy.

sharepoint application development

Why SharePoint can Optimize Your Business’s Digital Marketing Strategy?

Simple and Attractive Interface: SharePoint 2013 comes with an interface that is clean, simple and easy-to-use. While accessing the interface, users can avail the universal navigation feature of Office 365 navigation. As the interfaces supports touchscreens, it becomes easier for users to access it on their mobile devices. Also, they can use Office Web Apps to edit and drag-and-drop documents.

Mobile Experience: The latest version of SharePoint also renders site based on the user’s mobile device, and accommodate mobile web browsing. With more and more users accessing internet on their smartphones, tablets and phablets, the feature makes the interface effective in staying connected to their work on-the-go. At the same time, the user can view the interface in both landscape and portrait display modes, while accessing push notifications and location services.

Easy to Share Information and Ideas: SharePoint 2013 is also designed with a set of social network-like features. The authorized users can publish their Office documents to SharePoint, and share the files with others. The interface further allows them to post activity updates, share ideas, check what members of the team are working on, and get answers from their colleagues. Further, they can use their mobile devices to share their ideas and documents on the go.

Option to Organize Projects and Tasks: The professionals also use SharePoint as a CRM system to arrange their projects and tasks. Once they organize the tasks and projects, those will appear as upcoming deliverables across SharePoint, Outlook and MS Project. A business, at the same time, can set up a team site to gather the documents and emails of the teams in a centralized location. The documents can be further synchronized across the conventional and mobile devices through Microsoft SkyDrive.

Design and Publish Public-Facing Websites: An organization can create a public-facing website by availing the streamlined design features of SharePoint 2013. Microsoft has further updated SharePoint with an improved Content Management System (CMS) to make it easier for users to publish a variety of content. Thus, an organization can create community sites to enable its sales and marketing teams to share and collaborate with others.

Integrated Search: The latest version of allows businesses to effectuate document management and collaboration through a super fast search engine called FAST. As FAST is now embedded in SharePoint 2013, the users can avail the advantages of the super fast search engine without incurring any additional expenses. Also, FAST comes with a set of features that make the searching process more efficient and faster. For instance, the users can use the thumbnail preview option to browse through the documents without opening those up.

Enhanced Stability and Security: The updated version of SharePoint is compatible with several operating systems and mobile devices. So the users can access the web interface by using any of the major web browsers on Windows or Mac. It also comes with workflow advancements to eliminate the chances of system outage. The authentication enhancements further contribute towards optimizing both security and connectivity.

Most businesses, nowadays, deploy distributed teams to reduce project overheads. Microsoft has updated SharePoint 2013 with features to complement the needs of distributed teams, and help them in working together. Further, the users can start using SharePoint site without requiring any additional or specialized training.

You can hire developers from top custom sharepoint development companies in India who can help you build your projects within allocated budget and time schedules.

We provide sharepoint application development services. If you would like to know more about the experience of our sharepoint developers, please get in touch with Mindfire Solutions.

Best Practices for SharePoint security, privacy and compliance

Huge amount of content is being generated by organizations everyday and with cloud solutions, enterprise social collaboration as well as mobile access, new ways are being adopted by employees for information sharing. This is leading to continuous expansion of the ways of collaboration. Most organizations use Microsoft SharePoint as a corporate information hub with the content coming from external clients and partners as well as internal employees. This may result in risks entering the organization such as malware getting in to the enterprise, regulatory compliance issues cropping up as well as sensitive information getting exposed unintentionally. This makes it essential to secure the system properly so that you protect sensitive information from getting out. Here are some practices that help improve SharePoint security.

custom sharepoint developmentAssigning users to groups- This is a practice that should always be adopted. Through assignment to SharePoint groups, the capability of a particular user may be predicted without their security profile getting audited. While using Active Directory, hybrid should be used in conjunction and then SharePoint groups created. AD groups should then be assigned to the apt group.

Need-to-know assignments- People should only be assigned to sites where the access is mandatory. Only if somebody can demonstrate the need for accessing a site, then they must be assigned to a group which is associated with accessing the needed sites. In most scenarios, if the purpose behind a user’s presence in contributor groups cannot be justified, then they should not be allowed on the site in the first place.

Site inheritance should not be broken at object level- There can be a lot of frustration as well as confusion if permissions are broken at the object level. A user should be assigned to proper security group; then they must be left alone. If the list or library contains sensitive data then a child site must be created and accordingly group permissions assigned.

Refrain from assigning document level permissions as far as possible- Assignment of permissions at the very document level can turn out to be a maintenance nightmare. If the need arises, then additional sites or libraries must be created before breaking a list or library’s security. Permissions may be broken but it may turn out to be a fatal decision.

Monitoring content- You should monitor the content both on schedule as well as in real time by using automated processes that are rule-based, in a way that will provide protection to the information in a systematic way. The content must also be classified by the use of related metadata where metadata may be added by the authors but the controls of allowing user’s classification being overridden, is with the system.

Audits and scans- To check the level of compliance, ongoing audits must be performed as well as scheduled scans run regularly for SharePoint sites.

Risk evaluation- Risk must be evaluated according to the organization’s logic for providing multiple perspectives related to potential risk to data transport as well as delivery.

Measuring progress- Over time, progress must be measured so that priority is demonstrated, along with the triumphs of compliance initiatives; accordingly modifications should be made wherever necessary.

Prioritizing areas for improvement- Areas that need improvement must be prioritized and accordingly concerns as well as issues should be addressed. For that you should work in close association with content authors as well as stakeholders.

Linking compliance improvements- Compliance improvements must be linked to migration programs. For example, before migrating to SharePoint, scan data should be run on file shares. It should also be remembered that new initiatives need compliance.

Implementation of proper monitoring ensures that your information stays safe. However, the security problem is not simply a SharePoint-specific problem and may be said to be a universal problem for all content, no matter where it resides. But proper planning along with the correct technology may help you address this concern.

You can hire developers from top custom sharepoint development companies in India who can help you build your projects within allocated budget and time schedules.

We provide sharepoint application development services. If you would like to know more about the experience of our sharepoint 2010 development experts, please get in touch with Mindfire Solutions.

Gartner Calls Sharepoint an “Evolutionary Dead End” that “No One Likes Using”

As per the views of Jeffrey Mann, a Gartner analyst, Microsoft should soon do away with SharePoint and companies that are largely dependent on the platform should actually consider a more cloud-based future. The Gartner analyst also said that though a majority of the companies make use of SharePoint, they do not quite like it. SP is also less functional and less useful in many respects. Moreover, it does not facilitate smooth content migration and requires greater amount of online management.

SharePoint migration servicesWith SharePoint being customized in most organizations, it also appears to be excessively big and complex. Certain businesses are also making use of older versions of this web application development platform. With regards to the question of whether to move to cloud or move out of it, Mann says that Microsoft should essentially move SP to the cloud by means of killing its current form.

The enterprise social networking platform, on the other hand, comes up as a hope for Microsoft, as both of these compliment each other in multiple ways. SP, on becoming more cloud- based, will have a strong influence by Yammer.

However, the problems regarding the on-premise deployment of SP, slower arrival of upgrades, lower functionality will remain the same. Hence, a cloud- based solution is considered more beneficial for the large-sized organizations. In fact, Mann advises the technologists to start developing plans for post- SharePoint scenario.

Reasons behind People Disliking SharePoint

While Gartner declares SharePoint to be an evolutionary dead end, there are quite a few reasons behind people hating SP. Surveys conducted at different points of time also point out to negative sentiments. Here is an overview of some of the causes behind this dislike:

It Takes Too Long a Time to be Deployed

One major problem with SP is that the deployment process is quite elaborate and time- consuming. Presence of technical difficulties often make it rather impossible to get done with the deployment process within the allotted time. An unnecessary delay is certainly undesirable because it compels organizations to lose valuable time and resources.

SP Requires Assistance of Third-Party Tools

Enterprises realize that SharePoint cannot be used “out-of-the-box”. Augmentation of the platform for the purpose of fulfilling the specific business requirements is nearly impossible without the use of the third-party tools. Governance is perhaps the biggest technical issue when it comes to the implementation of the development platform. Managing the metadata and taxonomies is equally difficult. It is for these reasons that 50% of organizations are planning heavily on having the third-party add-on products.

SharePoint Promises to Handle Too Many Tasks

SP has always been promoted and marketed as a solution to several problems and issues. Now, whether it is document management, corporate intranet, project management, wiki or blog, SharePoint promises to handle it all. Consequently, the end result is often far from being satisfactory.

User Experience is Nothing Satisfactory

It has been revealed by certain surveys that users are not really happy using SharePoint. Individuals who find it difficult to handle this particular platform prefer going back to the original business process for smooth operations and better accomplishment of projects.

Lesser Mobile Device Access to SharePoint

SharePoint’s mobile device access is slow and ineffective. The dissatisfaction about the matter has been expressed by many users. The issue automatically prevents the users from staying updated and productive, no matter where they are.

How to Lead to Successful SP Implementation and User Experience?

In spite of the many difficulties associated with SharePoint, the platform is actually of several benefits. Here is a list of tips and strategies, following which SP can be made more acceptable.

  • A well-defined deployment process should be planned beforehand. This plan should also consider the needs of the business users apart from that of the tech savvy ones.
  • The project must focus on business solutions. For instance, it should take into account the ease with which SP can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Integrating SP into the everyday work flow of a business user is also essential.

Apart from the above-mentioned strategies, one can also go by Jeffrey Mann’s advice, that is to use the third party tools to cover up for the deficiencies of SharePoint.

We provide SharePoint migration services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers India, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

SharePoint 2013 Development: Solutions vs. Apps

Microsoft launches each new version of SharePoint 2013 with innovative features and broader capabilities. The latest version of SharePoint comes with a set of advanced features that enable developers to build apps with additional features and functionality. Microsoft also recommends all developers to build SharePoint Apps. However, the enterprises still have option to build conventional SharePoint solutions. So it becomes important for enterprises to decide the pros and cons of both SharePoint apps and solutions. At the same time, they also need to understand some of the key differences between these two to take the right decision.

SharePoint 2013 Development: Solutions vs. Apps

SharePoint deployment planning servicesExecution of Code: The SharePoint apps run completely outside the SharePoint server. Further, the custom code is executed on a non-SharePoint server or the client browser. However, a business has options to pick from three types of apps, i.e., SharePoint-hosted, provider-hosted and auto-hosted. The SharePoint –hosted apps can run within the framework without any external dependencies. But the provider-hosted apps are designed with a single or multiple SharePoint components. Similar to the provider-hosted apps, the auto-hosted apps are also designed with external business logic and data storage. When these apps package is installed, a user can avail both website and database.

Enhanced Stability and Capability: As the apps run outside SharePoint server, these are effective in providing enhanced stability, performance and compatibility. A business can easily switch to a more advanced version of SharePoint as the apps are testing platform independent. At the same time, the apps can communicate with SharePoint through CSOM, ODATA and REST API. Microsoft has optimized these features to enable developers to build custom SharePoint apps without using the server-side API.

Easy to Deploy and Reuse: Microsoft has further made it easier and simpler for developers to install and upgrade the SharePoint apps. The simple configuration will further encourage many developers to switch to Sharepoint application development. At the same time, the apps can also be reused, packaged and marketed through a Public Marketplace or Corporate. The options make it easier for end-users to buy apps that can run on-premise and cloud environments, while complementing their specific needs.

Support for Server-Side Code: Unlike SharePoint solutions, the apps do not support server-side code. So the programmers have to build a solution to implement a new functionality by writing server-side code. Further, the code cannot be stored on the SharePoint farm as part of the app. The server-side code needs to be hosted on premises or in the cloud. On the other hand, the SharePoint app enables enterprises to promote a custom functionality by targeting relevant users. That is why; the solutions will be still used as part of robust SharePoint apps.

Custom Functionality: SharePoint allows enterprises to manage a variety of documents and content store on their intranet and on the web. The customized SharePoint solutions are used widely by businesses to manage their online and offline content. But Microsoft recommends enterprises to build apps to create a custom functionality as a sandboxed solution in SharePoint 2010. Further, the apps can also be used in SharePoint Online. On the other hand, the SharePoint solutions will be effective only in local and on-premise environments.

Adding User-Centric Functionality to SharePoint: In comparison to SharePoint solutions, the apps are more effective in adding user-centric functionality to SharePoint. The apps can also be used as a medium to implement functionalities according to the specific needs of an enterprise. These custom-functionalities further extend the internal functionality like Event Handler or Timer Job of SharePoint solutions. Also, the apps are effective in creating custom-functionality to make SharePoint more user-friendly.

As a business has option to choose from SharePoint apps and solutions, it is always important to do a cost-benefit analysis. A company can further determine its exact needs before comparing these two options. However, an enterprise can always switch to SharePoint apps to avail a number of advantages, while meeting the latest trends technology.

We provide SharePoint site migration and SharePoint deployment planning services. If you would like to speak to our 100% SharePoint certified team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 Designer – A Detailed Introduction

Understanding the Design Manager
Design Manager is primarily meant to help the users of SharePoint create custom designs and achieve the respective goals if they want SharePoint 2013 to represent the brand of the organization. It comes up as a particular feature in SP 2013, paving the way for a completely customized, pixel-perfect outcome using the familiar web designing tools. As a publishing feature, it is available in the publishing sites in both Office 365 and SP server 2013.

This extremely useful feature allows the creation of visual design for websites using the web designing tools and HTML editor. Only HTML and CSS can be used after which the design has to be uploaded into SP. Basically, it enables management of each aspect of a custom design.

So, designers using this excellent feature will have to precisely undertake the following activities:

  • Grasping and understanding the main SP design concepts
  • Creating a mock-up of the design in CSS and HTML
  • Implementing the same utilizing the Design Manager feature

SharePoint 2013 developmentImplementing a Design by Means of the Design Manager
It is essential for the SharePoint 2013 users to be aware of the usage of the feature in implementing designs. On looking at the feature, one gets to see a series of links representing the high-level tasks to be performed. Following is a step-by-step sequence in which the task of implementing a design is executed with success:

Prior to Making Use of Design Manager
Even before you start using the feature, you have to create an individual design or use a ready-made website template. While mocking up the sites in HTML and CSS, you will come across certain HTML files implementing designs for the particular way in which you want the different pages to appear. You also need to take the necessary SharePoint permissions, more particularly, you have to be at the Designer permission level to use the feature.

Management of Device Channels
Before starting right away with the task of designing your site exploiting this essential feature, you need to take into account the specific devices to be targeted and the kind of user experience on each of them. Once you have considered the specific device channels, it is time to use multiple ways in rendering a single publishing site by means of mapping varying designs to equally varying devices.

Now, the device channels, which are created as well as stored in the SP list, have ranking and therefore, the order of the same also matters. The inclusion rules are also processed accordingly.

Uploading the Designed Files
Once the designing is done, the designer can use any HTML editor of his preference and work with files locally on the specific computer. However, these files need to be uploaded to the Master Page Gallery of the SP site so as to enable the feature to convert, preview and at the same time, polish the already created design.

The best- possible way to upload as well as continue working on these files is by mapping a drive on the computer to the Master Page gallery of the SP site. This paves the way for a folder on the computer to be connected to the Master Page Gallery. The result is that one can work on files that are present on the server in SP 2013 provided that they are local files.

Editing the Master Pages
The next task is to create a fully branded master page containing all of the functionality of SharePoint that one wants. The steps through which the editing is done are:

  • Conversion of HTML file into a SP master page
  • Previewing the master page while also facilitating fixing of the possible issues
  • Addition of the SP snippets to the master page

Editing Display Templates
In the event of using the on-premises installation of the SharePoint server, one has the option of using the Content Search Web Part along with a few other search- driven web parts. This helps in the display of the results of the search queries as content on the pages. Now, the search-driven web parts make use of the display templates for two main purposes. These are firstly to map managed properties returned in the search result items to properties that are available for JavaScript. This includes any custom JavaScript that one chooses to implement. The second purpose is to make use of CSS and HTML to find out how these properties are displayed.

Editing Page Layouts
The process involving the creation of page layout in Design Manner is somewhat different from that of creating a master page. First, a page layout needs to be made using the .aspx file and HTML file. Following this, the associated HTML file has to be edited from the mapped drive in the HTML editor. The feature ensures that the page layout is created in a manner that the correct set of page fields get added to the page layout.

Apart from the above-mentioned steps, creating themes and composed looks, publishing and applying the designs and creation of the package of the same are the final steps to be taken when it comes to using Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 development projects.

We provide SharePoint CMS customization services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Introducing MVC Support for Apps for SharePoint

SharePoint, which has already established itself as one of the most popular and preferred web application development platforms, works more effectively when incorporated with certain apps. Apps are those powerful website applications that add to the effectiveness of the platforms. These days, the ASP.NET.MVC has become a preferred mode of project application.

SharePoint portal developmentASP.NET.MVC offers web developers with several advantages. To begin with, it comes up with a really pattern- based and powerful platform that allows easy building of dynamic websites. These websites, in turn, pave the way for separating different aspects such as that of the view, model and controller of the app. At the same time, the app provides full control over markup to offer a good experience of development.

SharePoint portal development with MVC as a remote project requires one to follow a two-step process. Firstly, this particular sort of project development needs to be created and secondly, one has to engage in what can be considered as the ‘app-etizing’ of the concerned web project. This is done with the purpose of adding an application for SharePoint.

When an auto-hosted or provider- hosted app for SharePoint is created in the Preview of the Visual Studio 2013, you get the option of choosing the type of the web application project. Once the procedure is accomplished and you click on the Finish button, the Visual Studio automatically takes up the following tasks:

  • Creation of the application for the project
  • Creation of the MVC website application project
  • Addition of the SharePoint-references to the said project
  • Addition of helper classes to that of the particular project

A working app for SharePoint with this advanced sort of web app is now ready. The following steps would encompass pressing F5 to debug the app. Now, Visual Studio deploys this app for SharePoint to the site of the specified developer. This is accompanied by a starting of the Internet Information Services or IIS Express and finally, running of your MVC website application. A browser is then opened to the home page of the app, in this case, the particular app that we are talking about.

A default template is created out of the box and it comes with the About, Home and Contact pages apart from some sample code. These sample code show you the way of interacting with SharePoint. The code helps in the creation of a client context for the host web while also retrieving the current user name, which is displayed in the home page.

The MVC website application project also offers a set of APIs, which involves a series of steps for the web project to communicate to SharePoint in a rather smooth manner and that too, in a single call. The SharePoint context filter takes up the additional processing for getting standard information when redirected from SharePoint to the remote web application, for instance, Host Web URL. Additionally, it also determines as to whether the application has to be redirected to SharePoint for the user to sign in. This is particularly applicable in case of bookmarks. This filter can be applied either for the purpose of viewing or to the controller.

The context classes of SharePoint incorporate all the data and information so that one can quite easily create particular contexts for the app web as well as the host web directly and thereby communicate with the platform. The introduction of the MVC support for apps turns out to be of substantial help provided that one is aware of the right ways of engaging in the process.

We provide SharePoint development services. If you would like to hire SharePoint developer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.