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The Importance of SharePoint Software Development in the Marketing Technology Today

Microsoft launched SharePoint in 2001 as a rapid web application development platform. But within a decade, it is being used by enterprises for various purposes. Many companies even use SharePoint to manage their content, documents and records. A number of survey results have further highlighted that the platform is being used widely by companies across the world to build intranet. The innovative features offered by SharePoint 2013 also make it easier for businesses to constantly collaborate and communicate with both external parties and internal departments.

Custom SharePoint developmentThe quick and hassle-free sharing of documents, images and content further helps the marketing teams in boosting sales, and beating competition. At the same time, an enterprise also has option to build a customized SharePoint intranet site to enable members of its sales teams to access the latest information, images and videos on the go. If you are yet to migrate to SharePoint 2013, it is time to understand the significance of the platform in latest marketing technologies.

Why Invest in SharePoint Intranet Solution for Your Marketing Team?

Hassle-Free Communication and Collaboration
The SharePoint intranet will allow you business to store marketing brochures and similar collateral in a PDF or Microsoft Word format. The data can further be tagged and classified according to your marketing strategy. So the members of your marketing team can access the most updated and relevant data without putting any extra time and effort. You can further use the versioning feature for documents to ensure that your employees are accessing the most updated version of marketing collaboration. The quick and hassle-free collaboration will contribute towards optimizing the performance of your sales team.

Better Control over Marketing Images
Most marketing campaigns, nowadays, use images to attract and engage the prospects. But each member of the sales team must know the approved marketing images. As SharePoint allows you to store the images at a centralized location, the library can be accessed by each employee, along with acting as an archive for old marketing images. The accessibility with further help you marketing department to exercise a greater control over the images that will be used as part of the ongoing marketing campaign.

Easy to Share New Marketing Videos
Similar to images, videos are also an integral part of marketing campaigns. Some of the video clips can be used to promote products or services offered by the company, whereas others will convey important information to the employees. SharePoint allows you to add new marketing videos by using the Media Web Part feature. You can simply post the latest video on the home page of the intranet, and the video clip will be accessible to all employees in an instant. The feature can also be used to display both audio and video clips on the various pages of the site.

Find Required Information Quickly
Microsoft has further designed the latest version of SharePoint with an advanced search center. The feature enables users to find the most relevant information on a topic in a simpler and faster way. The search results will be displayed according to the relevance of words in the search term entered by the user. Further, the search center is designed with a refinement pant that allows users to restrict the search results by choosing from the links appearing in the panel. At the same time, SharePoint further enables enterprises to promote the expected results through features like Keywords and Best Bets. These features will help you in allowing sales team members to access the most relevant information according to their individual contribution and expertise.

SharePoint 2013 also comes with a set of innovative features that enable the members of a distributed sales team to stay connected with each other. The members of your marketing team can use the instant messaging and online chat option to find the members of their group who are currently online. So they can discuss various aspects of a sales deal in an instant.

Custom SharePoint development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

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

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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.

The Power of HTML5 and CSS3 in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 has ushered in a number of changes in the manner in which developers tend to build as well as implement branding packages. The largest changes that have taken place incorporate the capabilities of CSS3, HTML5, as well as the Design Manager. With the help of these tools for development, SharePoint branding experts are able to come up with unique and dynamic designs for the environment.

SharePoint 2013 mobile development

The new features of HTML5 constitute the following:

  • The < audio > and < video > elements in the default player of the browser for media browser.
  • Support rendered to local storage (capability of reading content offline along with the potential for using web applications)
  • Fresh content-oriented elements, such as < section >, < nav >, < header >, < footer > and < article >. These tags facilitate enhanced SEO content indexing, standardization and organization with respect to all designs.

One of the significant things is that HTML5 allows developers to focus on the greatest number of devices with considerably lesser amount of effort towards development. HTML5 comes up as a universal language for every device, whether it is a SmartPhone or a wide screen desktop monitor.

Along with HTML5, a greater number of branding options are opened up in CSS3. The options in CSS3 include the following:

  • Font file references are allowed to render within a live environment with the help of @font-face property
  • The capability of making rounded corners over a number of objects including boxes is enabled by the border-radius.
  • Generation of a shadow over elements which are customizable as per the preferences of developers.
  • Proportional sizing coupled with dynamic width facilitates adjustment to manifold screen sizes. This is of immense significance as it provides developers the capability of using responsive web design. Development of a responsive website involves the utilization of a number of components. These assist the developer in creating designs which possess dynamic widths and are also capable of re-sizing proportionally depending upon the resolution of the screen or the device size.

Responsive web design is in fact a flexible grid that helps in creation of a layout which expands as the page increases in size. The design of this flexible grid takes place in terms of proportions. In this case, as the re-sizing of a window takes place, every element within the layout undergoes re-sizing of their width with respect to one another. This is done with the help of CSS3 Media Queries that involve the rendering of a web page depending upon certain conditions like screen resolution.

One of the important feature concerning a responsive website is that fixed pixel size should not be given to anything, not even images or other media.

In fact, SharePoint 2013 offers branding developers a number of options while designing the SharePoint environment. However, there are some specific factors which can be questioned so far as responsive web design is concerned.

  • Money and time: The question lies in the fact whether the required money and the time is available for building an intricate grid system with the help of HTML5 and CSS3. If the same is not available, the best option is going for something that is increasingly out of the box.
  • Browser Support: It is to be understood whether the project needs a design which will only be used on a laptop or desktop, or a design compatible with mobile phones, tablets, and other devices is required. Another point in question is whether more web browsers like Safari, Firefox or Chrome are required instead of Internet Explorer.
  • Performance: Is the project in need of a design that will be used for a long period of time, or the design would be changed by the organization every few years?
  • Content: The amount of content that the site will incorporate should be decided.
  • Web Application and Website: You need to consider whether the project requires a website for every device, or a totally distinct web application that can be used on Smart Phones and tablets with different functionality.

Getting the answers to all these questions will enable developers to efficiently determine how they can utilize the new tools offered by sharepoint 2013 mobile development platform, in short SP 2013.

We provide sharepoint portal development services. If you would like to discuss with a certified sharepoint developer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Tips for Effective Migration to SharePoint 2013

In the recent times, with Microsoft launching SharePoint 2013, a large number of businesses are considering migration to this new edition to enhance their business processes. In fact, this new version of SharePoint is anticipated to revolutionize the way in which companies are building links amongst their knowledge workers, business processes as well as business-related content worldwide. This platform includes novel features such as enhanced document management capabilities with respect to sharing and contributing content, enhanced social features along with a renewed search experience. SharePoint 2013 is speedily positioning itself as one of the much sought after technology for the introduction of crucial organizational initiatives in the areas of social collaboration, enterprise content management and web content management.

SharePoint developers

The advanced features of Sharepoint make it vital for organizations to take certain points into consideration prior to adopting this latest platform. Let us discuss some of the guidelines that should be followed in order to achieve effective migration to SharePoint 2013.

1. Take care of hardware requirements: In case of SharePoint 2013 servers, minimum of 8 GB RAM and four 64-bit cores is needed for small environments while medium environments require 16 GB RAM. For every server operating in SharePoint 2013, location within a single data center is essential.

2. Operating system requisites: The ideal operating system incorporates 64-bit edition, R2 SP1 Windows Server 2008. The 2012 Windows Server operating system can also be utilized. You must consider migration to 64-bit servers before any other upgrade or migration.

3. Decide upon the destination before starting off: Doing this gives you a clear-cut idea of where you are heading to and this allows you to go for proper channelization of the resources at hand. For example, if you are using SQL 2012, use Windows 2012 along with an Office Web Application Server.

4. Divide current customizations into categories: It is advisable to categorize the customizations into three categories. The first category constitutes items such as custom authentication provider that would stop the project. You need to have solutions for this, or else the migration would not be a success. The second category comprises items that would not put a halt to the project but are required to be completed. It is good to address them once the migration is completed. Items that need to be eliminated make up the third category.

5. Realize environmental alterations: When you are deciding to go for Windows 2012, the environmental change that takes place needs to be taken into consideration. The SMTP server role has been deprecated by Windows 2012 and depending on the information, decision needs to be taken as to whether to use a more intricate configuration or go for installation of the deprecated feature.

6. Get every migration step scripted: This task involves restructuring site hierarchy, mounting content databases.

7. Conduct dry runs: While performing dry runs, you must follow a sequential guide. Through the dry runs, it is quite convenient to identify the disk space and timing requirements.

8. Go for proper space and time planning: Once the disk space and the upgrade time required are identified depending upon the dry runs, you can take necessary action. For instance, by adjusting the SQL server memory, the time for mounting as well as upgrading SharePoint can be decreased.

9. Follow dry runs with test: The only thing that separates a live run from a dry run is that the data is not updated, hence the end result should simulate the live migration. Taking this into account, through utilization of an alternate access mapping, it can be opened up to selected end users for testing, in order to validate the overall usability and the basic functionality.

10. Set up destination environment: It is advisable to configure and prepare to the maximum extent prior to migration. Once the configuration of the environment is done, the same will ensure smoother migration.

The above mentioned tips would go a long way in helping you plan your SharePoint 2013 migration. They will definitely help you enhance the overall efficiency of your SharePoint application development team.

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

Steps to create a SharePoint 2013 App with Ruby on Rails

The SharePoint model is quite new to everybody and the recent launch of the 2013 version had made it even more ambiguous to developers around the world. Now, when it comes to creating an application pertaining to the software with Ruby on Rails, most developers seem to have a tough time in embracing the appropriate approach. Well, here is a guide for all Rails developers looking forward to creating an app successfully on the particular framework. However, please note that this particular guide should never be used as the best practice of Ruby on Rails development.

SharePoint 2013 mobile developmentWell, before beginning the process, you must register a new application in Office 365. Ensure that a Site Collection has been created by making use of the Developer Site Template. This can be done from the Office 365 admin screens. Following the creation of the same, browse site collection and register the SharePoint application with Office 365 as well as Azure Access Control Services (ACS). For any sort of development purpose, the registration of the new app can be easily done through appregnew.aspx page present within Office 365. Since there is no such link available for the actual page, you need browse the URL directly.

Always remember that since the registration of the application is done through appregnew.aspx, the secret of the particular app will only be known by the ACS and you. Therefore, the series of characters that will be generated will be specifically used for decoding information coming from ACS/SharePoint. Always make sure to take note of the id of the app, as you will not be having any access of the same again.

Since the application will be only used for testing and development purposes, registering it through appregnew.aspx comes across as a wise choice. If there arises a need of making the app thoroughly and widely available or list in the official store of SharePoint, then an account must be registered at the Seller Dashboard.

1. Visual Studio

The next step of work rests with Visual Studio where an application package must be created, which would eventually be uploaded to SharePoint. To make this happen, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Open Visual Studio (through ‘Run as Administrator’) for creating a new project. Go for project creation using the template ‘App for SharePoint 2013’. You will find this under the SharePoint /Office project node.
  • Following this, you will be asked about the type of SharePoint app that you would like to create. Always remember to offer your app a similar name to that you have given in the appregnew.aspx and submit the URL of the Developer site collection. Ensure choosing an application type of Provider – hosted as the hosting model.
  • In the last screen, leave the top option by selecting ‘Use a client secret’. Once, you click on the button OK, you will get to see the creation of 2 projects in Solution Explorer.
  • It is to be noted that the first project usually implies to the SharePoint App that generates the application package. This particular app will be uploaded.
  • The following step requires you to double click AppManifest.xml that consists of all the details related to the app. Upon opening the Manifest Designer, you need to remember to insert some specific values.

Always remember that the application needs to take permissions for being able to read and write data to the SharePoint site where the application is installed. This can be easily done through the permission tab. All you need to do is request just the permission that is actually needed. Always note that the more permission the app would request, the more it will run the risk of not being installed as users will be concerned about the security risk. Always remember to save and then close the AppManifest designer.

2. Ruby on Rails and Apple MacOS

To be able to work with SharePoint 2013, there stands a requirement of installing Ruby Gems to make things easier. Here is a look at the needs:

  • jwt – this helps in decoding the JSON web token that emerges from the application software
  • rest-client – this enables placing rest requests
  • nokogiri – a library that helps querying XML that is usually returned from the SharePoint

the next step of action lies in creating a new application based on Ruby on Rails in your preferred code folder. All you need to do is type into Terminal. Rails is now ready for getting a MVC web application.

Open the gemfile and under the gem stated as ‘jquery-rails’, integrate the gems that were downloaded as pre-reqs.

  • gem ‘jwt’
  • gem ‘rest-client’
  • gem ‘nokogiri’

This particular step is quite similar to the task of adding new reference in Visual Studio assembly.

3. Https Configuration

You must have noticed that while registering the application in appregnew.aspx, a Redirect URL is set that is https://localhost:3001. The app will be making use of the OAuth for being able to authorize the user and the application. Remember, that the for ensuring OAuth specification, both ends of communication must be https. After all, you would definitely not want any poor interception of unencrypted tokens to be transmitted over the Internet and have an access to the Office 365 or SharePoint site. Rails usually make use of WEBric, which is developed in web server. This is quite similar to the IISExpress of the Visual Studio.

To get the SharePoint 2013 mobile development right, you would have to follow the steps above. Then hopefully, you will be able to successfully create a SharePoint app with Ruby on Rails.

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

SharePoint Apps will change the way you work

“SharePoint Apps” refers to add-ons or pieces of software which enhances the features of an application developed using SharePoint. These ‘apps’ can be written using a number of languages like PHP, HTML, Javascript etc. Another basic thing about apps is that they can be hosted in either the SharePoint environment or outside, in the cloud. Outside part can be at two different places – either Microsoft Azure or any other cloud service provider.

sharepoint application development

As done by mobile apps, SharePoint apps also increased the options of things that developers can do. That in turn has translated into providing a large number of smart options for a developer building an application using SharePoint. Suppose earlier a developer wanted to have a feature to enable viewing of SharePoint application using tablets or smartphones, he/she would have had to develop it on his own and that might have taken a really long time. But now all the developer has to do is use an app called Shareplus. This app is available for iOS and Andrioid based tablets and enables a user to browse, edit documents directly from SharePoint via the tablet directly.

Similarly there are many such apps or applications which provide the developer with the option to make applications smarter. Apps like OurCRM, DocAve, MyView etc are quite popular. For your reference OurCRM is a CRM that runs on MS SharePoint – it basically allows organizations to edit the customer relationship management software as per their need.

DocAve is a data and document management platform for SharePoint.

MyView the winner of Best SharePoint App 2013 award (at the European SharePoint Community Awards), enables users to focus on productivity and important ongoing projects by collating and synchronizing SharePoint and Microsoft Outlook tasks and calendar items, presented through online, mobile, or desktop based Microsoft Exchange applications.

Similarly there are many such ‘apps’, based on the need one can search for those and use the one best suited. A simple Google search can fetch you the app that you might be looking for, for example I was looking for “Top iPad apps for accessing SharePoint” and I found this Techrepublic link which lists out details of best apps for iPads – http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tablets-in-the-enterprise/top-ipad-apps-for-accessing-sharepoint/.

My interest primarily in SharePoint Apps has been in applications related to Marketing and Social aspects of a business. These days Social media constitutes a major part of marketing and this area has to be handled effectively to ensure active participation of people in your products, which in turn would lead to increased revenue. The top 5 social media SharePoint apps, as per me, are the following:

  • Social Squared : Social Squared is an app which gives organizations the choice of providing a large forum environment to its members for them to discuss projects or other topics. This provides as a nice space for sharing and brainstorming of ideas.
  • eLocker Solutions : eLocker Solutions is the perfect social SharePoint solution for teachers and students. It allows them to interact without worrying about security within the SharePoint environment. It can be customized for a specific school or district and allows teachers to assign projects, track progress and interact with students.
  • SharePoint twitter web part : The Twitter Web Part allows users to tweet right from their SharePoint environment as well as display the latest Twitter posts and search based on hashtags. This is a great option for companies who want to control everything (including social media) from their SharePoint environment.
  • Blog Rollup webpart : The Blog Rollup Web Part allows organizations to display a blog roll of the most recent blog posts created within the SharePoint environment. This is a very useful tool, which is perfect for seeing at a glance the most recently published posts.
  • SP Community : SP Community utilizes SharePoint’s existing social features and transforms them into a complete user experience that organizations and businesses can take advantage of. It offers groups, user home pages and profile pages, discussion boards and much more.

You can hire developers from top sharepoint development companies in India who can help you in your project within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide sharepoint application development services. If you would like to discuss with our certified sharepoint programmers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.