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Design Tips for SharePoint 2013 Apps on Tablets

The discussion on the tips for designing for the SharePoint 2013 Apps on tablets should essentially begin with the concept of minimal viable product. The idea is to enhance the user experience with Office 365 and Microsoft Office. Enterprises seem to be on the lookout for continuously updating the products to gain a strong competitive advantage and engaging in viable business in Office 365.

SharePoint site branding expertsWith the increase in the number of mobile devices and tablet users, it has become necessary for the SP 2013 apps to stay accessible as well as work effectively on these devices. Here is a list of tips on designing excellent SP apps for the tablets.

Always Go For Responsive Design
Whenever it comes to designing SP 2013 applications for tablets, a responsive design is a prerequisite. Now, for those working on a publishing site or planning to render it with a great look and feel, a responsive web design is must. Now, for those not using a custom master page as a basis for compatibility with other apps, a responsive design might not appear to be that suitable.

Maintain the Minimum Possible Width
Although the base resolutions vary depending on the landscape mode, majority of them have a width of 980 pixels. While the meta tags, JavaScript and CSS allow for control over the zoom behaviors and view port to a significant extent, it is always better to ensure that the columns in the tabular layout look impressive. This would also keep the initial investment to be made by the enterprise pretty low.

Make Efficient Use of CSS
The detailed pages for the varying entities in the form of matters and clients comprise a table at the top along with a set of tabs at the bottom, displaying related data. It is the entity as well as the data that work together in determining the number of columns in the header. On the other hand, for the clients, the columns denoting the phone numbers, address and notes are hidden especially, in cases where there is no data.

Now, these tables pose challenge because of the fact that both the width of the browser as well as the one that is required to display particular data within the table vary. The solution lies in using the base of 980 pixels, which renders a lower bound. Also, with a vertical alignment at the top, padding is explicit while word-break is natural.

Derive Benefits Out of the ‘Focus on Content’ Button
The ‘Focus on Content’ button appears at the upper right hand corner of the page. This is quite a beneficial feature and using it optimally can actually lead to an effective designing of SP 2013 applications for tabs.

Not Putting any Options in the Quick Launch Section
The pre-dominant belief is that while using a tablet, focus should always be laid on the content. However, it is better not to put any important option in the ‘Quick Launch’ section for this section can not be viewed by the tablet users and hence, the app will be of little significance for them.

Avoid Adopting the Minimal Download Strategy
The minimal download strategy is fine for those in any app web. However, this feature calls for some serious compatibility issues in certain browsers. The minimal download strategy can be disabled using the CSOM.

Prefer a Dynamic Sizing of Dialogs
While much of the discussions so far have been done with, height is also a matter of concern when it comes to using a dialog framework. It is always essential to go for dynamic alignment and setting the options depending on the natural height of the page.

With the above-mentioned tips and strategies, one can certainly develop suitable SharePoint 2013 apps for tablets. And while looking for SharePoint services India, make sure you are reaching out to companies who have solid credentials and have proven expertise in application development in SharePoint and have equally strong domain expertise as well.

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

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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.

The Problem with Leveraging SharePoint Records Management Services in Office365

The big question is, considering Office 365, where is Records Management fitting in? The old news is that SharePoint 2010 RM is not registering good performance within the e-discovery space. However, this is not considered a hindrance by most organizations.

SharePoint site migrationIt is a fact that IT is capable of pulling the objects which are essential to cater to the counsels’ expectations with respect to its own SOP or standard operating procedure, which generally incorporates a third party software. E-discovery has been performed by information technology more regularly and far longer than implementation of electronic retention by RM.

Automation is great
SharePoint 2010 RM services are capable of beautifully automating records declaration. They can be deployed successfully through mapping the records retention schedule across SharePoint 2010 RM.

The content types pertaining to the series can be holistically leveraged across site collections, followed by attachment of information policies. Then the indexing services to be run at particular intervals are recalculated.

The future hazards
Off-the-shelf SharePoint 2010 RM services are being trusted by corporate records programs. In an age where Records programs are entirely suspended or drastically squeezed, this is a quite inexpensive option for automated records declaration.

Since Office 365 lacks a related Records Center template, it is possible for the program to be vulnerable. The absence of automation can damage the program’s reputation. In case automated records declaration is leveraged in SharePoint also, the same might as well be in trouble.

What are the choices?
The necessities of the information architecture going beyond records policy amount to a textbook dilemma. Considering the case of information professionals, the design choice comes up with potentially long-term as well as negative connotations. In case an organization has automated records declaration through SP 2010 and its department of Information Technology is looking forward to embrace cloud services, it is a difficult choice. Deconstruction can be followed by manual records declaration implementation or the services of third party experts might be sought for devising something new.

Perhaps the best option in doing nothing in this particular case. First, something or the other will ultimately break. Secondly, this is a department that thinks forwardly and hence it cannot be visualized as restricting to one particular solution due to the lack of options. Thirdly, the employee turnover happens to be so high that the future administrator tends to lose all context pertaining to the architecture. Fourthly, retention schedules are subject to change and so unraveling of the Center for reconstruction in accordance with the new schedule is an enormous concern.

Manual records retention can also be considered as an option. However, it is an inferior one:

  • In-Place RM exists till today within Office 365, although it has been reduced to a mere status symbol. A one or a zero, which implies that either the record exists or it does not. In fact, the option for management of the same from the back-end is not available with the Administrator. The good news is that interaction with the end users is possible. On the other hand, the bad news is that until and unless the C-level stresses on and communicates its requirement, end users would definitely have to time for annual review. Destruction does not take place.
  • For devising out-of-the-box manual RM services within Office 365, the best way is the creation of a Records sub-site for each site collection. In every ways, the same folders should be used as are planned for the SP 2010 Records Center. The content types may be bypassed entirely and the same information policies may be used directly behind every folder.

Those objects which are required to be declared as records can be copied from the major site collection pages to the Records sub-site’s suitable folder. Since it is the case of a copy (wherein move is not available), the metadata changes should be noted and the peer should return to the original object for deleting it.

For initiation of a solution, the help of a third party may always be solicited. On one hand, it is being demonstrated that you need a compromise. Migration to the cloud cannot be hindered. On the other hand, you wish to make use of your cordial partnership with IT very meticulously at this point. Since Records is your project, it should not go to the backseat, being assigned with cleaning up legacy data.

On the positive side
In case you are going for RM in Office 365, the positive point is that it is convenient to edit retention periods. As discussions are held with each peer for planning of their folder structures, the maps need to be edited. It should be explained why and how folders pertaining to every site collection are a component of a bigger process-oriented schedule. Moreover, site permissions need to be unraveled for rebuilding them. After all, there is once more the opportunity to describe the mission as well as the significance of the program. As your IT department gears up for handling 2014 projects, it’s a great idea to seize the moment for RM in Office 365.

If you were to attempt a SharePoint site migration project to Office365, understanding of these choices and pros and cons would ensure a successful migration.

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.

Top 8 Ways to Mitigate Risks in SharePoint Deployment

Deployment of the useful web application development platform of SharePoint involves certain risks. The SharePoint sites, which primarily include the SharePoint Online and the hosted SharePoint farms, have high chances of falling prey to some of the serious content security risks. Considering the fact that SP Online is highly preferred by all types of enterprises today for regulation of data, securing this data is a dire necessity. In fact, organizations are often found facing certain problems when it comes to maintaining the security of the data in SharePoint. The risks need to be mitigated without any wastage of time to ensure smooth work flow.

SharePoint bespoke developmentHere is a brief overview of the risks involved in SP deployment along with the possible ways of reducing their effects.

1. Less Awareness about SharePoint Content

The lack of awareness about SP content is a prominent risk in the deployment of this particular web application development platform. The two main ways of spreading increased awareness are implementation of the governance guidelines along with providing of content classification. The end users should be trained accordingly for performing periodic scans of content. Teams also have the option of making use of the SP metadata as well as workflows to pass the sensitive information to the secure locations.

2. Failing to Secure the Content in SP Servers, Transit and Endpoints

Securing the content in the SharePoint servers as well as endpoints is necessary. Enterprises must make it a point to implement solutions that ensure the security of the content on the SP servers as well as the backups through access control and encryption. Additionally, the teams should also go for a whole-disk encryption for endpoints and most essentially, laptops. The SSL encryption for data in transit should also be enabled by the security administrators.

3. Misconfiguration of the Access Controls and Permissions

This is yet another risk that often poses a problem in the deployment of SharePoint. The solution lies in auditing the existing SharePoint permissions and then reviewing or creating of the corporate access control policies. Following this, the SP permissions should be aligned with the corporate directory services, by which, the administrators can get an idea about the usage of inheritance as well as unmanaged item-level permissions.

4. SP Platform Security Risks

The SharePoint platforms need to be hardened by means of disabling the ports as well as services that are not essential to the functioning of the platform. Regular patching apart from whitelisting of applications also helps in reducing the risks of platform security.

5. Failing to Limit the Administrator and Service Accounts

One essential way in which the risk of failing to limit the administrator as well as service accounts can be reduced is by limiting the privileges on service accounts. Disabling the install account and not using the shared administrator accounts are other prominent ways of mitigating this particular risk.

6. SP System Architecture and Network Configuration Issues

The system architecture as well as network configuration issues related to the SharePoint can be reduced by putting a dedicated SP web front end in a DMZ and by making use of a single-function-per-server approach. Hardening of the SP, OS as well as the database as per the best practices is also highly recommended.

7. Issues Related to SP and Malware

Risks arising from SharePoint as well as Malware can be solved by implementation of the server malware solution along with a regular updating of the anti-virus definitions.

8. Difficulty in Performing Backups and Providing DR Capability

The only possible way in which this problem can be solved is by performing annual backups as well as tests and restoring them on a regular basis.

Managing the above-mentioned security risks through an application of the appropriate security controls helps in reducing the level of content security as well as compliance risks in SP to a great extent. If you were to attempt a SharePoint site migration project, understanding of these best practices would ensure a successful migration.

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

Migrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013- Don’t Miss Out on these 10 Tips

The much popular and preferred web application development platform, SharePoint, comes up in newer versions at frequent intervals. Business entrepreneurs need to update themselves with the upgraded technology to ensure deriving the maximum benefits out of the applications, devices and platforms. SharePoint is undoubtedly one among the most beneficial technological advancements that affects business operations and increases the overall level of efficiency to a great extent.

SharePoint site migrationMigrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013 is interesting as well as challenging. The process involving SharePoint site migration is also complex at the same time though the complexity depends upon the kind of customization available. Many of the SharePoint environments are often integrated with the external systems by means of the Business Connectivity Services or the custom connectors. The complex environments often pose challenges to the process of migration and it is here that few factors need to be taken into consideration. Here is a list of tips on executing a successful migration from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2013.

1. Following a 2-Step Approach

Migration of content from the SharePoint 2007 to 2013 version is a two- way process in cases where no 3rd party tools are used. The first step is to upgrade MOSS to a temporary 2010 version by means of database attach and the second is to move the content to the 2013 version in very much the same process. Third Party tools like that of the AvePoint can also be made use of. Cleaning up the content prior to the migration is equally essential.

2. Migrating the Code

Migration of the code is an important step that has to be done manually as, the code is a primary component in migration. The prevalent code has to be evaluated and analyzed in details before building the overall solution or migrating the code. It is necessary to analyze a lot many things to find out if they work with newest version of SharePoint. These include the code- based customizations, third- party tools, add- ins, web parts and so on.

3. Determine the Functionality of the Customization

The process revolving around the migration, as already said, is quite complex, which calls for the fact that certain customizations might not work out in the desired manner. Now, for customizations that are necessary but turn out to be incompatible, the cost as well as the efforts that need to be put into it have to be considered. Ensure remediating the customization in every possible way, for instance, reusing the core source to avoid reinventing the wheel and thereby, reducing the cost and effort.

4. Make the Customization Ready for All Versions

Whenever the remediation is done, the customization becomes applicable for not just the 2013 version but also the 2010 version of SharePoint. One must ensure that the customization is actually ready for all versions.

5. Consider the Permission and Authentication Model

When it comes to the Migration, special emphasis needs to be put into the new security model for building the entire solution with greater efficiency. It is advisable for anyone to do the permission migration and code migration separately. This helps in isolating and identifying the particular permission related issues that are likely to occur.

6. End User Training and Adoption

Moving users from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010 requires training the users to enable them discover the difficult aspects of using SP 2013. The entire IT department of a business enterprise must become familiar enough with the usage of the newest mode of this web application development platform. Effective training paves the way for familiarity of the system and this in turn, leads to a better use of the development platform.

7. Finding Out Sites Customized with SharePoint Designer

It is necessary to determine as to what had been done with the sites that were customized with the SharePoint Designer. The URLs as well as the site owners with the few ‘one off’ sessions need to be identified to find out what actually had been done with them.

8. Installing or Upgrading to the SQL Server

Apart from upgrading to the Windows Server 2012, installing a new SQL server 2012 or upgrading to the SQL server 2008 is rather necessary. It is equally necessary to determine as to whether the SQL Server 2005 box had been dedicated to the SP or if there were other databases installed in it in clusters.

9. Considering the Power Users

Any business enterprise going for a migration must have some power users, who are particularly adept in handling this advanced web application development platform. There will be several requests for the automation of paper- based processes. Experts will facilitate deriving the maximum ROI on the business process automation.

10. Upgrading to the Microsoft Office 2010

The point is apparently but is often missed out by many. To provide a perfect user experience following the migration, upgrading to the Microsoft Office 2010 is essential to help in the training for the upgrade.

The above- mentioned tips allow for not just a successful migration but also making it useful for the business enterprises.

We provide SharePoint bespoke development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint programmers, 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.