Microsoft Ignite: my notes from “What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016” presentation

6 May
  • Server requirements: Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 10 only; SQL Server 2014 SP1 or SQL Server vNext (no more standalone installation with Express edition).
  • Upgrading path: from SP2013 to SP2016 (SP2010 directly to 2016 is not supported)
  • No changes to the service applications architecture model
  • Site collection in backwards compatibility (14 mode) must be migrated to 15 mode before upgrading using database attachment to SP2016
  • Data migration approach: use of APIs, 3rd party solutions
  • Authentication: SAML authentication is first-class citizen and default authentication provider (normalize OAuth and SAML with WSFED). Previous modes (i.e. Windows Classic) will be still supported for backwards compatibility.
  • SMTP Connection encryption
  • Server roles at Configuration Wizard: Special Load allows enabling/disabling service applications as needed (similar to what we currently have).
  • Health Analyzer optimized based on server roles (MinRole enforcement)
  • PowerShell for programmatically configuring a farm: same PSConfig cmdlets, with a new parameter in order to inform a server role.
  • In order to serve multiple roles in the same server, you must use “Special Load” as server role, but Health Analyzer won’t be able to monitor this server as it depends on the MinRole topology option.
  • Central Administration UI won’t be dramatically change comparing with SP2013.
  • Patching: number of patches (.msi, .msp) on each update package will be reduced from 37 in SP2013 down to 2 in SP2016. Footprint will be smaller and can be executed with zero downtime.
  • Distributed cache: AppFabric 1.1 still supported by SharePoint. Support to four 9s SLAs: more connections, new transport layer to mitigate authentication issues in the current version.
  • Boundaries and limits: content databases sizing into TBs;  100,000 site collections per content database; list threshold > 5000; max file size increased to 10GB; 2x increase in Search scaling to 500 million of items.
  • File performance: moving beyond shredded storage and adopting BITS protocol to improve download and upload of files. Use of byte-range HTTP GETs for downloading and BITS specific block-based upload protocol for uploading.
  • Fast site collection creation: by using SPSite.Copy that will copy a site collection template at the content database level in order to provision a new site collection.
  • Traffic Management: set of endpoints and rules in order to isolate requests and provide intelligent routing and conditional access scenarios.
  • User Profile Service: built-in FIM service is no longer available. Supports one-way sync with AD using the built-in AD sync service, or use of external FIM (for bi-directional synchronization and sync with systems other than AD).
  • Project Server: Consolidating project server databases into a SharePoint content database
  • Durable links: Resource Id based URLs, meaning URLs remain intact when files are renamed or moved. Enables discrete Url (docID-based durable URLs).
  • Real-time telemetry: advanced data analysis and reporting. SharePoint on O365 in the current version leverages a set of APIs (internally called “slappy APIs”) and PG is still working on bringing enhanced reports to the next on-prem version. Bill mentioned this is still a work in progress and does a quick demo on types of reports that can potentially be part of the next version (again, still a work in progress).
  • ODF in Document libraries
  • Compliance (across cloud and on-prem): identify, monitor and protect sensitive data through deep content analysis, eDiscovery, investigate and prove auditing. Unified compliance center for hybrid environments.
  • Cloud Search Service Application: search service application for cloud storage, unifies on-prem and cloud indexes, provides support for Office Graph/Delve experiences on-premises, supports search as a service. Available as an extension to SP2013 and built-in service in SP2016.
  • Hybrid deployment automation: enables scenarios such as Search, OneDrive for Business, etc., automated configuration of prerequisites and services (“hybrid configuration wizard”).

Summary: “SharePoint Server 2016 is a comprehensive solution for connected information work that preserves structured processes, compliance, IT investments, optimized for the way people work through an easily managed and integrated platform”.

Full catalog of presentations is/will be available at: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015 – Enjoy!

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Microsoft Ignite sessions live/recorded at Channel9

6 May

Microsoft Ignite sessions are available (live and recorded) at Channel9 and they are an awesome opportunity to take a look at the great content presented this week even if we’re not attending the conference.

Full catalog is/will be available at: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015

Live broadcasting is available at: http://channel9.msdn.com

The opening session for SharePoint technologies – “The Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap” – was presented by Seth Patton and Bill Baer is already available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/FND2203 . From this session, I’d like to highlight some demos and announcements:

  • Minute 0:13:45 – New “About Me” page powered by Microsoft Graph
  • Minute 0:35:35 – Hybrid Search demo (all results from online and on-prem in the same result set)
  • Minute 0:37:50 – Microsoft Delve demo
  • Minute 0:39:00 – Announcements on SharePoint 2016 on-prem infrastructure changes and server roles in the new Configuration Wizard
  • Minute 0:43:00 – Announcement of “Zero Downtime Patching”  [clap, clap, clap!!]  🙂
  • Minute 0:45:00 – Announcement of Microsoft Delve and Microsoft Graph to be available to SharePoint 2013 as well, as an update to be released at the end of this calendar year.

Enjoy Microsoft Ignite (even if from your own workstation)!

SharePoint 2013: Using InfoPath and UserProfileService.asmx with Claims-based Web Applications

22 Aug

Other blog authors will suggest using Secure Store based connections or extending the main web application as Windows Classic in order to mitigate the problems connecting to UserProfileService.asmx. Here is an alternative that leverages InfoPath’s  existing userName() function to solve the problem. But first, let’s understand why we can no longer connect to UserProfileService.asmx once the web applications is configured as claims-based.

If you check the IIS logs, you will observe entries similar to this:

POST /_vti_bin/userprofileservice.asmx – 80 0#.w|nt+authority\iusr 192.168.0.100 HTTP/1.1 InfoPathDA – – sharepoint 500 0 0 803 1006 31

And ULS logs will report “Access denied calling web service for user 0#.w|nt authority\iusr.”. This happens because creating a claims-based Web Application will enable the ASP.NET setting “AllowAnonymousImpersonation” and set it to true in the web.config (for more information, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2686411). Once you change the value to “false”, authentication will be successful using the app pool credentials.

Once you’re able to make the web services call, you must also change the way the web methods are called in InfoPath. If, for example, you call “GetUserProfileByName” without providing a value to query parameter “AccountName”, it will use the process account as the value when the form is published to SharePoint, instead of the user’s credentials. You may not be able to notice that until the form is published, since when you use “Preview” in InfoPath Designer, you will be passing your own Windows credentials (the user’s logged in to the computer). But you can create a Rule to pass any values you want to parameter “AccountName”, and leverage the existing function userName() to do so.

To repro the scenario:

  1. Create a Data Connection to run “GetUserProfileByName” using UserProfileService.asmx
  2. Selecting the field that will display the information, create a new rule:
    No conditions – rule will always be executed (1)
    Run these actions:

rules

  • Add a “Set a field’s value” action (2).
  • In the “Rule Details” panel, select the field in the connection you want to modify (3) and select “AccountName” in the queryFields (4).
  • As “Value”, create a formula that uses userName() as value (5). The key to success, though, is to use the substring-after formula to remove the claims prefix (i:0#.w|) from the string, since the User Profile’s field AccountName does not include the claims prefix.
  • Also, include a “Query using a data connection” action as well, in order to query the values.

— Aline

New Developer Training Materials for SharePoint 2013

30 Jul

A refreshed version of the developer training materials for Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 was announced today. Check Kirk Evan’s post to know what’s new in this edition: http://bit.ly/15tsIvB

Have fun!
— Aline

SharePoint 2013 certification exams released!

6 Feb

Two new exams for SharePoint IT Professionals (70-331 – Core Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and 70-332 – Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013) were made available on Feb. 1st. At the same day, results for beta attendees were also released (when you complete a beta exam, you do not receive a score immediately because the scoring model for the exam is not yet finalized) and I’m glad to share I’ve been APPROVED!

Some may ask: “Why do you still take MCP exams if you’re a Microsoft employee?”. Well, why not? 🙂

This is the third time I’ve completed (and passed) beta SharePoint exams, and I couldn’t be happier with both the quality of the questions and my personal results, considering I completed the exams last November (less then a month after SharePoint 2013’s release). By taking an exam in its beta format, we provide Microsoft Learning with information to evaluate the technical accuracy and relevance of the questions before they’re made public. Exams also take longer – since more questions are presented comparing with released titles – but they’re still very enjoyable.

Mission accomplished, I’m now ready for the next steps: the new MCSE certification – that also includes Windows Server 2012 exams – and the Developer exams.

In case you’d like to take a look on my certification transcript, I’ve made it public at https://mcp.microsoft.com/authenticate/validatemcp.aspx (Transcript ID = 810381, Access Code = SharePFE19) . It’s been almost 14 years since my first completed exam… and I still feel as happy as back on those days.

Cheers! Aline