Product analysis by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by Apptex, but thoughts are my own.

One of the big down sides of SharePoint out of the box is that it’s not easy to create a pretty site. Even with all the improvements in SharePoint 2013 and 2016 around HTML5, creating a pretty site in SharePoint is really hard, compared to other platform such as WordPress. Even when SharePoint public sites were still a thing, even the SharePoint MVPs were avoiding it for their blogs, since any customizations to make your site cool, took hours to create. I am not talking anything super complicated but a simple accordion or some cool tiles.

That is where Apptex Designer wants to come in. Apptex Designer is a tool & framework that provides you with pre-built components required to make your sites look fancy with minimum configuration


Apptex Designer Review

After easily adding the app from the app store, you can go to the documentation page to learn what you can do and how to do it. For every item you can do, there is a page that shows you a screenshot, supported browsers, as well as everything you need to add it and customize it.



If you want to see the fields required to do something, you simply look at the Fields section. For the Nivo Slider, I need 4 columns. A title, an Image, a link and a description. As you see in the note, you don’t need to have the exact same field names, you can do the mapping when applying the style, however they need to be of that certain type.

So, I have created a list with those links, added it as a Webpart on the home page and as you can see, it’s not pretty right away!

To create our cool slider, , you simply go in the “Apply” Tab, where you can simply select all the options you want for your slider such as Target Page, Field Mapping ad variables. So, first, let’s select the Page as well as the Webpart on which we want to apply the slider.

Afterwards, I map the Template Field, with the field name in my custom list. I like the fact that we can create a list with more fields and different names then the ones needed by the app and we can map them afterwards.

Lastly, we can choose all the properties such as start slide, animation speed, effect and more! After you are done customizing it,

After you click Apply, your web part will not become automatically beautiful, as some of you might have expected, but the screen will refresh, and Apptex will show you the link to the JS file that will make your WebPart beautiful.

To apply this to your WebPart, you simply edit page, go in Web Part properties, and change the JS Link field to the link Apptex gave you. You then click Apply, save the page and the trick is done!

Your boring SharePoint list is now a cool modern slider with all the properties we selected!


It was really easy to create, however one thing I would have loved is to have the option to easily edit the text color, to make it White for example! However, you can easily do this by customizing the templates, which is another cool thing that Apptex lets you do! To customize the template, you simply go in the top right corner, and choose “Template Customization”

You then have to select the template that you wish to customize.

You then have a warning that tells you that what you will change, will only change future styles, and not the ones you currently have in place. Click Proceed to continue customizing.

In my case, I wanted to add some text that tells people to click on the image to go to the news, so I added this:

And I also wanted to make the title White!

I applied the changes, and then I recreated the JS file and applied it to my Webpart on the home page. Result is that I now have the extra line of text as well as the white title!

What else can I add with Apptex?

Apptex covers a lot of the most common scenarios that a Power User would need to make their site cool! You have:



Google/Bing Map

Really cool Charts!

And what is cool is that those charts only require two fields! Title and Value! After that you can use the same data, to show it in different ways, which is purely amazing!

Testimonials / Quotes


I have really enjoyed playing with Apptex Designer and I was surprised by its easiness. With only basic SharePoint knowledge, you are able to add some cool stuff to make your SharePoint site really pretty, and all the cool effects are supported on all major browsers. The fact that the app is really easy on your field names and data requirements makes it easy for Power Users to create the lists, add the JavaScript to the Webpart, and then any End User can add values in the list, and they will be reflected in the Webpart. The App is currently still in beta, however it already has most of the features a really cool app that I would buy off the SharePoint Store. What I would like it to have is some extra options for simple stuff like text color, However as long as you have a basic HTML knowledge, you can easily update the template and make it fit with your company colors and policies!

You can download the app for free from the Office Store by clicking the logo right under, and you can also look at this video on YouTube!

To learn more about Apptex Designer, check out their site at:

download Microsoft Ignite New Zealand

New Zealand’s largest, annual tech event returns in its 20th year to SKYCITY and Vector Arena from September 1 – 4. Previously known as TechEd NZ, this gathering of the brightest Kiwi techies has become Ignite NZ. If you couldn’t attend the event, and even if you could, you probably couldn’t attend all the great sessions available. That is why I created this PowerShell Script so everyone can easily download them whether they were present at Ignite or not! Here are the features:

  • Downloads all the Microsoft Ignite New Zealand 2015 Sessions and Slides
  • Groups them by folders
  • Makes sure no errors come up due to Illegal File names.
  • If you stop the script and restart in the middle, it will start where it left off and not from beginning
  • Filter by keywords in the session title!

*Total size of videos will be updated when conference finishes & all sessions will be posted online!



Download the script from here!  Do not copy paste from source code below!

How to use: 

  • To download all sessions just run the script! EX:


  • To download sessions based on a keyword use the keyword parameters, and divide keywords by a comma. Make sure to use quotes around the keywords! EX:

.\IgniteNZ2015VidandSlides.ps1 -keyword “SharePoint,Azure,System Center”

  • To download sessions based on the session code, use the session parameter and divide sessions by a comma. Make sure to use quotes around the session codes!

.\IgniteNZ2015VidandSlides.ps1 -session “M216,M258″

Here is the source code:

#Script written by Vlad Catrinescu
#Visit my site
#Twitter: @vladcatrinescu
#Originally Posted here:
#Contributors: Dan Holme, Jeff Collins, Steve Beaugé 


######    Variables  #####

#Location - Preferably enter something not too long to not have filename problems! cut and paste them afterwards
$downloadlocation = "C:\IgniteNZ2015"
#Ignite 2015 Videos RSS Feed
[Environment]::CurrentDirectory=(Get-Location -PSProvider FileSystem).ProviderPath
$rss = (new-object net.webclient)
$video1 = (1$rss.downloadstring(""))
$slide1 = (1$rss.downloadstring(""))

#other qualities for the videos only. Choose the one you want!
# $a = (1$rss.downloadstring(""))
# $a = (1$rss.downloadstring("")) 

#SCRIPT/ Functions  Do not touch below this line :)#
if (-not (Test-Path $downloadlocation)) {
		Write-Host "Folder $fpath dosen't exist. Creating it..."
		New-Item $downloadlocation -type directory | Out-Null
set-location $downloadlocation

function CleanFilename($filename)
    return $filename.Replace(":", "-").Replace("?", "").Replace("/", "-").Replace("<", "").Replace("|", "").Replace('"',"").Replace("*","")

function DownloadSlides($filter,$videourl)
        $ | Where{($_.title -like “*$filter*”) -or ($ -like "*/$filter")} |
        foreach {
	        $code = $_.comments.split("/") | select -last 1	   

	        # Grab the URL for the PPTX file
	        $urlpptx = New-Object System.Uri($_.enclosure.url)
            $filepptx = $code + "-" + $_.creator + "-" + (CleanFileName($_.title))
	        $filepptx = $filepptx.substring(0, [System.Math]::Min(120, $filepptx.Length))
	        $filepptx = $filepptx.trim()
	        $filepptx = $filepptx + ".pptx"
	        if ($code -ne "")
		         $folder = $code + " - " + (CleanFileName($_.title))
		         $folder = $folder.substring(0, [System.Math]::Min(100, $folder.Length))
		         $folder = $folder.trim()
		        $folder = "NoCodeSessions"

	        if (-not (Test-Path $folder)) {
		        Write-Host "Folder $folder dosen't exist. Creating it..."
		        New-Item $folder -type directory | Out-Null

	        # Make sure the PowerPoint file doesn't already exist
	        if (!(test-path "$downloadlocation\$folder\$filepptx"))
		        # Echo out the  file that's being downloaded
		        write-host "Downloading slides: $filepptx"
		        #$wc = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient)  

		        # Download the MP4 file
		        #$wc.DownloadFile($urlpptx, "$downloadlocation\$filepptx")
                Start-BitsTransfer $urlpptx "$downloadlocation\$filepptx" -DisplayName $filepptx
		        mv $filepptx $folder 

   		        write-host "Slides exist: $filepptx"


        $ErrorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        Write-host "$ErrorMessage"

function DownloadVideos($filter,$slideurl)
#download all the mp4
# Walk through each item in the feed
$ | Where{($_.title -like “*$filter*”) -or ($ -like "*/$filter*")} | foreach{
	$code = $_.comments.split("/") | select -last 1	   

	# Grab the URL for the MP4 file
	$url = New-Object System.Uri($_.enclosure.url)  

	# Create the local file name for the MP4 download
	$file = $code + "-" + $_.creator + "-" + (CleanFileName($_.title))
	$file = $file.substring(0, [System.Math]::Min(120, $file.Length))
	$file = $file.trim()
	$file = $file + ".mp4"  

	if ($code -ne "")
		 $folder = $code + " - " + (CleanFileName($_.title))
		 $folder = $folder.substring(0, [System.Math]::Min(100, $folder.Length))
		 $folder = $folder.trim()
		$folder = "NoCodeSessions"

	if (-not (Test-Path $folder)) {
		Write-Host "Folder $folder) dosen't exist. Creating it..."
		New-Item $folder -type directory | Out-Null

	# Make sure the MP4 file doesn't already exist

	if (!(test-path "$folder\$file"))
		# Echo out the  file that's being downloaded
		write-host "Downloading video: $file"
		#$wc = (New-Object System.Net.WebClient)  

		# Download the MP4 file
		Start-BitsTransfer $url "$downloadlocation\$file" -DisplayName $file
		mv $file $folder
   		write-host "Video exists: $file"

#text description from session
	$OutFile = New-Item -type file "$($downloadlocation)\$($Folder)\$($Code.trim()).txt" -Force
    $Category = "" ; $Content = ""
    $_.category | foreach {$Category += $_ + ","}
    $Content = $_.title.trim() + &quot;<code>r</code>n&quot; + $_.creator + &quot;<code>r</code>n&quot; + $_.summary.trim() + &quot;<code>r</code>n&quot; + &quot;<code>r</code>n&quot; + $Category.Substring(0,$Category.Length -1)
   add-content $OutFile $Content


if ($keyword)
    $keywords = $keyword.split(&quot;,&quot;)

    foreach ($k in $keywords)
        Write-Host &quot;You are now downloading the sessions with the keyword $k&quot;
        DownloadSlides $k $slide1
        DownloadVideos $k $video1
elseif ($session)
    $sessions = $session.Split(&quot;,&quot;)

    foreach ($s in $sessions)
        Write-Host &quot;You are now downloading the session $s&quot;
        DownloadSlides $s $slide1
        DownloadVideos $s $video1

    DownloadSlides &quot; &quot; $slide1
    DownloadVideos &quot; &quot; $video1

InfoPath, everyone’s favorite forms-creation and data-gathering tool that helps organizations streamline business processes is now available as a standalone download on the Microsoft Download Center.

After it was doomed to be discontinued and replaced by an advanced FoSL solution, InfoPath won the battle and is currently the only out of the box Microsoft product to create and modify custom forms in SharePoint. If you want to read the whole story, check out this blog post: InfoPath is back in SharePoint 2016 & FoSL vNext is dead!


InfoPath 2013 Standalone

Since InfoPath 2013 is the last version of InfoPath, it will not be included in the Office 2016 suite as it was previously. So, Microsoft just posted the standalone version of the product on the Microsoft Download Center. One important thing to note is:

“The download and use of InfoPath 2013 software requires an active Office 365 ProPlus subscription.”

So, if you want to use InfoPath 2013 with Office 2016, you will need to have an active ProPlus subscription on Office 365, and not just the Office 2016 license. I did not test to see if this policy is enforced, but if anyone does, please tell me in the comments!

Here is the download link for the InfoPath 2013 for Office 365 ProPlus Subscription standalone client:

Share this blog post with your followers on twitter by clicking the birdie below!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page  on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

SharePoint Server 2016 Preview just came out, and a lot of you have probably already downloaded it, or plan to download it and test it to find out what is new. Sometimes when installing SharePoint 2016 I had this error randomly, and I Saw on twitter that I wasn’t the only one, so I decided to make a blog about it.

Basically, when installing SharePoint Server 2016 you get the “Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 encountered an error during setup”, and when the error page opens you see its error 1603.

SharePoint Server 2016 encountered an error during setup

In my case, I only had to restart the installer and everything went fine, but in the past when the installer crashed, it used to be because the SharePoint VM only had one core. So, try to re-start the SharePoint setup, and if that doesn’t work, make sure your SharePoint VM has at least two cores.


If that doesn’t work, try this fix by Luis Valencia!  Run this in PowerShell as an Administrator!

if(!(Test-Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer)){
New-Item -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer | Out-Null
$regProps = Get-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer
if(! $regProps.logging){
New-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer -Name logging -Value voicewarmup -PropertyType String | Out-Null
if(! $regProps.debug){
New-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer -Name debug -Value 3 -PropertyType DWord | Out-Null

Let me know in the comments if you had this error!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page  on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

If you are using the Yammer app in SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online, remember that you have 1 month left before the Yammer App stops working!

Yammer app

This isn’t exactly news, as this was announced in March on the Yammer IT Pro Network, however it’s a good reminder that if you are still using the Yammer App, better switch to Yammer Embed as soon as possible! The Web Part for SharePoint 2010 will also be killed on March 15th 2016, but there will be no replacement for it. Here is the timeline from the Yammer Announcement:

  • The Yammer App for SharePoint 2013 on-premises and SharePoint Online will be discontinued on September 15th, 2015. On this date, the App will stop working completely, and will no longer be supported. Customers on SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online must migrate to Yammer Embed, our single solution to embed Yammer feeds going forward, as soon as possible. Please read this step-by-step guide to move to Yammer Embed.
  • The Yammer Web Part for SharePoint 2010 will be discontinued on March 15th, 2016. On this date, the Web Part will stop working completely, and will no longer be supported. Only SharePoint Online, SharePoint Server 2013, or the upcoming SharePoint Server 2016 release will support Yammer Embed from that point on.

This leaves me wondering, what will the integration between Yammer and SharePoint look like in SharePoint 2016? Read my blog post for What you need to know about SharePoint 2016 Preview !

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page  on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

Community Blast Provided and Sponsored by VirtoSoftware. This information was provided by vendor for community education on product. No official review was performed by Vlad Catrinescu.

VirtoSoftware is extending existing SharePoint workflow possibilities by creating a powerful 230+ custom SharePoint workflow activities set that can be leveraged by the company’s power users. Virto SharePoint Workflow Activities Extensions Kit is a no-code set of SharePoint extensions for creating custom workflows, which reduce development costs and time. This set simplifies the creation of business processes, so end-users have more time to focus on what really matters.

SharePoint Workflow

Virto SharePoint Workflow Kit enables the user to take advantage all kinds of Active Directory properties, including user and group management and interacting with almost all AD information. The kit offers abilities to work with e-mails and e-mail attachments, perform task management, work with lists, libraries, sites, and even site collections. User can generate reports about a list, interacting with several instant messaging platforms and sending SMS messages, execute custom VB.NET or C# code, interacting with HTTP at a low level, and much more.

If a SharePoint activity you’re looking for is not included in the Virto Workflow activities kit, you can send a request via the Virto Software website in SharePoint Workflow Activities Extensions section. Click “Request the missing activity” and you can send a request that will be fulfilled within 3 Business Days.

SharePoint workflows

SharePoint Workflow Activities Kit supports SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 workflows. Also, VirtoSoftware just released a major update for SharePoint Workflow Activities Kit, it offers an additional set of 10 FREE activities and conditions, which are working with the native 2013 workflow engine. As well as 23 SharePoint workflow activities for SharePoint 2010 from the whole set are available for free.

All these workflow activities with a simple interface can be easily used by the end-users to build almost any SharePoint workflow and quickly automate day-to-day business processes.

Further information about the product and free 30-day trial can be found at the product page. Download it now and build your own custom SharePoint workflow within minutes!

SharePoint 2016 Preview

By now, you probably know that SharePoint 2016 Preview will be out in August! This is big news since initially, the first Public Beta was supposed to come out during Q4 2015!

SharePoint 2016 Preview

Why release it in August instead of Q4?

Microsoft wants to solicit feedback and validate the stability of SharePoint 2016, while the product is still not finished. In the past, Microsoft relied heavily on the TAP program to get the feedback, and when the preview was released, it was almost in its final form. Similar to what Microsoft did with Windows 10, they really want the feedback of the community early, so they can still incorporate it in the product before the final release. August is actually this month, so I hope you are really excited! Hopefully as excited as Julia White at WPC!

In this blog post, I got information from all around the web about what you need to know about SharePoint 2016 Preview!


Q: What do I need to get ready for SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: You need to prepare some Virtual Machines, between 3 (1 SharePoint -1 SQL – 1 DC) and at least 6 (1 WFE -1 Application – 1 Distributed Cache – 1 Search – 1 SQL -1 DC) for a best practice MinRole deployment. Here is a screenshot of the available roles from the Ignite slides. You need to set them up on Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server Technical Preview, with SQL Server 2014 SP1 or SQL Server 2016 Preview

SharePoint 2016 Preview Minrole

Q: Does the final product will be released earlier?

A: Nope. Preview is released earlier to get more feedback, but that doesn’t mean the final product will be released earlier.

Q: What is included in the Preview?

A: In the SharePoint 2016 Preview, you will mainly see the investments in the Infrastructure part of SharePoint. Since SharePoint 2016 is the first release of SharePoint built from the cloud down, Microsoft got a lot of experience in managing SharePoint and improving performance and stability, so that’s the main set of “features” that will be included in SharePoint 2016 Preview. Here are some of the features:

  • MinRole
  • Increased Max File Size
  • Everything else that Bill Baer mentioned at Ignite in BRK2188

Q: Will full trust code be deprecated?

A: Nope!

Q: Will there be any new end-user features in SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: There will be, however there are no news on what they will be!

Q: Why focus on IT Pro features in the SharePoint 2016 Preview and not end user features?

A: To quote Bill Baer, to build a house, you first need a solid foundation. When you look at SharePoint, what the end users see is all the features, which is the house, but before building the house, you need that solid foundation to build it on.

Q: Will the Cloud Search Service Application be included in SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: Yes!

Q: Will there be any cumulative updates to test the new patching in SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: No, the preview is static, so no cumulative updates will be available for it.

Q: What about Office Web Apps?

A: The Office Web Apps team and SharePoint team are separated at Microsoft, so it’s not known when they will be ready to release their preview.

Q: What will be the new List Threshold limit for SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: For the preview, it will still be at 5000, and Microsoft wants you to test with thousands of list items, and tell them what performance you are getting. Since it’s not a final product, Microsoft cannot do proper scale tests yet. Remember that it’s a recommended limit, and you can play with it as you want from the Central Admin!

Q: Are there any Easter Eggs in SharePoint 2016 Preview?

A: Maybe! To find them, you will really have to push the limits of SharePoint

Q: What are the minimum hardware requirements for SharePoint 2016?

A: Read this blog post:

Q: Can I upgrade Site Collections in 2010 mode (or 14.5 mode) directly to SharePoint 2016?

A: No, Site Collections will have to be in full 2013 mode

Q: What can I read or listen to be ready for SharePoint 2016 preview?

A: Here are the resources I used for this blog post which you should definitely read or listen to:

Last Thoughts

When you test SharePoint Server 2016, please remember that it’s not the final product, and not many end user features will be included inside. The preview is a great opportunity to give feedback to Microsoft on what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong and hopefully they will do it all right by the time RTM comes out! There have been talks about SharePoint dying for the past two years, and as you see, that is certainly not the case as Microsoft really wants SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Hybrid to be very successful.

Who else can’t wait for the preview?


Share this blog post with your followers on twitter by clicking the birdie below!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page  on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  Also, don’t forget to check out SharePoint Community.Net for more great SharePoint Content.

Product analysis by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by, but thoughts are my own.

Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the workplace, and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you are able to process to make sensible decisions. The result is either that you either delay making decisions, or that you make the wrong decisions. And let’s be honest, we all feel a kind of information overload because all of the sources of information we have today. If you are an Office Worker, you have to go get all the information from SharePoint, email, Yammer, and other systems you might have such as Zendesk, SalesForce, etc.

That is why created an app called Collage. Collage aims to be the ‘Go To’ app whenever you want to get something done, since all the information you need to make the right decision can be seen from only one screen. Before starting with the review, here is a description of the app from the site: Collage presents all the information workers need to do their jobs, in a single-screen. With Collage, workers have email, updates from business apps, documents, and social tools in one app. Collage is a launch pad for completing tasks via native apps or sharing updates by email or social tools.

Collage automatically uncovers and then matches shared topics across all apps. Topics can be customer names, project titles, or products; essentially, any subject contained in app updates, discussions, documents, or email messages. Workers can then focus on a specific topic by filtering Collage’s federated information stream.

Review gave me access to the application through their TestFlight beta program and I had the chance to play with it on my iPad mini. For now, Collage only works on iOs devices but will hopefully be available for Android as well as Windows 10 devices in the future. The first thing you have to do after getting the Collage app is to connect the Services. currently connects to Office 365 (SharePoint sites and Email), Salesforce, Yammer as well as Zendesk. After you login in your services, you can view what profile you are logged under each service, as well as set preferences for each one. Collage

Once you connect them, you can configure the settings of every service to only get the information you care about. For example, you can set what document libraries or sites to follow in SharePoint as well as decide if you want to get Yammer updates from all company or only people you are following!

Once you get everything setup, on the updates tab you will see updates and everything what happens in your organizations in one single view. You can view who it comes from, as well as what service it comes from. But, what’s the most important and the goal of this app is the tags of every item, called “topics” in the app. When you click on a topic, Collage will show you all the information from a certain topic from all your services. So, if you talk about a client in Yammer, upload a contract in SharePoint Online, exchange a few emails and change its Salesforce status, you would see them all in the same view. The good part is that the content gets automatically tagged! Collage uses machine learning to go through conversations and documents in order to find the topics of each item. Here is a screenshot of the pre-provided demo, but we will create some content and see if the tagging works properly a bit later in the review!


Another very cool feature of the app is the “Discover” tab. In the Discover tab you can see what topics are currently trending in your company as well as your Upcoming meetings. Whenever you click on a trending topic, you see all the interactions for that topic and for the meetings you see everyone that is involved as well as any topics that the meetings are about.


Let’s start adding some information on those cloud services to see how the automatic topic recognition is working. I first sent an email to the test account about the Collage review and inserted some keywords. As you can see the keywords are NYC, SharePoint and Question. Since I also posted a document shortly after, Collage told me there are updates available for my news feed!

Now, the document from SharePoint appeared in my newsfeed, and Collage picked up the “ Collage” topic and tagged both my two new items with that!

When I sent a meeting invite using similar words, it was able to tag it automatically and show it as a topic.

When you open up Collage in the morning, view your meetings for the day and click on the topic, you can see everything related to that topic so you get the information you need to make the right decision fast! If I click on the Collage topic in the picture above, I am able to see all the Yammer conversions, email, as well as SharePoint documents related to this topic!

If you have some topics you are always interested to see news about, you can either Pin them or follow them.

On the Updates home page, you have a special view with the topics you follow. Also all your pinned topics get pinned right under the Search bar for easy access.

Lastly, you can open items such as PDF/Office documents as well as emails directly from the app to view them!

During testing the app was great. What I realized is that Salesforce might log you off if inactive, so you will have to re-login to that service when opening the app after a few days of inactivity.

Another thing to know is that this app is completely personalized to you, even its deployed company-wide. Meaning that, the taxonomy is created for every person individually, and for example you can create custom topics and add topics manually to items, but those will not be shared with everyone across the company, it’s really an app personalized for you to make you more productive!


Information Overload is a problem that people are facing today in the corporate world, and a lot of money is being wasted because the good decisions cannot be made in a timely fashion. aims to fix the information overload problem with Collage by creating THE app you open to get all your information on a certain topic. You have a meeting with a client called Contoso? Well you simply go to the Contoso topic and you can see the latest news and discussion around this client from only one app! Previously you had to open multiple programs and websites to get all this information. This app uses the latest technology possible such as Machine Learning to automatically tag items with the correct topics, so they can be easily found afterwards. A feature that I found missing, but will probably get included in the final version (Remember the version I reviewed is still beta!) is a way to “secure” the app with a code or something similar. This feature exists in the other apps, so I don’t worry too much about this being included in Collage as well!


To Register for the beta or know more about the app, click the logo below! just released a comprehensive Industry report on the Opportunities and Challenges that Microsoft Partners are facing with the migration to the cloud. I am happy to have been one of the reviews of this report together with other MVP’s and Influencers such as Benjamin Niaulin, Todd Baginski and Patrick Hosch!

Office 365 Opportunities and Challenges

Here are the top-level findings – more than 190 Microsoft partners, including SIs, IT outsourcing services and VARs, shared their take on opportunities and uncertainties they face in Microsoft’s move to the mobile cloud:

  • End-user adoption of the Microsoft cloud is increasing rapidly
  • Email leads the cloud charge, with social and collaboration tools trailing — cloud innovation lags behind cost-cutting for now
  • SharePoint is stuck on-premise, making hybrid expertise crucial
  • Security and migration concerns linger for both partners and their customers
  • Microsoft partners are embracing a best-of-breed, multi-cloud consulting model, indicating the need for new skills and revenue streams in the cloud


Download the comprehensive report, which includes detailed analysis, stats and findings, here:

I am excited to announce that I have just finished my first PluralSight course on Office Web Apps 2013! Office Web Apps Server is a new Office server product that delivers browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. In this course, you will learn what exactly Office Web Apps 2013 is, how it works and how you can install and connect it with Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint.

This course is aimed at the SharePoint, Exchange, Lync or general SysAdmin who needs to install, configure and maintain Office Web Apps in their organization. However, the first module is for everyone, as it is only an introduction to Office Web Apps and the demo at the end showcases all the features Office Web Apps has to offer.

Why did I choose Office Web Apps? I think it’s a technology that not enough companies implement, and the benefits it has vs the costs are amazing! Last year, I did a presentation at five SharePoint Saturdays about connecting Lync, Exchange, SharePoint and Office Web Apps together. The feedback I got is that no one really knew all the benefits that Office Web Apps added to SharePoint. For example, the ability to preview documents and view complete Office documents directly in the SharePoint Search page!

Deploying Office Web Apps 2013

There are many other features available in SharePoint, as well as amazing features in Exchange and Lync! You can view the course over here:

Enjoy and for any questions, do not hesitate to use either comments on my blog, discussions on the PluralSight course or send me a tweet @vladcatrinescu