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.
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: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wbaer/archive/2015/05/12/what-s-new-in-sharepoint-server-2016-installation-and-deployment.aspx

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?

 

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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 Harmon.ie, 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 harmon.ie 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 harmon.ie site:

 

harmon.ie 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

Harmon.ie 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 harmon.ie Collage app is to connect the Services. Harmon.ie 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.

 Harmon.ie 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 harmon.ie 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 “Harmon.ie 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 Harmon.ie 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!

Conclusion

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. Harmon.ie 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 harmon.ie 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!

Harmon.ie 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: https://pages.harmon.ie/Microsoft-Partner-Survey-2015.html

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: http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/deploying-office-web-apps-2013

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

In case you missed it, the European SharePoint Conference 2015 programme  is now available and I’m delighted to announce that I am speaking at Europe’s largest SharePoint and office 365 event in Stockholm Sweden from 9th-12th November 2015.

I will be conducting a session on “Automating your SharePoint Deployments with TFS and Build Server” aimed at IT Professionals.

Automating your SharePoint Deployments with TFS and Build Server

Have you ever wanted to get rid of the classic PowerShell deployments scripts every time you build a new SharePoint Solution? As a developer, don’t you wish you could just deploy the solution on a DEV / QA farm directly from your Visual Studio without having to wait for your SharePoint Administrator to deploy them for you since he doesn’t want developers to be local admins on the servers? As a SharePoint Admin, aren’t you tired of developers bugging you to deploy their solutions?

In this session you will learn how to configure TFS Build Server to automate the SharePoint Package deployment to SharePoint servers and how to monitor your deployments!

 

If you want a comprehensive breakdown of the latest innovations on all workloads of Office 365, and SharePoint is one of them, including the inside scoop on SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Next Gen Portals as well as practical, actionable advice on how to leverage the cloud, SharePoint, Yammer, the Office Graph, Delve and much more to the best of your ability then European SharePoint Conference 2015 is a must in your calendar!

Prices start as low as €1100! There is also special group discounts for bookings of 3 or more people.

 

Book Now
and I’ll see you in Stockholm in November

 

This year, I have the honor to speak at quite a few SharePoint Conferences around the globe. Most of the conferences, give speakers a unique discount code we can share with attendees so they save money when they sign up. So here are the discount codes for the events that I will speak at this year!

 

SharePoint Fest Seattle August 18-20 http://www.sharepointfest.com/Seattle.

spfest

 

SPTechCon Boston August 24-27 http://www.sptechcon.com/

SPTC-Boston2015-CTAUse Code CATRINESCU to save 200$!

 

SPLive360 Orlando November 16-20 http://bit.ly/LSPK13Home

As a speaker, I can extend $600 savings on the 5-day package (1695$ Instead of 2295$… 100$ cheaper than the earliest early bid price!). All roads lead to Live! 360: the ultimate education destination! Bring the issues that keep you up at night and prepare to leave this event with the answers, guidance and training you need.  Register now: http://bit.ly/LSPK13_Reg

Use Code: LSPK13

 

I will post codes for other conferences as soon as I find out about them!

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

With over 65 000 customers ,125 million licenses, and 80% of fortune 500 using it, Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most used collaboration and intranet platforms in the world. With that many users, and companies relying on SharePoint, the SharePoint admins behind every company’s farm must make sure the farm is always working properly and the users are happy. However, the surge in SharePoint usage often gives rise to “SharePoint Sprawl” which is a significant challenge for those tasked with management and administration.

Furthermore, with the rise of Hybrid SharePoint deployments, where the SharePoint admin now has to manage both the internal, on-premises SharePoint farm, as well as the Office 365 SharePoint Sites. To ease the SharePoint Administrator’s task, and to help him prevent problems before they happen, Aquaforest created a product called Checkpoint. Before we go into the review, here is a description of the product from the company’s website.

 

Aquaforest CheckPoint is a SharePoint Governance tool that is designed to monitor and report various details from an organization’s SharePoint farm. It supports both On Premise and Cloud SharePoint installations. It connects to SharePoint remotely, as a result you do not have to install it on the same machine as your SharePoint server and one installation can serve multiple SharePoint farms.

Aquaforest CheckPoint helps Identify Issues including:
  • Duplicate Files
  • Very Large Files
  • Legacy Office Documents
  • Non-Searchable PDFs
  • Obsolete Content
  • Non-Standards Compliance
  • Newly Created sites, Lists and Libraries
  • Many other issues

Aquaforest CheckPoint Review

First thing to note is that CheckPoint is a client application, so I was able to install it on my laptop. After installation, I was prompted to enter the first Site Collection I wanted to manage. Each site collection is called a “Connection” and you cannot connect to a Web Application or a Farm.

After you create your first connection, and every time in the future when you open the application, you go directly to the dashboard. The dashboard is where you can see all your current connections, reports and alerts. Alerts will need to be configured, so that is why we don’t have any yet!

When we go into a connection, we are able to see the Subsites, Lists & libraries, Users, Groups, Permissions and Content Types.

When you go on one of the items, such as a list, or a person, you can view all its properties. A bit like SharePoint Manager, but without having to be logged in on the server.

Now, let’s take a look in the Reports section. The Reports section in my opinion is the heart of the product and is the section that brings the most value. There are thirteen reports out of the box, however you can add custom ones that fit your business needs. Here are the ones included out of the box.

Let’s take a simple one, such the empty site description. Having a site description for every site, can be a part of the company governance policy and as the SharePoint Admin, you need to find out regularly if new sites don’t have it. When we open it, we first have some information about the report schedule and name.

Next Step is to choose the fields you want in the report as well as conditions. By default, this report will give you the Title, URL and Description of all the sites who have no description.

In my case, I want to also add the Owner of the site, so I know who to contact incase a site is missing a description. So by using the new column button, I added Owners to the list of buttons I want in the report.

In the next step, I will choose the targets where I want to run the report. On this step you basically decide what Site Collection you want to check.

After clicking next, the report took less than a second to run and showed me all of the sites without a description as well as their owners. Unfortunately, I only see the name of the owner and not username, so this could become a problem if you have thousands of John Smiths who don’t put in their description. However, Aquaforest has informed me they will make this available in the next update.

You can easily export the report to PDF/CSV to follow up on it. If we go to the next tab, we have the option to schedule this report to run every day, or every hour. This will be useful, so we’re alerted when a site gets created without a description, so instead of having a monthly task to check all the company Governance, we can be proactive about it and get it fixed before it becomes an issue. For the sake of this review, I made it run every 2 minutes.

However, for alerts to work, you have to enable them in the next step. Here you have the choice if you want the alert to show on the dashboard, and if you want to receive an email if it fails, and also if you want the report attached or not. Since the site description is an important part of the company governance policy, I decided to activate all and get an email if more than one site doesn’t have it.

Two minutes later, the report ran and I now see the alert on my dashboard. S

When you click on the alert, you are able to see the history of the last runs, as well as the results and easily export them to CSV or PDF. As you can see, as soon as one of my users entered their description, the numbers of row went from 4 to 3.

If you want to create your own Report, you simply click the new report button in the bottom bar. First thing you will have to choose if it’s report that will run on List/Library, User, Site or Document. In this example, I want to see all the document libraries where a document was not modified in the last 1 year. (Or 10 days for this demoJ). Afterwards, I created my conditions as well as columns that I wanted.

And I selected my targets. I added another connection to an Office365 tenant that I manage, so this report will search in both.

And, as you can see we found a few old lists that haven’t been used in a while!

The report is now in the Report Gallery and ready to be run.

Another useful report can for example be, finding if a certain user has any documents checked out to him before he quits the company. I did this report in a few seconds and now I can see if Vlad’s account has any checked out files and tell him to check in his modification before his final days.

Some other useful Out of the box reports include:

  • Duplicate Documents
  • PDFs that are not fully searchable (PDF files, where the text in them is not actual text, but kind of an image).
  • Lists with items above X number of items

Conclusion

SharePoint is one of the most, if not the most popular intranet platform in the world, and there is a lot of pressure on the SharePoint Administrators to keep it running, as well as make sure that the sites / site collections and even content respect the company Governance Plan and are in good shape. With the rise of the hybrid SharePoint deployments, SharePoint administrators will have a lot more to take care about and that is why they might need an Administration or reporting tool to help them know what shape their farm is in, and if anything needs to be corrected. The best SharePoint admin is the one that end users don’t have to contact, because he finds the problems before his users do.

In this blog post I did a review of the CheckPoint SharePoint Administration Tool by Aquaforest and found it extremely easy to use and pretty powerful. I have reviewed the first version of the software that included 13 reports and a lot of ways to customize your own reports, and found everything included worked out very smoothly and I was able to create reports with many things that could save me a helpdesk call later on. There are some small things that would be nice to have in the reporting, such as user name instead of display name of the user, but overall the tool can be very helpful for today’s SharePoint admin that only has one on-premises farm to manage, as well as tomorrow’s SharePoint Admin who will have to manage both on-premises and Office365 farms.

To learn more about CheckPoint, visit their site by clicking on the logo below.