Speaking at MVP Days Montreal

Categories: Announcements
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Next month, I will be speaking at a new event in Eastern Canada called MVP Days. It’s a one day event that covers multiple topics around the Microsoft World, and I will be delivering a session on PowerShell for Office 365!

About the Event

Join Canadian Microsoft MVP’s (Most Valuable Professionals) for a one day IT Pro Road Show. Expert Speakers will present based on their real world experience in short action packed sessions. Content will focus on the following topics:

1.       Cloud

2.       IT Pro/Dev Ops

3.       SharePoint/Office 365

4.       Development

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is Microsoft’s way of saying thank you to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others. It is part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting and enriching technical communities. Even before the rise of the Internet and social media, people have come together to willingly offer their ideas and best practices in technical communities.

Microsoft recognizes the vital role these individuals play in the adoption and advancement of technology—and in helping our customers do great things with our products. This was the inspiration for the Microsoft MVP Award. Nearly two decades ago, we awarded 37 technical community leaders as MVPs.

Today, there are more than 4,000 MVPs worldwide. They represent more than 90 countries, speak over 40 languages, answer more than 10 million questions a year, and are awarded in almost 90 Microsoft technologies—reflecting the breadth of our products and our global communities.

As such this community initiative is the brain child of several of Microsoft Canada’s Top MVP’s. It is our absolute pleasure to be able to share our knowledge locally allowing our communities to learn more and advance their technical knowledge base. You can follow Canadian MVP’s on Twitter #CDNMVP

Sign up for the Montreal event at the following link: https://events.bizzabo.com/200777/home

I am extremely happy to announce that my third Pluralsight course has been released over the weekend. While my Planning and Deploying Office Web Apps 2013 and my PowerShell for Office 365 courses were more geared towards the IT Pro audience, this course on Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer is really for everyone from End Users to IT Pros that want to know how to create simple and powerful workflows with SharePoint Designer.

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

In this course, I will cover the following topics:

  1. Learning the Basics

    In this module, I cover the basics of SharePoint Workflows, and all the terms you need to get started. We learn the types of Workflows, the Start Types as well as what exactly are Actions and Conditions.

  2. Out of the Box Workflows

    SharePoint 2010 and 2013 both include some basic Out of the Box Workflows that can do a good job, without any customizing. Before going in SharePoint Designer, we will learn what SharePoint has to offer Out of the Box!

  3. Creating a Workflow in SharePoint 2010 Mode

    In this Module, we will learn how to create a SharePoint Workflow, the basics of creating workflows in SharePoint Designer, the available actions and conditions as well as go through two Real World scenarios.

  4. Creating a Workflow in SharePoint 2013 Mode

    In this Module, I will go through the differences between 2010 and 2013 mode workflows, and you will learn the new things such as steps, loops and finish the module with a real world scenario.

  5. Visio Integration

    In this Module we cover the integration between SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Visio.

This course applies to SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016 as well as SharePoint Online in Office 365. The only module that doesn’t apply to SharePoint 2010 is module 4.

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

You can find the course at http://spvlad.com/vladSPDesigner or by clicking the image below! If you don’t have a Pluralsight account, you can open a 10 Day Free Trial or you can also try to get the Free Pluralsight 6 Month Subscription that still appears to work!

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

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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.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.

A few weeks ago I did a completion on my blog for a chance to Win a free Pass to SPTechCon Austin 2016.

I am happy to announce the Winner of the competition is Jasmine Hoegh who is pretty excited for going!

Thank you to all 105 SharePointers who participated! I will try to get more Conference passes to give away soon! If you have a conference you want me to try and get a pass to, let me know in the comments! If you want to make sure you won’t miss the chance to win another competition like the page on Facebook , Follow me on Twitter & sign up to the mailing list using the sign up form on the right sidebar of the page!

For some of you SharePoint Experts who took your exams in early 2013, the time to re-certify your MCSE SharePoint 2013 might be approaching. As you probably know, Microsoft requires you to re-certify every three years, to make sure your skills are still up to date.

MCSE SharePoint 2013

But how do you renew your MCSE SharePoint certification? At the time of writing this blog post, the SharePoint 2016 certifications, are not out yet, and there is no exam to renew the MCSE. However, Microsoft made it possible for everyone to renew their MCSE SharePoint trough Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). Let me first start with what you need to do, and then I will give you my opinion. The first thing you need to do, is create an account at https://mva.microsoft.com/ , listen to the following modules, and then pass the associated assessments.

 

 

Step Microsoft Virtual Academy course Skill
1 Deep Dive: Building Blocks and Services of SharePoint Configure advanced productivity tools
2 Deploying & Managing SharePoint 2013 with PowerShell Manage user access
Manage workload optimization
Manage productivity solutions
Implement Enterprise Search
3 Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Jump Start Manage user access
Manage productivity solutions
4 Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions Jump Start Implement Enterprise Search
5 Managing SharePoint On-Premises vs. SharePoint Online Architect and install SharePoint
6 SharePoint 2013 Best Practices Architect and install SharePoint
Manage workload optimization
7 Support Corner: Configure SharePoint Outbound Hybrid Search Architect and install SharePoint
8 Support Corner: Manage Storage Quota for SharePoint Online Manage user access
9 Upgrading to SharePoint 2013 Architect and install SharePoint
10 Initial Implementation of SharePoint Server Architect and install SharePoint
11 Plan a Collaboration Solution Using Office 365 Manage productivity solutions

After you finish and pass all of them, you need to email your MVA Username and your Microsoft Certification ID to certquest@microsoft.com to get your transcript updated.

MCSE SharePoint 2013

Pros

Making re-certification available through MVA does have its advantages:

  1. It’s FREEJ.
  2. It’s easy to do on your own time.
  3. You get to pass the assessment after every “module” allowing you to be able to restart a specific test only.

Cons

I don’t know what Microsoft’s plan is for SharePoint 2016 certifications, but if their goal of having the MCSE SharePoint certification without version numbers, everyone could be SharePoint certified and up to date until 2019, even if they didn’t do a SharePoint 2016 exam. But before talking about that in detail, let’s see what Microsoft will do for SharePoint 2016. Here are some cons according to me, on re-certifying professionals through MVA.

  1. Dumps will be even easier to access, as MVA probably has an a lot smaller question pool, and anyone can take unlimited tries, so you can probably find questions in a few minutes on the net.
  2. Certification value will go even lower. Everyone knows the value of certifications went down in the last few years, and being able to do your re-certification assessments, unlimited number of times until you get it right, brings down the value of the cert.
  3. Some courses have no link to the MCSE SharePoint, or its intended audience. For example, let me talk to you about the Deep Dive: Building Blocks and Services of SharePoint . That 7h course, talks about CSOM, Rest, Event receivers, and stuff for the MCSD… it has nothing to do with IT Pros, which should be the intended audience for a MCSE. Another one, Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Jump Start . Wait so I need to do a 6h jumpstart for the 70-488 exam, which as an MCSD exam, and be able to PASS it, in order to be a SharePoint admin? It makes no sense.

The total time of videos, not including lab and assessments to re-certify your MCSE SharePoint 2013 is 36 hours. I think it’s quite a lot of videos to watch, especially that 12 of those hours are strictly dev, and SharePoint Administrators will have to learn to create both SharePoint Apps and SharePoint Farm solution, and be familiar with CSOM, REST and another technologies that they don’t touch in their day to day jobs.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that it’s good to learn new skills, and it’s not a bad thing for SharePoint Administrators to learn how to develop for SharePoint. But I don’t think they should have made it mandatory, for a SharePoint Admin to know how to dev, in order for him to retain his IT PRO MCSE Certification.

Here is the official Microsoft details + FAQ about the re-certification process:   What’s your opinion for this new way to renew your MCSE SharePoint Cert? Do you have any other Pros or Cons? Let me know in the comments!

 

Follow me on Social Media and Share this article with your friends!

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.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.

While I usually only blog about SharePoint, since Exchange is part of the Office 365, this might interest some of you!

70-345

Microsoft just announced they are giving away 350 free 70-345 : Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 exams for those of you who want to try it! Oh, and you need to register AND take the exam before February 12! The goal is for Microsoft to get feedback to make the exam better, so make sure that if you take the beta, you give a lot of feedback!

You can view the exam details and register directly on the site: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-345.aspx

Use code EXCH2016010B to take it for free, but these codes are only valid for exam dates on or before Feb. 12, 2016.

EDIT: For clarification purposes with the new Pearon System.  You enter this code after choosing your Center, Date and Time. You enter this code when entering payment details.

VLADI7 1-13-2016 1.32.12 PM

Unfortunately, this offer is not available in Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, and Vietnam.

Also, keep in mind that this exam is in beta, which means that you will not be scored immediately. You will receive your final score and passing status once the exam is live.

In a few weeks, on February 3rd at 11 AM Eastern, I am giving a webinar together with CardioLog Analytics on the new features for end users in SharePoint 2016.

New Features in SharePoint 2016

SharePoint 2016 RTM is almost out, and with the Beta 2 being 99% feature complete, we already have a good idea of what will be in the final product. In this short webinar, we will look at all the new cool stuff in SharePoint Server 2016 from and End User point of view! SharePoint 2016 includes some awesome features such as DLP, Durable Links as well as Microsoft’s investments in Hybrid!

Make sure to register at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3014312598015589121

I am honored to speak again at one of the best SharePoint events in North America – SharePoint Fest! I spoke in Seattle and Chicago in 2015, and now it’s time to visit the beautiful Denver.

I am giving a four hour workshop on what’s new in SharePoint 2016 for IT Pros. The workshop is full of demos, and I received great feedback about it at SPFest Chicago last December! Here are the details:

SharePoint Fest Denver

Learn everything that is new in SharePoint Server 2016! In this course we will look at all the new features and changes in SharePoint Server 2016 especially those who affect SharePoint Administrators. In this demo heavy workshop we will cover the following topics:

  • SMTP Connection Encryption
  • Roles & Services
  • MinRole
  • Depreciated Features (Excel Services, FIM)
  • User Profile + Microsoft Identity Manager / AD Import
  • Cloud Search Service Application
  • New Boundaries
  • Zero Downtime Patching

I am also giving two sessions, the first one is PowerShell for Office 365 and the second one is Three Must-Have SharePoint Workflows with SharePoint Designer.

If you sign up using the code Catrinescu200 you will save 200$, which is a pretty good deal!

SharePoint Fest Denver

I hope to see you there, and if anyone is interested to go skiing before the event, do let me know as I heard Colorado has some great slopes! Visit http://www.sharepointfest.com/Denver/ to sign up and to view to amazing list of speakers and sessions!

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

Moving away from paper forms is one of the reasons that companies love SharePoint. SharePoint has the out of the box list forms, as well as InfoPath to help users create custom forms adapted to their business needs. However, InfoPath can be quite complicated for the average business users, and waiting after IT for every from creation can become a bottleneck to deliver business value in SharePoint.

There are numerous third party software out there that do forms in SharePoint on premises, however once you get to the cloud, the choices become a lot more limited. In this blog post we will review the KWizCom Forms app for Office 365 & SharePoint 2013. Here is a small paragraph taken from their website:

KWizCom Forms AppKWizCom Forms app is 100% SharePoint-native. Instead of introducing another proprietary forms designer, we turn your existing list forms into rich, enhanced web & mobile forms! Why is that good? Because all other SharePoint features will keep working inside your KWizCom Forms, and because there’s no need to deploy and teach end-users any new Forms technology!

  • Same familiar SharePoint list forms, so no new technology and UI to learn!
    Imagine you can create powerful forms without having to teach your end-users how to use any new Forms technology! Your end-users will keep using the same familiar SharePoint forms “on steroids”.
  1. Save a lot of time on creating new forms 
    your list forms already exist, just enhance them!
    No need to design, implement and deploy new forms. With KWizCom Forms you simply use your existing SharePoint list forms and add the required web form logic and enhancements in no time!
  • Support ALL SharePoint column types
    Unlike proprietary forms solutions (such as InfoPath for example) that support only a fixed set of controls, KWizCom Forms supports all SharePoint columns,
    so if it works with SharePoint, it will also work with KWizCom Forms! 
  • Keep the same look & feel as your portal, no separate design required!
    Since we are using the same SharePoint list forms, there are no separate forms to design…your forms automatically keep your portal’s look & feel.

KWizCom Forms App Review

First, installing the KWizCom forms app is done in two steps, one of them which is easy and the other which is also easy, but requires a bit more permissions. The actual Forms app, can be downloaded directly from the SharePoint Store at the link over here: KWizCom Forms – Free Trial . This is really easy to do, as any other app in the SharePoint store. The part that requires a bit more permissions to setup is adding the “foundation” app. This app has no user interface, it is a utility app, providing services to other KWizCom apps “behind the scenes”. Here is the reason it exists, taken from the KWizCom site.

Why do we need it?

Instead of implementing the same capabilities in each of our apps, we gather all of these shared functions into a “utility app” that can then serve all apps. The result is smaller and faster apps, easier deployment process for our customers.

You will need to install this directly in the app catalog, so you need to have access to that site. You can find all the instructions to do at this link: http://www.kwizcom.com/sharepoint-apps/kwizcom-apps-foundation/overview/ . After everything is installed, end users can manage forms directly from the ribbon in the list that they are in.

KWizCom Forms App

Once you click on the button, you go to the KWizCom Forms “Dashboard” for your list. As you see, all those settings are available, except Repeating Rows, which requires you to install a separate app in order to have access to it.

KWizCom Forms App

Let’s look at each of those features more in detail and see what they have to offer. First, Dynamic Column Permissions. The Dynamic column permission allows you to Show, Hide or Disable fields in list forms and views, based on logical conditions. This enables implementing dynamic forms where fields appear/become active according to the current context and user input.
First I created a rule to hide the “Priority” column to users who are not in the Helpdesk Owners group. The rules are very easy to create with the built in wizard that doesn’t really let you get them wrong. Here is the rule I created.

KWizCom Forms App

The result? With one account I could see the “Priority” Field, but not with the other that wasn’t in the group! Furthermore, with KWizCom we can also hide or disable columns directly in the Quick Edit View!

KWizCom Forms App

Something that we can do that is a bit more advanced, and offers more business value is a dynamic rule that allows us to show certain fields, depending on choices we make in the form itself. So if we have a list with the following three dropdowns, but we want to either show “Hardware type” or “software type” depending on the category, but not both at the same time.

KWizCom Forms App

We would t hen add those two rules. This will make the “Hardware type” drop-down appear only when the end-user selects the “Hardware” category, and the “Software type” field appear only when user selects the “Software” category”, so this way only relevant fields appear according to the current context.

KWizCom Forms App

The result is really cool!

KWizCom Forms App

KWizCom Forms App

Now, let’s talk about Default Values. This feature is pretty self-explanatory; it allows you to set a default value for a field. What it’s cool about KWizCom vs the Out of the Box default values, is that you can dynamically set different values depending on the user that opens the New Item form. Furthermore, you can build simple rules that can make your SharePoint so much better like a rule that Document Title = Document Name!

It automatically detects the type of column, so my choice column was presented the three available choices. KWizCom also supports columns that SharePoint cannot offer a default value for, such as Lookup & Person!

KWizCom Forms App

You also have choices depending on the column, for example you can set a People Picker column to default to [Me], which will use the current user as default value. Some more advanced example would be setting a Due Date dynamically by calculating “[Due Date] = [Start Date]+3”

KWizCom Forms App

Next feature is the View Permissions. We might want to make some views available only for certain departments, and also optimize the views for those departments. The View Permissions works very similar with the other features in how you create the rules.

KWizCom Forms App

The next feature is Field Constraints. Field constraints allows you to create field validation, before the item is even saved. For example, imagine a company that has a requirement that all incidents have “High” in the incident title if the priority is high. You could easily make sure that they are all following company standards by implementing a small rule.

KWizCom Forms App

Here is the result

KWizCom Forms App

However, SharePoint out of the box already has field validation, however what makes KWizCom Forms special, is the ability to make those dynamic. For example, in a bug list, we could be able to put a rule so that no one from the support group, would be able to close a bug, without entering the resolution. The rule would look something like this:

If [Current user] IN “Support group” AND “Issue Status” = “Closed” then

Validate that “Resolution” is not empty.

If you’re looking for more advanced validation, you can also use patterns!

KWizCom Forms App

Next feature we have is Field Groups. Field Groups allow us to create really modern looking forms, and only show limited amount of information in the same view of an item. For example, instead of having Title, Priority and Assigned to on the same “window”, I created two Field Groups, and put the Title and Priority on the first one, and assigned to on the second one. Here is the first group. I love the fact on how easy KWizCom made it to create those groups using + and – signs!

KWizCom Forms App

Here is end result:

KWizCom Forms App

KWizCom Forms App

We can also make more advanced looking forms by having “multi-column” layout, which makes the forms look better at the same time as making them a lot shorter.

KWizCom Forms App

The Form Quick Navigation feature makes a “Previous” and “Next” (You can customize the text) buttons appear directly in the form when users view or even edit items. The benefit is that, instead of having to open one item at a time, save it, and open the next one, by using the Previous and next Button, we could move from one item to another, without reloading the page 3 times. If you had to approve, or even view 30-40 items in a list per month, instead of Open > Edit > Save > Open again, you could directly click the next and previous buttons to make all the changes you need.

KWizCom Forms App

Here are the buttons on the item. As you see in the previous screen, right now I only have it on the “View Item Form”, but I could also easily add the same buttons on the “Edit” form.

KWizCom Forms App

Another functionality that I really found useful with KWizCom Forms is the ability to export and import the settings. This allows users to create a prototype in QA, and after it’s approved, easily move it to production. You can also move the same settings to another list in the same site, or in a completely different tenant. You simply copy the settings provided, and save it into a .txt file! To import them, you browse to the file and Upload it! It’s that simple!

KWizCom Forms App

Now, let’s talk about some cool add-ons that come with the KWizCom Forms App Pro Edition. Those features are the Repeating Rows and Cascading
LookApp. The Cascading LookApp allows us to create, cascading lookups such as Country > State > City, while only showing available choices. The Repeating Row is an interesting feature similar to InfoPath repeating section that allows you to create multi-row forms.

To put all this in a real life scenario, imagine a department expense report. At the top, we would use the Cascading LookApp to allow our user to add the Branch, and Department, while filtering departments available only at that branch. We then use the Repeating Rows feature to record the expense details, with users being able to adding as many rows as they need in the form.

KWizCom Forms App

Conclusion

I really enjoyed playing with the KWizCom Forms for Office 365 app, and the thing that I liked the most about the app is that it’s really easy to use. When companies buy a third party application either for SharePoint on premises, or for Office 365, the goal is to get more functionalities, that are also easy to use. Microsoft does offer InfoPath, which is a great tool for customizing forms, however the problem with InfoPath is that it’s very complicated. The fact that you have job postings out there for InfoPath experts, already tells you that while InfoPath is powerful, it’s not easy to get all those features working.

With KWizCom any end-user that knows the basics of SharePoint, can implement dynamic forms with advanced features, without being a forms expert and without advanced training. If you’re looking for a powerful and easy forms app for Office 365, make sure you try the KWizCom Forms App!

Check out the following links to find more information about the KWizCom Forms App:

KWizCom Forms App in the Office 365 Store:
https://store.office.com/kwizcom-forms-WA104379442.aspx?assetid=WA104379442&sourcecorrid=893315f9-1926-43b9-adfb-1ecd9c28730a&searchapppos=4

Solution Summary eBook:
http://www.kwizcom.com/objects/FormsApp/KWizCom%20Forms%20App%20-%20eBook.pdf

Product Page:
http://www.kwizcom.com/sharepoint-apps/kwizcom-forms/overview/

Start the New Year off right! Join Vlad Catrinescu, Microsoft MVP and president of vNext Solutions, as he helps you prepare for the coming release of SharePoint 2016. This latest version of SharePoint comes with a plethora of new features and promises greater stability and true hybrid readiness. As an IT Professional, you need to know what SharePoint 2016 has in it and how it will impact your SharePoint implementation.

What’s new in SharePoint 2016


In this webinar, Vlad will show you the new features and changes in 2016, covering such topic as: 

• Depreciated Features 
• New Topologies with MinRole 
• User Profile + Microsoft Identity Manager / AD Import 
• Cloud Search Service Application 
• Zero Downtime Patching 
• Upgrading to SharePoint 2016 

There will be time for Q&A after the webinar. Get ready for the release of SharePoint 2016! 

Hosted by Crow Canyon Systems, leading developers of core business applications for SharePoint and Office 365. Check our web site, www.crowcanyon.com, for info on our Help Desk, Asset Management, Equipment Tracking, Customer Support, Purchasing, Security Access Request, and other applications.

Register at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7312237580575417858

Follow me on Social Media and Share this article with your friends!

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.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.

Win a free Pass to SPTechCon Austin 2016

Categories: Learning
Comments: No

Hello Everyone,

I have been blogging about learning resources for a while and one of the best ways to learn from the experts is to attend in person conferences! SPTechCon gave me a 4-Day All-Access Conference Pass to SPTechCon Austin 2016 to give away to the readers of my blog!   To enter you simply have to put your name and email, and you can get bonus entries if you follow @vladcatrinescu on Twitter and like the Absolute SharePoint page on Facebook!  Furthermore you can tweet about the  giveaway every day and get 9 bonus entries for every time you tweet!

 

sptechcon

The prize only includes the conference pass and not any travel costs or anything else. Just the conference pass!  Here is a small paragraph about the conference

 

SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference is returning to Austin, Texas! SPTechCon will take place February 21-24, 2016, with more than 80 technical classes and tutorials presented to help those utilizing SharePoint technology and maximize their effectiveness with it.

SPTechCon Austin will feature the first conference sessions on SharePoint 2016, the next release of SharePoint expected early next year! We will also bring you more on working with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365, with practical information you can put to use on the job right away!

SPTechCon offers classes and tutorials for IT professionals, business decision makers, information workers, project managers, and developers. Each presenter at the conference will be a true SharePoint expert, with many drawn from Microsoft’s tech teams or from outside authorities with Microsoft MVP status.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in February! Because SharePoint… and AUSTIN!!

Good Luck!

Click here to view this promotion.