Destination:\ SharePoint > Destination:\ SharePoint 2013
October 05
Speaking at Reston SharePoint User Group (Oct 5th, 2015)

Topic: Designing Office Add-Ins integrated with SharePoint

Date: October 5th 2015

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Reston-SharePoint-User-Group/events/211394082/

Location: Microsoft Reston, 12012 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20170​​

October 03
Speaking at SharePoint Saturday DC (Oct 3rd, 2015)

Topic: Designing Office Add-Ins integrated with SharePoint

Date: October 3rd 2015

Details: http://www.spsevents.org/city/DC/2015fall/sessions

Location: Microsoft Reston, 12012 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20170​​

September 16
Speaking at CAPAREA.NET SharePoint User Group (Sep 16th 2015)

Topic: Office 365 Videos with Srini Sistla

Date: Sep 16th 2015

Details: ​​http://www.meetup.com/CapArea-NET-SPSIG/events/224654345/

Location: 1934 Old Gallows Road, 2nd Floor, Tyson's Corner, VA, 22182, US​

August 01
Installing Windows 10 on MacBook Pro – My experiences!

Let me start this blog by saying – 'Windows 10 seems to be a bit shaky, but I believe it is superior to its predecessors!'

“This post is very specific to those individuals who are using (or willing to use) MacBook Pro (MBP) hardware and Windows OS as host”. Others readers are more than welcome to read.

Being a SharePoint Developer/Designer/Architect, I admit, I am a Microsoft/Windows/SharePoint fan and my day-day activities involve hands-on development and heavy usage of SharePoint and Office. And to run all the memory heavy apps, we all wanted an amazing machine with XYZ requirements etc. that I am not going to bore you here. So, last year like many others I moved to MBP. Ever since, I am using VMWare Fusion to run Windows 2008 R2 Server and the all-in-one SharePoint 2013 Developer Machine.

Like several SharePoint colleagues mentioned in their blogs, SP 2013 runs smooth like butter on MBP though it has max memory limitation of 16GB. While OSX was always host, I never tried running Windows on MBP as a host. With Microsoft releasing Windows 10 on July 29th 2015, I started to investigate the 'Host' option and here are my findings.

Preparation

My MBP is fully loaded - 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Retina etc. So, I have the liberty to play with the amount of disk space and my goal was simple – Can I use MacBook Pro hardware + Windows 10 OS?

“To clarify before I go further – I did not (and not recommend) remove OSX, instead used dual-boot. I used "Boot Camp" on OSX to install Windows.”

  1. Search (Command + Space) for Boot Camp on your MBP and launch it. Click on 'Continue' button on the Introduction screen.
  2. On the 'Select Tasks' screen, there are 3 options.
    1. Create a Windows 7 or later version install disk – This is the procedure which is used by OSX to create install disk.
    2. Download the latest windows support software from Apple – You will be using MBP hardware for Win10, so, there are several drivers, software's required to run it smoothly. This option will essential keep those ready during and after installation.
    3. Install Windows 7 or later version – This step will begin installing windows.

For 2.a, 2.b you will need USB stick (this is mandatory) of at least 8GB space. 2c requires Windows 10 ISO to be downloaded first and referred. Download Windows 10 from MSDN and in particular, Windows 10 Multiple (x64) ISO. This contains Windows 10 Pro edition. You can perform 2a, 2b together and later 2c or all of them together.

If you experience errors, failures and trying to re-install, uncheck 2a, 2b subsequent times because it takes a long time.

  1. Next step is 'Create a Partition for Windows'. I strongly recommend to use this option in boot camp only. Do not create partitions using 'Disk Utility'. This step is overridden by Boot Camp anyways. Again, you can choose the partition storage as you wish or use 'Divide Equally' option. I choose Windows partition more than OS X, and it's my personal decision. 
  2. Click Install. This will initiate the partition procedure and will prompt you to enter admin credentials etc. Simply follow the instructions on the screen and you will be good to go.
  3. At this time, your MBP will reboot and will start Windows 10 installation procedure.
  4. During the installation, make sure you select the drive that is marked 'BOOTCAMP' as installation drive for Windows 10.
  5. Relax, sit back until the installation is complete and Windows 10 loads.

“Don't rush for a coffee, MBP hardware is extremely fast and installation finishes only in minutes.”

  1. During initial loading Win10 will seek to create local account and I preferred this option since I am only trying to get my feet wet. I don't trust new OS yet! J
  2. Wi-Fi Sense – There is lot of unrest on this feature right now. Uncheck it for the time being. For more details, here is the information (Courtesy – Jon Hassel).
  3. You are almost done except few admin jobs mentioned below.
    1. Installing Boot Camp on Windows – The first thing you will see after Windows 10 is installed, is setup for Boot Camp. There is no choice here and you will need it.
    2. After installing Boot Camp and a subsequent reboot, you might need to adjust mouse controls. Since I use right click 'Bottom Right Click' option, I had to configure it the first time. Launch Boot Camp Control Panel that you will find under system tray. Under Trackpad tab, check the option 'Secondary Click' and choose whatever you prefer.
  4. Cortana – Were you impressed by Cortana videos? Let me tell you, unless you add your Hotmail/Microsoft account, the option of Cortana is not available! I personally feel this feature must be opened to types of accounts, but again it's me.
  5. Windows Account Activation – Do this, if not, some options are turned off.
  6. Edge Browser – its modern and ultra-fast! There is a very little learning, but you will get there.
  7. Multiple Partitions – for better management, I always have separate partition to store my VM's. This way, just in case when I need to reinstall OS, it wouldn't effect formatting my drive/partition where VM's exist. With OSX, you can only make 2 partitions. One for OSX and one for Windows. So, don't attempt to make more than 2 in OSX by any means. Trust me, I spent several hours of wasted effort. And don't use Disk Utility as mentioned earlier. So, how do you achieve it?
    1. After installing Windows, use 'Disk Management' under Computer Management.
    2. Right click on the BootCamp partition (now C:\ drive) and select ‘Shrink Volume’.
    3. Select how much space you need and it will shrink your C:\ drive accordingly, leaving the remaining space to be created and formatted to use as extended partition.
    4. Here is an important step > When you format the new extended partition, if you want to share and edit that between both OSX and Windows, then you need to choose that as eXFAT. MSDOS FAT will not help since there are file size limitations on that. If you choose NTFS, you will not be able to update the files on the drive from OSX. So, I ended up choosing exFAT.

Alright lets now see issues I encountered.

Issues

Windows 10 is a new born baby. But unlike rolling, crawling first, in my opinion its already standing! Well, it needs to run and so there might be initial glitches here and there. The below issues that I am posting are not completely related to Windows 10, there are either installation related or co-existing with OSX.

  1. Day 1 – Installation went well. I was able to switch between OSX and Win 10. I was also able to access the drives (I have now 3 drives, OSX, Windows Boot Camp (C drive and extended partition that I did in step 7.4). I added couple of text files, accessed them, modified them from both OS’s. Great! Then I moved my VM (SP 2013) that I created using VMWare Fusion to the extended drive from with in OSX, which is about 54GB. Then I rebooted to Windows to access it. #Fail! I cant access the partition anymore and seems to be corrupted. I first thought Windows did it. So, I formatted partition again (exFAT), switched to OSX, copied the files and rebooted machine. But this time, I booted back to OSX. Now, I cant access the partition anymore again. OSX changed the file format and also drive letter and made it inaccessible.
  2. Continuation – I switched to Windows, recreated the partition and continued to install other software’s, essentially Office 2016 Preview and VMWare Workstation 11. Later during the day, I switched back to OSX to work on other stuff. Once I tried to switch back to Windows, I never was able to. Guess what? #Crash! Now, I cannot get to Windows, nor the partition even with in OSX. The worst part was Boot Camp does not even recognize these drives and rejects to install Windows again. #Fix: I had to use Disk Utility this time, format them as OSX drives and then remove them (make them single partition). Boot Camp wouldn’t allow to repeat all the above steps until the fix is done.

Atlast, I am able to install Windows 10 again and its been good. No crashes so far (fingers crossed) and performance is pretty good. I am going to write about my running SharePoint on VMWare Workstation on Windows 10 and experiences next.

June 11
Speaking at SPS Events – Baltimore (July 18th, 2015)

Topic: Office Sway

Date: July 18th, 2015

Details: http://www.spsevents.org/city/baltimore/baltimore2015

Location: Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Baltimore, MD 21204

June 08
Speaking at Reston SharePoint User Group (June 8th, 2015)

​​​​​​Topic: Office 365 Video and Sway!

Date: June 8th 2015

Details: ​​http://www.meetup.com/Reston-SharePoint-User-Group/events/211388802/

Location: 12012 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA

December 13
My next authorship: Visio Services 2013 Quick Guide

What's going in my life these days? I've been working hard to complete our (Sahil and I) next book which on Visio Services 2013. Its ready and will be released end of December 2014 by Apress; yyaaaay that will be my own Christmas gift :-).  


This book will cover several new topics related to Visio Services including BCS data support. 


Stay tuned and purchase on Amazon Visio Services 2013 Quick Guide​.

November 01
My MacBook Pro (MBP) Experiences

There are few blog posts by Sahil Malik, Andrew Connell and Jeremy Thake - here, here and here on using MBP and SharePoint 2013 VM for development needs. This is not the first time I am adding this information but I thought there are few things that I learnt in addition to their views and I wanted to mention those to those who wanted to invest their money in purchasing MBP especially for SharePoint development needs. Again, these are my views and I am sure there will be people who may or may not agree with the below.

Note: I am not going to mention about how to setup your VM on MBP here. But the below might help you on what you might experience once you have it. I will keep this post updated when I find more.

"Why did I switch?"

Simple – Like Andrew Connell mentioned in this blog post, W530 is like carrying a rock on your back. It very heavy. Though you could do a lot with extended RAM, hard disk additions and DVD drive that comes handy (you will miss this on MBP), it's very heavy and also performs poorly. You will be amazed by MBP on how light it is compared to W530 and the way it performs; you can see the performance video by Sahil here. I should give plus points to Apple products, like always, they pay attention to the tiny things that will matter the most.

"This cannot be your only machine."

Like everyone else, I used to have Lenovo W530 with 1TB SSD + 32GB RAM in it. MBP can support RAM up to max 16GB. Your SharePoint environment will consume at least 12GB of the 16GB for your single developer VM use case. This means – you cannot create multi-tier architecture with Domain Controller, SQL Server and especially Office Web Apps installed on a separate instances on the same MBP. All this means, you need another developer machine with 32GB RAM etc. so that you can have that bigger scenarios. This is important for authors and people writing articles. If not, Windows Azure is your next best bet. Be prepared for this.

"VMWare Vs Parallels."

MBP is retina display. One of the reasons why you will like apart from its performance is its display. When I use VMWare Fusion, I noticed that the display is not great, in fact it sucks even connecting to a hi-res external monitor or just on the MBP! On the other hand, I found Parallels is good on MBP and the display is really sharp. Update: After I changed to new display cables (see below under accessories) the resolution is PERFECT even for VMWare Fusion. I have been using Fusion for almost 8 months now and totally happy. I don't have performance evaluation but both VMWare Fusion and Parallels seem performing good. Both VMWare Fusion and Parallels are not free. But paying $80 or so is totally worth it. If you have VMWare workstation, you can switch to parallels for $49. You need to speak to their support.

I can understand why many use VMWare Fusion – the core files can be used by both Fusion and Workstation on OSX/Windows if you have a second machine. This is huge.

"Expensive Accessories."

Did I tell you that MBP and its accessories are really expensive? A regular thunderbolt to DVI for your external monitor will cost you $30. That's not the hi-res at all and if you need one that supports, its $99. Extended warranty, time capsule etc. they are all above $200. Dock will cost you $150. I love the dock from Henge Docks. But, do you need them? Well, it depends on your needs so I will leave it to you. Update: I purchased this item from Amazon for $10 and it works perfectly with out spending (purchasing) towards the dock.

"OSX and Windows."

It will take some time for you to adjust to the new operating system. However, you will miss some crucial daily operations you perform on Windows. For instance, I use Live Writer or Word Blog template to create and publish the blog content. With Office 2011 for Mac OS, the templates are bad and you cannot install Live Writer on OSX. There are many other applications that you might be using that cannot be used on OSX. This creates some vacuum in usage and development. So what to do? You can create a VM with Windows 7/8/8.1 and solve this issue. OSX and windows can share same hard disk and can use the files in both platforms. Coherent mode from VMWare Fusion or Parallels are amazing, it is seamless and works amazingly well. But here is what I did – I ditched Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 which is the OS for my SharePoint development environment became my new day-day working platform.

"Switching from Windows to OSX."

If you are switching from Windows to OSX, you will have some initial brain strain since the keys are different. If you are smart, it's easy. You can map the keys like Sahil mentioned here. If you add external keyboard that will help you a LOT! You don't need to map keys and mostly they will work for what you want to do.

Apart from that there are couple of other things I would like to add.

Spectacle – Windows + Left Arrow, Windows + Right Arrow – remember these that help you tile your windows? With Spectacle you can do it easily. Download Spectacle for free here.

gfxCardStatus – I have purchased MBP and returned it twice so far. Reason – the fan noise! When I run the development VM, the fan makes so much loud noise that I thought it was a hardware problem. I spoke to few of my friends about their experiences. One said he had, others not. So, I thought it was issue with the one's I purchased. But clearly, it's not. They all make noise and that's because of retina display. So, get used to it. However, I found this software gfxCardStatus that will switch to discrete and integrated mode automatically depending on the application running. I found this useful especially with the noise. Download gfxCardStatus here.

"Boot Camp or not?"

Mac OSX runs like butter. Even if you push the limits of RAM, your SharePoint VM will run smoothly. That's the reason why you have to stick to OSX + VMWare Fusion (or Parallels). Boot Camp means, you will install Windows 7 or 8 (or 8.1) and then using VMWare Workstation. No point in doing this because there is no performance gain here.

"Conclusion."

I am happy purchasing MBP and its performance and its overall behavior, so, I will highly recommend it if you can afford it. Well, that's what I have for now. More to come as I work in depth. Until then – happy working on MBP and SharePoint.

October 26
Offline Installation of SharePoint Workflow Manager

Microsoft introduced new architecture model for Workflows in SharePoint 2013. In order to make it work on your developer virtual machine or in real time production scenario, you will have to install Workflow manager on respective app server or dedicated server. You can install workflow manager using web platform installer. This requires internet connectivity. In case you donot have internet connection on the VM, you can use offline installation model that I am going to explain below. You will have to download all the required individual setup files using WebPICmd.exe and install them manually.

 

  1. From the machine where you have internet connectivity, download and WebPICmd zip from the URL http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=233753
  2. Extract the zip file to local file system.
  3. Using run as administrator, launch Windows PowerShell
  4. Access the location where WebPICmd is previously unzipped.
  5. Identify a location where you would like to download the required installation files.
  6. From the PowerShell window, run the following command. Make sure to replace

 

    {Download Location} with the location where you would like to download identified in step # 5.

 

    ./WebpiCmd.exe /offline /Products:Workflow /Path:{Download Location}

 

For example, if you choose the download location as 'C:\{your target location}\' then the command would look like the below

 

    ./WebpiCmd.exe /offline /Products:Workflow /Path:c:\{your target folder}\

 

  1. While WebPiCmd downloads all the related software's for Workflows, you will encounter 404 errors for two of the image files as shown below. You can ignore these errors and let the download complete.
  2. After the download is completed, the location should consist of the following folders and setup files.
  3. Now you can copy the entire folder to VM where SharePoint 2013 is installed
  4. On the SharePoint 2013 VM, run each of the setup files in the folders.

                              

Once all the setup files are installed, you can begin configuring Windows Workflow Farm.

October 10
Speaking at CAPAREA.NET SharePoint User Group (Nov 19th 2014)

​Topic: Visio Services in SharePoint 2013

Date: November 19th 2014

Session Information: -

Event Details: http://www.caparea.net/sharepoint/Home.aspx

Location: Knowlogy Corporation, 1934 Old Gallows Road, 2nd Floor, Tyson's Corner, VA​

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