Tag Archives: SharePoint blog

Social Tagging in SharePoint 2010

As you read earlier, folksonomy is a community-driven mechanism for categorizing data where the keywords are driven by end users instead of designated taxonomists. SharePoint 2010 now offers support for folksonomy via Social Tagging. Social Tagging allows end users to tag pages with Keywords for future reference or to share with colleagues.

When a user tags a page, SharePoint searches for a Keyword or Term that matches the tag. If a match occurs then the existing Keyword or Term is used. If, on the other hand, a matching Keyword or Term is not found, then SharePoint creates a new Keyword and stores it in the special Keywords Term Set. By default, everyone can add new Terms to this special Term Set. As you would expect, the Keywords Term Set uses an open submission policy, which allows all users to contribute entries.

NOTE     Terms in the Keywords Term Set are called Keywords, not Terms.

Keywords do not support any type of hierarchy or relationship. Keywords can only exist under the Keywords Term Set and only in one flat structure.

When tagging a page, the user has the option of either marking the tag public or private. If the tag is marked as private others will not be able to see that the page was tagged, but the Keyword will be created in the Keyword Store and available for others to use. Also, if a page has been tagged by someone but the tag was marked as public, anyone else who tags that page will see that tag as a suggestion. Because of this, users should be properly trained on how to use tags to prevent tags of a sensitive or confidential nature from being inadvertently created.

Over time, certain Keywords may gain wide acceptance. In such cases, it may be useful to promote them by moving them from the Keywords Term Set to another, more formal Term Set. In this way, a Term can be promoted from a folksonomy model (Keyword) to a taxonomy model (Term). If Social Tagging is used in conjunction with SharePoint’s My Sites feature,
then in addition to tagging pages it is also possible to add notes about a page. Notes are stored on a user’s My Site for later retrieval and are viewable by everyone.

 

John.UnderwoodThis post is an excerpt from the online courseware for our Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management course written by expert John Underwood.

John Underwood is a technical evangelist for a SharePoint consulting company, with 30 years of programming experience, including 20 years on the Microsoft platform and 10 years with .NET. John also has extensive experience using, configuring, and programming SharePoint.

 

 

SharePoint 2010 Search

The need for enterprise search is a key driver for implementations of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Search. The out-of-the-box SharePoint Server search features are useful, but getting the most benefit from SharePoint Server search requires configuration and customization.

The SharePoint Server object model makes it possible for application developers to implement powerful custom functionality, but in many cases you can meet requirements by configuring a site in the browser. This chapter focuses on customization of search by using the out-of-the-box features. SharePoint Server comes with two search site definitions you can use as a basis: Basic Search Center and Enterprise Search Center. Both site definitions create pages that contain Search web parts. You can use these web parts to extend sites based on the site definitions. You can also use them to create custom search pages in sites based on any site definition simply by enabling the correct set of features.

SharePoint Server does not simply provide the capability to perform searches. It also enables you to tune and improve your search results to provide the most relevant information to your users. When you consider the potential reduction in the cost of time spent looking for information and the cost of duplicated effort, it is easy to understand why customizing search is worthwhile. To this end, SharePoint Server includes reporting and optimization tools for search. With this information, you can define different types of search by defining search scopes. For example, you can create a scope to support search pages that enable users to find people within a geographic location or find documents of a particular type.

SharePoint 2010 also adds a new search feature knows as refiners. Refiners, and the accompanying Refinement Panel Web Part, provide users with a quick look at the kinds of matches they are getting. It also provides a meaningful way for users to whittle down the results by key areas such as document type, author, and origin of the search result.

You can also promote specific content based on its importance or relevance. You can specify the “best bets” for searches based on specific keywords. You can improve the quality of your keywords and best bets based on what you learn by analyzing the site’s usage reports.

Basic Search Center

As the name implies, the Basic Search Center site template provides basic
search functionality. A new site based on this template has several applications
pages, including:

  • default.aspx for entering search queries.
  • results.aspx for showing search results.

Basic Search Center supports minimal customization, and does not permit the addition of new pages. Basic Search Center works with all versions of SharePoint 2010. (For a comparison of search capabilities in versions of SharePoint 2010 visit http://go.appdev.com/?id=SXEG).

Enterprise Search Center

The Enterprise Search Center (formerly known as Search Center with Tabs) is designed to provide greater scalability and customization than that Basic Search Center template. Enterprise Search Center is available with SharePoint Server 2010 Standard and Enterprise editions. In order to use the Enterprise Search Center, the SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection feature and SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature must be enabled (see Figure below).

ECM Ch05 Blog.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

The Figure above. Required features for using Enterprise Search Center.

When it comes to customization, there are two significant differences between Basic Search Center and Enterprise Search Center. First, Enterprise Search Center includes a Pages library where you can create, customize, and publish search pages. Second, Enterprise Search Center includes the ability to provide tabbed search pages. The out-of-box template includes tabs for All Sites and People. You may modify the tab to include custom pages, scopes, etc.

 

John.UnderwoodThis post is an excerpt from the online courseware for our Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management course written by expert John Underwood.

John Underwood is a technical evangelist for a SharePoint consulting company, with 30 years of programming experience, including 20 years on the Microsoft platform and 10 years with .NET. John also has extensive experience using, configuring, and programming SharePoint.

Business Connectivity Services

While the lists, libraries, and other features of SharePoint provide a useful platform for collaboration, SharePoint doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Users will frequently interact with external applications, such as line-of-business applications, alongside their regular use of SharePoint. At some point users may express a desire to have SharePoint integrate with external systems. It could be as simple as a desire to do everything possible within SharePoint; or, it may be a need to integrate data from an external source into a SharePoint list or library in order to enforce a business rule or to avoid duplicating data in
multiple sources.

Business Connectivity Services, or BCS, exists to connect to external data. BCS represents a significant upgrade to the Business Data Catalog offered in SharePoint 2007. Specific improvements include:

  • Simple support for Write operations (no coding required).
  • Excellent tool support with SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visual Studio 2010.
  • External Lists for surfacing BCS data as a SharePoint list.
  • Support for both server object model and client object model.
  • Integration with Microsoft Office client applications.

NOTE Microsoft made an unfortunate choice when it comes to the use of the acronym BDC. In SharePoint 2007 BDC refers to Business Data Catalog; in SharePoint 2010 BDC refers to the Business Data Connectivity service, which is a subsystem of Business Connectivity Services. For the remainder of this chapter, BDC refers to SharePoint 2010 Business Data Connectivity service unless otherwise noted.

BCS Architecture

There are several key components that make up the BCS architecture. These components work together to provide a complete solution for integrating external data.

BDC Metadata Store

The BDC Metadata Store is responsible for storing External Content Types. As you will see in a later section of the chapter, External Content Types provide metadata and connectivity information for external sources of data. The BDC Metadata Store may be updated via SharePoint Designer when creating or updating external types.

BDC Server Runtime

The BDC Server Runtime uses the contents of the BDC Metadata Store to reach into external systems and perform operations such as reading or writing data. These read/write operations are carried out without the need for custom code.

BCS Security

BCS Security provides authentication and authorization for browser-based clients as well as Microsoft Office clients. It is capable of passing the user’s credentials through to the external system, or impersonating a dedicated account to the external system on behalf of the user. BCS Security also supports claims-based authentication.

SharePoint User Interface

BCS continues the SharePoint 2007 model of exposing external data via web parts. However, it also provides the new External List to present external data to the user via the SharePoint browser-based user interface. The presentation of these External Lists are seamlessly integrated with other lists on a particular SharePoint site.

Design Tools

SharePoint Designer 2010 provides full support for creating BCS solutions, including the creation of External Content Types, the definition of External Lists, and the definition of InfoPath for presenting external data. Visual Studio 2010 builds upon this foundation and allows developers to further extend BCS capabilities, such as a scenario where significant transformation of the external data is necessary.

 

John.UnderwoodThis post is an excerpt from the online courseware for our Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management course written by expert John Underwood.

John Underwood is a technical evangelist for a SharePoint consulting company, with 30 years of programming experience, including 20 years on the Microsoft platform and 10 years with .NET. John also has extensive experience using, configuring, and programming SharePoint.