Month: February 2013

Goodbye Singapore, Grüezi Switzerland: A New Opportunity

In early March 2006, I arrived in Singapore for what I thought would be a limited time only: an 8 months internship and the plan to graduate afterwards and start working in Germany. Obviously, things changed a bit, and I fell in love with the country here. That’s why I came back to Singapore in September 2007, and have been here ever since.

During the past 5 1/2 years I’ve been working exclusively with SharePoint (2007 and 2010), and have been working for a German as well as a Swiss company. I have learned a lot in these past years (not just regarding SharePoint, but IT in general, soft skills, and all that other stuff that comes with a job), and I can thankfully say that I have had the chance to work with and for some very supportive managers and colleagues. From a personal perspective, the biggest change was meeting my wife, completely surprising her by proposing at a very unexpected moment and later getting married to her, and buying a flat with her.

It is now time for another big move. Starting 1 June 2013, I will be working in Zurich, Switzerland, for 1stQuad Solutions. I will have the opportunity to work a lot more with my big passion, Office 365, and also do a lot more community work, naturally mostly in German (so, if you’re in the DACH region, get in touch with me!). My wife and I are of course very excited about this new opportunity, and the chance to experience living in a new city and country. My last day with my current company will be in April, followed by a short holiday trip to Bali with my wife. In May, we’ll be flying to Germany to visit my family, and move to Switzerland towards the end of that month.

Note: I’ll be available for some freelance work (SharePoint / Office 365) from mid April onwards for around 5-6 weeks, if you think I can be of help, or want to recommend me to someone, let me know.

Does moving to a German-speaking country have any impact on my blog? I’m considering writing articles in English and in German, but haven’t fully decided yet if and how I’ll do that. One option could be to write in German on the company blog, and to write in English on my blog here. Either way, I hope to get more content on Office 365 published.

 

 

Book Review: MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft Office SharePoint

Note: Wow, this article was in a nearly finished state for nearly a year now (last edit: March 2012)….better late than never!

Back in May 2011, I took the beta exam for Microsoft Office Specialist – SharePoint 2010 (77-886), and heard in July that I had passed. Later that year (2011), I got the ebook MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft® Office SharePoint® by Geoff Evelyn from O’Reilly, here’s my review:

The Study Guide here is, as the name says, intended to help people prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist – SharePoint 2010 exam. It is not meant for people who are new to SharePoint, but rather targets an audience that already has some experience with SharePoint (for example as a site owner). It helps them by following the “Skills Measured” section of the exam  in exact detail. All items listed on the exam page are covered with step-by-step instructions in the book, when needed with some additional background information as well. Geoff explains everything in simple to understand terms, and avoids technical jargon as much as possible.

Understandably, what this book does not do is explain in detail how you can set up your own test environment (this goes way beyond the skillset that one may expect from someone taking this exam, though the book does provide a link if you want to), and simply suggests to use an externally-hosted environment. This is where I would have preferred to see a little more information, as some people may not know where to turn to in order to prepare for the exam.

All in all, the book should provide anyone (still) planning to take the exam a very good preparation in order to pass the exam.

What happens with my public website during the Office 365 update?

With the new version of Office 365 for enterprises to be officially launched on 27 February, there are many questions for existing customers regarding the upgrade process. In this article, I will explore what is known regarding the public website that is provided as part of a Office 365 tenant.

In the (still) current version of Office 365, the public website is using a simple design with limited functionality, which has been criticized by a lot of people:

public-website-2010

With the new version of Office 365, the public website will however make use of many SharePoint publishing features and allow more flexibility and functionality:

public-website-2013

Customers who will sign up for Office 365 after the general availability of the new version (27 February) will have the new website only. But what happens to existing customers and their existing public websites once Office 365 will be updated from Wave 14 (based on the 2010 versions, and using the “old & simple” website) to Wave 15 (2013 versions, using the “new & shiny” website)? Following are some important questions and their answers, as far as they are known

Will I lose my existing website once I upgrade?

You’re using Office 365, and you already have a public website. Once you upgrade, this website will not be lost and replaced by a new public website, but rather an additional public website (in the new format) will be made available. So, both of them will co-exist, and you can choose if you want to use one of them, both of them, or none.

How long can I keep my existing ‘old’ website?

This is something that I do not know right now, and I couldn’t find any information on this.

Can I use two custom domains, one for the ‘old’ website, one for the ‘new’ one?

So you want to use something like www.myawesomecompany.com for your old website, and www.ourawesomeproduct.com for the new website? Sadly, this is not possible, as only one custom domain is allowed. So one website can use your custom domain (www.myawesomecompany.com), whereas the other public website would then use the ‘internal’ name (such as mycompany-web.sharepoint.com)

Shall I use a custom domain for the old website or the new one?

I’ll start by quoting Microsoft here (see link at the bottom of this article):

Use the earlier website, which appears on the top of the Manage public website page, if one or both of the following are true for you:

  • You’ve already worked on the website’s design, and you don’t want to spend time designing another Office 365 website. You also might have already associated the website with your custom domain.
  • You’re almost finished designing your original website and you don’t want to start a new one.

Use the new website, which appears below the other website on the Manage public website page, if one of the following is true for you:

  • You haven’t yet started designing a website.
  • You started designing the earlier website, but you haven’t worked on it very much.

We recommend that you use the new website and tools if you haven’t already finished, or have nearly finished, an earlier website. The new website has more features, and includes updated design tools and new templates. It’s faster and easier to create the look and feel that you want for your Office 365 public website compared to the earlier website.

And some additional comments from me: when uncertain, go for the new website. It offers much more functionality, and while this comes with a bit more effort, the end result will be much better, and the benefits outweigh the (small) drawbacks in the long term.

In which ways is the new public website better than the old one?

The old website used a simple web-based editor, that made it easy for companies with little web design knowledge to create their own website. However, this came at the cost of limited functionality and no extensibility.
The new public website makes use of most of SharePoint’s publishing features. It is now possible to use more advanced designs and layouts for content, make use of a lot more SharePoint functionality, and provide a more compelling experience for editors, designers, and visitors. To see an example of the new public website, visit http://www.contosobistro.com/

Where can I find more information on the two public websites?

Resource: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/work-with-your-two-office-365-public-websites-HA103148336.aspx

I have more questions about the public websites!

Please leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me