SPTechCon: Ask the SharePoint Experts Q&A with Heather Solomon, Dustin Miller, and Matt Passannante

SharePoint Boot Camp logoFor my last session of the day, I figured why choose just one expert when there's a "three-for-one" special in the form of the Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Ask the SharePoint Experts session.  All three featured experts are affiliated with SharePoint Boot Camp, and they each represent a distinct area of expertise; between them, they're a SharePoint dream team.  Heather Solomon's focus is branding, Dustin Miller's is power users and developers, and Matt Passannante's is ITs and admins.  Naturally, the SharePoint knowledge of each of the speakers isn't confined to just those areas, which was evidenced by the fact that with many questions, more than one of the experts would chime in on the answer.  I managed to capture almost all of the questions, and the essence of the answers during the 75-minute session, so let's get right to it…

Is there a rule of thumb for moving file shares to SharePoint?

Matt suggested that instead of simply having a "file share on the Web," that you employ content types and managed metadata to the data, and Dustin agreed, saying that you should "ensure that there is some structure applied to that content," plugging their partner Metalogix in the process.

Are there a maximum number of items that can be added to a list in SharePoint 2010 before performance noticeably degrades?

Dustin recommended that "If you're concerned about performance, you can always throttle it."

What are your recommendations for driving end user adoption?

Right off the bat, Heather said "Don't call it SharePoint – give it a cool, branded name," and went on to also suggest "Easter eggs, contests, and free lunches" as opportunities to get your end users into the portal.  Matt then suggested that you "build existing business processes into SharePoint," which is to say, acknowledge that "the process we have sucks, [and ask] what does work for you?" and then building that solution in SharePoint.

For those who are new to SharePoint, how do you effectively evangelize the platform within an organization?

The necessity of planning for a SharePoint deployment was stressed in the responses.  Dustin put it most succinctly, saying, "If you're not spending as much time planning as you are implementing, you're not doing enough planning."  Dustin also suggests that you speak of SharePoint "in terms of business needs," or pain points.  Matt mentioned that he facilitates a free, online seminar on planning, and suggests that you "bring your bosses, bring your department heads" with you to the seminar, about which you can find more info on at: http://sharepointbootcamp.com/sharepoint-planning-seminar.

How do you regulate usage of SharePoint Designer now that it's free?

Heather pointed out that "you can lock down who can use it," and Dustin said that "You can lock it out entirely, or use Contributor Settings to define users' level of access."

Is there a recommended way to warm up SharePoint?

Dustin said that "The better warm up scripts I've seen are derived from PowerShell," but couldn't recall offhand the name of the one he recommends, promising to email it to the person who asked the question.

What's your recommendation between FAST search and Enterprise search?

Matt said that "If you have more than a hundred million objects," FAST would be the way to go, and also pointed out that in FAST, "who you are" affects the relevance of the returned results.  Dustin added, "An important part of making search more intelligent will be using content types and managed metadata."

Executives have expressed an interest in accessing on an iPad PDF files stored in SharePoint 2007 … is this possible?

Dustin replied that there are apps that will make this possible, and recommended GoodReader.

How can I not have the mobile version of my SharePoint pages show just an unsightly list of links?

After confirming that removing the mobile view entirely was an acceptable solution, Dustin pointed out that "You can disable the mobile view outright."  The command that needs to be run on the server to do so is as follows:

Stsadm -o deactivatefeature -n MobilityRedirect -url http://address.com

I'm having problems loading data from Fantastic 40 templates in the upgrade to 2010?  How can I address this?

Dustin suggested trying "moving just the WSP files" initially, then said that there may be a better solution to the business problem [than the Fantastic 40 template] available out-of-the-box in SharePoint 2010, and if that's the case, ditch the Fantastic 40 template entirely and go with the out-of-the-box solution.


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