I have seen (fake SharePoint) rock 'n' roll future and its name is Horse's End:
It's not often that I'm able to combine my love of rock 'n' roll with SharePoint (though it has happened twice in the past, with the Huey Lewis & the News show at the 2009 SharePoint Conference, and the Daniel Pearce performance at last year's SharePoint Evolution Conference), so when I read the title and session abstract for Geoff Varosky and Christian Buckley's 9 Ways to Become a (SharePoint) Rock Star at SPTechCon, I knew that I had to attend.
Speaking with Christian at the "Come Get Social" SPTechCon after hours party last night, he shared the observation that SharePoint events, particularly on the East Coast of the U.S., have gradually drifted away from providing introductory end user content, and with new users coming to SharePoint every day, this was a trend he hoped to help reverse . And that, my friends, was the seed that would ultimately grow into Horse's End, the most awesome fake SharePoint rock band ever.
Stating at the beginning of their session that it was intended for both beginners as well as "more seasoned" SharePoint users, Geoff and Christian explained that, as is often the case with such SharePoint presentations, a fake company would be employed for the sake of the demo. In their case, this led to the creation of Hoffman Ruler Supply of South-East North Dakota, a fictional ruler manufacturer, and given the fake company's acronym (HRS-END), when they decided (as one does) to also create a fake band for their demo, they had the perfect band name in Horse's End. Christian explained that "There's a lot of work that goes into starting a fake band."
It was explained that in their (fictional) roles as SharePoint administrators at Hoffman Ruler Supply, Geoff and Christian, in the age-old tradition of using company time and resources to further one's (fake) rock band, they would hijack a portion of the company's SharePoint 2010 portal to create a band resources intranet for their personal use. In building out the Horse's End site, they figured they'd gain some valuable SharePoint experience, and recognized that "In case the band doesn't work out," they'd get some productivity gains out of their day jobs thanks to SharePoint.
The nine ways to get productive quickly on SharePoint 2010, each of which the bandmates demonstrated (with Geoff running the demos and both Geoff and Christian narrating, peppering the demos with more of the fake backstory of the band) included:
- Create a site
- Create picture library
- Create a document library
- Create a list
- Create a shared calendar
- Create a workflow
- Create a survey
- Create a workspaceCreate and apply managed metadata
Beginning with the creation of the Horse's End team site, they asked themselves the question "What if we want to lock down access to the site?," and explained that a "Request access" message will be shown to anyone without access to the site who attempts to access it, and that the access request would then come to the two of them as the sole admins of the site. They then added themselves as appropriate members and owners when creating the new site, then decided the default theme was "boring looking" and they wanted to "jazz it up." From Site actions -> Look and feel -> Site theme, they wanted an out-of-the-box theme that would be "something with loud colors, a little obnoxious," settling on Modern Rose and applying that theme to the site.
Next, they created a picture library to store band photos (Site actions -> More options -> Picture library), giving it a name and then commencing to upload band pictures once it had been created, pointing out along the way that SharePoint will tell you if there are invalid characters in a picture's name. They then edited the homepage to replace the default picture (Insert Web Part -> Media and Content -> Picture Library Slideshow Web Part), configuring the Web Part to rotate through all band pictures randomly. Christian noted during the display of the results that, by default, the Web Part is sized to accommodate the largest photo, so bear that in mind for your display purposes, and Geoff pointed out that pictures will load asynchronously and not affect the rendering of the rest of the content on the page.
It was then time to create a new document library for their press releases, giving it a name, leaving version history on (as it is by default), and choosing Word document as the default template. After a brief explanation of content types, Geoff commenced to upload multiple (fake) band press releases. Moving on to the Workflow Settings on the Ribbon for the document library, Geoff added an Approval Workflow template, named it, selected the associated task list and history list, chose automatic kickoff of the workflow when a new item is created, and allowed for the manual creation of workflows. With two approvers, noting that you can set the approval process to be serial or parallel, they chose serial then selected due date (demonstrating that the chosen date must be in the future), duration, and Update approval status once workflow is completed. Then they started a new workflow based on a press release in the document library, showing the Workflow Visualization using Visio Services in the process.
Creating a survey was next on the agenda, and in doing so Christian noted that "If you don't see immediately what you need, it's in More Options." Setting the survey to require response, using radio buttons, and not allowing 'fill-in' choices, the survey question was set to: "Is Horse's End the most awesome band EVER, EVER?" and the response options were: Yes, and Totally. After choosing Insert Web Part, and selecting it from the available options, the Band Awesomeness Survey was live.
Next was the creation of a Link List (also under More Options) for band-related links. Naturally, clicking the link will take you to the linked site, and they demonstrated the editing of the homepage to Insert a Web Part using the Band Links list.
It was then time to create a calendar for band practices and gigs. Adding a new item for Band Practice, and selecting to create an associated Meeting Workspace ("To build a sub-site around that activity"), the Workspace setup was demonstrated next, inheriting permissions, and using the basic Workspace. Once complete, the calendar was inserted on the homepage.
All that was left was to apply metadata to content in the library, and it was explained that managed metadata allows for the application of taxonomy to content in SharePoint, with Christian noting that "You have to have the right permissions" to be able to do this. From the Ribbon: Library -> Library settings -> Create column -> Managed metadata, they required that it include information, and used a customize term set (PR Type: Albums, Single; Men's cologne; Trashing Hotel Room; etc.), and set the default value to Men's cologne (again, as one does). Navigating to a press release in the document library, they added managed metadata, choosing from the available term set.
The members of Horse's End then wrapped up their session with the nine ways to stay productive on SharePoint 2010:
- Use it
- Keep using it
- Solve one problem at a time
- Learn from others, share your experiences
- Get involved in your company's user group
- Get involved in your local/regional user group
- Find an expert or two you like and follow them
- Tweet your questions, follow the rock stars
- Create a rival fake SharePoint band
Regarding that (fake) last item on the list, Geoff encouraged the audience to do so, adding "And we can have a battle of the fake SharePoint bands!"
Bravo, gentlemen. Only one question remains: What will Horse's End be doing for their encore?
Read our complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2011:
- Greetings from Boston & SPTechCon!
- 'The 7 Most Important SharePoint Success Factors,' with Richard Harbridge
- Keynote: Microsoft's Christian Finn Shares 'The 7 Habits of Highly Successful SharePoint Customers'
- Steve Conley, Director of IT for the Boston Red Sox, on the Club's SharePoint Deployment
- Geoff Varosky and Christian Buckley on '9 Ways to Become a (SharePoint) Rock Star'
- Joshua Haebets on 'Accommodating the Mobile Workforce with SharePoint 2010'
- Jeff Shuey on 'Social Media and SharePoint – How One Tweet Can Bring Your SharePoint Server Down'