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Working with Date Formats in SharePoint 2010

As you may or may not know, you can sometimes use the Regional Settings in SharePoint to present dates and currency type information in a format that is typical for your locale. For example, today (March 26, 2012) is typically presented as 26/03/2012 in Canada however in the US you might see 03/26/2012.

By default, my SharePoint Server install was utilizing an English (United States) locale. Therefore when I viewed any date based column on the server, the date would be displayed as MM/DD/YYYY.

However using the Regional Settings option, I can change these dates to follow my regional preference.

Changing Your Regional Settings

To change your Regional Settings, expand the drop down menu that appears to the right of your name as shown in the image below and select the My Settings option.

Select the My Regional Settings link. If you do not see this option, you may not be permitted to change your Regional Settings by your System Administrator.

By default, your profile will follow whatever settings have been defined for the current site you are visiting. However by deselecting the checkbox, you can specify your own preferences for items such as Locale, Time Zone, and Calendar as shown below.

By selecting English (Canada) and saving my changes, I can return to my site and the previously shown list will now be displayed using the date format of DD/MM/YYYY.

 

Changing a Site’s Locale

You can also tweak a specific site or site collection to follow a specific locale. So for example, you may have your Newfoundland and Labrador sales team site use an English (Canada) locale but your Texas based sales team site would use the English (United States) locale. To change the locale for a specific site, go to the Site Settings area and select Regional Settings from the Site Administration group of links.

 

But What About Other Formats That Are Not Regional?

Some organizations have adopted a format that is compatible with ISO 8601 as the standard format for dates. This format would present the above referenced date as 2012-03-26. This is very common for organizations that are multi-national or have adopted a more standardized approach to Document Management and Records Keeping. Unfortunately, out of the box, SharePoint doesn’t offer a very simple way to format all dates in this manner. However there are workarounds. As with all workarounds, you may want to ensure you have considered the long term impacts of such approaches when it comes to manageability and maintenance.

For such scenarios, you can create custom calculated columns within your content types (recommended) or lists to display the date in the format desired. For example, to display content in a format that is consistent with ISO 8601, I would create two custom columns to represent ISO Formatted Created Date and ISO Formatted Modified Date on my content types called “Organizational Document” and “Organizational Item” which act as the parent for all my custom content types. This allows me to make these columns available throughout my SharePoint environment on all my custom content types that inherit from these parents.

To do this, I created a calculated site column called “Creation Date” with the following settings:

And another called “Modified On” with these settings:

 

Then in my various views throughout my site collection, rather than displayed the default Created and Modified date values, I would use my custom columns as shown below.

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SPTECHCON 2012 in San Francisco – Thanks for Coming Out!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of heading down to San Francisco for the SPTECHCON conference. This was a great opportunity for me since I hadn’t spoken at this conference before and also because…well it was February and any place with a warm climate is a welcome change to the weather here in Newfoundland during February / March.

To make the trip even more worthwhile it was wonderful to see some of my old friends from the SharePoint world and meet some new ones. There really is no way to describe the value I get out of connecting face to face with other members of the SharePoint community. It is such a vibrant and exciting world to work in.

I presented two sessions while there so I figured I would share my slide decks on here even though I believe they were also hosted on the conference website.

  • SPTECHCON – Building a Records Management Practice
  • SPTECHCON – The Core Pillars of an Effective Document Management Solution (I even squeezed some pics of Gros Morne and Cape Spear in this one)
  • If you were there and I didn’t get to chat with you. Drop me a note as I always love to hear from people. Thanks to Cary J. Calderone for his kind words on his blog regarding my sessions. It always makes the long trip worthwhile when you see that people enjoyed your session like that.

    Posted in Records Management, SharePoint 2010 | Comments Off

    SharePoint 2010 Quick Hints – Where Are All The Templates?

    So one of the things that you may notice when you create a new site collection in SharePoint Server 2010 based upon the Publishing Portal is that your initial options for creating new content areas such as lists and sites are limited.

    For example, when you attempt to create a new site, you may only see the following as options:

    In addition, you may want to create a simple collaboration list such as a contacts list, but when you go to the list creation options, you only see the following:

    However have no fears! You can still create items based on the missing templates, you just have to enable the options for these other templates first. So here are the steps you need to follow:

    Configuring Which Site Templates Are Available For Use as a Subsite

    1. Select Site Settings from the Site Actions menu.
    2. From the Look and Feel section of links, select the Site Templates and Page Layouts option.

       

       

    3. From this location you can either select to all subsites to use any template or you can specifically select your desired templates to allow from this list.

       

    So you might be thinking, “Why didn’t they just allow all site templates to be used from the start? It’s so lame that I have to complete this step”.

    Well the truth is that this is just a single step in configuring the Publishing Portal (or any site collection) for use and it’s a valid consideration when planning your SharePoint site collections to determine which subsites you are going to allow from specific areas. As an example, in a Projects area, you may only want users to create sites that are based upon the templates you have defined for managing projects. Therefore you would restrict the Projects landing area to only allow those templates as subsites. Similarly if you have a Departmental sites area and you have defined a standard template for Departmental sites, you would apply this setting there so that people couldn’t just choose any site for that area.

    Configuring the Publishing Portal to Allow All Common Collaborative List Templates

    1. Select Site Settings from the Site Actions menu.
    2. From the Site Administration section of links, select the Site Features option.
    3. Scroll to the Team Collaboration Lists feature and click Activate.

       

    Now when you return to the list creation screen, you will see all the common collaborative list types including the missing Contacts list.

    Again you may be asking why this wasn’t enabled by default like it was in 2007. Well the truth here again comes down to initially limiting choices to those most commonly required for a specific site type or usage scenario. Because the Publishing Portal is a template designed for usage around a communications type site using the publishing capabilities of SharePoint, collaborative features are not turned on by default. However as you can see, they can be added if required by following the above described steps. That said, I do advise to use careful planning when turning on features to ensure you are activating features in the places where you actually need them. To quote a great mind in the SharePoint world, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. In a lot of cases, you don’t really need or want to be adding collaborative content to the top level of your communications site collection.

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    Site and Site Collection Level Recycle Bin

    Previously a common question I would get from folks new to SharePoint would be “How do I recover the site I just deleted via the Recycle Bin?” to which unfortunately my reply would be “Umm you don’t.” This was a little scary for some situations since in many cases in SharePoint, we might use a site as a container for a group of documents rather than a folder and it can be a bit of a headache to do a site level restore from a larger backup. Plus let’s face it…If I accidentally delete something, I don’t necessarily want to run off to IT to confess to it.

    With SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 1, one of the new features that was introduced was a site and site collection level recycle bin.

    Once Service Pack 1 has been installed within your SharePoint environment, deleted sites will appear in the Site Collection Recycle Bin ((Site Settings -> Site Collection Administration -> Recycle Bin) under “Items Deleted From End User Recycle Bin”.

    If you have a deleted Site Collection that you need to rescue, you can run a Powershell Command to get your site back.

    First you must run the Get-SPDeletedSite command to retrieve information regarding deleted site collections that exist within the farm.

    Then once you know the ID of the deleted site collection, you can run the following command.

    Restore-SPDeletedSite -Identity ENTER ABOVE VALUE FOR SITEID

    And just like that your site collection is restored!

     

     

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

    The Content Query Web Part, A Document Library and An Anonymous User

    The title of this post sounds something like a joke but alas it’s no joke but rather an unpleasant error you may encounter at some point using SharePoint Server 2010.

    If you have a Content Query Web Part (CQWP) on a page that is pointing to a SharePoint Library (Asset, Picture, or Document), you may discover that an anonymous user will receive an exception error similar to the following when they access the page. 

    Unable to display this Web Part. To troubleshoot the problem, open this Web page in a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation-compatible HTML editor such as Microsoft SharePoint Designer. If the problem persists, contact your Web server administrator.
    Correlation ID: Blah Blah Blah

    Meanwhile an authenticated user will see the content just fine.  At first, my instinct was to look to see if I had made an error in the custom xsl that I had applied to the web part.  But alas, I then remembered that I do not make errors. (Just kidding!!!) However applying a default style resulted in the same error.  As did pointing the web part to another library and trying different page layouts etc…  I then thought perhaps that a stylesheet was checked out and not published as that might help explain the different behaviour for the different user types.  But again this turned out not to be the issue.

    Then I did some searching around and found a great blog post by Waldek Mastykarz that is the solution to the above error.  Essentially the problem is caused by missing values for the CommonViewFields property of your web part.  By exporting the web part, opening it in Notepad and replacing the CommonViewFields property line with Waldek’s suggested properties and importing the web part back onto the page – you are golden!

    A big thanks to Waldek for coming up with this fix! Saved me a major headache.

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    Where Has Amanda Been?

    Well its certainly been a while since I have posted here.  This past year has introduced a wide variety of things that have slowed down my blog posts.

    First up, we released our latest book! Beginning SharePoint 2010: Building Business Solutions with SharePoint.  This book was a major effort and consumed the majority of my non-business time related to the world of SharePoint in the past year.  Of course, it was a joint effort between my most awesome co-authors, Shane Perran, Jennifer Mason and Laura Rogers.  So far feedback on this book has been great and I think it is an excellent asset for anyone that is getting started with SharePoint 2010 that is either completely new or has had prior experience with a previous version.

    Another reason for the slow down has been a major extension to our little family.  Shane and I now have a daughter, Dylan Perran.  She is an amazing little girl and a total breath of fresh air that was much needed in the past year between professional life and an illness in the household.  She has introduced a whole new role to my life as a mother and its one that I am enjoying tremendously.

    So now that things have settled down a bit, I am looking forward to getting back into writing. I am currently on Maternity Leave from work so its nice to spend some time with technology that is more around discovery, research and investigation and less about projects and timelines.

    Shane and I are also planning to launch a new site in the near future but we will be cross posting for a while on our existing blogs.

    Posted in Book, Family, General | 1 Comment

    Effectively Leveraging Project 2010 with SharePoint 2010 for Project Management Success

    Join us 8pm EST on Wednesday, September 29th for another SharePoint Nation! User Group Meeting and Webcast featuring Dux Raymond Sy (http://www.meetdux.com).

    Session Abstract:

    Effectively Leveraging Project 2010 with SharePoint 2010 for Project Management Success

    Microsoft Project is a project management tool widely used by project managers today. Its’ ability to support project managers to define a schedule, assign resources to tasks and track project status has been instrumental in contributing to project success. However, it can be a challenge for a project manager to share project information and collaborate with the project team with Microsoft Project alone. Microsoft SharePoint 2010 can complement Microsoft Project 2010 and address this gap.
     
    In this session, you will learn how to:
    - Effectively create a Microsoft Project Plan
    - Create a SharePoint-based Project Management Information System (PMIS)
    - Integrate Microsoft Project information with SharePoint
    - Empower a project team to collaboratively share relevant information
    - Build a project management dashboard in SharePoint

    Live Meeting URL

    Sign Up to Our Facebook Group and Event

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    Web Content Management Webcast

    Join us on Wednesday, August 25th at 8PM EDT for another SharePoint Nation Virtual User Group Meeting featuring Amanda Perran and Shane Perran.  Details below:

    Web Content Management with SharePoint 2010
    Looking for a detailed overview on the capabilities of SharePoint Server 2010 for your company’s public facing website.  Or perhaps you are interested in building an Intranet for your organization that doesn’t have that “SharePointy” look and feel.  Join us for a review of the web content management features of SharePoint Server 2010 as well as an overview of your options to brand your website to look exactly how you want it.
    Level: Beginner – Intermediate

    Live Meeting Address:

    https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/mvp/join?id=SPN082510&role=attend&pw=SPN_0825

    Posted in Web Content Management, Webcast | 4 Comments

    SharePoint Nation! Creating Custom Actions

    Join us on Wednesday, July 21st at 8PM EDT for another SharePoint Nation Virtual User Group Meeting featuring Geoff Varosky.  Details below:

    Creating Custom Actions within SharePoint

    Custom Actions control features in SharePoint such as the Edit Control Block, the Site Actions menu, toolbars, and the links within the Site Settings page. Learn how to leverage Custom Actions to extend the SharePoint User Interface. This session will describe the basics of Custom Actions, a demonstration to build one or more and apply them to a site in SharePoint, as well as provide resources for additional information.
    Level: Beginner – Intermediate

    Presenter Name: Geoff Varosky
    Email: gvarosky@grace-hunt.com
    Twitter: @gvaro
    Blog: http://www.geoffvarosky.com
    Photo: http://www.grace-hunt.com/PublishingImages/Geoff150.jpg
    Bio: Geoff Varosky (MCP, MCTS) is a Senior Solutions Developer for Grace-Hunt, LLC (http://www.grace-hunt.com), a Microsoft Gold Partner focusing on SharePoint and Dynamics Solutions based out of Hudson, MA. He has been architecting and developing web based applications for over a decade, and has been working with SharePoint Technologies for the past 6 years. Geoff is an active member of the SharePoint community, and speaks regularly at SharePoint events and user groups, and maintains a blog on SharePoint at http://www.geoffvarosky.com.

    Live Meeting Address:

    https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/mvp/join?id=N2MK63&role=attend&pw=SPN072110

    Posted in Webcast | 1 Comment