Well as you may remember, last week I was flooded out with work. This week, I'm just flooded out. A freak storm completely flattened the infrastructure here for a few days--no power, no shops or restaurants open, no cell phone service and (gasp!) no Internet connectivity! We called our ISP (who shall remain nameless but they're big) and the customer service line recording indicated that there were outages for the entire state! Wow. In the past, I've always been in control of my offline status--I knew when I traveled to remote corners of the world that I'd be disconnected. But to have it happen in the middle of the end-of-year work crunch was a real lesson in just how dependent I've become on being connected. Luckily, the rest of the country kept cranking along, so there's lots of cool stuff happening out there in SharePoint land.
Last week, Microsoft released the beta of the SharePoint Capacity Planning Tool. The tool's name says it all. Instead of wading through the capacity-planning documentation, you can get a rough idea of your hardware needs and farm topology design. Just enter information such as the number of users, locations, bandwidth and network topology, preferred hardware, and usage profiles. To get the tool, go here, sign up for a Connect account if you don't have one already, and follow the instructions on that page. And, by all means, provide your feedback. The team responsible for this tool is a great group of folks who want this tool, and the others that are on the way, to be truly useful to you. The tool is a beta, and it's just a tool not an experienced integrator with a brain, but it's a welcome addition to the arena of capacity planning, where HP has had a tool available for some time now.
Explore It! (Or NOT)
One of the common questions I get about SharePoint is about troubleshooting the Explorer view of document libraries. You can (theoretically) open a SharePoint document library with Explorer, either by choosing Open With Explorer from the Actions menu or choosing the Explorer View from the View menu. Unfortunately, this has proven problematic in a number of scenarios. Issues related to Internet Explorer (IE) configuration and security zones, firewall, and other settings mix together to make troubleshooting problems quite tricky. I know our community has folks who've successfully troubleshot (is that a word?) this problem. If you've found tips or workarounds that are helpful, please post them as replies to this thread.
I've gotten good feedback from our readers about my pointers to "free training." Luckily, there's a lot out there. I recently discovered that CorasWorks offers online workshops, some of which are product centric for those people who are interested in the company's great products, and some of which fall nicely into the general SharePoint training category.
Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 SP1 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 SP1 is around the corner, and product team member and all-around-great-guy Joel Oleson posted an overview of what's to be expected on the Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog. Start planning now--there's great news both for IT pros and for developers (can you say "AJAX"?).
Shout Out of the Week
A big "shout out" to Janis Hall of Mindsharp, who posted a clear and relevant blog entry to help you determine when and why you should create additional document libraries. The blog entry is here.