Join the #CodeGeneration Movement

Building on Microsoft’s recent announcement to invest $75 million in community programs to increase access to computer science education for all youth worldwide, Microsoft Canada is launching the #codegeneration movement – to inspire Canadian youth (13 -18 year olds) to learn more about coding. #codegeneration will run from now until Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13). 

Join the Movement!

Help us spread the word and teach Canadian youth to create with technology. Anyone can code, it’s simple and easy.

  • Coding Challenges: For the next five weeks, Microsoft will be issuing coding challenges at www.CodeGeneration.ca. Students who complete these weekly challenges will have the chance to win points towards prizes while learning the basics of coding; and parents and teachers can find resources to help them lead students in these challenges themselves.
  • “Hour of Code” Sessions: As a founding corporate supporter of Code.org, Microsoft is offering free Preparation Webinars with live chat for questions and answers on November 24 and December 1.  Ready to hold your own Hour of Code with your students – download your toolkit today and lead them through a Minecraft tutorial.  Or schedule a field trip to a local Microsoft Retail Stores during Computer Science Education Week to give young developers the opportunity to learn coding. For more info, please visit the In-Store event section at a store near you.

Spread the word!

Microsoft Ignite Conference: Day 3 Round-Up

I’ll kick off Day 3’s post with another imprint of pure experience. Scale- On-premise, Cloud, Global, Local. The rush/distraction/tunnel vision of being one of 23,000+ people moving through the Microsoft Ignite conference, contrasted with simple but essential logistics like bio-breaks and food, are a big parallel for me to the distinct juncture we are at in technology:  empower everyone at a mass scale, but make sure the human details are taken care of, and that everyone has a voice.

The entrance hall may resemble a slightly above average shopping mall scene for most, but in context, on the ground, it was more like the entrance to a spaceship waiting to take off:
Entrance

Existential experiences aside, I waited a full 5 minutes for cell phone guy to abandon his hostile takeover of Microsoft (pleading eye contact included), and finally realized that was 5 minutes I would never get back, so I snapped my obligatory “largest Expo Hall ever” pic:
Microsoft
Really, words don’t help much with describing the scale of this event. 23,000 of the world’s finest Microsoft-oriented IT professionals in not one, but two Conference centers daisy-chained together. Being from Canada, the SCALE of business in America is always impressive-  this time it was the hammer of Thor (axe of Abe Lincoln?). There were numerous, well-attended core educational/interactive groups with all the best of the Microsoft team providing direct interaction with attendees. These were no tradeshow stunt doubles, but really the actual program leads and people who make things move at Microsoft. Super high quality interactions all over the floor.

Office 365

TechNet is my bible, which would make Joanne & KC here (Senior Content Writers for Microsoft), pretty high up in the toga-wearing department:
TechNet Rocks

Aside from the separate, colossal pool of core Microsoft and Partner & Vendor talent present in the Expo Hall, here’s the top sessions from day 3, on the SharePoint/Office 365 tip (with some guest appearances from OneNote & Visio, as I love both):

Whats New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016
What's New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

“Engineering paths directly influenced by SP Uservoice” See: https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/282887-customer-feedback-for-sharepoint-server
“Durable Links- permalinks based on resource ID. Move Docs freely, URL stays the same”
“No downtime CU patching”
“OneDrive integration big priority for Engineering team”

 

This article describes initial investments made in installation and deployment of SharePoint Server 2016: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wbaer/archive/2015/05/12/what-s-new-in-sharepoint-server-2016-installation-and-deployment.aspx

MinRole for the win!!
image10_00727E0C

Embrace the BYOD Revolution: Effectively Manage a Multi-Device, Multi-Generational Workforce


A major business transformation is brewing in the enterprise today. Mobile technologies, business velocity, geographically dispersed and multi-generational workforce are converging to deliver the promise of responsive organizations. Organizations that miss this paradigm shift will face dire consequences. How can you effectively manage this shift, ensure that it will be sustainable and reap the benefits of being a responsive organization? In this session, learn how to apply practical steps and effective techniques to manage your multi-device and multi-generational workforce.

MVP Panel: Sample Apps and Intelligent Solutions Showcasing Office Graph and Delve Extensibility

Preparing for a meeting, but not sure what documents are relevant? Writing a proposal and looking for similar documents to help you out? Interested in what your colleagues are working on to stay updated? With the new Office Graph, answers to those questions are within your reach. In this demo-packed session, we show you how the Office Graph works and how it can be used when building custom apps and enriching existing solutions and portals. All scenarios are backed up by real-life solutions that you could use in your organization.

VisualStudio.com released to General Availability – Move your Source Control to the Cloud

Visual Studio Online is the fastest and easiest way yet to plan, build, and ship software across a variety of platforms. With Visual Studio Online, you can set up an environment for you or your team that includes everything from hosted Git repositories and project tracking tools, to continuous integration and an IDE, all packaged up in simple monthly plans. Get up and running in minutes on our cloud infrastructure without having to install or configure a single server.

Integrate with the Visual Studio platform to create your perfect development environment that you’ll love as much as your code. You can customize and extend the Visual Studio IDE or TFS using the comprehensive Visual Studio SDK, or connect with Visual Studio Online using our REST APIs.

Visual Studio Online:  http://www.visualstudio.com

Various TFS & Visual Studio Posts on my Blog:
CloudShare Explorer for Visual Studio 2012
Bing Code Search for C# – Visual Studio Extension
Visual Studio 2013 now available to MSDN Subscribers
Visual Studio 2012 or 2010 for SharePoint 2010 Development?
Visual Guide for Building Team Foundation Server 2012 Environments
PowerPoint Storyboarding with Visual Studio 2012
Rename Team Foundation Server 2010 Team Project
TFS Power Tools for Visual Studio
Cloud SharePoint for Developers : Office 365, Azure, Amazon AWS & CloudShare
Web Essentials 2012 – Visual Studio Extension
Microsoft All-In-One Code Framework new update is out
Syntax Formatting for PowerShell in Visual Studio 2010

Using the built-in Windows Problem Steps Recorder to document user woes

I’m re-introducing the Windows PSR (Problems Steps Recorder) as one of those cool tools we come across, get distracted, forget about, and then come back to as “wow that’s hot”.

Problem Steps Recorder (PSR.exe), is shipping on all builds of Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 & Windows Server 2012 R2. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent Microsoft provided program available for Windows Vista, Windows XP, or other Microsoft operating systems prior to Windows 7. This feature enables the collection of the actions performed by a user while encountering a crash or running through the things they are trying to do, so that we as Consultants, Developers, Support Technicians & Admins can figure out what exactly is going south.

To begin creating their documentation, the user would press the Start Record button.

They would then begin going through the steps that took them towards their question or problem. At any point during this process, they can press the Add Comment button to highlight a problem area and add comments. Once they are done, they click the Stop Record button. Once they stop recording, a Save As window appears letting them browse to the location they want to save the documentation. A zip file is created and saved to that location. Inside the zip file is a .mht file containing the documentation. You will need to use Internet Explorer to view the MHT file.

Opening the documentation will present the help desk, admin, or family tech guy with a step-by-step walkthrough of what the user did, complete with screenshots and any comments made by the user.

Click here for a sample of what the recorded output looks like:
Windows-PSR-SharePoint-Problem-Steps-Recorder-Debugging

In addition to the screenshots, at the bottom of the report file the PSR generates you’ll find a copy & pastable (plain text) output of the events, like the following:

Recording Session: ‎2014-‎05-‎29 7:35:48 PM – 7:36:51 PM

Recorded Steps: 4, Missed Steps: 3, Other Errors: 0

Operating System: 9600.17041.amd64fre.winblue_gdr.140305-1710 6.3.0.0.2.48

Step 1: User left click in “Sites – Internet Explorer”
Program: Internet Explorer, 11.00.9600.16384 (winblue_rtm.130821-1623), Microsoft Corporation, IEXPLORE.EXE  SCODEF:13064 CREDAT:1782837 /PREFETCH:2, IEXPLORE.EXE
UI Elements:

Step 2: User mouse wheel down in “Pages – Engineering – Internet Explorer”
Program: Internet Explorer, 11.00.9600.16384 (winblue_rtm.130821-1623), Microsoft Corporation, IEXPLORE.EXE  SCODEF:13064 CREDAT:1782837 /PREFETCH:2, IEXPLORE.EXE
UI Elements:

Step 3: User left click in “Pages – Engineering – Internet Explorer”
Program: Internet Explorer, 11.00.9600.16384 (winblue_rtm.130821-1623), Microsoft Corporation, IEXPLORE.EXE  SCODEF:13064 CREDAT:1782837 /PREFETCH:2, IEXPLORE.EXE
UI Elements:

Step 4: User Comment: “This is where it breaks”
Program:
UI Elements:

How to Use the PSR

Notes

  • When you record steps on your computer, anything you type will not be recorded. If what you type is an important part of recreating the problem you’re trying to solve, use the comment feature described below to highlight where the problem is occurring.

    Some programs, like a full-screen game, might not be captured accurately or might not provide useful details to a support professional.

To record and save steps on your computer

  1. Open Problem Steps Recorder by clicking the Start button, and then typing psr. In the list of results, click psr.

  2. Click Start Record. On your computer, go through the steps on your computer to reproduce the problem. You can pause the recording at any time, and then resume it later.

  3. Click Stop Record.

  4. In the Save As dialog box, type a name for the file, and then click Save (the file is saved with the .zip file name extension).

    To view the record of the steps you recorded, open the .zip file you just saved, and then double-click the file. The document will open in your browser.

To send the problem steps in e‑mail

  • After recording and saving a .zip file, click the help down arrow , and then click Send to E‑mail recipient. This will open an e‑mail message in your default e‑mail program with the last recorded file attached to it.

    Note

    • You won’t be able to click the Send to e‑mail recipient option until you’ve recorded and saved a file.

To annotate problem steps

  1. Open Problem Steps Recorder by clicking the Start button , and then typing psr. In the list of results, click psr.

  2. Click Start Record.

  3. When you want to add a comment, click Add Comment.

  4. Use your mouse to highlight the part of the screen that you want to comment on, type your text in the Highlight Problem and Comment box, and then click OK.

  5. Click Stop Record.

  6. In the Save As dialog box, type a name for the file, and then click Save.

    To view the record of the steps you recorded, open the .zip file you just saved, and then double-click the file. The document will open in your browser.

To adjust settings

When you adjust settings for Problem Steps Recorder, they’re only saved for your current session. After you close and reopen Problem Steps Recorder, it will return to the regular settings.

  1. Open Problem Steps Recorder by clicking the Start button , and then typing psr. In the list of results, click psr.

  2. Click the help down arrow , and then click Settings.
  3. You can change the following settings for Problem Steps Recorder:

    • Output Location. If you don’t want to be prompted to save a file after recording, click the Browse button to set a default output file name.

    • Enable screen capture. If you don’t want to capture the screen shots along with the click information, select No. This might be a consideration if you are taking screen shots of a program that contains personal information, such as bank statements, and you are sharing the screen shots with someone else.

    • Number of recent screen captures to store. While the default is 25 screens, you can increase or decrease the number of screen shots. Problem Steps Recorder only records the default number of screen shots. For example, if you took 30 screen shots during a recording but only had 25 screen shots as the default, you would be missing the first five screen shots. In this case, you would want to increase the number of default screen shots.

What about the other screenshot tool <X>?

As usual in software-type things, there’s more than one product around that does the same type of thing. For screenshots, even just in the Microsoft stack there’s:
OneNote Screen Clipping – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6yutoKDZLE
Office Screen Clipping – http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/word-help/insert-a-screenshot-or-screen-clipping-HA010355185.aspx

On the general market, there’s:

I use the great SnagIt on a daily basis to make screenshots (just trying out version 12 this week myself) however, it’s more for us as Consultants to create content for consumption by others. The Problem Steps Recorder has the advantage over SnagIt for particular scenarios where you need the user to show you what’s going on:

– Free
– Built into most Windows environments you’ll encounter these days
– Can be run by end users with very little instruction
– Can be used on workstations where remote desktop’ing in isn’t available, performed autonomously by end users
– Handles all the screenshot’ing, layout, description of user interaction events
– Provides detailed descriptions of interaction events that would be otherwise time-consuming/difficult for a human to collect manually

Final Victory of the PSR

2014-05-29_20-24-13
The final advantage I see in the PSR in general (as a troubleshooting tool), is a huge one:
By empowering the user to document their own grief, with their own mouse button and on their own time, you are creating a purer user story:

– they are not being influenced by weird remote desktop software running on their workstation
– they don’t have to worry that the visiting technician invading their desktop is going to discover what kinds of oddball websites they visit while poking around
– there’s less time constraints as the user can run this on their own time, again without someone breathing down their neck
– there’s less chance of their user story being tainted as there’s no one coaching them, directly or indirectly

References:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/patricka/archive/2010/01/04/using-the-secret-windows-7-problem-step-recorder-to-create-step-by-step-screenshot-documents.aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/problem-steps-recorder-overview.aspx
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows7/How-do-I-use-Problem-Steps-Recorder
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/how-tos/how_use_windows_7_problem_steps_recorder_make_easy_pc_guides
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd371782%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
http://www.7tutorials.com/easy-troubleshooting-and-problem-solving-problem-steps-recorder
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6EgLm3-XcQ

CloudShare Explorer for Visual Studio 2012

For those who don’t know about CloudShare.com – it’s a subscription-paid virtual server hosting environment along the lines of Amazon EC2 or Azure, which has a key twist: it provides pre-configured virtual machines that specifically focus on SharePoint and related technologies. We use it for development at itgroove when we need to do high-level development, as a complement to local Hyper-V development images.

I finally took their CloudShare Explorer extension for Visual Studio 2012 for a spin – it’s pretty sweet:

Allow developers to spend more time coding and less time thinking about the tools they use. The CloudShare Explorer allows developers to access CloudShare development and testing environments without leaving Visual Studio. With CloudShare Explorer for Visual Studio, you can easily create and access your cloud-based labs.

Features:
•Complete list of your CloudShare environments in the CloudShare Explorer tab. The list is continuously updated with the status of the environments.
•Full screen remote access to the CloudShare machines with just a click of a mouse.
•Resume your lab environments.
•Revert the environment, or a specific machine, to the latest snapshot (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Web access to your lab web servers within Visual Studio.
•Add a machine to an environment (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Delete a machine in an environment (only works with a CloudShare TeamLabs account).
•Prevent CloudShare environments from being suspended if the user is still working on them.
•Highly customizable – you can turn on / off most of the functionality of the plugin as needed

Config Steps:

Download for Visual Studio 2013

Step 1: Download and install the Visual Studio Extension

Step 2: Login to the CloudShare website and Generate your API Credentials under My Account > API Credentials

1

Step 3: Add your API Credentials into the CloudShare Explorer interface in Visual Studio:
3

Step 4: That’s it! You can now work with your CloudShare environments directly in Visual Studio!
2014-01-20 8-47-41 AM

Free Training – Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions – Microsoft Virtual Academy

1
Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions

SharePoint Server developers, if you want to find out how to incorporate SharePoint’s social networking features into your own application, how to call SharePoint Server Search from a client, or how to enhance your Business Connectivity Services (BCS) implementation, this is the Jump Start for you. Learn to write the server and client side code that will enable your users to work more collaboratively, find the information they want more easily, and communicate with the outside world.

This course also serves as a foundation for learning the skills you’ll need to pass Exam 70-489.

Course Outline:

  • Developing Managed Metadata Solutions
  • Interacting with SharePoint Search
  • Customizing the Search Experience
  • Working with Business Connectivity Services
  • Managing and Accessing User Profile Data
  • Customizing the Social Workload

Live Event Details
December 13, 2013
9:00am–5:00pm PST

What:               Fast-paced live virtual session
Cost:                 Free 
Audience:                 Developers
Prerequisites:                 This course is intended for people who have been developing SharePoint solutions, are familiar with C#, JavaScript, and the SharePoint Client Object Model. Candidates are expected to have an understanding of the new features that are available in SharePoint 2013 and should be familiar with apps.

 12-10-2013 9-51-26 AM

Instructor Team

Chris-Harris   Christopher Harrison |  Microsoft Certified Trainer     @geektrainer

                                    Christopher Harrison is a Microsoft Certified Trainer, focusing on SharePoint and SQL Server. He’s the owner and Head Geek at GeekTrainer, Inc. He’s been      training for the last 12+ years, with a couple of breaks in the middle to take on full-time developer jobs. These days he focuses mostly on training, presenting at conferences, and consulting.

TomResingTom Resing |  Pre-sales Engineer,  Jive Software

Tom Resing has focused on SharePoint for the last seven years. He is a Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP), and co-author of two Microsoft Press books on SharePoint. As a Pre-sales Engineer at Jive Software, Tom is enjoying learning about (and working with) some of the largest online employee communities in the world.