Tag: Microsoft Office 365

SkyDrive Pro for Windows Now Available

Previously only bundled, you can now download a standalone version of the SkyDrive Pro client.

From http://blogs.office.com/b/sharepoint/archive/2013/05/21/skydrive-pro-client-for-windows-now-available.aspx

We are pleased to announce that the SkyDrive Pro sync client is now available for Windows and can be downloaded here. This standalone client allows users of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online in Office 365 to sync their personal SkyDrive Pro and any SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 team site document libraries to their local machine for access to important content on and offline. The SkyDrive Pro client can be installed standalone and does not require any version of Office to be installed.  It can also be installed side-by-side with previous versions of Office (Office 2010, Office 2007).

Please note if you have one of the following versions of Office 2013 installed, then you already have the SkyDrive Pro sync client and do not need to install it separately:

  • Office 365 Pro Plus
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office Professional Plus 2013

Once installed, simply click SYNC in the top right corner of your SkyDrive Pro library, SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 team site document library and you’ll be on your way to keep your files in sync across your machines. Happy syncing with SkyDrive Pro–cloud storage for employees!


Further analysis:

OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) File Size, Number, Type & Character Limits and Restrictions


Note: As of February 2014 SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro are renamed to OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

First of all, since most people get confused about the topic – here’s an explanation of the difference between OneDrive, and the other service, OneDrive for Business.

​If you work with a lot of SharePoint documents, you can probably appreciate the appeal of syncing your SharePoint library content to your computer. Doing so brings the following benefits:

  • 24/7 access to your documents. Read and edit while  you’re offline. Everything syncs with SharePoint whenever you go back     online.
  • Browser-free interaction with your documents. Opening your documents in a Web browser is fine, but working directly in your file     system is usually more convenient.

To sync a library: Go to the library > click Sync at the top of the page > click Sync Now in the OneDrive for Business wizard.

Keep in mind the following restrictions and limitations related to syncing SharePoint libraries.

How many items can I sync?

  • You can sync up to 20,000 items in your OneDrive for Business library,  including folders and files.
  • You can sync up to 5,000 items in other SharePoint libraries, including folders and files. These are the libraries you find in various SharePoint sites, such as team sites and community sites.

What’s the size limit for downloading files?

In any SharePoint library, you can download files of up to 2 GB.

What’s the character limit for files and folders?

These limits apply to files and folders that you add to a synced library folder for uploading to SharePoint. In normal practice, you’re unlikely to hit these limits. But I’ll mention them here, just in case:

  • File names can have up to 128 characters
  • Folder names can have up to 256 characters
  • Folder name/file name combinations can have up to 260 characters

If you have a file, folder, or combination that exceeds the limit, the item will remain in the synced library folder, and an error icon will appear on the item to tell you that there’s a sync problem.

Invalid characters & filenames

Folder Names and File Names

  • Do not use: ” # % & * : < > ? / { | } ~
  • Do not use the period character consecutively in     the middle of a file name.  For example, “file..name.docx”     is invalid.
  • You cannot start a file name with the period character
  • File names cannot be longer than 128 characters
  • You cannot use the period character at the end of a file     name
  • Many other symbols are not recommended such as     $^()-_=+[]`! (other international currency symbols and international     symbols should be avoided in site names, but some are more acceptable in     file names. Ascii is preferred when possible.

In addition, file names and folder names may not end with: (Many of these are international symbols)

.files, _files , -Dateien , _fichiers , _bestanden , _file ,_archivos ,-filer,_tiedostot ,_pliki ,_soubory ,_elemei ,   _arquivos ,_dosyalar ,_datoteke ,_fitxers,_failid,_fails ,_bylos ,_fajlovi,_fitxategiak

Invalid file types

You cannot upload OneNote files, or files with a *.tmp or *.ds_store extension. Additionally, you cannot upload desktop.ini, thumbs.db, or ehthumbs.db.

Additionally, you cannot upload types of files that are blocked on the SharePoint site. If your organization is running SharePoint Server, the list of blocked files may vary depending on what your administrator sets up. If your organization is running SharePoint Online, the default list of blocked files is fixed and can’t be changed. To see a list of the default blocked files, see Types of files that cannot be added to a list or library.

** You can use the following PowerShell Script to clean up invalid characters, file lengths & upload otherwise problematic files to OneDrive: http://hansbrender.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/skydrive-pro-powershell-script-checks-and-moves-folders-and-files/ **

OneDrive for Business library limits and workarounds

The OneDrive for Business library in all SharePoint Online plans in Office 365 comes with 1 TB of storage per user. There is not presently an option for purchasing additional storage for the OneDrive for Business library.

The good news, however, is that the storage space in your OneDrive for Business library is in addition to the storage space you get for SharePoint Online sites plus the storage space allocated for each user subscribing to these sites. The baseline limit in most plans is 10 GB for SharePoint Online sites plus 500 MB per subscribed user. Importantly, additional storage can be purchased for SharePoint Online sites. For details on the storage limits for different SharePoint Online plans, see SharePoint Online: Software  boundaries and limits.   If you’re concerned about exceeding the storage capacity of your OneDrive for Business library, consider the following options:

  • Instead of uploading  documents to your OneDrive for Business library, upload them to libraries on team  sites or community sites you’re following, and in which you have     Contribute permission for the libraries.
  • Periodically review the  documents you’re storing in your SkyDrive Pro library, and delete  documents you no longer need. Note that when you delete documents, you also need to empty the recycle bin if you also want to reclaim the storage space.

Other options for storing documents in SharePoint

Uploading to your OneDrive for Business library is typically the way to store documents, especially since the OneDrive link is always available at the top of the page. What’s more, it’s easy to share any document with selected people, with no setup requirements beyond opening the Share dialog box, and inviting people to share.

But it also makes sense to consider the lifecycle of a document. For instance, if you’re planning to share a document, and you expect people to discuss it and work on it together, you could store the document on a team site or community site, places where selected people gather with a specific sense of purpose.

Of course, sometimes you might initially store a document in your OneDrive for Business library, but then determine that it belongs in a team site or community site. It’s fine to move documents but it’s important to remember that you or other people with whom you’ve shared the document might have posted links to it, perhaps in a newsfeed. In this case, once the document is moved, these links will no longer be valid and will need to be re-created in order to point to the new location of the document. With this detail in mind, you might want to reconsider uploading certain documents to team sites or community sites in the first place.



3rd Party Options

For those who need more files to sync: There are some 3rd party tools for uni-and bi-directional server-based file system replication with SharePoint libraries on the market:

Introducing “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools

From Jason Zander’s Blog Post:

Yesterday was a very exciting day for Office and SharePoint! The team unveiled plans for the new Office at a press conference, and released a public preview of Office and SharePoint 2013. You can find the press release available on the Microsoft News Center, and watch the video webcast by CEO Steve Ballmer on-demand . You can also download the release at office.com/preview.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there – if you’re a developer you’ll be very happy to hear about the new ways in which you’ll be able to develop for Office and SharePoint.

Office and SharePoint 2013 feature a new Cloud App Model that embraces web standards, and allows you to build a new class of apps that combine web technologies and cloud services, right within Office and SharePoint. One of the primary investments for Office and SharePoint 2013 has been cloud enablement. Apps can be hosted in the cloud, which enables you to deploy, update and maintain your apps more quickly. You also have the ability to publish and sell your apps through a new Office Store, or distribute IT approved apps through an internal App Catalog within your organization. To learn more about the new Cloud App Model and Office Store, I recommend reading Ludovic Hauduc’s announcement and watching the videos on the new Apps for Office and SharePoint blog.

Introducing “Napa”

In sync with yesterday’s Office and SharePoint release, I’m happy to share that we released a preview of a new toolset called “Napa”, which is the easiest way to start building apps for the new Cloud App Model. As we set out to create developer tools for the new Cloud App Model, we took a fresh look at the overall solution we wanted to give to our customers. We wanted to provide a lightweight, in-browser experience, so that you could quickly build your SharePoint or Office web app in the same browser where they would run. Therefore, we created a first-class development environment called “Napa”, as an online companion to Visual Studio.

“Napa” is a free app for SharePoint. Since “Napa” is web based, you don’t need to install anything on your machine to start developing for Office and SharePoint. Just fire up your browser and start coding. As your application matures and you need more advanced tools, you can seamlessly switch to the more powerful, fully featured Visual Studio IDE, and continue developing there. To learn more about the latest advances in Visual Studio 2012 tooling for SharePoint, please visit MSDN.

Of course, in parallel with “Napa”, you can still continue using the existing extensibility models for Office and SharePoint, like VBA, COM, VSTO, and SharePoint solutions. (However, please note that these cannot be submitted to the new Office Store.)

Getting Started

Let’s take a peek at what this all looks like. To give “Napa” a try, first sign up for the Microsoft Office 365 Developer Preview at http://dev.office.com.

When you sign up, a Developer site will be created for you. This site gives you your own instance of Office 365, where you can develop, deploy and test your Office 365 apps.

Next, you’ll want to install “Napa” in order to add the tools to your Developer Site.

(Please visit MSDN for the complete instructions on these “Getting Started” steps.)

Cloud-based SharePoint – Risks & Rewards

I just checked out a whitepaper-style document promoting the cloud offerings of a company named SpringCM on the topic of Enterprise Content Management and it got my gears turning about about the the concept of ECM and SharePoint in particular in the cloud. While Office 365 is a viable option for some businesses, in particular up here in Canada it’s a no-go as a lot of governmental and business clients cannot due to legal or policy reasons host on servers that are physically in the US or other countries.

Those types of situations aside, cloud-based ECM seems like a great idea on the surface – an automagically maintained and scaled SharePoint (or SharePoint-style) farm, with no messy details about hardware and networks capacity planning, no depreciation tables, on and on. I got into the Windows Azure platform around this time last year and have seen it grow from a latecomer second to Amazons cloud offerings, to a mature platform which leverages the one great thing Microsoft succeeds with: 100% integration.

You can definitely stand up SQL Server images on Amazon EC2 super-quick but in the end the hardware patterns and practices that MS’s dedicated cloud MS SQL offering uses is going to nail it for performance and overall ROI. So to that end, one would a forward-looking SharePoint shop to be diving headfirst into the fluffy cloud. Not so fast- let’s look at some of the ideas presented in the linked whitepaper and see why the “traditional” method of deploying SharePoint 2010 within the clients existing or new IT infrastructure is still in most scenarios the winning one:

Criteria Conventional ECM (SharePoint) ECM as a cloud platform
(their take)
High availability requires the construction of redundant costly infrastructure. Economies of scale make redundancy cost-effective for cloud platform provider
(my take)
While hardware is costly, it is a fixed asset that can be re-allocated internally or sold eventually, when it becomes too obsolete for front-line service. Cloud and hosted solution providers have to deal with physical asset depreciation just as everyone else does,
they just often overcome the hit in part by locking clients into years-long hosting agreements which towards the end leaves the client stuck on outdated hardware.Cloud hosting is supposed to keep your enterprise virtual and less tied to specific nodes of the hosting infrastructure, however there will always be hardware-level tie-downs at some level – nothing is ever completely virtualized.
(their take)
Support for remote users, contractors and other third parties requires special efforts by IT department Any authorized user can access the service from anywhere, securely
(my take)
Remote support services like GoToManage are typically in the arsenal of an enterprise client already. HTTPS VPN access into SharePoint sounds like “secure service” from “anywhere” to me!  Heck, if there was a burning need for it you could do Forms Based authentication on SharePoint instance outside your DMZ too.
(their take)
Protection of a highly diverse enterprise computing environment requires significant investments of time and effort Uniformity and economies of scale enable cloud platforms to maintain the highest security standards at less cost
(my take)
The whole premise of SharePoint is that it is the opposite of highly diverse and all your sensitive assets go into it. It’s the opposite of the nuclear war strategy of spreading out your silos in obscure locations – in SharePoint’s case the monolithic security approach is its edge. I can’t see how economies of scale are relevant to security. Security is a fundamental independent of scale.  If what they are talking about is that it’s cheaper for physical firewalls etc. by grouping a bunch of clients into one datacenter, I’d ask what security risks actually arise from locking a bunch of independent companies systems in the same room together.
(their take)
IT has to keep monitoring multiple services, discover the root-causes of performance shortfalls, figure out how to fix them, and decide whether it’s worthwhile to buy more infrastructure Cloud platform uses a single set of services and can easily allocate more capacity to any customer who needs it
(my take)
itgrooveleverages the out-of-the box performance and scalability of SharePoint so that potential future performance bottlenecks are accounted for strategically, not tactically.Features like sandboxed solutions and site collection limits allow us to delegate long-term performance management to SharePoint power users and admins who can proactively manage potential performance hits directly through Central Administration. The basic concern I’d have about a cloud or hosted solution is that it’s a lot like your home ADSL or cable-based internet connection: you may be paying for 50mbps however your telco certainly isn’t planning for everyone on your block to use that pipe at 100% capacity, 24/7.The “economies of scale” work in reverse at the enterprise level when with cloud data centers leased data backbones – they get a reasonable rate for their data pipe based on the assumption that one or more of their clients will not be pegging the network infrastructure.If your enterprise company was to grow in a spurt it’d certainly be worth assessing the risk that the service at the other end of your external host’s pipe might decide  their own economies of scale don’t fit with your hosting provider any more.
Best Practices
(their take)
A software solution typically involve third parties. Software often lags current best practices by years due to the lag time in incorporating latest releases Best practices can evolve quickly and be shared immediately
Best Practices
(my take)
Microsoft offers Cumulative Updates and Service Packs for SharePointon a constant basis.While no SharePoint consultant would in good conscience recommend blindly auto-patching the latest updates without some research and evaluation first, they can conservatively fall back a couple update versions and still not be behind by “years”. Sometimes sharing isn’t caring: Best Practices should not be tagged as such simply based on speed of evolution, but instead should come from demonstrated stability and experience.
(their take)
Ongoing software upgrades, like the original software and supporting technology, can take months to install, configure, integrate, test, and roll out Immediate benefits
(my take)
It’s a good thing there are consultants who can make that part as painless as possible! Business is a marathon, not a race. I’d opt for the stability and industry depth of SharePoint over some immediate new bells and whistles any day.Being able to calculate ROI effectively is a challenge, and having your intranet application zoom over the heads of your business decision makers by running its own proprietary feature release schedule can make for some sloppy planning.

In conclusion, i’d like to disclaim that as a geek I am an early adopter by nature. The cloud is fun and exciting, and certainly let’s you focus on core business without a lot of the drudgery and expense of traditional sysadmin responsibilities, however there’s more to contemplate than just how much network latency you’re going to be getting by basing your companies ECM system over the public internet.  You know what they say about being bold and old- the cloud is definitely bold but definitely not old. Time will tell how these traits merge and whether players like SpringCM can succeed.

Microsoft’s Office 365 service offering for mid-to-enterprise sized business is likely going to be your best bet should you decide that the cloud is practical for your companies ECM needs.