Category Archives: tech

Such a long week

Well the week is finally over! It’s the first week in 3 weeks I have actually done a full one. I’m getting too old for all this working malarky! As much as I love it, creating/designing and getting my #SharePoint head on, some times it’s just a little too much. I’ve been working on my own all week with people off on holiday. Supporting #SharePoint for over 3000 users, over 50 different sites and looking after over 40 servers has definitely taken it’s toll on me this week. Not only that out of hours work also and on call! I had a major failure with just a simple server reboot, windows updates decided to try and install when it was coming back up and got the server stuck in a boot loop. 5 hours later at 2:30am it finally started reverting the changes!

Nothing much has happened this week except work, playing some #Fallout4, eating like a student and finally getting a well overdue tesco delivery done!

I’ve not really got much planned for the weekend except maybe just some sleep and some geekiness. I really fancy trying to get a decent wiki built into #Wordpress if it’s possible, I’ve not actually read up on it and I’ve been looking into getting #Confluence installed on my web server but it turns out it just won’t have enough resources.

Fallout 4 Addiction

I’ve played fallout 3 before and couldn’t really get into it, I found that wondering about in the wasteland getting attacked by random creatures, not having enough weapons or bullets to be just a little depressing and I couldn’t get a long with it.

Fallout 4 then got released and I decided to buy it, again I found it difficult to get into and getting killed in the commonwealth was just too much for me, then something happened… rather than just giving up I decided to carry on playing. “It’s not too bad this” I thought to myself and I suddenly went from level 5 to level 26 within the space of just a few weeks. (I put some serious gaming time in) to get to that level and went through joining the railroad and other various factions that appear throughout the game.

I appear to be getting withdrawal symptoms now though, whenever I don’t play it I feel something is missing in my life. This has never happened with a game before. I also try and play every spare minute I can, but this is getting too much. 1 hour turns into a full day of doing nothing but killing synths, monsters and raiders. It’s amazing.

SharePoint post!

All this talk about Confluence recently has really made me want to blog about SharePoint so I thought I would write about something that I have recently had to do. This was built within SharePoint 2013 and although it’s not really something great to some people, it has saved a lot of money within the company I work in and has made peoples lives easier for the tasks they are set to do.

I was tasked with replacing the manual post for a complete site (400 items per day) not very much but for a small site this is still quite a lot when you take into account the opening, checking, reading and actioning it.

I created a basic SharePoint team site within SharePoint 2013 and created a library for each area (7 in total) which all had unique permissions, locked down via Active Directory group embedded within a SharePoint group with custom permissions. The users can only open, edit meta data and view the libraries that they have permissions to view. No delete options! We don’t want someone getting the hump with a piece of post and deleting it because they don’t want to action it!

INFO: All of the post is delivered to our main sorting office and is opened, sorted and then put into a machine which scans the documents, converts them to PDF and sends them to SharePoint.

I created a library called “Drop Off” which is where all the items are sent to, during the send to SharePoint options the people in the sorting office can assign meta data to the documents which when doing in bulk really doesn’t take that much time.

Once the files hit the “Drop Off” area a custom workflow with “App Steps” run on each item and move to the relevant areas using the “Business Type” column I created.

If an items has been scanned incorrectly the users can just change the “Business Area” drop down menu and another custom workflow using “App Steps” will move to the correct area even if the user doesn’t have permissions to that folder.

By doing this I have ensured that all post is captured, none can go missing and no one can delete something. It also has full auditing on so managers can see who is doing what and how many items are currently completed, outstanding etc.

The completed items are then paused for 60 days before being deleted. During this time if someone needs to edit the meta data for this post the timer is restarted for another 60 days.

This isn’t on a big scale compared to one I built previously within SharePoint 2010, it’s built in the same way using “Impersonation Steps” and gets roughly about 1200 items of post each day. Yep that is a lot of storage in use to say an item of post can have 20 pages with a total PDF size of 40MB depending on the contents of the pages and the 60 day deletion limit.

So that is just a little something I have been working on recently, I will update more when I get some of my other projects completed and the outcome of them!

Getting to grips with Confluence

Well first of all I’m not looking forward to admitting this but I’m really starting to enjoy Confluence and what it has to offer, as a SharePoint guy I didn’t think I would get on with it. I’m really interested to see how they work together and how easy it will be to connect them up and see what can be done. From what I can see though it looks promising and eventually I know the day will come where it will happen.

I paid for the full version of Confluence last night and also bought a theme builder license from the store which wasn’t too bad, I’m really determined to find better ways of using it and making sure that I can do the best for people when they ask me for something.

I’ve decided to use my installation (local to my Macbook Pro) as my own private knowledge base and testing areas to build up my knowledge of it, eventually if everything goes alright, I will move it to a public facing server so I can access from anywhere but for now it’s staying as all mine. It gives me a perfect excuse to use my Macbook in the office as well as getting all the benefits of using my own computer at work!

I’ve messed up a few times with the themes and completely messed up the pages but me being me found a way to restore them back to their full glory. Which I guess is what I wanted to do, learn how to actually use the thing!

I’m still not 100% sold on it (SharePoint in me is fighting to get out) but I’m sure they could both work well together and make something really amazing.

Installing Confluence on Mac OS X

So recently I got myself a new Macbook Pro for my birthday. I wanted it because I like it so much more than Windows especially for coding etc and because it integrates all my Apple stuff at the same time.

Anyway as part of my job I have to work with, support and develop an application call Confluence. This is something quite new that I have had to take on and support so rather than having classroom training etc, I decided to install it on my own computer and learn on my own! I must admit that it’s only a trial install, mainly because I didn’t want to use an external database and just wanted to take it wherever my Macbook went with me. I don’t plan on using it for production needs but something that I can learn, edit and get to grips with so I can support and make better my companies Confluence production installation.

I followed the guide from Atlassian, which to be fair worked pretty well for me, I just had to make a few minor tweaks to the java JDK installation home directory within one of the configuration files (not sure if this has changed in El Capitan)

For the java JDK home directory I had to use the following location

/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_73.jdk/Contents/Home

The guide can be found here https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/CONF35/Installing+Confluence+Standalone+on+Mac+OS+X+from+Zip+File and is really easy to get a trial license code for free by just creating an account on the Atlassian website.

I’ve not really played about with the installation as yet but that is what I am going to be doing over the next couple of days, I’m hoping that it doesn’t take too long to get to grips with the admin side of things and from what I’ve seen it looks pretty good. I’m a SharePoint expert so taking on new technologies like this is exciting but also at the same time I really wish I didn’t have to learn it, but hey ho! The more knowledge I get in my head the better right! I will mainly be looking at the connectors for SharePoint to Confluence and Confluence to SharePoint as this should make for a better user experience and they can choose the platform they would rather use.