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    We are excited to welcome 140 first time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Awardees and the 814 MVPs that were re-awarded today! The Microsoft MVP Award recognizes inspiring, trusted, and independent experts from around the world who voluntarily share their passion and knowledge of Microsoft products with others.

     

    Each quarter we award passionate technical community leaders and each year more than 4,000 MVPs are honored. MVPs represent nearly 100 countries, speak over 40 different languages, and are awarded in almost 90 Microsoft technologies. Together, they answer more than 10 million questions each year.

     

    Of the more than 100 million social and technical community members worldwide, only small portion are recognized as MVPs. As part of their award experience, MVPs are invited to share their feedback through direct interactions with Microsoft product group teams.

     

    To become an MVP, candidates are nominated by Microsoft, other community individuals, or in some cases themselves. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions for the previous year.

     

    Are you interested in hearing more about the MVP Award from some of our leadership team? Check out this recent video created by Visual C# MVP David Giard about what the MVP Award means to the technical community, what it means to Microsoft, and how MVPs are selected.

     

    Please visit our nomination page to nominate a community leader to be considered for an MVP Award.

     

    Stay connected with us daily! We are on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube!

     

    We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the new MVPs, and welcome back to re-awarded MVPs. Thank you for making a difference in technical communities worldwide!

     


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    Known as the biggest IT event in Europe, French TechDays 2011 in Paris boasted an impressive 10,934 attendees, featuring 91 engaged Microsoft partners, 15 community booths and roughly 300 sessions. The MVPs’ presence and influence was felt across the entire event.

     

    Sixty-seven MVPs delivered a total of 63 of the 300 different sessions, while 31 MVPs were chosen to be the ask the experts (ATE) on the various Microsoft product booths such as Azure, Unified Communication, Office, TechNet, MSDN, Small Business, Microsoft Learning (Certifications), Embedded, Windows Phone, SQL Server, Infra (Windows Server, Virtualization and much more. These sessions were recorded and are available here.

     

     

    Proving the French community team’s exceptional team work, the MVP community program managers, user group leads and other community leads invested countless hours to make sure key community influencers were involved in this event. They identified numerous community leaders as session and workshops speakers and worked to provide 17 top communities with community booths.

     

    Community program manager Martine Thiphaine recalls the participation of various communities in this event:

     

    “Year after year, MVPs and communities are participating more and more in this unique event. These experts are speakers, recognizable advisors and representatives of their community on booths.

     

    This is THE place where you can find, once per year, the highest number of experts, per square meter, ready to share their passion with any attendee! Please do not miss the Microsoft TechDays 2012 event….!”

     

    190 articles were made available online in French Press and several MVPs were interviewed by the ITPro.fr magazine. You can read some of the following MVPs interviews online: Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Patrice Bonnefoy, SharePoint Workspace MVP Fabrice Barbin, Exchange Server  MVP Laurent Teruin, Virtual Machine MVP, Cedric Bravo and Lync MVP Pascal Creusot.

     

    During the evening of February 9th, roughly 200 community contributors were invited for a special Afterworks Evening event to meet each other, share ideas, and give feedback about the TechDays Event. Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Laurent Miltgen-Delinchamp and Microsoft associate consultant for MCS, William Bories, organized this evening event through their network called Microsoft Communities Afterworks.

      

    Windows Azure MVP Guillaume Belmas expressed the importance of the French TechDays:

     

    “The French TechDays is the place to be, meet and connect with all my Microsoft communities’ peers: MVP, MSP, User Groups and all other community actors. Having everyone in the same place at the same time is only possible thanks to the MS TechDays! These 3 days are always intense and it’s the perfect place to see the people you only talk to through email, IM, etc. On a business side, it’s also a really good occasion to meet and chat with former colleagues and customers.”

     

    The French TechDays event was an incredible success and members of the community look forward to Microsoft TechDays 2012!

     

     


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Windows Phone Development MVP Wei-Meng Lee as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for Windows Phone 7" series. Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft .NET MVP) is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies. Wei-Meng speaks regularly at international conferences and has authored and coauthored numerous books on .NET, XML, and wireless technologies, including Windows XP Unwired and the .NET Compact Framework Pocket Guide (both from O'Reilly Media, Inc). He writes extensively for the O'Reilly Network on topics ranging from .NET to Mac OS X.

    This article originally appears in MobiForge.com at http://mobiforge.com/designing/story/building-location-service-apps-windows-phone-7. Reprinted with permission.

    Location-based service is a topic that has been garnering a lot of interest in recent years. Location services usually involve two key components – getting your location data and displaying your location on a map. Hence in this article, I will first show you how to display a map in your Windows Phone 7 application and then use the Location Service APIs to obtain your current position.

     

    Displaying Bing Maps

     

    First things first, let’s learn how to display a map in your Windows Phone 7 application. Using Visual Studio 2010, create a new Windows Phone Application project and name it as BingMaps.

     

    In the Toolbox, drag and drop the Map control (see Figure 1) onto the main page of the application.

     

    Figure 1. Adding the Map control to the main page of the application

     

    Resize the map control so that it fills the screen as shown in Figure 1. Alternatively, you can also edit the mainpage.xaml file by adding the following <my:Map>  element:

     

            <!--ContentPanel - place additional content here-->

     

            <Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">

     

                <my:Map Height="601" HorizontalAlignment="Left"


                Margin="6,6,0,0" Name="map1" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="444" />

     

            </Grid>

     

    Press F5 to test the application on the emulator. You should see the map displayed in the emulator as shown in Figure 2.

     

    Figure 2. The Bing Maps contained within the application

     

    Observe carefully that there is a message displayed in the middle of the map. Turns out that in order to use the Bing Maps in your Windows Phone application, you need to apply for a free map key. If not, the message will always be displayed on the map.

     

    Registering for a Bing Maps API key

     

    To register for a free Bing Maps API key, head over to https://www.bingmapsportal.com/. You will need to have a Windows Live ID (see Figure 3). If you already have one, click the Sign In button to sign in.

     

    Figure 3.  Creating a Bing Maps account

     

    Once you have signed in, click the Create or view keys link and enter the information as shown in Figure 4.

     

    Figure 4. Applying for a free map key

     

    Once the key is obtained, enter it by adding the CredentialsProvider attribute to the <my:Map> element and assigning the key to it:

     

            <Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">

     

                <my:Map Height="601" HorizontalAlignment="Left"

     

                Margin="6,6,0,0" Name="map1" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="444"

     

                CredentialsProvider="xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" />

     

            </Grid>

     

    When you now rerun the application again, the message appearing on the middle of the map will now go away. 

     

    Obtaining Location Data

     

    Displaying the map by itself is interesting, but it would be even better if you can get your current location coordinates and then use the map to display your position. In Windows Phone 7, the Location Service APIs are all encapsulated in the System.Device dll. The Location Service APIs allows you to obtain your geographical location through the use of GPS, cellular triangulation, and Wi-Fi triangulation. Best of all, all the complexities of resolving the location is hidden from the developer through this set of APIs.

     

    To use the Location Service APIs, you need to add a reference to the System.Device dll. Right-click on the References folder in Solution Explorer and select Add Reference….  Select the System.Device dll  and click OK (see Figure 5).

     

    Figure 5. Adding a reference to the System.Device dll

     

    To make use of the classes in the System.Device dll, first import the System.Device.Location namespace in the MainPage.xaml.cs file:

     

    using System;

     

    ...

     

    using Microsoft.Phone.Controls;

     

    using System.Diagnostics; //---for Debug.WriteLine()---

     

    using System.Device.Location;

     

    To use the Location Service API, create a variable of type GeoCoordinateWatcher:

     

        public partial class MainPage : PhoneApplicationPage

     

        {

     

            GeoCoordinateWatcher watcher;

     

            // Constructor

     

            public MainPage()

     

            {

     

                InitializeComponent();

     

            }

     

    In the constructor for the page, instantiate the GeoCoordinateWatcher class and set its properties and event handlers as follows:

     

        public partial class MainPage : PhoneApplicationPage

     

        {

     

            GeoCoordinateWatcher watcher;

     

            // Constructor

     

            public MainPage()

     

            {

     

                InitializeComponent();

     

     

     

                if (watcher == null)

     

                {

     

                    //---get the highest accuracy---

     

                    watcher = new GeoCoordinateWatcher(GeoPositionAccuracy.High)

     

                    {

     

                        //---the minimum distance (in meters) to travel before the next

     

                        // location update---

     

                        MovementThreshold = 10

     

                    };

     

     

     

                    //---event to fire when a new position is obtained---

     

                    watcher.PositionChanged += new

     

                        EventHandler<GeoPositionChangedEventArgs

     

                        <GeoCoordinate>>(watcher_PositionChanged);

     

     

     

                    //---event to fire when there is a status change in the location

     

                    // service API---

     

                    watcher.StatusChanged += new

     

                        EventHandler<GeoPositionStatusChangedEventArgs>

     

                        (watcher_StatusChanged);

     

                    watcher.Start();

     

                }

     

            }

     

    Here is the method to handle the event when the location service changes its status: 

     

            void watcher_StatusChanged(object sender, GeoPositionStatusChangedEventArgs e)

     

            {

     

                switch (e.Status)

     

                {

     

                    case GeoPositionStatus.Disabled:

     

                        Debug.WriteLine("disabled");

     

                        break;

     

                    case GeoPositionStatus.Initializing:

     

                        Debug.WriteLine("initializing");

     

                        break;

     

                    case GeoPositionStatus.NoData:

     

                        Debug.WriteLine("nodata");

     

                        break;

     

                    case GeoPositionStatus.Ready:

     

                        Debug.WriteLine("ready");

     

                        break;

     

                }

     

            }

     

    Here is the method to handle the event when a new location is found:

     

            void watcher_PositionChanged(object sender,

     

            GeoPositionChangedEventArgs<GeoCoordinate> e)

     

            {

     

                Debug.WriteLine("({0},{1})",

     

                    e.Position.Location.Latitude, e.Position.Location.Longitude);

     

            }

     

    In this case, the newly found location can be accessed through the GeoCoordinate argument.

     

    Unfortunately, the Location Service APIs require a real device to work; the emulator does not return any location data.

     

    Navigating the Map to a Particular Location

     

    With the location data obtained, you can now display the current location using the map. You change the center of the map through the Center property:

     

            void watcher_PositionChanged(object sender,

     

            GeoPositionChangedEventArgs<GeoCoordinate> e)

     

            {

     

                Debug.WriteLine("({0},{1})",

     

                    e.Position.Location.Latitude, e.Position.Location.Longitude);

     

     

     

                map1.Center = new GeoCoordinate(

     

                    e.Position.Location.Latitude, e.Position.Location.Longitude);

     

            }

     

    The Center property takes in a GeoCoordinate object.

     

    Manipulating the Map

     

    Besides making the map display a particular location, you can also change the zoom level of the map through its ZoomLevel property:

     

                map1.ZoomLevel = 13;

     

     

     

    Figure 6 shows the Bing Map display at zoom level 13. The bigger the zoom level, the more details will be displayed by the map.

     

    Figure 6. Displaying the map at zoom level 13

     

    You can also display the Zoom bar – two buttons containing a “+” and a “-“, to zoom in and out of the map. While you can use the pinch gesture (multi-touch) on a real device to zoom in and out of the map on a real device, the zoom bar is useful when testing the application on an emulator:

     

                map1.ZoomBarVisibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Visible;

     

    Figure 7 shows the zoom bar displayed at the bottom of the map.

     

    Figure 7. Displaying the zoom bar at the bottom of the map

     

    Besides the default mode that the map is showing (road mode), you can make the map display in aerial mode through the Mode property:

     

                map1.Mode = new Microsoft.Phone.Controls.Maps.AerialMode();

     

    Figure 8 shows the map in aerial mode.

     

    Figure 8. Display the map in aerial mode

     

    Adding Pushpins

     

    Another common task you usually do with a map is adding pushpins. Adding a pushpin to the map allows you to indicate clearly the location you are currently displaying. To add a pushpin to the map, you will use the PinPush class located in the Microsoft.Phone.Controls.Maps namespace, hence you need to import it before using it:

     

    using Microsoft.Phone.Controls.Maps;

     

    The following code snippets add a pushpin at a particular location:

     

                map1.Center = new GeoCoordinate(47.676289396624654, -122.12096571922302);

     

                map1.ZoomLevel = 22;

     

     

     

                //---create a new pushpin---

     

                Pushpin pin = new Pushpin();

     

     

     

                //---set the location for the pushpin---

     

                pin.Location = new GeoCoordinate(47.676289396624654, -122.12096571922302);

     

     

     

                //---add the pushpin to the map---

     

                map1.Children.Add(pin);

     

    Figure 9 shows the default pushpin (which is not a very attractive image) at the center of the map.

    Figure 9. Displaying the default pushpin

     

    The content of the pushpin takes in XAML content, hence you can draw some UI elements to replace the default pushpin image. The following code snippets show how you can draw an ellipse inside the pushpin and then display an image inside the ellipse:

     

                //---use an ImageBrush object and fill it with an image from the web---

     

                ImageBrush image = new ImageBrush()

     

                {

     

                    ImageSource = new System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitmapImage

     

                        (new Uri("http://www.clker.com/cliparts/e/d/9/9/1206572112160208723johnny_automatic_NPS_map_pictographs_part_67.svg.med.png"))

     

                };

     

     

     

                //---draw an ellipse inside the pushpin and fill it with the image---

     

                pin.Content = new Ellipse()

     

                {

     

                    Fill = image,               

     

                    StrokeThickness=10,

     

                    Height = 100,

     

                    Width = 100

     

                };

     

     

     

                //---add the pushpin to the map---

     

                map1.Children.Add(pin);

     

     

    Figure 10 shows the new pushpin displayed on the map.

    Figure 10. The new customized pushpin

     

    Summary

     

    This article shows how to use the Location Service APIs together with the Bing Maps control in your Windows Phone 7 application. Effective use of these two key technologies allows you to build very compelling applications. 


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    Guest post by Mayumi Suzuki.

    MVPs in Japan are among those working to shore up emergency communications on the heels of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Various government- and rescue agency-built Web sites designed to deliver vital information—such as shelter availability and current radiation levels—have been overwhelmed by high demand from the millions of people affected by the disaster. Microsoft, some of its partners and members of the Japan Windows Azure user group, including MVPs Sunao Tomita, Tatsuaki Sakai, Takahito Yamatoya, and an MVP who goes by the handle normalian, have joined forces to  create mirror sites using Cloud services to relieve pressure on the heavily loaded sites.

    For those attempting to stay informed about current conditions or find critical resources, the mirror sites help create seamless access to information.

    We’ve listed the emergency communication channels currently being supported by mirror Web sites below. In addition, MVP Keiichi Hashimoto, Sigma Consulting and Sitecore have contributed to developing an earthquake information portal on MSN using the Windows Azure platform. And MVP Uichiro Nozawa has created a site called Local Voices which collects tweets about safety and support issues from the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures.

    Please note—ongoing support is available to organizations providing information to those affected by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. For help developing a Web site or supporting a heavily loaded site, get in touch at

    info311a@microsoft.com.

     


     (Local Voices)

     

    CURRENT MIRROR SITES

    Japan Red Cross: http://jrcmirror1.cloudapp.net/contribution/l3/Vcms3_00002069.html

     

    Tohoku Electric Co: http://teiden.eq0311.info/jp110311/teidentohoku/tohoku.html

     

    Iwate Prefectural Government: http://prefiwatecache1.cloudapp.net

     

    Iwate Newspaper: http://iwate-np-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    Iwate Disaster Prevention Information Portal: http://pref-iwate-bousai.cloudapp.net/~bousai/

     

    Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health: http://tokyo-eiken-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technologies: Radiation Monitoring Information Site: http://teiden.eq0311.info/housyasen/110315.html

     

    Tokyo Electric Co. Rolling Blackouts Information: http://kakunin.cloudapp.net/ and http://kakunin.cloudapp.net/mb.php

     

    Nuclear Plant Q&A: http://smcjapan.blob.core.windows.net/web/index.htm

     

    Chiba Prefectural Government: Disaster Volunteer: http://chiba-saigai-vc-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    Ibaraki Prefectural Government, Social Welfare: http://ibaraki-welfare-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    Aomori Prefectural Government, Social Welfare: http://aosyakyo-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    Sendai City Government, Social Welfare: http://shakyo-sendai-cache.cloudapp.net/

     

    NHK Closed Caption Information: http://moji-cache.cloudapp.net/

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    Guest post by Abhishek Kant.

    “As I’m part of the MVP community, one great opportunity in Tech Ed is to meet the experts via the Roundtable conferences. I was part of some high energy conversations with Jason Zander , Yousef Khalidi, Rajiv Kumar (MS IDC Hyderabad) etc. Some of the information you get via these conversations are under NDA ;). Also, during the conversations with Jason and Yusuf, I realized how seriously Microsoft takes the input from the community.  -Anoop Madhusudhnan, MVP, Client App Development

    Microsoft TechEd India 2011 was held from March 23 – 25, 2011 at Bangalore last month and was attended by 3276 attendees and about 160K online viewers.

    All South Asia MVPs were invited to attend the TechEd and were offered free entry to the event (a significant cost saving). A total of 32 MVPs chose to attend the biggest technology conference in the region and 10 MVPs were speakers at the TechEd India 2011.

    A number of MVP activities were conducted at TechEd India that included feedback sessions with executives, community networking party and “Meet the MVP” sessions.

     

    Executive Roundtables

    MVPs and community leaders were given exclusive privilege to attend intimate roundtables with Microsoft executives from the Redmond and IDC, Hyderabad. These 6 roundtables were an opportunity for the executives to talk about upcoming products and vision of specific technologies with the MVPs, and to take home feedback and community best practices.

     

     

     

    The roundtables held included:

    • Yousef Khalidi, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft
    • Brian Hall, General Manager, IE & Windows Live
    • Bharat Shyam, General Manager, RD - Developer Experience, Microsoft
    • Ramkumar Pichai, General Manager, Customer & Partner Experience, Microsoft
    • Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President, Visual Studio, Microsoft
    • Rajiv Kumar, General Manager, IDC-Hyderabad, Microsoft

    Sitting in a roundtable with Yousef Khalidi ... Amazing Discussions... This makes #techedin worth it ... - Muqeet Khan, MVP, IIS

     

    “Meet the MVPs” Session

    On the first day at TechEd, MVPs and community leaders got together with Microsoft evangelists to talk about technical communities, best practices, issues they face, and the expected support from Microsoft. The session was attended by 45 people, including DPE evangelists, MVP Program team, and INETA folks.

     

    • Evangelists: Ramprassana Chellamathu, Pinal Dave, Harish Vaidyanthan
    • INETA: Sanjay Shetty

    Community Networking Party

    On the second day at TechEd India, MVPs and community leaders were invited to a community party jointly hosted by DPE, INETA, GITCA, and PASS.

    Apart from a lot of networking, we saw sharing of best practices amongst various community leads.

     

     

    This was my first in-person TechEd event and it was really marvelous. Your effort to coordinate with various MVP and Product Team Leads is highly appreciated.  - Kamlesh Rao


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Windows Phone MVP Todd Ogasawara as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for Windows Phone 7" series. Todd Ogasawara is a technology analyst/developer and freelance regular contributing writer for BYTE.com (part of UBM TechWeb) and a co-editor for SocialTimes.com Mobile (part of  mediabistro.com family of sites). He has been annually named a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in the Windows Phone category for the past decade. You can find him on Twitter at @ToddOgasawara.

    Blogging has been declared dead at least once a year for the past five years. And yet, hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people write blogs daily. Some even make a living doing so. Blogs, like this one, can be thought of as a reverse journal where the most recent item sits at or near the top of the visible page. Despite the rise of stream of consciousness social networks like Twitter and Facebook, blogs are still popular because of the detailed multimedia information that can placed in a single post and, more importantly, the historical context they can provide over time. Blogs serve as a kind of temporal anchor for shorter form more ephemeral social network text streams.

    If you currently have a blog or are thinking about creating one, you will be happy to know that you can blog while on the go using a smartphone running Windows Phone 7. If you are planning to start a new blog, you’ll be even happier to learn that all of the blog services discussed here can be used free of charge. We’ll cover three very popular and free blogging services: WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, Posterous.com.

     

    WORDPRESS


    Let’s start with the most popular blogging platform in the world: WordPress. Millions of blogs and even entire websites are built using WordPress. When Microsoft decided to close down its Spaces personal site service in 2010, it chose WordPress as the place its customers could chose to migrate to.  You can create a free account and blog by visiting WordPress.com. WordPress provides a reasonably simple but very powerful web-based editor to create blog posts that can include photos and other media. However, this web-based creation process is not well-suited for the relatively small screens on smartphones. There is, however, a free Windows Phone app that lets you manage a one or more blogs based on WordPress.

     

    WordPress for Windows Phone actions menu

     

    The free WordPress for Windows Phone app lets you add a blog post, moderate comments, or add a static web page.

     

    WordPress for Windows Phone blog post creation screen

     

    Adding a new blog post takes you to a screen that asks for a title, text content, and optional media. You can also choose to categorize blog posts. This helps organizes things for your readers but is not mandatory.

     

    You can choose to have you new blog item published and be visible right from your phone. Alternatively, you can leave it a draft state and go back to it later on a desktop or notebook computer to complete the blog item. You can see a blog entry created entirely using a Windows Phone (including the photograph) on a Windows phone in the desktop screenshot below.

     

    Blog hosted on WordPress.com

     

    There are two other ways you can post a new blog item from your Windows Phone to your WordPress.com blog. First, you can send an email to a special email address that will post the contents of the email to your WordPress.com blog. You can read all the details about this option here:

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_to_your_blog_using_email

     

    There’s a third way to post a blog item to WordPress that does not even require any typing. You can call a number provided by WordPress.com, enter an authentication number and create an audio blog item. You can record a message up to one hour long. A web audio player is embedded in your blog item to let people listen to what you recorded. You can learn more about this option here.

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-by-voice/

     

    TUMBLR


    Tumblr is an extremely popular micro-blogging platform. But, don’t the term micro-blogging confuse you into comparing it to Twitter. Tumblr provides a quick, easy, and brief blogging style they call tumblogging. Add a web link, photo or video and a sentence or two to share something or express a thought. If you want to write more than a couple of sentences, go right ahead. Tumblr doesn’t constrain you in that way. However, it also doesn’t force you into thinking you have to write a term paper length blog to express yourself. You can sign up for a free account to create one or more tumblogs at Tumblr.com.

     

    Tumblr does not have an app for Windows Phone. However, there are two ways you can post from your Windows Phone to your Tumblr blog. The first way is using email. You can learn the details here. http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/email_publishing

     

    Tumblr provides a unique email address for each of your tumblogs (you can have more than one). The email subject line becomes the blog’s title and the email text body becomes the blog text body. You can also email one or more digital photographs to your blog. Here again, the email subject line becomes the blog title. You cannot, however, include a text body.  You can edit your blog entry later from a desktop PC to add text.

     

    Tumblr blog item created by email from a Windows Phone

     

    Tumblr, like WordPress.com, lets you make a voice call to their server and leave an audio blog. This requires a little bit of configuration by providing them with your cell phone’s Caller-ID information and creating a PIN.

     

    POSTEROUS


    Posterous is another free, simple and immensely popular microblogging service. It does not provide a Windows Phone app. However, like WordPress.com and Tumblr, it lets you create new blog items using email. The details can be found here. http://posterous.com/help/email_tips

     

    Posterous has one advantage when compared to Tumblr: A photo blog item can include both a blog title and blog text body. Like Tumblr, the email subject line becomes the blog title. Posterous can also transform text in the email into the blog text body. You can see a blog item I created on Posterous with a photo, title and text body in the screenshot of a desktop browser below.

     

    Posterous blog item created by email from a Windows Phone

     

    POSTEROUS & HOTMAIL


    Posterous has one more interesting feature if you use Microsoft’s Hotmail email service. Readers of your Posterous hosted blog can choose to have blog items delivered to their Hotmail email inbox. If they do that, comments to your blog will also appear in their email and they can respond to comments directly from Hotmail. http://blog.posterous.com/sharing-content-via-email-takes-a-big-step-fo

     

    CONCLUSION


    Blogging on the go is easy with a Windows Phone and any or all of these great free blogging services. All of them provide blogging via email which can include photos. The WordPress for Windows Phone app lets you manage your blog right from your phone.

     

    A final piece of advice: Don’t feel that every blog item has to be a work of art. One of my blogs, for example, consists of photos of lunches from different places. It helps me answer a frequent question from friends: What is that you are eating and where did you get it?


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    Do you have tough technical questions regarding SharePoint for which you're seeking answers? Do you want to tap into the deep knowledge of the talented Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals? The SharePoint MVPs are the same people you see in the technical community as authors, speakers, user group leaders and answerers in the MSDN and TechNet forums. By popular demand, we have brought these experts together as a collective group to answer your questions live. So please join us and bring on the questions! This chat will cover WSS 3.0, MOSS, SharePoint Foundation 2010 and the SharePoint Server 2010. Topics include setup and administration, design, development and general question.

     

    Please join us on Wednesday April 20th at 9am PDT to chat with MVPs from around the world.  Learn more and add these chats to your calendar by visiting the MSDN event page http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/events/aa497438.aspx


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  • 04/14/11--15:40: MVP Hosts Hot Kids CodeCamp
  • Visual C# MVP Joseph Guadagno is helping take CodeCamps to a whole new level—the kid level. Specifically designed for the 8 – 15 crowd, Joseph worked with Microsoft developer evangelist Lynn Langit and members of the DPE team to create and deliver a full day track of Teaching Kids Programming at the Desert CodeCamp in Phoenix, Arizona.


    “It was a big success,” reported Joseph. “We had about 100 kids and all the parents I spoke with were tremendously grateful to be able to participate in a family event and access this kind of content for their kids. I felt that if we provided free content, we could spark interest in technology in our youth since most of the local schools do not provide this opportunity for our kids.”


    Joseph first offered programming content for kids at a CodeCamp three years ago, and then tapped Lynn to help deliver a full-day curriculum.


    The Phoenix Teaching Kids Programming camp was “the most extensive effort to date at a CodeCamp,” said Lynn in her excellent blog post describing the event.


    Joseph is encouraging MVPs in other communities to pick up the mantel and begin delivering this kind of content. For his part, he’s planning to organize another Teaching Kids Programming camp next November.


    Below is a list of the sessions offered at the recent Kids CodeCamp.


    Track 1: Run by local volunteer Mike Benner
    Intro to Mindstorms (Ages 8+)
    Mindstorms Motion (Ages 8+)
    Mindstorms Programming Flow (Ages 8+)
    Scratch 101 (Ages 6+)
    Scratch Messaging (Ages 8+)
    Using simple electronics to make noise!

    Track 2: Run by Lynn and volunteers
    SmallBasic 1 (ages 10+)
    Kodu Workshop I of II
    Kodu Workshop II of II (ages 5+)
    SmallBasic 2 (ages 10+) Advanced Drawing
    Insulting SQL (ages 10+)
    SmallBasic 3 (ages 10+) Games

    Track 3: Boy scout badge earning sessions
    Inventing
    Electronics
    Computers
    Robotics

     


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Windows Phone MVP Trent McMurray as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for Windows Phone 7" series. Trent is the owner of LAMARCOMM, LLC, a mobile solutions company that provides everything from Mobile Proximity Application solutions to a National Online Retailer for all the major wireless carriers in the United States. Trent was an early evangelist of the Windows Mobile Platform helping customers and users with solutions and applications for their Windows Mobile devices. Trent contributes to the community through the Windows VIP forum and has recently taken on the project of his newest website http://windowsphoneconcierge.com . Which helps uses with "How To's" and FAQ's dedicated to Windows Phone.


    Being in the mobile retail business for over 10 yrs., helping customers and clients stay connected with their mobile devices became the way I do business to this day. But things are changing swiftly in the smartphone space. And when it comes to setting up your new Windows Phone, it could not be easier, using your Windows Live ID (which I will explain in detail) to setup and configure your Windows Phone 7. Using a Windows Live ID will bring many benefits, features and services that will help you stay more connected than ever.

     

    When I first encountered Windows Phone 7 for the first time it literally took me less than 5 minutes to set up the device using my Windows Live ID and experiencing all the services and benefits that come along for a great mobile experience.

     

    When you first turn on a Windows Phone 7 you are greeted with a step by step setup wizard that will have you up and running in no time. 

     

    1. The Microsoft “legalize” terms of use – click accept and keep on moving.

     

    2. Windows Phone Settings

     

    Recommended - This setting automatically enables cellular data transmissions. It also automatically signs up customers to send information to help improve Windows Phones.

    Custom - this setting allows customers to select the setting of their choice. Customers without data coverage can make changes here. If you have a data plan just click recommended

     

    This next step may be a little tricky to a new user or user that does not have a Windows Live ID or fully understand what a Windows Live ID is:

     

    3. Sign in with a Windows Live ID – Here you have a few options that you can choose from, but choose carefully! A Windows Live ID is an email (usually free) hosted by Microsoft. The most popular ones are Hotmail or Live.com. if you already one of these accounts sign in using the email address and password you have. If you do not have an account, Microsoft has made it easy and allows you create on right on the device!

     

    If you choose to skip signing in or creating an account at this time, you cannot take full advantage of the free services and rich features Windows Phone 7 has to offer. (Although you can go back and sign in with a Live ID later). But doing so from the beginning gives the user a much smoother first time experience with Windows Phone 7. 

     

     

    Once the setup wizard is complete your new Windows Phone 7 is ready to go. You can now take advantage of the free Cloud Services Microsoft has incorporated into Windows Phone 7. Such as SkyDrive – that gives you 25 gigs of free online storage for all the great photos you will be taking with your new Windows Phone 7.

     

    That is one of many great benefits to having a Windows Live ID. You now have access to that email all the time and anywhere you go! You will also notice that the email account associated with your Windows Live ID is configured and a live tile for that email account is on the start screen of your device!

     

    Now you can use that same Windows Live ID to create your Zune account and Xbox Live account if you do not already have these accounts created! I have found it very easy using the same live ID account for all the services Microsoft offers that require a Live ID to be associated with them. That way I do not have to remember different email addresses and passwords.

     

    Also once you log into your Windows Live ID via your PC (Hotmail.com or Live.com) to name two. You can take advantage of automatic syncing of the contacts to your Windows Phone 7 device as you add them from your PC and vice versa. There are many ways to get your contacts to your new Windows Phone 7 if you have more places you keep them on your PC. But the true benefit to a “Different Kind of Phone” is the benefit of understanding and using your Windows Live ID as the key to your new Windows Phone device.

     

    You can learn more about Windows Live ID and many more features and services for your Windows Phone 7 from my website: www.windowsphoneconcierge.com. Where “We Help Simplify Your Experience” using your new Windows Phone device.


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    “In the last few years, cloud computing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the IT industry. Before transitioning into the cloud, companies want to know what the security risks are and the solution approaches they can take across those points”.  – Hakan Uzuner

     

    Veteran Forefront MVP and founder of Cozumpark IT Community, Hakan Uzuner has dedicated himself to spearheading this security concern in the cloud. Focusing on educating companies and business owners, Hakan has been providing seminars and arranging trainings about security in the cloud.

     

    Hakan talks about his efforts at Cozumpark IT Community:

     

    “We have increased the number of seminars, webcasts, articles, and speaking events about the cloud. We have also built a special e-mail collaboration society; targeting the workers of banks in Turkey”. He continues, “They are able to ask their questions about cloud services and we inform them about the unclear points in the cloud, like security risks”.

     

    Hakan was invited to share his deep knowledge and experience with roughly 70 other leading professionals at the AnkaSEC (Conference of Information Security) event in Turkey. He gave a presentation about risk assessments in the cloud. Popular subjects about virtualization security, cloud service security and cyber world security were also covered.

     

    As more and more companies begin transitioning to the cloud, security will continue be a main concern. The education that MVPs like Hakan have dedicated themselves to providing around security will prove to be pivotal in the continued success of cloud computing.

     


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  • 04/26/11--09:50: MVP Mondays: A Look Back
  • Guest post by community program manager, Melissa Travers.


    It was almost one year ago that we started our series called “MVP Mondays”.  As part of this ongoing series, we post MVP authored content on the MVP Award Program blog each Monday.  Let’s take a look at how this series has evolved!

     

    It was late April 2010, and everyone at Microsoft was getting excited about the upcoming launch of Office and SharePoint 2010.  Our MVPs were as excited about this product launch as we were, especially those MVPs awarded in Office and SharePoint.  I wanted to find a way to generate some of this enthusiasm within the broader technical community while helping to educate our customers on the cool new features in these products.  The MVPs were the perfect ones to do just that.  Tapping into the “2010” theme, we began what we called “10 Days for Office/SharePoint 2010” which kicked off in May the day of our product launch. 

     

    Since MVPs enjoy helping our customers so much it was no surprise that I had more than 10 MVPs offering to author content for the series.  Additionally the Office Product team was cross posting the 10 days series on their blog The Microsoft Office Blog.  They loved it so much that they were happy to hear we were planning to do a “Beyond 10 Days” series known as “MVPs for Office and SharePoint 2010” which we published each Monday through the end of the calendar or launch year.

     

    The series turned out to be quite popular.  So why not highlight some of our other products and amazing MVPs?   In January 2011 the MVP Award Program created a new MVP Award expertise for Office 365.  I thought it would be an excellent idea to introduce our inaugural group of Office 365 MVPs with a “meet the MVPs” feature on our blog and a series of MVP authored Office 365 content.  Then in March and April of this year, we continued with a series on Windows Phone 7. 

     

    Tomorrow we are re-publishing one of our most popular articles from Office System MVP Stephanie Krieger called “Save Time and Create Incredible Content with Word 2010”. Next Monday, we will be back with new content kicking off a segment on SharePoint and SharePoint Online.  On behalf of the MVP Award Program, we hope you have enjoyed our MVP Mondays’ series and we look forward to publishing ongoing content from MVPs in a variety of Microsoft product areas or expertise.


    We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 34 MVPs from around the world who have contributed such fantastic articles and fans of our blog who have made MVP Mondays such a success!  The MVPs that have contributed to this series are listed below.


    To view the article written by each MVP, please click on the MVPs name.

     

    MVPs for Windows Phone 7 (March – April 2011)

    Adam Lein

    Kevin Wolf

    Todd Ogasawara

    Trent McMurray (2nd Article)

    Wei-Meng Lee

     

    MVPs for Office 365 (Jan –Mar 2011)

    Arnaud Alcabez

    Brett Hill

    Chad Mosman

    Daniel Trautman

    Martina Grom

    Myles Jeffery

    Zoltan Zombory

     

    MVPs for Office and SharePoint (July – Dec 2010)

    Andrew Lavinsky

    Bill Jelen

    Clayton Cobb

    Echo Swinford

    Glenna Shaw

    Julie Terberg

    Kathy Jacobs

    Ludovic Lefort

    Robert Sparnaaij

    Ron de Bruin

    Stephanie Krieger

    Tim Runcie


    10 Days for Office and SharePoint 2010:  (May 2010)

    Bill Raymond (2nd Article) (3rd Article)

    Brian Farnhill

    Dave Parker

    Diane Poremsky

    Doug Robbins

    Glen Lloyd

    Glen Millar

    Karen McCall

    Nate Oliver

    Razi bin Rais

    Stephanie Krieger

     


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    Editor's Note: We are re-publishing the following article as it was one of our most popular. The following is a guest post by Office System MVP Stephanie Kreiger from the United States as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's series, "10 Days for Office 2010"

    When I was invited to write a short article about Word 2010, the word short was the thing that concerned me. There’s so much I’d like to share about the new features and tools in this version. So, I thought about the types of questions people ask me about Word.

    I’m a professional document geek, so the questions I hear most often are either about how to customize the appearance of documents (such as to implement company branding) or ways to save time or simplify something you need to use Word to do. Well, Word 2010 offers a lot of new features in both of these categories, so I chose one favorite from each. Let’s take a look at one new tool for customizing documents or templates and another that just might save you a lot of time.

    Coordinate all of your Office 2010 documents more easily

    You might already be familiar with Office themes, which were introduced in Office 2007. Themes are available in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook and enable you to apply a set of fonts, colors, and graphic formatting effects throughout a document with just a click (theme colors and fonts are also available in Access 2010). Additionally, in PowerPoint, the theme provides the slide master, slide layouts, and slide background gallery options for your presentation. You can use one of the forty built-in themes in Office 2010 (or themes from Office.com), mix-and-match theme elements, or create your own completely custom theme.

    In Word 2010, you can use improved tools for working with shapes to take themes even further and easily coordinate your Word documents with your PowerPoint presentations (such as when you need to implement company branding in all of your Office 2010 documents). You now get much of the same shapes and shape formatting options in Word that you have in PowerPoint and Excel, including shape styles that automatically coordinate with the fonts, colors, and effects from your active theme. But my favorite new feature of shapes in Word is that you can use the PowerPoint slide background styles from your theme as shape fills.

    To give that a try, select a shape. Or, to insert a shape, on the Insert tab in the Illustrations group, click Shapes, click the shape you want to insert, and then click or drag in your document to insert that shape.

    When a shape is selected, the Drawing Tools Format tab automatically becomes available. On that tab, in the Shape Styles group, expand the gallery as you see here for the option Other Theme Fills, which displays the slide background fills for your theme.

    clip_image002

    If you want to quickly and easily see what kind of difference these theme fills can make in your documents, check out some of the built-in Word 2010 templates along with some of the new built-in themes. One great example is the Adjacency Report template:

    1. Click the File tab, click New and then click Sample Templates. Select Adjacency Report and then click Create.

    2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Themes group, expand the themes gallery. Then, point to different themes to see them previewed on the new document. The backgrounds of both pages change depending on which themes you choose. For example, point to AnglesBlack Tie, and Hardcover themes to see just how much you can customize about that template with one click.

    And, if you’d like to check out a few of the other improvements that give you added flexibility for working with shapes in your documents:

    · Select a shape and just start typing to add text.

    · You can now right-click any shape for the option to edit points. The Edit Points feature lets you add, remove, or reshape individual points in your shape to create your own custom shapes.

    · Use new keyboard shortcuts to resize (Shift + arrow keys) or rotate (Alt + left or right arrow key) shapes. Add Ctrl to the preceding shortcut key combinations to resize or rotate in smaller increments.

    Don’t do the same work twice

    Office 2010 introduces some fantastic new technologies, such as co-authoring—which enables you to edit the same document at the same time with other people—and the very cool Office Web Apps that make it easy to work on documents with others, regardless of what version of Microsoft Office they use. But the new technology that gets my vote for most likely to save the day is the ability to recover documents that you close without saving.

    As I sit in the park writing this article on my laptop, recalling my first computer that was called a portable at 28 pounds, I have to say that this might be one of my favorite technological advances ever. Just think about it. How many times have you inadvertently closed a file without saving or closed without saving because you didn’t think you needed the content, and then had to recreate that content later?

    Word 2010 (as well as PowerPoint and Excel 2010) lets you recover versions of files that you close without saving, even if you never saved the file.

    When you click the File tab in an active document, the new Microsoft Office Backstage view opens to the Info tab shown in the image that follows. That tab gives you quick access to features like document properties and the ability to inspect the document for proprietary information you don’t want to share. It also gives you two new features for recovering unsaved files.

    clip_image004

    · Under the Versions heading that you see here, you get one-click access to up to the last five autosave versions of a previously-saved active document. By default, the last autosave version is kept automatically if you close the file without saving.

    · Also under the Versions heading, click Manage Versions for the option for Recover Unsaved Documents, where you can find drafts of documents that you never saved.

    To help you get the most from these useful new tools, keep the following in mind:

    · To ensure that your last autosave version will be kept if you close without saving, click the File tab to open Backstage view and then click Options. On the Save tab of that dialog box, select the option to keep the last autosave version if you close without saving. Also on the Save tab, you can find the location of your autosaved files.

    · Drafts of unsaved files are automatically kept for four days. If you’re working on a public computer or otherwise want to delete those files manually, just create a new document and then go to the Info tab in Backstage view. When your active document has not yet been saved, the option to delete all unsaved documents is available under Manage Versions.

    What about other new and improved features?

    As mentioned at the start of this article, these are just a few of many new features in Word 2010. So, what are some other new or improved tools for creating custom content or simplifying the work you do with documents? I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorites, in brief:

    · OpenType typography (such as support for ligatures or stylistic sets) will put a smile on any font fancier’s face.

    · Try adding some of the great new text effects—such as gradient fills, reflections, and bevels—to the paragraph styles in your document or template.

    · The Navigation Pane (which used to be called the Document Map) has some nice new features such as a pane that gives you a linked summary of all document search results at-a-glance.

    · You can now customize the Ribbon right from within Word 2010 (or any Office 2010 program).

    For help getting started on your explorations, you can download the Word 2010 product guide free from the Microsoft Download Center. The link provided here takes you to a page where you can access product guides for all of the Office 2010 applications and then some.

    ----------------------------

    Cross Posted on The Office Blog and The Word Blog 

     


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP John Ross as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for SharePoint" series. John Ross is a Senior Consultant and SharePoint Server MVP with SharePoint911 from Orlando, FL. He has over eight years of experience implementing solutions for clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies as well as government organizations. John is co-author of the books, “Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design” and “Real World SharePoint 2010” from Wrox. You can find him on twitter at http://twitter.com/johnrossjr or visit his blog at http://www.sharepoint911.com/blogs/john

    Many organizations implement SharePoint for a number of different reasons including collaboration, content management, business intelligence, process improvement, and many others. These are areas where organizations are leveraging the vast capabilities of SharePoint 2010 to allow their users to work smarter and not harder. 

    But one area that many organizations seem to forget about is the powerful enterprise search capabilities that are available out of the box with SharePoint 2010.  Search tends to be one of those areas with SharePoint that “just works,” so what usually happens in an organization is that the farm gets setup and search gets configured -- results come back and it is assumed that everything must be working. Right?  This approach is very common which is why when I go to work with different companies I often hear the same story about how “Search is broken” or “search sucks.”  But the fact of the matter is that in order to work to its full potential, search can’t be entirely an afterthought. However, getting better results from search doesn’t require a lot of effort.

    Before we can get into any search discussion we’ve got to start with the key measuring stick for determining whether any search engine works -- relevancy.  Relevancy is just another way of saying “did you find what you were looking for?” Users who have negative things to say usually aren’t finding what they are looking for and therefore have an issue with relevancy.  The following are a few quick and easy ways to improve relevancy across your organization with very little effort.

    Put more important documents near the root of the site, less important documents farther down the hierarchy -- They say the cream always rises to the top, and with search the same is true.  There are many factors that work together to determine the relevancy of a document but one rule of thumb is that the deeper the document is buried in your hierarchy the less relevant SharePoint is going to assume the document is in comparison to a similar document closer to the root.  As a rule of thumb, the less “/” in a URL to a piece of content the more relevant it is.  For example a document at http://sales/sharepoint-presentation.docx would be considered more relevant that http://sales/products/sharepoint-presentation.docx.

    Just remember that you can use this to your advantage. Less important documents and sites can be nested deeper in your hierarchy and more important ones can be closer to the top.

    Use natural language for site and file names -- Among the easiest and most effective things people can do to improve search relevancy is to name their sites and files effectively.  Look at these two URLs:

    http://sales/north-america/presentations/april-2011-widgets.docx

    http://slsna/p_wdgts411.docx

    The first document has a URL which has actual words used for the sites and document where the second one has some shorthand for the sites and document names.  The first one is far more effective because the URL and file names for a document in SharePoint are a heavily weighted component of the relevancy algorithm. If you were to type a search query of “sales presentations widgets” SharePoint would be able to determine clearly that the first document was relevant to the query.  Although the second document might have some of those words typed somewhere in the content, and would likely still show up somewhere in the results -- the first one will be considered more relevant simply because of the way it is named.

    It should also be noted that in order for this to work as effectively as possible it is important to NOT run your words together.  This is because SharePoint doesn’t know where words break unless you’ve got something between them that it identifies as a “wordbreaker.”  Although spaces are recognized as a word breaker in SharePoint, my recommendation is to use “-“ between words instead.  The main reason for this is because if you use spaces in things like site or page names when SharePoint will automatically remove them and you’ll lose out on the relevancy benefit you’d get otherwise. Other common word breakers that get used are things like underscores (_), periods, semi-colons.  If you happen to be using these, they are also all valid word breakers. 

    Supply metadata for your files -- If you aren’t familiar with the term metadata it basically means “data about data.” If you were talking about a car some common pieces of metadata would be make, model, color, mileage -- think about the types of things you’d use to find a car on a web site.  All of those pieces of data describe the car; they are its metadata.

    For your files in SharePoint, by tagging them with descriptive metadata you can make it easier for your users to find what they are looking for.  Remember, that metadata is always going to carry a heavier relevancy weight than content in the body of a document.

    How much metadata do you need?  Generally I recommend 5 to 10 fields that would be useful for categorizing a file.  Common examples would be: department, product name, type of document, client, etc.  The key to metadata is that it needs to be clear and consistent.  Here are a few metadata recommendations:

    • Use managed metadata fields, choice, or lookup fields so your users don’t have to manually type in metadata to ensure consistency.
    • Make as much of it required as possible - if you don’t your users likely won’t fill it out!
    • Resist the temptation to add too many fields. The idea is to make it easier for your users to find things, not make them have to take an hour to upload documents.

    Summary

    This article covered just a few basic tips, but even though they may seem small, they can have a huge impact on search relevancy for your users. And the best part is that it doesn’t take any custom code or even a lot of effort. The end result should be that users will spend less time looking for things in SharePoint which can add up to tons of ROI.  Managers like things that bring ROI and it usually puts them in a better mood when it is time to do performance reviews!


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    MVPs in Russian and the Commonwealth of Independent States are stepping up to help small- and mid-sized businesses stake their claim in these evolving economies by leveraging technology.

    The Microsoft SMB Portal in the region seeks to serve as a resource to these businesses, but what they needed was real-world advice on how to create solutions that would make a difference for their customers. Eight MVPs volunteered, writing a whopping 25 articles in less than a month. In fact, their articles have been so well-received that unique users to the site increased 10-fold. Now the regional Microsoft office is planning on posting an average of 12 MVP articles a month.

    SMB Online Marketing Manager in Russia, Alexey Shelaev, explained,The main purpose of the project is to tell our SMB customers and customers-to-be the benefits of using MS products to solve their daily business tasks. And to tell it not in marketing language, but in a language they understand and which is appealing to them.”

    Excel MVP Nikolay Pavlov agreed: “This project is a unique chance to deliver thаt huge amount of useful information that MVPs know, not only to technical specialists, but to directors of all levels in small and medium businesses.”

    As always, MVPs are providing invaluable tips and tricks based on their in-depth, hands-on expertise. “I try to show and describe the features of SharePoint which are given very little attention,” said SharePoint Server MVP Sergey Belskiy. “I also try to show how to adjust SharePoint to small and medium companies and how to automate business processes with the help of it.”

    Windows Expert – IT Pro MVP Dmitry Bulanov added, “I was interested in this project because in most cases system administrators of small and medium business do not have a full understanding of group policy technology and how they can configure clients in the organization. This technology is critical to organizations of any size, because through group policy you can optimally configure clients, end-users, as well as remote desktop servers, print servers and more.”

    Alexey reports they are planning on growing the project to include a series of webcasts with MVPs and possibly involving MVPs in some offline events. Also they are exploring creating a series of real-time Q&As with MVPs on their SMB social media channels. Already, the MVP articles are cross-posted on the regional SMB Facebook page and on Twitter.

    Here’s a sampling of the published articles:

    How to plan Active Directory domain structure in the company Introduction to Windows Group Policies

    Is Server Necessary for a Small Company?

    How to Plan Active Directory Forests in the Company's Infrastructure

    Best Practice of Using Technologies: Microsoft Office Live Small Business as a platform for Joint Work

    How to plan the deployment of Active Directory Services

    New Possibilities of Outlook 2010

    New Possibilities of Visualization of Business Reports in Microsoft Excel 2010


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Razi bin Rais as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for SharePoint" series. Razi bin Rais is currently working as a Microsoft Architect for a Global IT firm based in Manhattan, New York where he lead a team of consultants to deliver projects on latest Microsoft products and technologies including SharePoint Server 2010, Office 365, Azure and Windows Phone 7. He is also a Microsoft SharePoint Server MVP and MCT. He has authored numerous articles and also worked with Microsoft MSL as a SME on several Microsoft courses. He is also an international speaker for INETA and GITCA, and had led many sessions in several conferences & events including the SharePoint Conference SEA 2010, Microsoft TechDays, Microsoft ISV innovation Days, NYC SharePoint UG’s and SharePoint Saturdays.  He Blogs at http://razirais.wordpress.com , tweets at @razibinrais and can be reached at razibinrais@live.com.

    Microsoft Office 365 (currently in beta) is a next version of Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Standard Suite) which was launched couple of years back from Microsoft. Office 365 offers several key Microsoft server side products like SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010 and Lynch 2010 as Software as a Service (SaaS). Microsoft Office Professional Plus is also a part of Office 365 and available both as thick client (for which you have to pay each month to keep it activated) and as Microsoft Office Web Apps which provides online version of some of the Office Professional products, although with notable limitations. This article takes a look into Office 365 from a broader prospective and gives an overview of how productivity can be enhanced by using SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Office Professional Plus and Office Web Apps within an organization.

    Productivity is often impacted by total amount of time taken by organizations and its users to adopt a technology and how much learning curve is involve before users can effectively make use of it. Microsoft understands this challenge and ensures that users who are already comfortable working with SharePoint 2010 or Exchange 2010 on premise should easily adopt online versions of both of these products without any hassle. However there will be areas which require some extra effort, for example migration of SharePoint 2010 from on-premise version to online version requires careful analysis and planning along with the thorough understanding of risks and challenges associated with the migration.

    As organizations around the globe embrace cloud platforms we are going through a phase where hybrid environments are emerging and co-existence of on premise and online environments play a major role.  Coexistence has its challenges but it provide users with more options. A quick example of this is a Microsoft Office Professional 2010 which is a part of Office 365 offering. It gets installed locally on a user machine and provides user an ability to work with Professional editions of Microsoft Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint 2010 etc. Actually the only difference is the licensing model which restricts each user to install Microsoft Office Professional on maximum of five different machines. If user needs to install it on the sixth machine they have to first disable the subscription on at least one of the active machine. This is actually much easier than it sounds as de activating just requires couple of clicks, unlike uninstalling which is a more involve process. Also user can always come back and re activate there subscription on the de activated machine in the future.

    Microsoft Office 365 also includes Office Web Apps service which simply put provides an online version (albeit with limited features) of Microsoft Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and OneNote 2010.  Office Web Apps enables users to work and share documents regardless of their location and as these services are available online the basic requirement is merely reasonable internet connectivity with supported browsers. Following figure shows supported browsers on various platforms at the time of this writing. Note that not all of the supported browsers provide equal fidelity for Office Web Apps, for example users will get better experience when they view PowerPoint presentations online in a browser which supports Silverlight as compare to browser which does not support Silverlight. Also there is a slight difference in the browser support for Office Web Apps based on an actual platform that is used to host the Office Web Apps. Organizations planning to leverage Office Web App in enterprises should perform user trainings which focus on usage and scope of Office Web Apps. This will help organizations in maintaining user expectations to the reasonable level and also give users better idea about certain limitations of Office Web Apps. 

    From a technical prospective Office Web Apps is provided as an online service and it’s available through three different platforms. Windows Live, SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) and SharePoint 2010 on premise. If you opt for last option make sure to check with Microsoft regarding the Office Web App licensing as by default Microsoft Office 2010 volume licensing is required to host Office Web Apps on SharePoint 2010 on premise. The choice of platform will determine key characteristics like storage location, authentication and pricing etc. Following table shows some key differences that choice of platform will make on Office Web App.

    Office 365 provides SharePoint Online as SaaS (Software as a Service) and this service is based on SharePoint Server 2010 managed by Microsoft at their datacenters. SharePoint Online (accept SharePoint Online Dedicated) is based on multitenant model where hardware and software is shared among multiple tenants, as resources are shared this approach allows cost effective solutions with very affordable subscription models. One of the key advantages of SharePoint Online is that Microsoft will be responsible for maintaining both the hardware and software up to date, this includes deploying security patches, and service packs etc. and performing hardware upgrades whenever required.

    SharePoint online provides each tenant access to SharePoint Server 2010 features and functionality below the web application level, meaning full control of site collection(s) and sub sites underneath them (see the figure below). This ensures that security and privacy among the tenants is well respected all the times.

     

    With SharePoint online management and deployment of custom solutions (code, scripts, images etc.) is much simpler as all the solution deployments are based on “Sandbox” solutions.  Sandbox solutions allow administrators to easily monitor the health and performance of solutions and take appropriate actions against those solutions which do not behave properly.  As sandbox solutions prohibit access to places like file system and system registry they provide better security in multitenant environment.  Although Farm level solutions are around since the release of SharePoint 2007/WSS 3.0, the sandbox solutions are newer concept which is introduced in SharePoint 2010. Developers are slowly but effectively adopting them, perhaps the real challenge for developers is to work with the stringent settings which are part of Sandbox solutions that developers are not use to while working with Farm solutions (e.g.  Not able to access objects beyond site collection, GAC deployment in not available, deploying files to “14” hive is prohibited etc.). However with proper training and guidance the overall productivity gains from sandbox solutions overweight the learning curve that exists to successfully develop sandbox solutions which are low in resource consumption and optimal in performance.

    Microsoft provides 99.9 percent uptime as part of SLA, along with 12 hour RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and 24 hour RTO (Recovery Time Objective). This essentially means that in an event of disaster Microsoft protects the copy of SharePoint Online data for an organization which is not less than 12 hours old and the service will be resumed for organization within 24 hours.

    SharePoint Online has great integration story with other Microsoft products, in fact from an end user prospective that are familiar with consuming SharePoint 2010 from client products the difference between online and on premise version of SharePoint is negligible. 

    For example the users using Microsoft Word, Excel, and Workspace etc. will get same user experience from these products as they are already getting while using SharePoint 2010 on-premise.  Following figure shows some of the applications that SharePoint Online natively integrates with.

    “Cloud” (use whatever postfix you want) is no panacea, it’s mainly an enabler for companies to be more productive and cost effective. However organizations with sensitive data (e.g. financial investment companies) should be aware of the risks when putting data into the cloud, even if it’s on the private cloud. The cost of data leakage can be anywhere form losing customers to facing lawsuits, simply put make sure that you have completely understand risks associate with could model in general. Always better to plan ahead to deal with potential security issues that may occur in the future.  Also it’s important to approach Microsoft and get a thorough understanding SLA from a legal standpoint including compensation in case of data leakage etc.  You may also want to investigate more about data center locations where your data will ultimately be residing, keep in mind that IP (Intellectual Property) laws vary from country to country and this factor alone can play significant role in devising risk mitigation strategy.

    OK so let’s switch gear and take a look into a scenario where a company will utilize SharePoint Online Exchange Online along with Office Professional to raise its productivity.

    “Contoso Insurance” is a small size issuance company with Office 365 subscription to full fill their collaboration, document management, task management and messaging needs. As they are limited in budget and resources they do not want investment in infrastructure and wants to keep their IT staff to minimal. Apart from the cost Contoso Insurance has two primary reasons for adopting Office 365. First is the flexibility of Office 365 to let Consto Insurance meet there key business requirements either by easily configuring out of box features of Office 365 or by allowing them to extend the existing functionality of Office 365 by deploying custom solutions on top of it. Secondly as most of the Contoso Insurance employees are already familiar with Microsoft Office products there is very little or no learning curve involve in adopting Office 365.    

    Let’s take a look at how “Contoso Insurance” team will leverage Office 365 to improve their daily productivity by using features from SharePoint online, Exchange online, Outlook and Office Professional Plus.

     Meet Bob, Annie and Dave who work at Contoso Insurance, see their role description below.

    The team work together to process the Claims Request, this includes submitting, reviewing and finalizing claims requests. Following diagram shows the high level process flow.

    As Dave visits the client he launch “Contoso Insurance Claim Manager” application on his WP7 (Windows Phone 7), this is a WP7 application develop by Bob and his team to help insurance agents working onsite to submit new claims.  This application uses SharePoint Online Web Services to push and pull the data from “Claims List” located inside Consoto Insurance Portal, this lists store all the claims requested from the client.

    Dave enters the claim details along with the snapshot of the damage claimed by the client. 

    Once done he clicks “Submit” button to save the claim information into the Claims List. Dave gets the message telling him that Claim Request is submitted successfully.

    See the following figure below which shows new claim request item created inside the Claims List.  Also as new claim is added to the list there is an automated email send to Annie, who needs to work on this Claim Request.

    As Annie starts her day she found out that she needs to send couple of urgent emails right away to her colleagues in different department. Rather than wasting her time by opening and login separately to outlook client application she just browsed to her “MySite” hosted at SharePoint Online. Consoto Insurance designated “MySite” for each employee in their organization. She can access her Inbox, Calendar, Tasks etc. right from her MySite home page. See the figure below which captures part of Annie’s MySite page.

    She notice that there is an email regarding a new Claims Request in her Inbox, she open it to check for details.

    As she read the email, she clicks the link which is provided to her in the email. This link takes her directly to the page which shows detail about the claim. The claim details are located inside Claims Lists which is part of Consoto Insurance Portal, as Annie is already logged into her “MySite” she does not need to provide her credentials again.

    There are couple of key productivity gains to notice here, earlier when Dave submits the new Claims Request he don’t have to  deal with anything other than a  simple application page from his WP7, this is important as mostly people who works from field does not have time to browse webpages from smartphone. Secondly as Dave submits the new Claim Request, there is an automated email send to Annie without any human intervention, this helps unloading the burden from employees and save them from doing unnecessary laborious work which can be automated.

    As Annie begins work on Claim Request, she needs assistance from several external consultants which are not employee of Consoto Insurance. She needs to make sure that she can collaborate with these consultants online right from Contoso Insurance Portal. To get this done she drops an email to Bob with email id’s of these consultants. 

    As Bob gets an email from Annie containing list of email id’s of external consultants, he browsed to the “SharePoint Online Administration Center” site as shown in figure below. If you are familiar with SharePoint 2010 this is similar to Central Administration but limited in scope and features as SharePoint Online does not allows access to objects beyond site collection level. 

    In order to allow external users to join Contoso Insurance Portal Bob needs to send an email invite to these users, this email will contain a link which external users can use to join the Contoso Insurance Portal.  Note that the process of managing external users differs slightly between different Office 365 subscription plans.

    As a first step Bob needs to enable the management of external users for the Contoso Insurance site collection, as mentioned earlier there is no access to SharePoint web application hence entry point to SharePoint Online is always at a site collection level. Administrators need to enable and configure external users for each site collection individually. However for better productivity they can use Remote PowerShell for SharePoint to automate this. Please note that Remote PowerShell support for SharePoint Online in not available during Office 365 private beta but it will be supported at the time of Office 365 general availability. On the other hand Remote PowerShell is supported for Exchange Online during private beta and will be supported after its general availability. 

    Bob selects the “Contoso Site Collection” and clicks “Manage Share by Email” button from ribbon. (Please note that in following figure name of site in the URL is masked because of IP reasons)

    On the “External Users” dialog, Bob can decide whether to allow site collection administrators to invite people from outside the organization to access the site collection.  Bob selects “Allow” and clicks “Save”.

    Next Bob browse to Contoso Insurance Portal, and navigates to its “Site Settings” page. He then locates and click “External user permissions” link present under “Users and Permissions” section as shown in figure below

    On “Add External Users” page he uses the email id’s send by Annie to send email invite to the external users. He also give invitee “Contribute level” permissions on the Contoso Insurance Portal and finally put text for the Welcome E-mail, which will be send to the users along with the link to join the portal. This is shown in the figure below.

    External users will receive an email invitation to join the Contoso Insurance portal as shown below (some details are masked because of IP reasons) 

    Contoso Insurance adheres corporate policy to put litigation hold on all the corporate email accounts which directly exchange emails with external consultants. This ensures that deleted emails got preserved and can be discovered later in time whenever needed for legal purposes. Also as a part of policy employees must be notified whenever there account is put under litigation hold. 

    Bob have to put Annie’s email account on legislation hold. In order to do so he navigates to “Office 365 Administration Home Page”, and clicks “Manage” link located under “Exchange Online” section as shown in figure below.

    From “Users & Groups” à “Mailboxes” select the user (“Annie” in this case) 

    Click on “Details” button from the tab, button will be enabled once user is selected. On the details page, locate and expand “Mailbox Features” section, by default litigation hold is disabled. To enable it select “Litigation Hold” and click “Enable” as shown in figure below. 

    This will open up a pop up dialog (see the figure below) which allows sending of an email notification to an account which is about to be put under litigation hold. Bob put some explanatory notes for Annie to explain her reason why her account is put under litigation hold.  Litigation settings usually take thirty to sixty minutes to apply. 

    As Annie starts working on the claim request she browse to Contoso Insurance Portal, navigates to “Claim Reviews” document library and creates a new Claim Review document (see the figure below).The new document is based on “Claims Review” content type which is attached to “Claims Review” document library. Also this content type has a custom Microsoft Word 2010 template associated with it which allows Contoso Insurance to manage consistence document formatting and template for all the claims review documents.

    Notice that the newly created document is open online (see figure below) inside the Microsoft Office Web App for Microsoft Word, this is a default behavior. Online editing of Microsoft Office documents comes really handy for users who do not have client version of Microsoft Office installed on their workstation. 

    Annie however wants to use the Microsoft Word 2010 which is part of Office 365 Microsoft Professional Plus that is already installed on her workstation. This allows her experiencing full fidelity while working with the documents, especially those with complex graphic objects like Smart Art etc. She clicks “Open in Word” button (as shown in figure above) to open the document in Microsoft Word 2010 (as shown in figure below)

    Once done with the updates, she saves the document with name “CLAIM-001” back to the document library. However she wants to collaborate with Dave and take his feedback on the document. This requires not only the updates to the document but also tasks that need to be done before document considered ready for final review by Kevin.

    To easily collaborate on the document Annie wants to create a “Document Workspace” for “CLAIM-001” document. She navigates to the “Claim Reviews” library and selects the “CLAIM-001”document. Next she right clicks it and select “Send To” à “Create Document Workspace” option. This will create a new Document Workspace for “CLAIM-001” document (see the figure below). 

    Document Workspaces facilitates team members to work collectivity on a document. Features like Tasks, Links and Announcements etc. are readily available in the workspace. Also there is an option to synchronize original document (for which document workspace is created), with all the changes occur to it within the workspace. Notice that the workspace gets name of the document i-e “CLAIM-001”, which shows that whole workspace is centered around it. Also the home page comes with the web parts nicely arranged as shown in figure below.

    Annie now adds Dave to the members group by clicking on “Add new user” (see figure below).One of the key points for getting high productivity is simplicity of tasks (like adding users to workspace) and they should be achievable with minimal of effort.

    Dave gets an email notification notifying him that he is now member of “CLAIM-001” document workspace. He navigates to the workspace and starts working on the document, he also creates some tasks for Annie by clicking “Add new item” link underneath the “Tasks” list web part. Annie also creates some links (as shown in figure below) to help Dave seek the information related to insurance claims and policies that will help him analyzing the claim request.

    One of the powerful features in SharePoint 2010 is Co-Authoring which is also available in SharePoint Online. This feature allows multiple users to work on a same document at the same time, this greatly enhance productivity as users does not have to wait for other users to finish working on the document. 

    As Annie and Dave finish working on the the document, Annie decides to publish the document back to “Claim Reviews” document library. She selects the “CLAIM-001” document present inside “Shared Documents” library in the workspace and clicks “Send To” à “Publish to Source Location” option (as shown in figure below). 

    Next Annie needs to send the document link to Kevin for final review and approval. She browse to “Contoso Insurance Portal” and navigates to the “Cliam Review” document library. From the library she selects “CLAIM-001” document and choose “Send To” à “E-mail the Link” (see figure below)

    She customizes the email message and sends it to Kevin as shown in figure below.

    Kevin uses Outlook 2010 for accessing his emails which is installed on this workstation. He already synchronized “Claim Reviews” document library with Outlook (see figure below), this allows him to quickly open the claims related documents and review them without even navigating to “Contoso Insurance Portal”.  For him this greatly improves his productivity as most part of his daily workload constitutes of emailing and reviewing documents.

    As Kevin receives an email from Annie regarding the claim approval, he clicks on the document library and selects on “CLAIM-001” document (as shown in figure below) within the Outlook.

    He then double clicks the document to open it in Word 2010. After reviewing the document he add his comments and finally approve the document by selecting “Approved” from the “Status” quick part (see the figure below)

    Kevin finally save & close the document. Word 2010 will automatically push the changes back to the document in the “Claim Reviews” document library.  Notice that the “Status” drop down field that is available inside the document as a quick part is actually pulls its value from the choice column which is part of “Claim Reviews” document library.

    As “CLAIM-001” is approved (see figure above), as a final step the “ItemUpdating” custom event receiver associated with “Claim Reviews” library will automatically execute. This event receiver is deployed by Bob as a Sandbox solution which contains custom business logic that will create or update a list item inside “Claims Outcome” custom list (as shown in figure below).

    “Claims Outcome” list comprises of two columns, a “Claim” column which is essentially a lookup column to the “Claims” list and a “Status” column which is a custom column.  By using SharePoint lists intelligently but carefully various business requirements can be met easily. If “ClaimID-001” is clicked (as shown in figure above) it will open up a dialog displaying claim details (as shown in figure below)

    As Annie, Bob, Dave and Kevin calls off their day, they enjoyed greater productivity by using various services of Office 365 which helps them perform their daily tasks in an easy and intuitive ways.

     

    Resources    

    If you want to get more information about Office 365 please visit the following links. I also keep updated links to Office 365 resources at this blog post.

    Office 365 Plans (Pricing & Availability)


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    Guest post by Paulette Suddarth, Microsoft senior events marketing manager

    Next Monday in Atlanta, GA, marks the launch of the 19th annual Microsoft Tech·Ed North America conference, where thousands of developers and IT professionals will gather to get the latest on more than 90 current and soon-to-be-released Microsoft products. And MVPs will be there in force.

    As respected technology experts and community leaders, the conference looks to MVPs as authorities on how Microsoft technologies are put to work each day. MVPs are offered permanent early-bird discounts to attend, and they often are sought-after speakers at this prestigious event.

    This year, around a quarter of the speakers at Tech·Ed will come from outside of Microsoft—of those, an impressive 50% are MVPs. You can find the full line-up here.

    That’s not the only way MVPs contribute. You’ll find them all around the four-day conference, lending their expertise at hands-on labs and booths.

    If this is your first Tech·Ed, I recommend taking a few minutes to listen to ASP.NET MVP Richard Campbell’s .Net Rocks! Interview, Tech·Ed 101. Richard shares his secrets for getting the most from the conference, as well as describing his work as a judge at this year’s Speaker Idol and the 64 Bit Question game show.

    For MVPs, Tech·Ed also offers a chance to gain deeper community engagement through private side sessions. These have been organized by MVP Lead Heather Kostes who, along with Garth O’Brien, will be hosting the MVP Community Lounge in the Technical Learning Center. Look for them next week, and watch their quick interview now about heading off to Tech·Ed.


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Becky Bertram  as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for SharePoint" series. Becky Bertram is a SharePoint consultant living in the St. Louis area. She has been building web content management solutions for clients since 1999. Becky recently authored several chapters in the book “SharePoint 2010 Six in One”, including a chapter on developing and using Publishing sites in SharePoint 2010. You can read Becky’s blog at http://blog.beckybertram.com, her RSS feed at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/BeckyBertramsBlog, or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckybertram.

    If you’ve ever created a new Publishing Page in a SharePoint 2010 Publishing site, you might have noticed that when you place your cursor inside an HTML Field control on the page, a number of options become available to you in the ribbon for editing font styles within the control. As you can see from the screenshot below, you can edit the font used, its size, and its color. You can decorate the text by making it bold, italicized, underlined, highlighted, etc. You also can assign pre-determined styles to sections of your text by using the Styles or Markup Styles menus available on the right side of the ribbon.

    Often times, graphic designers would like to limit the ability for content authors to assign font styles that deviate from an overall graphic direction for the site. For instance, if the colors of a site are blue and green, it might be disruptive to the look and feel of the site for a content author to add red and yellow text to a page. Luckily, as a developer, it’s possible to modify the properties of an HTML Field control in a Page Layout in order to limit the options available to content authors in the ribbon. Additionally, it’s possible to add additional styles to the Styles and Markup Styles menus. This article will show you how.

    The easiest way to see which properties are available to you for the HTML Field control is to open up a Page Layout using SharePoint Designer. Click on one of the RichHtmlField controls in Design View, and take a look at the Tag Properties task pane. (If the Tag Properties task pane is not visible, you can click on the View tab in the ribbon, and then select the Tag Properties pane from the Task Panes drop down menu.)


    If you set the AllowFonts property to False, the entire Font section of the ribbon becomes disabled for content authors, like this:


    In the same way, setting the AllowParagraphFormatting property to False disables the paragraph indentation and justification buttons in the Paragraph section of the ribbon; setting the AllowStyles property to False disables the Styles menu, and setting the AllowTextMarkup property to False disables the Markup Styles menu. If all of these properties were set to False, the ribbon would look like this:


    It’s possible also to turn off just one button or set of buttons in the ribbon, without disabling an entire section of controls. For instance, you might not want content authors to be able to select a specific font and font size for their text because you would prefer for the style assigned to the control in the page’s cascading style sheet (CSS) to take effect instead. If that’s the case, you can disable the font drop down menu and font size menu by setting the AllowFontsMenu property to False. However, if you would like even more granular control, you can disable just the “theme” fonts or just the “standard” fonts available in the font drop down menu by setting the AllowThemeFonts or AllowStandardFonts properties to False. In this screen shot, the AllowStandardFonts property is set to False.


    Although you might want the font styles in your HTML Field control to default to the style you specified in your CSS file, it’s nice to be able to provide content authors with a certain degree of freedom to assign various styles within the page, such as applying headings to sections of text, or highlighting particular paragraphs. The beauty of providing options in the Styles and Markup Styles menus is that you can provide content authors with these sorts of options, while still dictating their styling. For instance, you can give a content author the ability to add a heading to a page, but you can pre-define the heading style so that it uses 14 pixel high blue Arial.

    Too add a new item to the Styles menu in the ribbon, simply add a new class to (either directly to the Page Layout or to a cascading style sheet that is being referenced by your Page Layout or Master Page), and prefix the class with .ms-rteStyle-. For instance, to add a new item to the Styles menu called BlueBackground, you would create a new style with a name of .ms-rteStyle-BlueBackground.  Next, add an attribute to the class called -ms-name: followed by the name that you want to show up in the Styles menu. (In our example, this would be “Blue Background”.) Here’s an example of what this might look like:

    .ms-rteStyle-BlueBackground {
        -ms-name:Blue Background;
        background-color: blue;
        color: white;
    }

    Adding this class to your style sheet would add an item to the Styles menu like this:


    If a content author applied this style to their text, it would look like this:


    You can do something similar to add a markup style to the Markup Styles menu. In this case, prefix your class name with .ms-rteElement- (instead of .ms-rteStyle-.) Secondly, keep in mind that you can add an HTML element to your class, and the text in the HTML Field control will use that HTML element. For instance, to add a style called Blue Heading 1 to your Markup Styles menu, you could add the following class to your style sheet:

    H1.ms-rteElement-H1Blue{
        -ms-name:Blue Heading 1;
        color: blue;
    }

    This would add an item to the Markup Styles menu like this:


    If a content author applied the style to their control, the new font would use the <H1/> HTML markup tag, and style it to be the color blue, like this:


    If you want to modify the existing Styles and Markup Style menu options, you can simply override the existing .ms-rteStyle- and .ms-rteElement- classes, which have been defined in the default SharePoint CSS file called COREV4.CSS. (If SharePoint was installed in the default location on your server and your default language is English, COREV4.CSS can be found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\1033\STYLES\COREV4.CSS.)

    I hope this article has provided a starting point for you to experiment with ways to modify the fonts and styles that content authors can use in the ribbon when editing Publishing Pages in your SharePoint Publishing site. For more information, visit the MSDN article How to: Customize the HTML Editor Field Control.


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  • 05/17/11--10:02: MVPs Chat It Up on Twitter
  • MVPs around the world came together for the first official MVP Twitter Chat on April 28th!  Attendance was huge, the conversations fun and informative, and we have a record of it all thanks to Silverlight MVP Tony Champion (@tonychampion).

    Tony used the Silverlight PivotViewer to organize the #mvpchat tweets. Make sure to check out the conversation here.

    Photo: This chat was fueled by coffee and doughnuts.

    Around the globe and across 11 time zones, 345 MVPs jumped into the conversation. Here’s what it felt like on the Microsoft campus:

    By 8:30 am PST, our conference room was filled with excitement— the combined effects of doughnuts, caffeine, and stepping into the unknown. Our group had never tried this before; what if we threw a party and nobody came?

    Photo: Where all the magic happened.

    Ten members of the MVP Award team (@MVPchat) had gathered to moderate and at 8:59 am, we all exchanged an "Oh my gosh what have we done?" look. A minute later, we buckled down as a flood of #mvpchat tweets began to hit Twitter. Introductions and questions began bouncing back and forth between MVPs, and we started calling out the questions and trying to post them as rapidly as we could. Networking and rich conversation flowed from around the world. True to form, MVPs were answering questions and at the same time driving conversations for the chat. For two hours, Twitterland became MVPchatland! 

    Photo: Our highly advanced question tracker.

    Photo: Trend  map of where the #mvpchat tweets were coming from.

    You may ask, why chat on Twitter? We say, why not!? Our main focus with this chat was to provide an opportunity for MVP-to-MVP networking and for new MVPs to ask questions of more seasoned MVPs, introduce themselves, and connect with the broader MVP community. We clocked more than 2,000 tweets during this inaugural event and are looking forward to the next MVP Twitter Chat!

    ASP.NET/IIS MVP @gpeipman described his evening with a tweet, "One silent evening with pork, Heineken and heavy metal #mvpchat.”

    A big thank you to Tony Champion!


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    Do you have tough technical questions regarding SharePoint for which you're seeking answers? Do you want to tap into the deep knowledge of the talented Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals? The SharePoint MVPs are the same people you see in the technical community as authors, speakers, user group leaders and answerers in the MSDN and TechNet forums. By popular demand, we have brought these experts together as a collective group to answer your questions live. So please join us and bring on the questions! This chat will cover WSS 3.0, MOSS, SharePoint Foundation 2010 and the SharePoint Server 2010. Topics include setup and administration, design, development and general question.

    Please join us on Wednesday May 25th at 9am PDT to chat with MVPs from around the world.  Learn more and add these chats to your calendar by visiting the MSDN event page http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/events/aa497438.asp


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    Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by SharePoint Server MVP Randy Drisgill as part of the MVP Award Program Blog's "MVPs for SharePoint" series. Randy is the Branding and Design Lead for SharePoint911. He has more than ten years of experience developing, designing, and implementing Internet based software for clients ranging from small business to Fortune 500 companies. Randy has been working with SharePoint since the beta of SharePoint 2007 and has worked on many large-scale internal and public facing SharePoint branding projects. In 2009, Randy was recognized by Microsoft as an authority on SharePoint branding and design by being awarded MVP status for SharePoint Server. Randy has worked on several SharePoint articles, books, and white papers as well as having co-authored Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding & User Interface Design for Wrox Press (http://bit.ly/sp2010-brandingbook). You can find Randy on Twitter as @Drisgill and at his blog (http://blog.drisgill.com).

    The Content Query Web Part (CQWP) was introduced in SharePoint 2007 and is focused on rolling up information from sites in the current site collection by querying, filtering, and sorting the content. You can use this web part in any SharePoint Server site that has the publishing features enabled. Because of its hooks into SharePoint Server publishing, the CQWP can not only roll up information from lists, but it can also roll up information from publishing pages. In this blog post I will show you how to create a CQWP that rolls up news articles from a sub site, as well as how to take advantage of some of the new CQWP features in SharePoint 2010.

    Creating the News Articles and Adding the CQWP

    Be sure to start with a SharePoint Server publishing site (either create a new one by selecting one of the publishing site templates or by activating the publishing features on an existing site).

    1. From your parent publishing site, create a new sub-site using the Publishing Site template and call it News,

    2. In the News site, create a few new pages (at least two), each using the Article Page Image on Left page layout. Be sure you enter content and images for the Byline and Rollup Image fields. To do this, click Site Actions > New Page. Then when the page is created, switch the layout by editing the page, then from the ribbon click Page > Page Layout > Article Page > Image on Left. Add some fake content to each page including the Byline and Rollup Image and then save and publish / approve the pages. (Note: if you can’t find the Image on Left page layout you may need to activate it from Site Actions > Site Settings > Page layouts and site templates

    3. Now, navigate back to the top level site, edit the page, and add a Content Query Web Part.

    4. When the page refreshes, click the link to open the tool pane for the CQWP. Then expand the Query section and select Show Items from the following site and all subsites then click Browse. From the Select Site dialog click on your newly created News site and then click OK.

    5. From this web part menu you could filter, group, and sort the items however you would like. Click OK to see the results.

    Right now the results aren’t great; they basically show the title and some rollup images. To show the page content we will need to change some settings.

    Working with Fields to Display

    If you are familiar with how the XSLT styles worked with the CQWP in 2007, you might remember having to export CQWP’s, edit CommonViewFields, and reimport them. In SharePoint 2010 you can now handle this directly in the Web UI with the new Fields to display option.

    1. Edit the CQWP again and expand the Presentation tab, you can select group and item styles here, both correspond to XSL files that are in the site collection’s Style Library under XSL Style Sheets. For this demo we will leave them set to Default and Image on left.

    2. The next setting is Fields to display, change Description from the default “Comments” to “Page Content” and click OK.

    This setting basically shows slots for all the displayed values from the selected itemstyle XSL. You can set whatever field you want to show for those display values. In this case we set the Description value to the Page Content field. With it set properly, the CQWP now shows the page contents as well as the other information. If you wanted to, you could enhance the layout and styles even more by editing the itemstyle XSL file.

    Note that any HTML source is currently escaped and displayed as text in the CQWP. To have the actual HTML rendered you would need to edit the itemstyle XSL. This is outside of the scope of this article, but if you are familiar with editing itemstyles, you need to add disable-output-escaping="yes" to <xsl:value-of select="@Description"/>

    Working with the new CQWP Filters

    SharePoint 2007 included the ability to filter CQWP’s by specific field content, but in SharePoint 2010 there are a couple new filtering options. Rather than just check that a field has a specific string, you can filter that field by either PageFieldValue (which matches the value of another field on the page) or PageQueryString (which matches the value of a URL variable that is passed to the page). In this example we will filter the CQWP by a URL value.

    1. Edit the CQWP again and expand the Query tab

    2. Under Additional Filters select Byline, contains, and enter “[PageQueryString: MyFilter]” then click OK.

    This will tell the CQWP to filter based on the text of the byline of the news article pages to see if it contains the value of the variable MyFilter that will be passed over the URL. To test it, save the page, then change the URL in your browser to include the current page URL and a MyFilter variable. Be sure to pick a value that matches something you entered in one of the bylines of the news article pages. It should look like this:

    http://YOURSERVER/Pages/NEWSPAGENAME.aspx?MyFilter=Randy

    This would cause the CQWP to only show items that have “Randy” in the byline. This can be a very useful feature; you could create a page of links that sends over various categories in URL variables and filter the CQWP on the news page based on those values. By doing something like this you can reuse the same CQWP page to show many different types of filtered content in the rollup.


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