Availability of Infrastructure Updates for SharePoint

Last week, Microsoft announced three updates which affect SharePoint Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Project Server 2007, Search Server 2008, Search Server 2008 Express and Project Professional 2007.

These updates are explained on the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog: Announcing: Availability of Infrastructure Updates.

The Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers contains the new Enterprise Search features that were shipped in Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express that were are not already in SharePoint Server 2007; this includes Federated Search capability, a unified administration dashboard and several Search core platform performance updates.  Read more about the new Search features here.

There are several Content Deployment updates included in both the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. These updates address many of the top customer reported issues with Content Deployment.  Read more about the Content Deployment updates here.

The Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547) include several usability and performance updates for Project Server 2007 and Project Professional 2007 in addition to addressing the top customer reported issues.  Read more about the Project Server and Project Professional updates here and in this White Paper.

All three updates contain fixes and product performance updates driven by customer feedback which have resulted in significant platform performance improvements in several areas.  There has also been a focus on several core platform components, including improvements to upgrade, future patching and servicing, several targeted updates for workflow, the Business Data Catalog and inter-farm server authentication with Kerberos.  For more detailed information please read the KB articles listed further on in this post.

We strongly recommend that you install the updates that apply to you as soon as your patching and maintenance schedules permit.

The updates can be downloaded from the links below:

Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297)x86

Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297)x64

Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695)x86

Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695)x64

Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547)x86

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Microsoft Search Server Express 2008

There’s a post over the SharePoint Solutions Blog which describes the benefits of Microsoft’s new Search Server Express 2008 well. One key benefit: You can search across Site Collections in WSS!

An excerpt:

So the scenario is that you have deployed WSS in your company and you do not have a need for most of the MOSS features at this time (personalization, records management, My Sites, etc.). Using WSS, you have setup a separate site collection for each department in the company. The HR department wants to know why they can’t search for information in the Marketing department directly from their own site without having to navigate to the Marketing site. You explain to them: "You are not in the same site collection. Remember when you guys had asked that you want your own database because of the sensitivity of your data… well, we had to give you your own site collection. WSS does not support search across site collections". That doesn’t go well with the folks in the HR department and you are scrambling to find a solution.

See Introducing Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express for the full details.

System Requirements

Search Server Express requires the Windows Server 2003 or 2008 operating system.

  • Processor: 2.5 gigahertz (GHz) (minimum)

  • Memory: 2 gigabytes (GB) RAM (minimum)

  • Operating System: Any of the following editions of the Windows Server 2003 or newer operating system with the most recent service packs: Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition, and Web Edition.

  • Hard disk: NTFS-formatted partition with 3 GB of free space (minimum)

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 with ASP.NET 2.0 enabled

  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

  • Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation Runtime Components

  • Note: Search Server 2008 Express can be installed on one computer only. It supports an unlimited number of Web front-end servers, but only one application server.

Plotting Your Data in SharePoint Using Virtual Earth or Silverlight

Over at the Microsoft SharePoint Designer Team Blog, there’s a nice post from Jon Campbell about how to plot your data using Virtual Earth.

The first step is to get your data into nice shape using some geocoding service.  There are many of these out there these days, but Yahoo’s service has been many people’s favorite for quite a while: Yahoo! Maps Web Services.  Especially if your data points aren’t going to change often, you should go through this exercise just once and store the results in the list(s) you are using to store your locations (offices, customers, etc.)

Once you have the data in place, you can quite easily set up a DVWP to display your data points on a map on your page, and the post above gives you a nice outline on how to go about it.

If you want to take things a step further, take a look at Jon’s follow-up post describing how to use Silverlight charting to spiff things up even more.

NOTE (added 7/22): Tracing through the two comments below (Thanks, Ian and Tom — Your examples are very useful.), there’s another nice post on the Microsoft SharePoint Designer Team Blog from Greg Chan covering using Virtual Earth in a DVWP: How to Integrate Virtual Earth Maps with a SharePoint List.  His post is a little different that the one above, as it focuses on plotting a single location.  By plotting a single address, you don’t need to use lat/long, as Virtual Earth automagically centers the view on that one point.

Another Note (added 7/24): To use Virtual Earth, you’ll really want to check out the Virtual Earth SDK.  One of the nicest things about this SDK is that it shows you some of the things you can do visually.  When you click on the links on the left, you can see working examples.

Catching Up on My Blog Subscriptions

I’m on vacation this week in Topsail, NC with my extended family.  It’s hot as Hades outside, and as long as my family doesn’t drag me outside to the beach, I’ll be catching up on the SharePoint-oriented blogs I try to watch.  (I love the beach, but at 96 degrees, I can only take so much of it.)

It used to be that keeping up was easy: There wasn’t that much out there that was valuable, and folks didn’t post all that often.  Now there is so much good stuff that it takes a good amount of time to keep up.  Just to stay sane, I try to limit my focus, but there are some things that always catch my eye:

  • Good DVWP tricks
  • Good JavaScript tricks
  • Mapping tricks with Virtual Earth
  • Deployment and instantiation tricks

I know that I’m missing some bullets, but these are the things I’m spotting today.

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Another Argument for SharePoint Designer vs. Visual Studio

As anyone who follows my blog (or is unfortunate enough to get roped into a conversation with me about it) knows, I’m a HUGE fan of the Data View Web Part (aka Data Form Web Part or DVWP).  Chris O’Brien has written two great posts (so far) about using just the SPDataSource to get at SharePoint-based content in your pages: SPDataSource – every SharePoint developer’s friend.

Most people I talk to find it hard to believe that I don’t want to write custom Web Parts to get things done, but with things like the SPDataSource available to you, you often just don’t need to go that far. SharePoint Designer may be just the ticket instead. Why is that important?  Well, with various clients I have found:

  • Deployment of managed code sometimes needs to go through a more rigorous (read: onerous, albeit perhaps necessary) process of QA, UAT, etc.
  • Direct access to the server (or even Central Administration) may be off limits to you as a developer, especially in production
  • So-called "custom" requirements may be needed on only one or two pages in the entire application
  • Real codeheads (C# and/or VB) aren’t available in the SharePoint support group(s)
  • Designer-based code can be stored and managed in a central location and reused in pages throughout the application

So, for any custom requirements that you find yourself faced with, try to seriously weigh whether you need to go to managed code or not.  No, you can’t solve everything in SharePoint Designer, but if you can, with well-thought out processes it can make for easier deployment and application management.