SharePoint Saturday Boston Quick Update

My session at SharePoint Saturday Boston will be from 10:45 am – 12:00 pm on Developing with SharePoint Designer – The Middle Tier, Focus on Data View Web Parts (DVWP).  Hope to see you there!

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Why Won’t SharePoint Designer Recognize IE8? Firefox!

I loaded IE8 about a month ago and since then I’ve been getting the error below after I check in a page.  First, the usual message that the page needs to be approved:

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If I choose ‘Yes’, I get the error: “A World Wide Web browser, such as Windows Internet Explorer, is required to use this feature.”, as below:

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I did some surfing, and I’m not the only one seeing this behavior.  Others are seeing it in other instances that actually prevent them from accomplishing the task at hand.  My guess is that it is a bug, since IE8 is still in Beta.  The workaround is simple in this case: Just keep a browser window open to Galleries/Master pages and page layouts/My Submissions view in the Site Settings (http://[servername]/_catalogs/masterpage/Forms/my-sub.aspx).  This is the page that SharePoint Designer sends you to, which is convenient, but hardly a show-stopper if you can’t get there automagically.

UPDATE 2009-04-10: Well, IE8 is fully released now, and I’m still seeing this issue.  I still haven’t solved it with all my poking around and I’m still just working around it.  Anyone out there found a solution?

UPDATE 2009-04-19: Found the answer in a discussion that covered this message from a different angle.  The problem had nothing to do with SharePoint Designer or IE8, per se.  I had Firefox installed on my machine so that I could test how pages look in it, and somehow it was registered as the default program for something that SharePoint Designer must not have liked.  By uninstalling Firefox, the problem went away.  When I reinstalled Firefox (I still wanted it), I simply unchecked the option for Firefox to be the default browser, and all was good.  Simple solution to an annoying problem!  Sorry to cast aspersions on IE8, as it didn’t really have much, if anything, to do with it.

Bumping Up Your Blog Stats: A Good Thing?

I’ve been watching my blog stats go up lately with a lot of hits from condron.us and alphainventions.com.  I’ve done some research into both and I have a few opinions I’d like to share.  (Note that you can see your blog hits here at WordPress by going to your Dashboard and then Blog Stats: currently http://[your blog’s name]/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats.)

First of all, make sure that you know why you are blogging.  In other words, what’s your blogging strategy?  At one end of the spectrum (let’s call this the orange end), you may by trying to make yourself heard in the world or to impress your family or friends.  On the other end (let’s call this end purple), you may be trying to promote yourself professionally or share your genuine expertise on some topic.  On either end of the spectrum you may also want to monetize your blog, i.e., figure out a way to make money from people reading it or from hits.

Next, decide what hits mean to you.  How do they contribute to your strategy?  Does a high number of hits indicate success against your strategy?  Hits simply indicate that one of the pages in your blog was loaded by something somewhere.  WordPress (this platform) attempts to exclude hits from yourself for you, as do many other platforms.  So a hit indicates that a page was loaded by *something* (note that it doesn’t have to be a person) other than you, but it doesn’t indicate that anyone read the page.

Now that you have those two answers in mind, here’s what I think about the two Web sites above and any others that come along.  If your strategy falls on the orange end of the spectrum, then bring on the hits, baby!  You’ll want as many hits as you can get.  If your strategy is more toward the purple end, then maybe those hits aren’t so good after all.  The Web sites above (I am not mentioning them repeatedly so that they don’t “notice” this post too much) will bump up your hits, no question about it.  But if you want your blog to get you real page reads and some good discussion in the comments, then those aren’t the hits that you want.  You want real people reading the words you are putting in their browser windows.  The sites above can’t promise that (and they don’t), but they can boost your hit numbers.

In case you are wondering, my blog is more of the purple variety.  I want to (for the most part) post real solutions to real problems, generally about Microsoft SharePoint at the moment, and to help real people solve real problems.  I also want to raise the level of discourse on the topics as much as possible by making my posts as correct as possible.  Maybe I sound a little lofty or high fallutin’ or prima donna-like in saying this, but it’s *my strategy*, not necessarily yours.  You went through the mental exercise of articulating your strategy above (right?) and it probably is different than mine, which is perfectly fine.  But for me, the sites above aren’t much of a help unless they bring me a new visitor who solves a problem or someone who subscribes to my blog until they see something that does help them to solve something.

SharePoint Saturday Boston Coming Up March 14

I wanted to post a reminder that SharePoint Saturday Boston is coming up next Saturday, March 14, at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.  I’ll be doing a session entitled Developing with SharePoint Designer: The Middle Tier, Focus on Data View Web Parts (DVWPs) and talking about a lot of the techniques that you’ve seen me cover here in my blog as well as some new tips and tricks.  I hope that it will be a really interactive session, so bring your DVWP head scratchers!

The price is right (free) and the list of scheduled speakers is great, so make some time in your schedule next Saturday and register today.

Kindle For iPhone and iPod Touch

Tip o’ the tam-o’-shanter to the folks over at Blog Kindle for letting us know that there’s a Kindle app for the iPhone.  Take a look at the Kindle For iPhone and iPod Touch post.  If you read my recent post about my new Kindle 2, you know that I mentioned that I wouldn’t be using my Kindle for Web browsing because I have an iPhone.  Well, now that I have the Kindle app on my iPhone, do I need a Kindle?

Yes, certainly.  If I was hitting the ‘Next Page’ button a lot on my kindle, I’ll be swiping through pages on my iPhone at an alarming rate, even though the smallest font size is very clear on the iPhone (as almost everything is).  Since the iPhone has a real (albeit small) color browser, it’s a better place to read something which has a lot of links to Web sites (like, paradoxically, the very useful The Complete User’s Guide To the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2: A Kindle Owners Toolkit Of Over 500 Tips, Tricks, & Links (For Amazons Revolutionary e-Book Reader & Free Wireless Web Browser).

What won’t work well is reading for a long time.  The iPhone battery will be sucked up pretty quickly while the Kindle lasted through an entire book and quite a lot of fiddling around over the course of 4 or 5 days.

So the iPhone and the Kindle both have their advantages, but I think I do need both.