SPServices and Github – This Time I Mean It

SPServicesGitHub_LogoI’ve had some false starts moving SPServices to Git and/or Github over the last few years. If it weren’t for Josh McCarty’s (@joshmcrty) help on every release, I wouldn’t even have gotten SPServices onto cdnjs, since they use Github. (Yes, SPServices is available via CDN at cdnjs and has been for several years now.) I’m just tremendously behind the times.

So it’s only taken me about two years, but I’m really biting the bullet on Github this time. I’ve just read through a bunch of great suggestions I got when I abortively tried to move things to Github long ago and I’m curious given the amount of time that has passed those folks might do differently.

Here are my assumptions/preferences:

  • Simple, simple, simple
  • I’m using a public folder in my Dropbox as my “CDN” for development. I think Paul Tavares (@paul_tavares) knows where it is, but no one else does. This Dropbox-based CDN helps immensely for testing, since I can just point my script references there in all of my test environments. In case anyone is wondering, I’d love to use OneDrive (either flavor) for this, but it just doesn’t work the way it does redirects. I can get a clean URL from Dropbox that just plain works.
  • I’m leaning toward WebStorm for my IDE these days. (Where I can’t install it in client environments, I’ll still use SharePoint Designer and/or Sublime Text.) Webstorm has very robust integration with Github that even seems to make sense to me. I’ve got my Webstorm project embedded in the Dropbox CDN I mentioned above.
  • In case you’re wondering, I do probably 99% of the work on SPServices, so my ideas for version control have been extremely simple to date. SPServices is a one-file project and I make virtually all the changes to it. SPServices wouldn’t be what it is without excellent help and contributions from people like Josh McCarty and Paul Tavares; I couldn’t have gotten to this point without them. But as far as the actual edits and testing, it’s mostly me.
  • I’ll continue hosting the docs and downloads on Codeplex, at least for the foreseeable future. This makes sense because of the volume of documentation and the great discussions history that’s already there.

What I’m looking for is best (better) practices, build ideas, etc. SPServices will continue to live as long as people find it useful, and I want to keep building it and supporting it. That said, it’s my “side project” – something I do for fun and learning opportunities. So any ideas should be labor *saving*, not labor *producing*.

It’s my hope that – as they mentioned in the suggestions I linked to above – more people may decide to contribute with the move to Github. Who knows, maybe we can haul it into RESTland along with SharePoint 2013.

Today I posted the latest beta for the 2014.02 release. I expect to make it a stable release in about a week or so, since quite a few people have been downloading it and testing it as I’ve made changes over the last few months. I’ll write more about why you *really* should upgrade to this new version in an upcoming post. (Thanks yet again to Paul Tavares on this one.)

Thanks in advance for any ideas you can toss into the mix. Feel free to reply in the comments here or on the older thread in the Codeplex Discussions.



Copying Text from an Image Using OneNote

imageI’ve never really seen any use for OneNote. I know lots of people who absolutely love it, and I’ve tried to “get” it, but I just don’t. That’s one of the things that makes life interesting: something which is indispensible for one person just isn’t for another.

Today I may have found something which will make me use OneNote, at least from time to time. It’s a little feature that may not even be used by all of those OneNote zealots all that often, but it’s really useful.

I had a screenshot from a client’s computer which showed a message they were getting:


I needed to try to track down why this message was popping up and what it meant. Usually, I’d just type the message into Bing to do some searching, which is exactly what I did. I didn’t find anything that was really all that useful, so I decided to post a question on SharePoint Overflow about it.

Since I wanted to ask a clear question, one which would not only get me a good answer, but also be useful to others down the road – asking good *questions* is often what gets you good *answers* (see my post Getting Good Answers to Your SharePoint Questions) – I wanted to provide the full text of the message.

imageWell, obviously I could have done what I usually do: simply retype the message in full. But something nagged at me this time. Surely SnagIt would help me with this? If you don’t know SnagIt, there’s a tool *I* find indispensible. Take a look at it if you haven’t seen it before.

It turns out that SnagIt doesn’t do any sort of OCR. After a little Binging, I found a video from TechSmith which explains how to hook up SnagIt with Microsoft Office Document Imaging (MODI). Perfect! Oh, no it wasn’t. Apparently, Microsoft removed MODI from Office 2010. Dang it. If you have Office 2003 or 2007, though, watch the video and you may be all set.

Back to Bing. I finally found a Microsoft support article which had what I needed:

Optical character recognition

MODI also enables you to perform optical character recognition (OCR). By performing OCR, you can then copy text from a scanned image or from a fax into another location. To implement the functionality of this feature, use Microsoft OneNote 2010. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In OneNote 2010, on the Insert tab, click Picture.
  2. Locate and then open the scanned file. The file is inserted into OneNote 2010 as a picture.
  3. Right-click the picture, click Copy Text from Picture, and then paste the information to another location.

imageVery cool! A real use for OneNote! But that wasn’t really the point. The point wa that I was able to insert my image into OneNote and get the text from the message so that I could post it to SharePoint Overflow. I still don’t quite know exactly what issue my client is having (if you have any input, please post to the thread), but at least I learned a little trick which is going to save me time over and over again. I used it twice today already!

<UPDATE dateTime=”2011-05-13 07:33″>
Dan Antion (@DAntion) was kind enough to point out politely that you can also insert a screen clipping directly into OneNote, a fact that I missed.