Category Archives: SharePoint

Adding Service Notices to the SharePoint 2013 Suite Bar using PowerShell

 

Overview:

I was recently tasked with installing an update to a live SharePoint 2013 extranet site that is actively used by staff as well as external clients. Since the update caused our extranet site to be unavailable for several hours, I found myself wishing for a simple but effective way to alert all SharePoint 2013 site users about upcoming scheduled maintenance. I could send e-mails, but prefer not to do so since we have quite a few people who have access to the SharePoint site, but very few active users. Instead of sending out alerts to more than one hundred employees letting them know that a service they may or may not use will be unavailable, I wanted to publish a notice to the SharePoint site itself.

The Problem:

I need to find a way to publish a notice of anticipated service interruptions on every page of my SharePoint 2013 site. This seemed simple enough at first, until I began to consider the fact that I have multiple site collections, each with multiple sites in my extranet Web Application. Users access the site from a wide variety of links, so publishing a notice on the home page would not be effective. Every site has unique permissions, depending on which users need access to the site’s contents, so publishing announcements on a site-by-site basis would be a real chore.

I am using a pretty generic out-of-the-box SharePoint 2013 installation, so my site is using the default Seattle master pages. I thought about customizing the master pages to include a message, but I would have to do the same for every site collection in my Web Application, which seems to be more trouble than it’s probably worth.

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SharePoint Troubleshooting: Meeting Workspaces are not saving date-specific information to the correct date

Overview:

Meeting Workspaces are a great way to collaborate with team members. They provide a place to store all of the documents, agenda items, attendee information, and other important meeting notes across multiple meetings. Microsoft Outlook can be used to generate new meeting instances for new dates, and all attendees can be given a quick link directly to the site to review pertinent information before and after the meeting is over.

Unfortunately, both Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint have a common problem: There are usually many different ways to achieve a task, but only one way is the “right” way that actually works as anticipated. Meeting Workspaces have the same problem.

The Problem:

Several times now I’ve been asked to help resolve a problem a colleague was having with Meeting Workspaces. In each case, my colleague had set up a Meeting Workspace and created multiple meeting instances (dates) and sent out the invitations to attendees. All appeared to be working correctly. But as my colleague went in to try to update specific information related to a certain meeting instance (such as the agenda items), we discovered that the meeting-specific information was not being displayed on the correct meeting dates. If my colleague added an item to the agenda for the second, third, fourth, etc. meeting, it wouldn’t show up. But when we went back to the first meeting in the series, we found the new agenda item to be listed there with all agenda items for all instances of the meeting.

All of the Meeting Workspaces settings were correct, and there was nothing to indicate what the problem might be. My colleague had successfully created other Meeting Workspaces following the same procedures, and each of those Meeting Workspaces was working correctly.

It took some time, but eventually I discovered the apparent cause of the error. In each of the Meeting Workspaces that was working properly, the URL had no spaces in it (Keep in mind that a space in a URL may be displayed in your address bar by the character string “%20”). In each of the Meeting Workspaces that did not work, the URL had spaces (%20) in it. So, for example, a Meeting Workspace with the URL of http://sharepointserver/team/MeetingWorkspace would work correctly, while a Meeting Workspace with the URL of http://sharepointserver/team/Meeting%20Workspace would not list the meeting-specific information on the correct meeting date.

NOTE: The two hyperlinks used above are examples only and do not point to real sites.

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