How to Use Web Pages and Web Parts in SharePoint 2013

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on April 15th, 2014

In the previous blog post, we talked about the NAPA tool and how to use it to develop SharePoint 2013 Apps. In this post, we will talk more about Web Pages & Web Parts in SharePoint.

Working with Web Pages

Similar to the previous versions, SharePoint 2013 has three primary page content types:

  • Publishing pages
  • Web-part pages
  • Wiki pages

Note: Wiki content pages are the default web page type in SharePoint 2013. They are stored in a wiki page library called Site Pages.

When to use which Web Page?

Publishing Page- Use this one when your portal is client facing and it requires review and documentation for any changes made to the content of each page.

Web part page- Web part page is designed specifically to use web parts. It contains a series of predefined areas known as Web Part zones. Users with the appropriate privileges can add or move Web Parts between zones. A typical web part page that is associated with a SharePoint site is mentioned in the below screenshot. 



Wiki page- Wiki pages are pages that allow users to type freeform rich text directly on the page and format it as desired in addition to adding Web Parts to it. When a new site is created based on the Team Site template, the homepage for that site is a wiki page. A wiki page from Team site is shown in below figure.

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How to Develop SharePoint 2013 Apps Using NAPA

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on April 9th, 2014

In the previous blog post, I talked about different types of solutions that can be developed and deployed in SharePoint and the different tools available.

This post is dedicated to the NAPA tool, introduced by Microsoft to develop SharePoint 2013 Apps.

Developing SharePoint Applications using NAPA

“The “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools make it easy to start building apps for Office and SharePoint without leaving your browser or installing software. Just add the “Napa” Office 365 Development Tools app to your SharePoint Online Developer Site, launch it, and you will be ready to create your first app for Office or SharePoint.”



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SharePoint 2013 Solution Types and Tools for SharePoint Development

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on April 1st, 2014

In the previous post, I talked about the cloud version of SharePoint i.e. SharePoint Online. In this post, I will talk about the different type of solutions that can be developed and deployed in SharePoint. Then I will talk about the different tools available for SharePoint development.

Development options for SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 is a versatile development platform, it has the following option to develop and deploy applications or solutions.

  • Farm-level solution: Typically associated with either SharePoint Server or SharePoint Foundation, this type of solution (.WSP or SharePoint feature) is an application that is installable and accessible across any site collection within a SharePoint farm.
  • Sandboxed solution: Lightweight solution or feature that is deployed to a sandboxed environment (that is, a restricted execution environment that allows programs to access specific resources and data within the SharePoint site) and can be deployed to Office 365 or on premises SharePoint installations.
  • SharePoint-hosted app: Lightweight app (.APP) that is deployed to SharePoint but leverages client-side code such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.
  • Cloud-hosted app: Apps (.APP) that are hosted in the cloud, but can be deployed to either SharePoint on-premises or Office 365.

Each option mentioned have different pros and cons that you will need to understand before adapting any development options. All these development options depend upon the installation type of SharePoint (SharePoint Server or Office 365). If our target installation is Office 365, we will likely use Cloud hosted Apps and wouldn’t be able to use server side object model. Apps development will be performed by using client object model and more broadly, the Windows Azure platform. If our target SharePoint installation is SharePoint Server, then we have the option of using the farm-level solution, which supports all the different types of app development.

When to use which option:

Farm-level solution: Use this solution for applications being deployed to SharePoint Server or SharePoint Foundation. This option is suitable for enterprise-grade solutions (such as Sales Management dashboard that is integrated with SAP) This requires farm level (or site-collection level) resource access, cross-site collection deployment, or need to execute server-side code.

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Building Your SharePoint Governance Team!

written by: Tom Robbins on March 28th, 2014

One of the first steps in building your SharePoint Governance is to assemble the team that will not only be responsible for the initial Governance plan, but the ongoing oversight and management of the plan.  Governance is not a simple document that you create and have on file.  Governance is the living and breathing management and oversight of SharePoint.  The team must be willing to engage to create the plan but then work regularly to update and maintain the Governance through regular meetings.  Assembling the team is critical to a successful Governance model.

The Governance principles and policies should be derived from the organizational mission and should support the business objectives.  The team should include key business players from across the organization.  Any division or department that will use SharePoint should have a representative on the Governance team.  While IT plays a critical role, IT should simply be a seat at the table and should listen to the needs of the key business players.  Often times IT will create the Governance in isolation because they are familiar with creating technology related policies.  Because SharePoint is an organization-wide platform for collaboration and information management, IT should work with key business stakeholders to guarantee SharePoint is implemented to support the business requirements.  IT certainly does not understand all of the business requirements.  While it is critical for IT to be at the table, it’s equally as important for anyone that will use SharePoint to be represented in the planning of Governance.  Below is a list of some of the key players that should participate on the team.



Join us in April while we discuss these considerations and go into best practices for Planning, Governance, and Adoption!   


What Exactly is SharePoint Governance?

written by: Tom Robbins on March 25th, 2014

The importance of SharePoint Governance cannot be understated.  But most “green” SharePoint organizations do not even consider Governance until it’s too late.  Many organizations even consider the Governance a simple document to be created and kept on hand just for the purpose of having one.  The Governance should be driving and managing your SharePoint deployment and ongoing production.   Before even placing SharePoint into production, the Governance should be well on its way to providing the central governing principles and management procedures for your SharePoint environment.

So what exactly is SharePoint Governance?

Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve its goals. Every organization has unique needs and goals that influence its approach to governance. Larger organizations will probably require more—and more detailed—governance than smaller organizations. A good governance plan can:

  • Streamline the deployment of products and technologies, such as SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Help keep your organization’s system secure and compliant.
  • Help ensure the best return on your investment in technology.


In essence, the Governance “runs” your SharePoint existence.  Governance includes:

  • Hardware and Software requirements
  • Principles
  • SharePoint vision
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Details your Enterprise Taxonomy and Folksonomy and how they are managed and measured
  • Explains in-depth your plan for Training and Support
  • Site creation and lifecycle management policy
  • Details the Governance Team
  • Explains process for conflict mitigation
  • Reporting and accountability expectations on the effectiveness of Governance

These are just a few of the considerations for Governance.  Too many organizations find out years too late that there needs to be a management infrastructure in place.  Look, SharePoint is an information management and collaboration platform that will have reach into everything your business does, how people collaborate, and how your information is stored and discovered.  As organizations get started with SharePoint, they rarely realize the impact of SharePoint.  It has the potential to completely change the way your people work together and the way information flows within your enterprise.  Governance is more important at the beginning than anything else.

Join us in April for a free web seminar where we’ll discuss these considerations and go into best practices for Planning, Governance, and Adoption. 


Training to Pass the Salesforce Administrator Exam

written by: Christie Marsh on March 20th, 2014

Taking the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam can be overwhelming if you haven’t had the right preparation. This exam is made up of 60 multiple choice questions that must be answered in 90 minutes and only about 40% of those who take the exam pass on the first try. How do you decide which training course is right for you or how you want to prepare for the exam?

The exam results in either a pass or fail score only. Odds are you don’t want to have to pay to take the exam again, so there are a few ways you can prepare. Your experience with Salesforce and understanding of the platform play a key role in success on this exam. When it comes down to it, those who are successful have a deep knowledge of Salesforce.

So if you are a less experienced user but still want to pass the exam, the Administration Essentials for New Admins course is helpful for providing the foundational knowledge and skills. This can get you started on your studying and allows attendees to use the platform for real world exercises and problem solving. This does not guarantee you will pass the exam, but helps you create and build your foundation of Salesforce Administration skills. Following this course, you will be able to more easily experiment with Salesforce and study for the exam.


If you have been using SharePoint in your position already and you feel like you have a strong foundation of skills, then it may be beneficial to begin studying or take the Administration Essentials for Experienced Admins course. Study guides are available online and there are resources for those looking for practice tests. Keep in mind that some sources do not always give the correct answers, so it is best to understand the questions you find and formulate your best answer.

Once you have studied, there are two options for taking the exam, over the internet or at the exam center.  You will have to choose the best method for you, but often there are less distractions in the testing center. Double checking your answers goes a long way. There can be more than one correct answer. Use your time wisely and revisit questions if you have additional time. Once you hit submit, you will not be able to view any of the questions, so if you remember the difficult questions, this can be an advantage if you have to take it again.

Good luck on becoming a Salesforce Administrator!


Learning SharePoint 2013: SharePoint Online vs. On Premise

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on March 17th, 2014

ASPE offers a full line of hands-on SharePoint training for complete implementation, management and usability for all key functions in your enterprise.

In the previous blog I talked about the basics of SharePoint, its high level architecture and functionalities that can be implemented through it and why we need SharePoint. In this post, I will talk about the cloud version of SharePoint i.e. SharePoint Online, then I will do a brief comparison with the on premise version.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint has always fallen into the category of enterprise-class software, thus being very expensive and resource intensive. Sometimes, it’s hard for organizations to account for this investment. With the arrival of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft realized this and decided to launch the cloud version of SharePoint. This version is easily adaptable for every organization, whether large, medium or small. They are calling this SharePoint offering, SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online relieves organizations from implementation hurdles, so that they can focus on actual business problems. SharePoint Online is packaged with other products like Exchange, Lync and Office 365.

SharePoint Online Architecture

The installation of SharePoint Online is implemented in a special climate controlled room called a data center. The data center has to be secure and redundant. This whole setup is very scalable so that as more users begin using SharePoint for critical business processes, the servers and sites can keep up with the added load. And that isn’t all — after everything is up and running someone still needs to manage all the updates and keep the servers humming smoothly. As an organization, you do not need to worry about the back end setup, so you can simply pay Microsoft to implement all the installations for you, so you can use the final product as a service over the Internet.


SharePoint Demo: How to Email a Link to a SharePoint Document

written by: Admin on March 14th, 2014

This how-to demo shows how to email a link to a document in SharePoint.

I’m often asked by users how they can email a document that is stored inside of SharePoint. It’s important to remember that the reason SharePoint was introduced was to keep people and prevent people from emailing documents inside of email. Instead best practice is that you send a link to a document inside of SharePoint. That way you are simply sending a piece of text which constitutes a link when the user clicks on the link, if they have access to that document, they open the document directly in the client application. In order to do this from your document library click on the document that you’d like to email a link to and from the share and track section of the ribbon click on email a link.
To view more SharePoint how-to videos visit our SharePoint Demos page. If you are interested in more extensive SharePoint training, view our SharePoint training courses.

To view more SharePoint how-to videos visit our SharePoint Demos page. If you are interested in more extensive SharePoint training, view our SharePoint training courses.


Learning SharePoint 2013: SharePoint Functionality and WHY We Need It!

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on March 12th, 2014

ASPE offers a full line of hands-on SharePoint training for complete implementation, management and usability for all key functions in your enterprise.

In my previous post, I talked about the basics of SharePoint and gave a high level architecture of the requirements for SharePoint. Now, I will dive into the some of the functionality of SharePoint and why we need it.

SharePoint functionality

It is very difficult to define SharePoint because its functionality changes with every user. Administrators will use it differently than a developer, and a programmer will use it differently than a business analyst, and so forth. A way to merge all these users together and create a common functionality is in your SharePoint site, by adding things like Apps, Web Pages (wiki/ web part /publishing pages) and SEARCH.

SharePoint Apps: Apps are not a new concept, if you have ever used a smart phone, you know about them.  SharePoint Apps are a custom code which execute on a client (browser) and is hosted on the cloud. Apps are physically separated from the SharePoint server access SharePoint using OAuth protocol and this communication is performing using REST/CSOM. Apps enable users to write web application independent from SharePoint while still being integrated in SharePoint.

Web Pages: SharePoint sites are a container of pages, which are actual content.  In SharePoint, we can create three types of pages:

  • Wiki page
  • Web Part page
  • Publishing page

Wiki Pages: A wiki page is also known as a content page and it is very easy for development and customization. It is used for information sharing on site, without requiring any advance tools or expertise. They are easier for those who updated formal documents or traditional websites.

Web Part page: A web part is the most popular and most usable page in SharePoint. Users can drag and drop various web parts from a web part gallery in order to modify contents, behaviors and appearances of a page.

Publishing page: It is used when we want to customize our site (custom master page and customization of page layout). It is stored in a specified library called a page library, which is created automatically when certain publishing features are turned on.

Search: This is one of the most important functionality within SharePoint.  Search enables a user to locate content stored in the various SharePoint sites, as well as in other external content sources, like: file shares, Exchange public folders, and line-of-business (LOB) applications.

Why Do I Need SharePoint?

SharePoint is a collaboration platform that allows you to build your Intranet, Extranet, private social network, professional network, search engine tools, and public facing website.  SharePoint not only allows you to collaborate, it has major file sharing capabilities. Company extranets are a great example of document sharing when people are not in the same physical location, but by using form based authentication, accounts are created to allow documents to be shared within SharePoint.

SharePoint has slowly reduced the dependency on IT.  SharePoint now enables users to make changes themselves and not have to rely on IT.

In the next session I will talk about SharePoint Online vs. on premise.


Learning SharePoint 2013: What is SharePoint and Its Building Blocks

written by: Saurabh Agrawal on March 6th, 2014

ASPE offers a full line of hands-on SharePoint training for complete implementation, management and usability for all key functions in your enterprise.

When I started to work in SharePoint 2007, it was hard to find a step by step series to help those new to SharePoint.  As I gained expertise in SharePoint, I realized how many Microsoft professionals, developers, designers, administrators, etc. know nothing about SharePoint.  Now that I’m using SharePoint 2013, I decided to write a beginner series on using this tool.

I won’t say this series will cover everything about SharePoint 2013, but it will be very helpful for those Microsoft professionals who are just starting out.

What is SharePoint?

When I first heard about SharePoint, I just didn’t get it. When I started to work on it, all I knew was that it was a Microsoft product, and it could do a great deal of things.

Microsoft officially said SharePoint is a “business collaboration platform for the enterprise and web”. So if an organization implements SharePoint, it can fulfill its needs in terms of:

Collaboration: Use SharePoint collaboration sites for project management

Social Networking: Large Organization can use SharePoint as social network to organize its employees, partners, vendors and client into dynamic social network to increase productivity

Web Content Management: Using web content management feature different kinds of intranet or extranet portal can be created, which can be easily maintained by business user.

Enterprise Content Management: SharePoint provide excellent ECM capabilities in terms of document management, including extensive support for metadata and customize search capabilities

Business Intelligence: It is an ideal platform for providing access into organization’s business analysis assists.

SharePoint building blocks

We know that SharePoint is a web based platform, but a number of technologies are required. It is safe to say SharePoint is a stack of different technologies. The stack begins with computer hardware with 64bit 4 core processor, minimum 8GB RAM and 80GB hard disk (SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Foundation 2013 with minimum recommended service for development environment). On top of it, there is a windows server operating system and some additional resources like Microsoft SQL server, and Microsoft Internet Information Service.



This is very basic information about SharePoint, I will dive deeper into this topic in other posts. Next in this series, I will talk about SharePoint functionality and discuss why we need SharePoint.