My last post was on using Office 365 as a trial version. Now I have upgraded my license to P1 and have been using Sharepoint Online heavily since then. I am able to do most of the regular activities that I could do in Sharepoint Local Install, here in Sharepoint Online. Occasionally I see some functionlities or features missing.
For eg Saving List as a template. If you are user who uses this feature to backup a list template along with its content, then missing that feature is an annoyance. Both Save as List template and List gallery links are missing in Sharepoint Online. Though the links are missing, those features are still available. You can access them if you remember the links or connect to the online site using Sharepoint Designer and in the context menu for the list you want to take back up you can get the link to Save List as Template. See picture below
Using the link you can save the List Template along with its content. It can be downloaded from the gallery at http://SiteName/_catalogs/lt/Forms/AllItems.aspx. This trick had saved me a lot of time.
Just in time when I have invested my time heavily on Asp.net MVC + Entity Framework, MS has announced that EF is now Open Source. This is huge. This will help me better understand the inner workings of EF and better design my applications.
As a reminder, Asp.net MVC is already Open source. Going through the code helped me understand how model binding work.
Earlier I was nHibernate guy. Now I have totally switched to EF and this news further solidifies my leanings towards EF.
EF source code can be downloaded at http://entityframework.codeplex.com. It can be downloaded as a GIT repository. I was actually expecting a Zip file. But again, I can live with git based download too. 🙂
Finally I made up my mind and have started using the free trial of Office365. The setup is a breeze. I choose the P1 plan. Basically I am interested in Sharepoint Online part of the Office365. But it also come up with Exchange online and Lync Online. Additionally we get Office Webapps and Calendar apps.
The admin page is clean and intuitive. Calendar and Exchange reminds me of the Hotmail UI except everything has tint of orange instead of blue. Office Webapp reminds me of the Skydrive product. In future I hope Microsoft integrates all these into one. I dont have office Mac so couldnt try the offline document management part.
Coming to the Sharepoint Online side, after setup it creates a Teamsite (Intranet) and an external facing Website. The external facing website home page looks lame and I might need to create my own home page. The Site features and Site Collection Features available are very less compared to an on-premise Sharepoint installation. I was expecting to have Publishing feature available but its not. But I think I can live with that.
I was able to connect to the external site using Sharepoint Designer 2010 which was seamless(surprisingly). Haven’t tried modifying existing pages or Master pages yet. But creation of new Webpart page and Blog subsite worked!!. As expected creation of Publishing subsite failed.
So far I am impressed. Will keep testing the various Sharepoint and other office features of office365.
I didnt know that we can install Aero Desktop experience on Windows 2008R2 server.
I was totally unhappy with the Windows 2008 R2’s classic windows desktop. After following the steps at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/What-is-the-Aero-desktop-experience
I was able to get Aero experience on my Windows 2k8 R2 machine.
My Atom based mini-itx machine where I was running MOSS 2007 is not booting up since yesterday 😦 I suspect the power supply has failed and hope the mother board is safe. For now cant use MOSS 2007 and need to stick with SP2010 in my laptop for all Sharepoint related stuff. Need to fix the machine some time soon.
As you know EF 4.1 Code First can create tables out of the model classes. If connection string is not provided in the config file, EF looks for local Sql express instance. If available, it connects to the instance and creates Database with table names same as your model classes.
But, what if you have a local SQL server instance instead of SQLExpress or your instance name is not SQLExpress? EF won’t connect automatically to the Instance in either of these cases,unless you explicitly provide your connection string. How can you use the local SQL Instance without specifiying the connection string?
It is possible. Here is where we need to see what exactly EF looks for connecting to a SQL instance. To be precise EF looks for .\SQLExpress instance in your local system. To make EF connect to any SQL instance just create an alias named “.\SQLExpress” for your SQL Instance. This can be done via SQL Server Configuration Manager tool as shown below.
Now EF connects to the SQL instance just fine as if it were local .\SQLExpress instance.
I really like the new Entity Framework Code First. The best feature I like is the offloading the overhead creation of Data Model or Database itself which EF takes care on its own. It also supports setting up initial seed data in the table too. Wow!!! This is the feature I have been longing for a while.
Walkthru video can be found here.
In conjunction with Asp.net MVC3 EF Code First in EF 4.1 is the robust platform to develop Web applications.