Category Archives: General

InfoPath, “Save A Snapshot”, and PDF print truncation

I ran into an interesting issue today with printing an InfoPath form. A customer reported a problem where her PDF printout was getting truncated off the right side of the page. She was using the File > Info option, and then using the Save As Snapshot to generate the PDF file. The resulting PDF file ran off the side of the page, and there was no InfoPath or Adobe PDF setting that I could find to fix the issue. Strangely, when I had her print directly to an Adobe PDF print driver, it worked fine…

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After some brainstorming with the help desk, we discovered the underlying issue. In Windows 7, I’m running my text size at 125% instead of 100%. I was having the same issue as the customer. When I switched back to 100%, the printout was perfect.

So… if you end up with the same issue, I hope this saves you some time searching around InfoPath or Adobe. Just check the text size setting in your operating system.

I struggle with being a SharePoint “developer”…

This is one of those posts that I have to write, as it’s how I deal with things I’m feeling. In this particular case, it’s how I feel about being labeled a SharePoint “developer”. It sort of bubbled up inside me as I was reading various reactions to yesterday’s announcements during the Future Of SharePoint event.

When I hear someone use the word “programmer” or “developer”, I think (as do probably most people) of someone slinging code and spending all day in a IDE like Visual Studio. These are the people who integrate one thing with another using all sorts of code frameworks and protocols. And to be certain, they are worth their weight in gold (provided you can actually talk with them as a normal human being).

But there’s another world of “development” that is where I live. It’s the skillset of taking existing parts of the system (I like using the term “out of the box”) and wiring them together to create solutions for a customer and organization. Yes, a power user could do this, but the vast majority of people who use SharePoint don’t want (or don’t have the skills or mindset) to do that. They want to have someone who understands the software and their issues wire all that up for them. They want a quick solution that’s easy to use, and they don’t give a rat’s a** what is happening behind the scenes. They just want results.

And that’s what I deliver… quick solutions that meet a business need and add value to the organization.

So what’s wrong with that? Well, I’ve technically been a programmer my entire 35+ years in IT. I’ve done time in the COBOL world. I’ve created RPG III programs. I coded rather cool LotusScript agents in Notes. But realistically, I’ve always been the type of developer you could put in front of the business, and that was focused on a solution that could be implemented quickly. But compared to the people I naturally compare myself to (the hardcore developers), I’m pretty much worthless. Or at least that’s what I beat myself up with…

In yesterday’s Future Of SharePoint webcast, I saw a LOT of things that will make a huge difference to how my customers will be able to work. I saw a LOT of things that will be fun to play with, and to hook up to create new solutions. Based on the reactions from others, they saw the same things I did. But there was a number of people who pretty much didn’t care for anything that was announced. In their opinion, it was either not enough or was focused in the wrong area. They didn’t show real code. They were “consumerizing” SharePoint and destroying the abilities of ISVs to add value.

It seemed like most of those people were what I’d consider “real developers.” And so I wonder… am I just not good enough to understand why I shouldn’t be excited? Am I wrong for not being up in arms about the direction of things? Am I following a path that is a dead-end?

Once I pull myself out of that mental spiral, here’s what I come up with…

I’m not an IT Pro, in that I’m not the person who knows all the networking/configuration/etc that comes as being an admin. I’m probably not a “programmer”, in that I don’t sling real code much. I *am* a developer, in that I develop solutions for my organization that make a major difference and add value. I also serve as a SharePoint Help Desk, a technical consultant to the business, a training and adoption driver, and I wear whatever hat is necessary to keep SharePoint (and soon to be Office 365) running and my customers happy.

None of this is an excuse to not learn new skills. That’s a whole different list of things that I beat myself up over on a regular basis. I am a charter member of Imposter Syndrome Anonymous, and I don’t think that will ever go away until I retire or die. I often wonder if I’d be able to find a new job if I had to leave this one for some reason.

But having said all that… I deliver value. I build things. I’m open to being labeled whatever reflects that, whether developer, programmer, engineer, or internal consultant. I’m pragmatic, in that I’m sure there are a number of “flaws” in SharePoint and Office 365 that should be addressed. But I’m excited about where things are at, I’m excited about the direction that Microsoft is going, and I’m excited that I get to play in that sandbox.

And with that, I’ll head back to my happy world of making others happy. It’s how I roll…

Did you know that Visio can check your site for broken links?

This is one of those features I stumbled across a number of years ago, and it still seems to be a very well-kept secret. You can use the Web Site Map diagram to tell Visio what site to map out. Visio will also X-out every page image where the link is broken.

For more information, check out https://support.office.com/en-ie/article/Take-control-of-your-Web-site-with-Visio-bae87722-a864-4b88-b684-3acc31f5fdaa

I know there are probably site crawlers and link checkers that are more comprehensive and have more whistles and bells to play with. But it’s hard to argue with a tool you may well already have sitting on your desktop.

Slides from SharePoint Saturday Redmond – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Here are my slides from SharePoint Saturday Portlandia on November 14th, 2015. We had a good turnout, and I made it through the session even though I was nursing a cold.

I think the most enjoyable part of this is the discussions afterwards. I love how this content sparks ideas and the “I could do that” statements.

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Slides from SharePoint Saturday Boise – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Sandra Mahan and I presented this session at SharePoint Saturday Boise on October 3rd, 2015.

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Do you pick your technology, or does your technology pick you?

This is one of those topics that I’ve been close to, both from an observation perspective as well as my own career.

As a “technology person”, people expect you to know everything (or learn it quickly). It’s possible to be aware of a large number of technologies but most people end up concentrating on a few specific areas that pay their bills. There are rare people that seem to pick up everything, but I’m not that person. The question for most IT people is… what technology do I focus on, and when should I decide to learn something new (or drop something that I already know/work with on a regular basis)?

It seems like there are two scenarios that play out in my mind. If you’re a consultant, you’re always trying to ride the bleeding edge of what’s in demand and what will keep you employed. If you’re working as a regular employee, you’re focused on working with whatever technology keeps you employed.

I’m going to step back into my Notes world as an example… mainly because I went through this. As a Notes developer, it was my job to make sure I knew as much as possible about Notes development. That could mean just Notes client development, but it also included web development as well as XPages as the Notes environment evolved. It used to be you could focus on Formula language and sort of ignore LotusScript. Then it was needing to know LotusScript but XPages was still a nice to have. Now it seems you have to know XPages, and client development is sinking quickly as an in-demand skill.

As a regular employee in an organization using Notes, I focused mainly on Notes client development, as we had a lot of that. When I found myself unemployed and headed into the consulting/contracting world, I found that I wished I knew more about web development, portals, XPages, etc. When I was able to get re-employed by my original company, I was back in my sweet spot of client development again.

While I would have been happy to continue to do that and push those limits, life had different ideas. We moved from Notes to SharePoint, and now SharePoint is my primary focus. Much like Notes, saying you’re a SharePoint developer can been a variety of things… out-of-the-box development, SharePoint Designer workflows, JavaScript web development, C# coding, etc.

To the point of my title… I could take a step back, decide that I think Hadoop, big data, and Python are where it’s at, and start planning my post-SharePoint technology life. I could also look at all the options available to me in the SharePoint and Office 365 world, and push myself within the arena that I’m already familiar with.

I think it’s important to keep an eye open to where IT trends are going, but no one has a crystal ball. Telling someone they need to leave their current technology may make sense from the outside looking in, but sometimes that technology picked you given where you’re at and the opportunities that are available.

Keep your eyes and your mind open to where things are going, and take a realistic look at the future of your organizational choices and your personal career. Then decide… do you need to pick your technology, or are you OK with the fact that your technology picked you?

Don’t always assume things are what you believe them to be…

I had one of those “duh” moments today…

I had a report from a customer who was claiming that a link to a document in an automated email was broken. Since the email was generated from an InfoPath form when the form was submitted (and presumably saved also), I had my doubts. However, when I went to the library and checked for the document, it wasn’t there. No recycle bin, the submitter had Contribute access without delete…

… or so it appeared.

It turns out that the person submitting the form is one of two people who share the same name. I saw “her name” in the permission list, and assumed all was well. But when I finally noticed her picture compared to an email picture, I noticed they were two completely different people. The person who was submitting the form didn’t have Contribute access, so the email would send but the form wouldn’t save.

Note to self… never assume that everything is as you believe it to be without double-checking the obvious.