Archive for December, 2014

MS Project cant Connect with MSPS MSProjectServer

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Microsoft Project can’t Connect with Microsoft Project Server EPM due to Version Mismatch

Version: 1.2, Modified: 12/29/2014

Microsoft Project Professional edition is the desktop client in Microsoft Project Server (MSPS). The version of the server and client software should be at a supported level in order of the two to work together. Service Pack or Cumulative Update (CU) patches if deployed without planning can cause issues in MS Project Server Enterprise Project Management (EPM) system.

There are different reasons as to why MS Project Professional can’t connect with MS Project Server EPM.

Below are some of the scenarios:

a. Not using the right edition of MS Project (Professional VS Standard)

b.  Not using the right edition of MS Project Professional with the right edition of MS Project Server (2010 VS 2013)

c. Not using the correct URL of Project Web Access (PWA)

d. Not having enough permissions (a user with team member or lower rights trying to connect MS Project Professional to MS Project Server)

e. Not using the right version of MS Project Professional with the right version allowed by MS Project Server in PWA > Server Settings

The focus of this article is about the last scenario. I’ll also cover special case of this scenario.

e. Not using the right version of MS Project Professional with the right version allowed by MS Project Server in PWA > Server Settings

There are known issue if your MS Project Server (MSPS) is at latest patch version and your desktop MS Project Professional edition used it too old.

MS Project Server 2010 / 2013 / Project Online circumvent this problem by allowing the Project Server Admins / PMO Admins / PMO Analysts to set limit on the least version of MS Project Professional that can connect with the Project Server.

Which MS Project Professional product can connect with which MS Project Server product

The short summary is:

  • MS Project Professional 2010 can only connect with MS Project Server 2010
  • MS Project Professional 2013 can connect with MS Project Server 2013 & MS Project Online
  • MS Project Standard can’t connect with MS Project Server.
Softvative Infographics - Microsoft Project Professional and MS Project Server Editions Compatibility
Softvative Infographics – Microsoft Project Professional and MS Project Server Editions Compatibility

Review the Infographic slides:

How to Control Which version of MS Project Professional Can connect with MS Project Server EPM

Microsoft Project Server 2010 / 2013 has the configuration setting that allows you to control which version of MS Project Professional within the same edition (2010 or 2013) can connect with the MS Project Server.

The settings are located in Project Web Access (PWA) > Server Settings > Additional Server Settings.

Microsoft Project Web Access (PWA) > Server Settings > Additional Server Settings link
Microsoft Project Web Access (PWA) > Server Settings > Additional Server Settings link

On that ‘Additional Server Settings’ page there is a setting to set the minimum version number of MS Project Professional that can connect with that instance of the MS Project Server EPM. Ms Project Professional versions prior to that number will not be able to connect with MS Project Server.

PWA Additional Server Settings > Project Professional Versions
PWA Additional Server Settings > Project Professional Versions

You can see this pilot instance supports a minimum of 14.0.6123.5000 version of MS Project Professional. That version is dated back to June 2012. That is little too old.

As per ITIL best practices for Configuration Management and Problem Management and also as per Information Security’s Patch Management Life cycle, the application versions should be maintained at the best possible levels. Even from Information Risk Management prospective, sometimes supporting too old version means also keeping old vulnerabilities alive in your new system. There is lot more to talk about on these best practices related to this topic. But that is little out of scope at this time for the topic.

Special Case Scenario due to version mismatch

I’ve seen a special case where a Project Manager was not able to connect to MS Project Server with everything correct as per the scenarios discussed at the beginning of this article.

The PM was getting the error listed below when launching MS Project Professional using connection with MS Project Server.

The following job failed to complete.
Job Type: Load
Error ID: 12015 (0x2EEF)
Error Description: An internal error occurred.
Cloud not load Project. Please try after some time. If the problem persists, contact your system administrator.

MS Project Error - The following job failed to complete Error ID 12015
MS Project can not connect with Project Server – Error ID 12015

Clicking more Info button reveals more details. You can see the version that is passed on to the PWA is not the right one.

MS Project can not connect with Project Server - Error ID 12015 - More Info
MS Project can not connect with Project Server – Error ID 12015 – More Info

Click OK to the first error message brings the second error:

Cloud not retrieve Enterprise global template.
There seems to be a problem with the database, please contact your server administrator.

Issue Cause

I verified that the MS Project Professional version was new relatively i.e. 14.0.7015.1000. That was higher than the minimum supported version configured in PWA.

Looking at the File > Help in MS Project Professional and reviewing the version screen in a large print out, I was able to find an anomaly. See the above screen shot again. It shows that MS Project Standard and MS Project Professional both as activated versions!

It turned out to be the Desktop Engineering person deployed MS Project Standard version first by mistake (& without any service packs or updates). Later he installed MS Project Professional over the same version as upgrade rather than removing the standard version. Now when the PM was trying to connect to MS Project Server using Ms Project Professional, somehow the desktop was passing the lower version 14.0.4751.1000 (see one of the screen shot above) and thus PWA was rejecting the connection.

Resolution

Uninstall any version of Microsoft Project from the desktop, reboot and then install the correct version of MS Project Professional with the the latest service pack and CU level as supported by the organization.

Revo Uninstaller – Free version  is one nice 3rd party application (Pro Version) to remove the stubborn applications. That helped in getting rid of the old version completely and then installing the MS Project Professional version again.

The correct version once installed and activated should only show MS Project Professional under File > Help.

MS Project Professional was able to connect with the Project Server.

References:

  1. Project Server 2013: Controlling the version of connecting clients–and PWA edits?
  2. How do I know???? Project Professional Versions and Consistency

Keywords:

  • MS Project can’t connect with Project Server
  • MS Project can’t connect with Project Online
  • MS Project can’t connect with PWA
  • Microsoft Project can’t connect with Project Server
  • MS Project can’t connect with Microsoft Project Server
  • Microsoft Project Professional can’t connect with Project Server
  • Microsoft Project Professional supported versions for Project Server
  • Microsoft Project Professional version inconsistencies with Project Server
  • Can not use MS Project with Project Server
  • Can not use MS Project with PWA
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Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online Common Issues

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Version: 1.3

Scenario:

I had an external Yammer Network with few groups underneath it. I had a SharePoint Online (Office 365) site collections with sub-sites. I created three pages under the main site and leveraged three different option (one on each page) to integrate the Yammer Feed with the SharePoint Online site.

a. Yammer App for SharePoint by Microsoft – http://o15.officeredir.microsoft.com/r/rlidYammerappO15?clid=1033

b. Yammer Feed Embed – By Blue Rooster – https://bluerooster.uservoice.com/forums/239290-yammer-feed-embed

c. Yammer Embed Code – Go into a Yammer Group. On bottom right look under Access Options section

Yammer Feed Integrated with SharePoint Online (in Office 365)
Yammer Feed Integrated with SharePoint Online (in Office 365)

Issue Details

Everything was working until an unknown bump caused the feed to break. I started getting the following Yammer Login message no matter even if I click on login icon and go through the Yammer login page to login using ADFS login.

Yammer Feed Integration keeps displaying Yammer login on SharePoint online page even after login
Yammer Feed Integration keeps displaying Yammer login on SharePoint online page even after login

Error 2
In one instance on a page, I got the following frame error.

content cannot be displayed in a frame
   
To help protect the security of information you enter into this website, the publisher of this content does not allow it to be displayed in a frame.

What you can try:
Open this content in a new window

Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online can't display contents in frame error
Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online can’t display contents in frame error

Findings:

I found the Yammer Support on Twitter and asked them about the issue. They were quick to point me to the Yammer Status page that showed there was disruption on that day.

The issue was only happening when using Internet Explorer. Chrome was able to display the feed.

I switched to Yammer group Enterprise Social (Yammer) Help. I started a conversation on this Yammer issue there.

Resolution:

There are few pieces of the Yammer-SharePoint marriage puzzle.

  1. Add the Yammer, SharePoint Online and MicrosoftOnline login sites to the IE Trusted Sites list. That was done using AD GPO
  2. In IE settings, for the trusted sites check the box ‘Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)’
  3. Users should have access to the SharePoint site pages and the Yammer Network / Group feed that is embedded
  4. SharePoint page URL format can make or break Yammer Feed on the page

1. Adding Sites URL to Internet Explorer Trusted Sites for the Yammer Feed to work in SharePoint Online:

I found a Microsoft article that talks about adding Yammer feed to a SharePoint page. See the section ‘Having trouble with the app’ in that article. I then worked with the AD / security team to make the change in the GPO to add the Yammer, SharePoint and MicrosoftOnline links to the IE trusted zone.

We added these links to the Active Directory Group Policy for computers.

https://login.microsoftonline.com
https://*.sharepoint.com
https://*.yammer.com
https://*.assets-yammer.com

Using Group Policy Management Console (thanks to RSAT for Win7), I was able to view the changes. Once you have the RSAT installed and configured, you can use the server tools from your desktop. Open ‘Group Policy Management’ from Start > Administrative Tools or type gpmc.msc in Start > run and enter.

In the Group Policy find the GPO that applies the Internet Explorer trusted site settings to computers.

Active Directory - Group Policy Management Console
Active Directory – Group Policy Management Console

Expand the Organization Unit (OU) from left that contains the computers and click on the Group Policy. Click on Settings tab and then expand all settings by clicking Show All. Look for Internet Explorer related settings.

Active Directory - Group Policy Management Console - Settings
Active Directory – Group Policy Management Console – Settings

I found the Yammer, SharePoint and MS online urls were added there.

Active Directory - Group Policy Management Console - IE Trusted Zone Settings
Active Directory – Group Policy Management Console – IE Trusted Zone Settings

You can optionally save the GPO settings as report. Right click on the right side settings area and choose Save Report. Save the report in .htm format.

Active Directory - Group Policy Management Console - GPO Settings - Save Report
Active Directory – Group Policy Management Console – GPO Settings – Save Report

I was still getting the issue due to reason that the AD GPO policy changes were not applied to my PC. I ran the gppdate from the command line and closed IE browser windows.
Online.

Gpupdate /force /target:computer

Client side Group Policy Force Updates using gpupdate
Client side Group Policy Force Updates using gpupdate

I then logged on to SharePoint Online and Yammer again.Guess what, now the ‘feeds were feeding’ the SharePoint

Yammer Feed Integrated on a SharePoint Online page
Yammer Feed Integrated on a SharePoint Online page

2. In IE settings, for the trusted sites check the box ‘turn on protected mode in trusted zone’

In few cases, especially with IE 11, the users have to make sure the ‘Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)’ is checked for trusted sites.

a. In Internet Explorer, Go to Tools menu > Internet Options
b. Go to Security tab
c.  Click on Trusted Sites icon to highlight it and then check the box ‘Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)

Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)' in Internet Explorer for Yammer SharePoint
Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer)’ in Internet Explorer for Yammer SharePoint

3. Users should have access to the SharePoint site pages and the Yammer Network / Group feed that is embedded
User visiting a SharePoint page with the Yammer network / group feed embedded on the page, should have access to Yammer network / group. Else user will get content can’t be displayed message in the app part (web part) area on that page.

This content cannot be displayed in a frame
    
To help protect the security of information you enter into this website, the publisher of this content does not allow it to be displayed in a frame.
    
What you can try:

Open this content in a new window  

Yammer Feed can not be displayed in the Frame Error on a SharePoint Online (Office 365) page
Yammer Feed can not be displayed in the Frame Error on a SharePoint Online (Office 365) page

If you click on the link ‘Open this content in a new window‘, you will see the yammer page for that network displaying ‘Join Network’ link. that indicates that the user doesn’t have permissions or is not part of the Yammer network that was embedded on that SharePoint Page.

Yammer - Join Yammer Network Page - SharePoint Integration
Yammer – Join Yammer Network Page – SharePoint Integration

Users that will be part of the network should be able to see the feed on the SharePoint online Page.

4. SharePoint page URL format can make or break Yammer Feed on the page

I’ve noticed another issue where the URL address format of the SharePoint page can make or break the Yammer feed integrated on a SharePoint page.

For a same site, notice the difference in URL:

Yammer Feed Worked:
https://company.sharepoint.com/sites/SiteCollection/subsite/SitePages/Home.aspx

Yammer Feed Failed:
https://company.sharepoint.com/sites/SiteCollection/subsite/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/SitePages/Home.aspx

In case of the second link, Yammer feed displays the same message ‘This content cannot be displayed in a frame’ as listed above in one of the screenshot. Investigating this issue further.

References:

  1. Yammer-App-for-SharePoint-Add-a-Yammer-feed-to-a-SharePoint-page
  2. Yammer Embed
  3. Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges
  4. Ragner Heil – Yammer App for SharePoint & Office 365 : Tips & Trick
  5. Setting Up Apps and Integrating Yammer into SharePoint 2013
  6. SharePoint Server 2013 known issues


Keywords:

  • Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online
  • Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online Issues
  • Yammer Feed Integration Common Issues
  • Yammer Feed Integration Issues
  • SharePoint Online with Yammer Common Issues
  • Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online fixes
  • Yammer Feed Integration with SharePoint Online resolutions
  • Yammer Feed with SharePoint Online Fixes
  • How to integrate Yammer feed with SharePoint
  • How to integrate Yammer feed with SharePoint Online
  • How to integrate Yammer feed and SharePoint
  • Yammer group Feed Integration with SharePoint Online
  • Yammer network Feed Integration with SharePoint Online
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MS14 081 Vulnerability in SharePoint

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

MS14 081 Vulnerability in SharePoint

Version 1.0

Seems like this year has been really hard on Office Web Apps and Word Services within SharePoint 2010 / 2013 for security reasons.

Microsoft released another security bulletin that impacts:

  • SharePoint 2010
  • SharePoint 2013
  • Office Web Apps 2013
  • Microsoft Project Server 2010 / 2013 
  • and other application that leverages SharePoint platform

Here is the security bulletin that is ranked as critical.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS14-081 – Critical
Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office Web Apps Could Allow Remote Code Execution (3017301)

Resources

Following are the important resources on this issue.

  1. MS14-081: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Office Web Apps could allow remote code execution: December 9, 2014
  2. MS14-081: Description of the security update for SharePoint Server 2010: December 9, 2014
  3. CVE-ID Use After Free Word Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – CVE-2014-6357
  4. National Vulnerability Database
  5. SecurityFocus
  6. US-Cert Security Bulletin

Download Updates:

  1. Security Update for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (KB2899581)
  2. Security Update for Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise Server 2013 (KB2883050)


Mitigating Factors

  • An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
  • The vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through email. For an attack to be successful a user must open an attachment that is sent in an email message.
  • In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a website that contains a file that is used to attempt to exploit the vulnerability. In addition, compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a specially crafted website. Instead, an attacker would have to convince them to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message or Instant Messenger message that takes them to the attacker’s site, and then convince them to open the specially crafted file in an affected version of Microsoft Office software.

Workaround

No workaround available so far.

Visit www.softvative.com for professional and Managed services for your SharePoint Farms.

Softvative MS Azure Cloud Brainstorming Plan

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Softvative Microsoft Azure Cloud Brainstorming Plan

Version: 1.5

Sharing a limited version of Softvative’s Brainstorming Plan on Microsoft Azure Cloud (IAAS, PAAS, SAAS).

Purchase & download the full version of the brainstorming plan covering more clickable links to Microsoft resources and comments (notes). Visit www.softvative.com or email at contact@softvative.com for details.

Usage of this brainstorming plan: 

1. To plan for Microsoft Azure IAAS, PAAS, SAAS services
2. Familiarize yourself with Azure features and services
3. Train your project team and staff on Azure resources
4. Use it to prepare for Microsoft Azure Infrastructure exam 70-533
5. Any other purpose that can help you use Azure

Visit www.softvative.com for professional services.

Sharepoint Document Management Best Practices

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

SharePoint Document Management Best Practices

Version: 2.0, Last Updated: 12/03/2014

SharePoint like any document management system, has best practices that needs to be followed to get maximum value out of the system. A planned roll out of document management features helps the organization and users. A planned roll out should have some sort of discipline (Plan, Do, Check, Act) around it. In an unplanned roll out you will come across discipline (Do, check, plan, act) that cause more pain.

What are the “benefits of planned SharePoint roll out” :

  1. With planning, staff knows what is coming and when
  2. You select the features that best fit into the organization in the beginning. It might be difficult to change user behavior of how they work in the systems later if you started with rudimentary features and process
  3. Users might use a SharePoint library just like a network shared drive to dump files. Versus organizing a library with columns, content types or term store features might go long way
 4. Same department contents structured using right features might save lot of time and hence the cost (full time employees are not free, everyone has a cost associated)
  5. Structured information will help the team leads / Management make quick and intelligent decisions in short time

Now, what are some of the “common best practices around SharePoint Document Management”?

There are no hard and fast rules. Every situation and roll out might require different combination of features. Below I’ve listed some of the ‘”common best practices for Sharepoint”. This list by no mean is complete and there might be additional best practices needed around different department contents. Use this list as a reference and come up with your plan.

1. Use short Site, Library and List names

Don’t use long names in Sites, Libraries and lists in Sharepoint. Avoid having space in names. Like instead of ‘Billing Department’ use BD or Billing. Another example for site name se short name like AEC instead of An Excellent Company. Create sites, libraries and list with short names. Once created go the Title configuration areas to change to long title and add text in the description field. Creating those items with shot names conserves the URL address space.

2. 255 Characters URL Limit and Windows file / folder path Limits

There is a limit of characters in the URL address as part of web standard. It is 255 characters. Using long site, library, folders, files path can lead to situation where that limit might be reached. In Sharepoint that could cause some hard stop. Few examples could be users not able to edit files even with right permissions, previous versions of file not working etc.
References:
a. URL path length restrictions  
b. You receive a “The specified file or folder name is too long” error message when you create a new folder or a new document in a document library in SharePoint Portal Server or in Windows SharePoint Services http://support.microsoft.com/kb/894630
c. A webpage that has a long URL may not print to a network printer in Internet Explorer 9
d. You cannot delete long URLs from the browsing history in Internet Explorer on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2
e. Maximum URL length is 2,083 characters in Internet Explorer

3.  Avoid Using Special Characters in File, Folders , Library and Site names

Special characters cause special problems. To make a file / folder on the top of the list, use Sharepoint views, filters and sorts option. If you really need to make something on top of the list manually, use period (.) or underscore (_) in the beginning of the name. But it is better to use simple names.

Reference:
Information about the characters that you cannot use in site names, folder names, and file names in SharePoint

4. Avoid Using Spaces in Names and avoid having space in beginning

If you need to use two words in names, avoid space in the middle. That one space takes three character (i.e. %20) in the URL address. For example use BestDocument instead of Best Document. You can use underscore (_) in the middle of two words without adding spaces. In same example that will look like Best_Document.

5. Don’t add version number of file at the end of name

It is a common scenario users do on network shared drives. Don’t use the same practice in a content management system like Sharepoint. Instead turn on the versioning feature at the library or list level and use it to your advantage. Let the Sharepoint do its job of maintaining versions. Add those versioning columns in the view for users. On the side note, when you turn on the versioning feature don’t turn on unlimited versions, set a limit on the last number of versions to keep. For example 5 or 10 [Sharepoint site Admin can setup versioning for libraries and lists.].

6. Use Metadata instead of Folders

Metadata is much better way of working with contents compared to organizing contents in folders. Using Columns, Content Types, Metadata Term store feature of Sharepoint are recommend ways.
Reference:
a. SharePoint 2013 Best Practices: Using Folders [same concepts can apply to other Sharepoint editions]

7.  Don’t use long folder names

I’ve seen examples where people used kind of whole history of the folder as part of folder name. For  example “A Long Company Name, Contract Number, Customer Number, Customer Location” as part of folder name. Compare it to having a folder with just the short company name  ABC Company and using rest of the information as part of the metadata properties at file level to classify contents is much better and faster approach. You will run into long URL issues if you will have hierarchical chain of folders with longs names and long file names inside those folders.
Just like people don’t use long names. They use first and last name or maybe middle name. But people don’t add their grandfather, great grandfather and whole ancestral names as part of their name. Another example, book writers don’t add the full summary of the book on the title. It is usually in next few pages.

8. Think Before you Act

Always think and plan before you would like to do any important thing in SharePoint. Try to get your information organized from the beginning. Unplanned start can cause you lots of rework later that might take twice or thrice the efforts and costs. It is like plan and pay early and save a lot later versus do it without planning and keep paying forever.

9. Use Site, Library, List Templates

SharePoint comes with lots of templates for sites, libraries and lists. You can create a customized site, library or list using out of the box features and then save it as template. Those template can then be used later by other department and team. Thus saving lots of time and efforts later.

10. Know you SharePoint Document Management features

SharePoint offers lots of features for document management that help in different scenarios. Content Types, Content Organizer Rule, Documents Sets, Document ID, workflows and others are some of the advanced features that can bring value to your contents. Know what you have at your disposal, before users start using your libraries.

11. Learn about Content Management Features of SharePoint
SharePoint has lots of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) features that you may not be aware of it or you may not aware of other ways to leverage those features for your contents.

Learn about these features and jargon in SharePoint that will help your in the Document Management.

  • Metadata Term Store
  • Content Type Hub
  • Site Columns
  • Content Types
  • Document Center
  • Record Center
  • Content Organizer and Document Routing
  • eDiscovery and hold
  • Information Rights Management (IRM)
  • Versioning, Major & minor versions
  • Document Approval
  • Check-in / checkout
  • Folder Based automatic metadata
  • Metadata driven navigation
  • Workflows on Documents
  • Email Alerts on Documents, Folders , Libraries
  • SharePoint Search to locate documents
  • Social Aspects (Tagging, Ratings, Like It)
  • Audit Trails
  • Retention Schedule
  • Deletion
  • Storage (BLOB)
  • Large Document Sizes
  • Documents with most versions
  • Office Web Apps to view documents without any client