Tag Archives: SharePoint

Duplicate SharePoint Personalization Site Navigation Tabs

Strange Symptom of Running Out of Disk Space

Recently we had an issue with SharePoint Search that caused very large log files to be produced, eventually taking up almost all the hard drive space. Restarting the server (without yet knowing this was the issue) produced a problem wherein a custom top navigation tab on the MySite pages was duplicated, appearing twice side by side between the MyHome and MyProfile tabs. This navigation tab was created from Central Admin (Shared Services Administration> SharedServicesName> Personalization site links), and was not custom developed.

Since both duplicate tabs were fully functional (if quite distracting) I left them for the time being to find the cause of the trouble. Once the log files were moved and the drive space restored, a restart outside of production hours corrected the problem.

School of Hard Knocks Lesson: Audience Targeting

SharePoint audience targeting is a great way to hide content from unauthorized users, right? You don’t want Department B to see the calendar on Department A’s home page, so you edit the calendar web part, targeting the calendar to Dept A only. Voila! When a member of Department B navigates to the site, the calendar does not appear, while Department A’s members see it. Nicely done, and you didn’t have to mess with those confusing security groups and permission issues.

“Is Bob Spiking the Eggnog in this One?”

Hold on there, big [boy|girl]! We need to determine WHY you’re hiding the calendar. If it’s because Dept B doesn’t care about Dept A’s dental appointments and would much rather see say, links to some incriminating office Christmas party photos, you’re cool. Content filtering is what audience targeting is all about. Using audience targeting, you can present a customized feel to a SharePoint site based on the user’s id or group membership. Given the limited screen landscape available when standard navigation is employed, audience targeting can also help create a cleaner, less confusing user experience.

“Obscurity is Not Security”

If you’re hiding Dept A’s calendar because it contains top secret appointments that shouldn’t be seen for security reasons, however, you have not done enough to keep out those nosy Dept B snoops. Just because a user does not see a web part displayed on a given web does not mean that the content is not available through alternative navigation, such as View All Site Content or by following a link returned in search results.

You can quickly test this by creating an item in an audience targeted SharePoint list or calendar that contains an uncommon or made-up word, such as “IfDeptBCanFindThisI’mDoneFor.” Log in as a user who is not in the targeted group, but otherwise has permission to view the site. The list or calendar will not be visible on the page to which targeting has been applied, but if the user searches for “IfDeptBCanFindThisI’mDoneFor,” the item will be returned in their search results, and the user will be able to follow the link in the search results to see the item’s content. Doh!

[Note that, depending on your crawl schedule, it may be several minutes before the new “IfDeptBCanFindThisI’mDoneFor” item is indexed and available in search results.]

To prevent this, you must modify the permissions for the web part in question. Care should be taking in requirements gathering here, as “Department B shouldn’t see this,” can mean different things to different people.

While audience targeting can create a customized experience for users, be aware that excessive use of audience targeting can cause slow load times, as all the content is rendered, and then subsequently filtered based on audience targeting.

SharePoint Bootcamp Week 6 – The Mini SUG

Interesting turn of events this week. Had our first mini SharePoint User Group (SUG) with admins from three state agencies participating.

Our infrastructures vary widely. Mine is the smallest, with 1 Windows Server 2003 running SharePoint & and a SQL Server. The second agency is significantly larger, with 2 WFEs, MS Project Server, a box for SharePoint Services, and a clustered SQL Server group. This agency plans to migrate the currently split content dbs to a single dedicated SQL Server. The third agency is launching an environment to host SharePoint sites for several smaller agencies that have no IT departments of their own. This admin plans to create one SharePoint farm with multiple Web Apps to insulate the content.

While my inherited environment has been established for a couple of years, I’m quite new to the administration side, so talking with the admins from the other two agencies with their very new implementations made for good discussion at this sessions. Foremost among the topics were design strategy and challenges of implementation.

Since mine is the only fully-deployed, working environment, we plan to use it as a example case for tricky settings, like having both an HTTP and HTTPS address resolve to the same content on port 80. As such, I sent the other admins copies of my piped out Alternative Access Mappings along with the STSADM command to pipe out their own for backup, since this is not part of the built in SharePoint backup functionality. (Thank you, Todd Klindt, for providing this info).

We also discussed issues with BlackBerry authentication on SharePoint sites, a problem which needs more exploration to determine if connectivity problems are device specific, or BES policy specific. Additionally, an idea was presented to create a group test environment on a virtual box so we could explore different authentication and partitioning techniques outside our production environments. Cool idea, Eric!

Some other topics of interest (thank you Twitterverse for good discussion and referrals to blog posts):

Audience targeting is not security trimming. This met with some resistance, but I told them of the discussions I’d had on Twitter and my own testing which confirmed this. I could log in with my test user account and not see the calendar I had set as unreadable with audience targeting, but a global search not only showed the target appointment, but clicking on the result in the result set displayed the full calendar appointment with all its details. Audience targeting, then, should be used only to determine what and how content is *displayed* on a particular page. Only breaking inheritance and manually setting security access will prevent a user from seeing a particular item. Other observations on audience targeting: does the most good, but also causes the most performance drag, on the main page of a site or site collection: use with caution!

SharePoint 2010 will be 64-bit only. This includes all servers in the farm, including SQL Server housing the content databases. A welcome bit of news for the two admins working on refining an existing, but not fully deployed, SharePoint environment. They’d wanted to upgrade to 64-bit servers, but since they are running SharePoint 2007, they had the allowable mixed environment. Knowing the future would be all 64-bit gave good rationale for implementing a hardware upgrade at the same time as their infrastructure update.

SharePoint Service Pack 2 (SP2) reverts converted paid product back to a trial subscription. The admin has 180 days to reenter the license key. This was news to even our seasoned admin, who while not concerned for his current deployment, did mention he should contact his former employer to make them aware.

Overall, I think everyone was happy about the collaboration and the amount of information exchanged at this first meeting, even within a small group of people. We had some followups to finish for one another, and plan to meet once a month, with perhaps some other agencies invited. I’m the newbie of the group, but had plenty to share because of my reading and paying attention in the community groups. This is a testament to the power of the User Group. If you have no grand expectations, but come willing to seek information and share what you know, the group’s value can be more than the sum of the individuals involved.

SharePoint Anagrams

Had come up with a few funny anagrams for SharePoint, and shared them on Twitter. The name has many of the letters you’d pick first when trying to solve the puzzle in Wheel of Fortune – so it was a good candidate. Then a friend referred me to an anagram serving website, which delivered several, although most were pretty boring. Here’s some of the goodies, both from the site and ones I found:
Evil SharePoint:
Hate Prison
Hernia Spot
Pain Throes
Hope Strain
Hare In Pots [Think Fatal Attraction]
Tear Siphon
Others Pain
Naughty SharePoint:
Hop Nastier
Porn I Haste
I Entrap Hos
Ornate Hips
Open A Shirt
Pa Horniest
Repaint Hos
Under the Influence SharePoint:
Another Sip
Pats Heroin
A Top Shiner [Beer]
Retain Hops
Nears Pot Hi
Hoarse Pint [What you have after teaching too many SP Sessions]
Parties, Hon!
Share in Pot [Thanks, Stephen Heister]
Felonious SharePoint:
Apron Heist
Pirates, Hon
Rat Phonies
Hit a Person
SharePoint SharePoint?:
Phase Intro
Persona Hit
Orphan Site [This one was a little freaky]
Silly SharePoint:
Retinas Hop
Hairnet Sop
Hear Pintos
Opera Hints
Tape Rhinos
Nosier Path
Has Protein
Paint Horse
Pita Nosher
Thin as Rope
So I Panther [Had it been Cougar, this might have been under Naughty]
No Hare Pits
No Hair Pets [Thanks, Todd K.]