Thursday, July 29, 2010

Standards-Based Interoperability between SAP NetWeaver 7.0 and Microsoft .NET 3.5/4.0

Microsoft opened a new interoperability area within MSDN on Web Service Interoperability between the major web services vendors. Amongst these naturally also SAP. The site contains an extensive (75 pages) Demonstration Scenario of the Collaboration Technology Support Center addressing information about how to set up standards-based Web services communication between Microsoft .NET Framework applications and SAP Application Server ABAP-based consumers and providers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Portal Embedding of SAP UWL into SharePoint

There are multiple alternatives for utilizing SharePoint as presentation layer to SAP functionality. The most basic is portal launch, next comes portal embedding. Portal embedding has some advantages (mainly being rapidly to achieve: you only visually integrate the 2 [SAP, Microsoft] environments, without any direct systems/applications integration and interoperability), but remains a rather poor man's approach to portal integration. The typical SAP UI / Look and Feel is very different from the SharePoint UI (standard or company-customized), and the SAP Portal pages exhibit themselves browser navigation in addition to the SharePoint navigation.
Andre Fischer a.o. from SAP recently published the whitepaper Integration of SAP Universal Worklist into Microsoft Office SharePoint. This paper contains an example of the portal embedding approach, while also addressing the double navigation issue. In particular it describes an approach to integrating the SAP Universal Worklist into SharePoint context. Basically it comes down at making sure at the SAP Portal side that the portal pages are rendered headerless, without the portal navigation. The elegance of the sketched approach is that it is limited to SAP Portal configuration and customization work, there is no custom development required at either SAP nor SharePoint side.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

SharePoint 2010 CMIS Connector

To enable content management interoperability between different CMS repositories, the OASIS organization defined the Content Management Interoperability Standard specification. Although a.o. Microsoft played a major role in the OASIS working group defining this proposed standard, up to now it did not provide a concrete and product-ready implementation of the CMIS specification for SharePoint 2007. There is only a reference/example implementation available on MSDN, with code download.
Apparently Microsoft decided to wait with active support of the CMIS specification for the next SharePoint version. For SharePoint Server 2010 Microsoft now packages a CMIS connector as part of the Administration Toolkit v1.0. The CMIS Connector for SharePoint provides a CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) interface over the top of SharePoint as well as a CMIS consumer Web Part that can be used to display content from other CMIS enabled repositories. [source: Microsoft SharePoint Teamblog] Or stated otherwise: via this CMIS Connector, SharePoint Server 2010 can both function as CMIS consumer of content stored in external repositories, and as CMIS producer of content stored within SharePoint lists and libraries.
Mind you...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beware: timerjob processes invoked via Central Admin deploy solution do not reload FeatureReceiver assembly

Recent we ran into an exception when deploying an external facing website to the production SharePoint farm. The problem originated in the FeatureInstalled() method of a custom FeatureReceiver class. We did not encounter this particular deployment problem in the integration nor QA environment. Since on a production environment it is not viable to debug, we had to resort to inserting logging statements in the code, and then redeploy the assembly. But strangely, no logging was written leaving us still blank with respect to the exact code location and cause of the deployment problem.
After several deployment attempts together with operations, we came up with the explanation why the logging was not done. The timerjob process that executes the FeatureReceiver FeatureInstalled() method still has the old code loaded!! To force that the assembly is reloaded from either GAC or virtual bin after deploySolution and before execution of FeatureInstalled, you need to recycle the timerjobs processes. The right time for this is after the retractSolution of the previous version of the deployed SharePoint solution package.
NB: we didn't notice this 'faulty' deploy/timerjobs behaviour before because it's not very common to actually utilize the FeatureInstalled() method. In this particular case it was necessary to timely correct something before the SharePoint feature framework performs the OOTB feature activation work.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Duet® Enterprise on stage at SAPPHIRE 2010

Duet® Enterprise is now clearly gaining momentum in the marketspace. It was also on the agenda of the SAPPHIRE 2010 Conference. Watch the session presented by Pascal Gilbert (Microsoft). In this presentation Pascal discusses at a conceptual level the business proposition of Duet® Enterprise, enlists in what aspects it is an improvement of the previous Duet versions, and gives a real life example of how Duet Enterprise can be put in sensible action applying strictly the OOTB provided capabilities.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Another short demo of what can be achieved with Duet® Enterprise for business collaboration in a mixed SAP (business processing platform) and Microsoft (Information Worker environment) landscape is given by Howard Beader: