Archive for category: Community

Recap: SharePoint Saturday 2015 in Antwerp, Belgium

20 Apr 2015
April 20, 2015

300 attendees on a Saturday – all “SharePoint-crazy”. Its my first visit to Belgium and I must say: I am impressed of the community and the spirit here. In the following I recap SharePoint Saturday 2015 in Antwerp.




From the start at 9:00am until the official end of SPSBE (SharePoint Saturday Belgium) at around 17:30 I had good fun. I apparently had to prepare my session on this Saturday, tests my demos and optimize my slides – so I could only attend one full session (see my summary here), but there was enough time for me to talk to community members, board members and other speakers – good times, good fun.

Some of the attendees stayed for the BBQ after the event – it was nice to share some ideas, get feedback – and well, the food was nice, too!

I must say, for a free event organized by a community, this was perfectly done – there is nothing I could rant about (and that’s almost impossible, because its free, right?). Good job @BIWUG (Belgian Information Worker User Group) – I am leaving Belgium impressed.

Thanks again to all the sponsors who made the event possible!

Speakers & Sessions

20 sessions and as many speakers from around the world attracted 300 attendees – not only from Belgium. In general the conferenced covered all kind of different topics, but the main themes were Office 365 with topics like development, governance, adoption, best practices, workflows, search, apps and solutions. Good stuff!

My Session: Search-Driven Applications with SharePoint 2013

I had a really good time presenting my content regarding Search-Driven Applications with SharePoint 2013 – I uploaded my slides, but the cool stuff is in the demos and I can’t make them available:

After the talk there were like 10 to 15 questions – some of them I would love to show you here:

Q: Do Query Variables work for Office 365 / SharePoint Online?

Yes, Query Variables are awesome and do work for SharePoint Online – see a reference here.

Q: How can I recrawl SharePoint Online User Profiles?

Once you changed the mapping of the managed properties, you need to tell SharePoint Online to recrawl the profiles. There is a PowerShell for that, see Mikael’s post.

Q: How to estimate and test load patterns for SharePoint search scenarios (e.g. in a publishing scenario)?

Estimation is tough, you need a lot of experience for that. And you need to know a lot upfront about the environment, the use cases, the users, … – if you don’t know that, you need to scale, test and adjust. One possible solution to test load patterns upfront is to use Visual Studio Test Manager and use the REST url to query for results. Then you can increase the load and see what could break and how to optimize.

Q: Some Chinese documents are not index properly, at least they are not presented to certain users. Why? 

I could only guess – multi-language is a complex topic. They guys tried a lot with forced language property, but without seeing and environment, well – good luck!

Q: Why didn’t you cover Display Templates in your session

Display Templates are awesome. Search is awesome. Apparently I only had 1 hour so I could not cover that much without loosing somewhere else. Of course they are an important part of a search-driven application that presents results within SharePoint. If you want to read more about Display Templates, go read Elio’s blog or Mikael’s blog – they have pretty good articles about them. Or look at my basic example here.


I totally enjoyed it – still I am a little tired because my friend Andy (@meligo) insisted to tour me around Antwerp! Thanks for having me! Smile

To sum it all up: That was my first international SharePoint Saturday – and it won’t be my last!

See you latest next year Belgium!

Improving SharePoint Search Experience – #SPSBE07

18 Apr 2015
April 18, 2015

I think its my first time that I attended a search session for business users/decision makers – interesting times here at SharePoint Saturday in Belgium. Here follows a summary for “Improve SharePoint Search Experience” in my words.

Speaker was Elio Struyf (@eliostruyf) – he has some nice blog posts about search, go read them!

Elio on stage

Improve for everybody, don’t forget the novice users

There are different types of users in every enterprise, some of them are more mature with SharePoint, some do a search query with just one keyword – well, one of Elio’s key messages was that you should optimize the experience not only for the “educated” users.

Key tips

During his presentation Elio showed some nice tricks to improve the experience. Starting by enabling suggestions, optimize verticals, add and change refiners or improve the keyword search are really important parts of an optimized Search Center – default  means not optimized for your requirements, right?


neat keyword search solution

Expert users

For expert users there are plenty of options to drive adoption and create results that are important for the users – and help them tackle the information overload.

One good optimization is to enable search as you type (note: your IT admin will love you for that!) or to enrich the results with meaningful, additional metadata. For enriching you have multiple options, Elio explained Entity Extraction and Content Enrichment – both are very powerful concepts to provide better results.

Lastly Elio introduced Delve/Office Graph – the audience indicated that they know about it, but most of them don’t/can’t use them. As closing demo he showed that you can integrate Office Graph results into SharePoint results – good one, I need to keep that one in mind!


Solid session by Elio – good value for me. Its important to not forget the novice users, they can be important for your SharePoint adoption and are the “tomorrows” users of your platform. Thanks!

What happened to ‘the’ ULSViewer and how to still get it?

04 Jun 2014
June 4, 2014

MSDN Archive has been retired this week – I do not know why they retired it before there is an adequate replacement for the majority of the tools, but it has a huge impact on my work. One of my favorite tool, the famous ULSViewer is was hosted there.

You will be greeted with this beautiful page when you try to download the ULSViewer

You will be greeted with this beautiful page when you try to download the ULSViewer – no alternative download location so far!

ULSViewer – why would you miss it?

Why I love the tool?

  1. its tiny – with just 487kb you can grab it, copy it over the slowest RDP connection and start working in less than a minute.
  2. its super fast – even with the biggest ULS Logs you can still filter and search for correlations, full text and what not.
  3. its just one file – no installation, plain .exe file, it can not be simpler.
  4. the filtering and coloring is superb – reading the uls can be very challenging (sometimes you need true SharePoint Ninja Skills), but the filtering and coloring really helps me a lot.
  5. it has real-time support – watching what happens right when it happens – I hate wait times.
  6. it supports all versions – support for SharePoint 2007 – 2013 is just great!
  7. its free – I  used it for roughly 30 clients – no licensing costs helps quite a lot.

Additionally, just yesterday I solved an issue with the ULSViewer where the coloring and the real-time functionally was a major part of the issue identification.

Formatting, highlighting and real-time support

Formatting, highlighting and real-time support helped me solving an authentication issue

Trevor Seward (@NaupliusTrevor) launched a page to express that we want the ULSViewer back – most favorably released with an Open Source license hosted on Github or Codeplex.

Bring Back ULSViewer! - Internet Explorer_2014-06-04_10-30-57

If you did not participate in the survey – please do so now! Collecting our voices helps!

30 Seconds Survey

30 Seconds Survey

How to still get it?

There are three options:

1. You downloaded it already

Easy one – just don’t loose the file. OneDrive it and you cant loose it, right ?

2. You can download it from Todd Klindt

If Tood uses ULSViewer, it has to be good, right? Todd mirrors the ULSViewer on his blog – download it here.

3. Coolest solution: Download it with PowerShell

Install chocolatey (takes 30 seconds) and use the following command

This downloads the ulsviewer and creates a shortcut on your desktop – in less than a minute in total – quite handy and super fast!



More chocolatey?

  1. Install SharePoint Designer with Chocolatey
  2. Updated Chocolatey with more tools
  3. Little helpers for “lazy” developers
  4. Install ULSViewer with Powershell

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