Microsoft support the student community through a programme called DreamSpark. Anyone who is a student can access the programme and it’s aim is simple, give every student the ability to access developer and designer tools for free to create amazing things. If you know someone who you think would benefit from these free tools then point them at this article, share the love and inspire a future technologist!
DreamSpark is all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so that they can follow their dreams. Those dreams could create the next big breakthrough in technology or help someone get a head start their career!
It’s your dream and we want to help you to follow it.
DreamSpark gives every student the chance to develop world class software, web applications, cool and creative designs as well as amazing games. Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools. Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible.
To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible. That’s where you come in.
Your challenge should you choose to accept it is to inform as many students that you know about this programme so that you can help them to get a head start on a career, do better in class, or even show the world new things that technology can do….all with DreamSpark.
Visit http://www.dreamspark.com to find out more and drop firstname.lastname@example.org an email if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas!
The next wave of SQL Server investments will offer organizations the agility to quickly create and scale solutions that solve challenges and fuel new business opportunity from server to private or public cloud linked together with common tools for optimized productivity and cutting-edge developer technologies—build once, deploy and manage wherever.
Learn how SQL Server can help you achieve consolidation, standardisation, elasticity, greater uptime, self-service provisioning and usage metering
Download the Solution Guide for Private Cloud Poster
Learn how to easily synchronize SQL Azure databases between SQL Azure and On-Premises SQL Server Databases using SQL Azure DataSync
Find out more about the SQL Server Hybrid Solutions here: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/solutions-technologies/hybrid-It.aspx
Ian Woodgate is Managing Director of PointBeyond Limited, the UK’s leading SharePoint Business Application specialists. Ian has a background in financial services and and IT. He has worked with SharePoint since its first release as a developer and subsequently as a solution architect. Ian regularly speaks at events around the country, focusing on the subject of delivering business applications using SharePoint, and recently wrote PointBeyond’s white paper ‘Delivering Maximum Business Value With A SharePoint Based Application Strategy’. He also runs the SharePoint UK user group meetings in Southampton. You can contact Ian at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @IanWoodgate.
This is the first of a series of articles in which we discuss how you can use InfoPath 2010 to quickly create and deploy business applications in the cloud with SharePoint Online, part of the Microsoft Office 365 platform. We’ll show how to publish a simple InfoPath form to SharePoint Online, and future articles will build upon this example.
For those not familiar, InfoPath is a Microsoft application that allows users to easily create and publish forms for collecting structured information. The InfoPath application ships with Microsoft Office Professional 2010, and is also available for separate purchase.
InfoPath solutions can be created by both developers and IT professionals, as well as tech-savvy business users such as analysts and information workers. Users can take advantage of the powerful combination of InfoPath and SharePoint 2010 to quickly create complete browser based applications without the need for custom code.
InfoPath ships with templates for common business forms such as Absence Request, Change Order, and Status Report. You can extend the sample forms or create new forms from a blank canvas.
InfoPath allows you to add business rules to validate data being entered (e.g. data must be a number) or to allow data entry on certain conditions (e.g. only an approver can view the approvals section). Rules are added using menus and configuration, so no coding is required, though InfoPath does support custom coding to enable more advanced customisations. Information that is collected when forms are filled out is saved as XML.
You can add your own custom branding and formatting so that your forms reflect your overall corporate style. And you can interact with data located on premise or in the cloud by creating connections to SQL Server, Access, web services, or SharePoint lists.
When forms are published to SharePoint, InfoPath Forms Services, a component of SharePoint 2010, renders them as HTML web forms, so end users do not require any extra software in order to access forms and submit data. Browsers supported by InfoPath Forms Services includes Internet Explorer 7 and upwards, as well as other modern browsers such as Google Chrome and Apple Safari.
It’s no secret that with InfoPath and SharePoint, you can quickly create and deploy business applications without the need for custom code and long, costly development cycles. Perhaps less known is that you can get the same benefits with Office 365 and SharePoint Online. You do need Office 365 plan E3 or E4, or SharePoint Online (Plan 2) if you want your forms to be browser enabled though, since only these plans include InfoPath Forms Services.
InfoPath forms provide more than enough power for creating data-focused applications such as absence reporting, expense approvals, and IT help desk requests. You wouldn’t want to use InfoPath and SharePoint to replace your current ERP system, but the combination is more than acceptable for a wide range of basic applications that are on most organisations’ development backlogs.
Let’s have a quick look at how to create, publish, fill, and submit a simple InfoPath form. In this demo, we’ll use a basic purchase order request form with a simple approval process. For the purposes of this article we have kept the form self-contained and it is therefore very simple. There are many ways in which it could be extended, some of which will be mentioned later.
The form used in this demo can be downloaded from here, along with instructions on the changes that are needed for deployment to your environment or SharePoint online site.
Using the InfoPath Office client we have placed controls on the form to enable the capture of the following information:
The form allows the application of sophisticated rule-based validation and formatting options. These can all be seen on the downloadable form. For example, the Request Approval section is configured to only be displayed when the form has been submitted for approval and is only shown to the specified approver.
The form is shown open in InfoPath below. The data structure and the rules applied to the ‘Submit for Approval’ button can be seen:
Before attempting to publish the form go to site settings in SharePoint and ensure you have the ‘SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features’ feature activated under Site collection features. Also be sure to make the changes in the instructions that accompany the download.
Once the form is ready you can publish directly from InfoPath to your Office 365 SharePoint site. This will create a new form library in your chosen site. From the File menu in InfoPath, select the Publish tab. Click on ‘Publish form to a SharePoint Library’:
In the publishing wizard, enter the URL to your Office 365 SharePoint site and click ‘Next’:
Enter your Office365 credentials:
In the next screen ensure the ‘Enable this form to be filled out by using a browser’ checkbox is selected and select the Form Library radio button, then click ‘Next’:
In the next screen, choose to ‘Create a new form library’ to host your form or update the form if you have an existing Form Library:
Enter a suitable name and description and click ‘Next’:
Click ‘Next’ on the following screen leaving values as default:
Click ‘Publish’ on the summary screen:
The form is now available at the SharePoint Online address specified. InfoPath Forms Services will render the form as HTML, so that users can fill it in from their browser. When viewing the Form Library, clicking on the ‘Add document’ link will open the form in the browser. A user can now fill this in and submit it:
Once submitted the approver can open and review the form in a read-only view and approve/reject as appropriate:
If a form has been submitted and a non-approver attempts to open the form, the rules result in the following view being displayed:
This example demonstrates the power that InfoPath and SharePoint Online provide to quickly create form-based business applications in the cloud. This example, while quite basic, could easily be extended to accommodate more real-world scenarios. For example, you could:
We hope that this simple example demonstrates how you to quickly build and publish powerful business applications on the SharePoint Online platform using InfoPath and without needing custom code.
In a future article, we will present more advanced features such as additional workflow capabilities and integration with web services and SQL Azure data.
Become a ‘Cloud Ninja’ and help lead your IT organisation to the cloud, by obtaining Microsoft’s new flagship certification, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). These certifications recognise those IT professionals who have broad and deep skill sets across whole Microsoft solutions. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is the certification for aspiring IT professionals and is also the prerequisite certification necessary to earn an MCSE, while the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) is the ultimate destination for the most experienced MCSEs.
Securing these essential technical skills will allow you to grow your career and make yourself indispensable as the industry shifts to the cloud. For more information about how Microsoft Certifications have been reinvented for the cloud, watch this video.
Are you ready to test your skills against our experts? Here’s your chance! Get your 2 for 1 certification exam offer now. It’s only open until the 30th June so what are you waiting for!
So that we can better understand and ensure that we make trial software easy to find and simple to access we thought it would be good to find out where and how you access our trial software.
We’ve posted a single question poll on our Facebook Page:
Please help us to support you and your download desires!
Last week we posted even more events for May and even some for June! We also brought you content around deployment and planning as well as data management.
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Are you interested in learning first hand exactly how a Microsoft private cloud can help your business, our new guided labs will show you how a Microsoft private cloud, built on System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, dramatically changes the way business consumes IT services.
These 14 user-friendly labs take users on a step-by-step guided tour of a Microsoft private cloud without the time investment required by a typical lab to configure the environment.
Demo the Microsoft private cloud yourself with 14 free self-guided labs
Here is the list of labs so you can browse and learn at your convenience:
1. Provide resources through self-service requests
2. Drive consistent service delivery
3. Provision additional cloud infrastructure
4. Delegate cloud resources
5. Create consistency through service templates
6. Perform a standardized application deployment to test
7. Stage application resources
8. Self-service deployment of an application to a production environment
9. Gain insight and visibility through reporting
10. Monitor infrastructure
11. Taking corrective actions in the infrastructure
12. Reduce time to resolution with application performance monitoring
13. Deploy an update to service instance
14. Explore creating dashboards
For the full evaluation experience, download System Center 2012 (RTM) with the optional Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 package.
Learn What’s Hot and New in Windows Server 2012!
A Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Community Road show event will show you how to:
The primary audience for this event is IT Professionals and partners who are excited about the upcoming release of the Windows Server 2012 technology.
This event will showcase presentations and demos from Microsoft MVPs on the following topics
Storage and Availability
If you’re interested in attending or you would like to share this information with your user group or add it to your blog or Twitter, please use this link https://ws2012rocks.msregistration.com/
London, Thursday 14th June 2012 – 17:30 – 21:15 with Damian Flynn , Aidan Finn , Alex Juschin – Click To Register
Edinburgh, Friday 15th June 2012 – 13:00 – 17:10 with Damian Flynn , Aidan Finn , Alex Juschin – Click To Register
For those of you who couldn’t make it to Vegas for the MMS conference don’t worry! You can still find out what happened there and see the keynotes and sessions at your own pace. We’ve recorded them and made the recordings available on the digital MMS site.
All you need to do is log in with either Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Windows Live ID or just a simple username and password and the doors to MMS are open to you! There’s quite a community feel to the site as you can connect with others who have watched the sessions and discuss aspects of it with one another using the Social Wall.
Sessions available are as follows:
Browse at your leisure and share it with your colleagues!
For some time I’ve been trying to work out with colleagues how to articulate what I see as a solid model for dealing with consumerisation of IT in the workplace or even allowing people to bring their own devices. It’s quite tough to find some mental model to help people to understand the kind of approaches that work. I’m looking for a way to help you manage more than the standard IT desktop, to make more sense of productivity at work and with a view of IT security risks.
The key is balancing the approach: do more with less, more permissive access to less secure stuff. Most of an organisations “stuff” tends to require less security than IT think. Be a guide not a gate keeper.
Good, Better, Best, seems to be the most applicable that I’ve found.
GOOD is most open, your users being able to access your network, get IP addresses, get to some apps / services / data. They probably have to keep entering credentials and they may be storing those credentials on their device.
BETTER is having some modicum of remediation over the device – the ability to remote wipe it for example.
BEST is having an authenticated connection with general purpose security (you could say domain joined PC)
N+1 is having the ability to ensure end to end security, encrypted device, encrypted communications, rights managed documents, remote wipe, policy based management, policy based enforcement.
Not all devices will fit into all categories, in-fact probably only Domain joined Windows PCs will be able to enter the N+1 category (that’s because all the things mentioned are built in from the ground up). That said most people probably don’t need everything in the N+1 category. Most organisations will also see their users adding GOOD and BETTER devices to their mobile worker armoury along with a BEST or N+1 devices.
A further note on N+1 is that this is where I see private cloud hosted apps and desktops and there is no reason that a GOOD, BETTER or BEST device can’t be used to access an N+1 hosted app or desktop.
*caveat: this is a simple model, there will be many exceptions, the key is mixture.