Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies
MSDN & TechNet: Releasing Office, SharePoint, Exchange & Lync Centers and content for developers and IT professionals.

July, 2008

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    The Mysteries of Search Crawlers and Finding Stuff on the Intranet


    As the managing editor for the Office Developer Center, I spend a lot of time trying to determine effective search optimization strategies to help our content get discovered by search crawlers or robots. My focus is generally on the big Internet search engines, but I know that this can be even more critical in an enterprise environment where you want the vast knowledge stored "somewhere" to be available in under five minutes of searching. Nothing is more irritating than resorting to the native search on your local intranet, knowing the content you need is there (you saw it three months ago...where was it???)....and having it not show up in the results. So I take search personally. As a result, I'm glad to highlight two pieces of content that will help all you enterprise search folks create more relevant, custom search scopes for people in the enterprise like, well, me.

    The SharePoint folks just published some content that I think will be of interest to those who want to delve into the mysterious world of enterprise search crawler. First up is an article by the prolific, Joel Krist from Akona, called Creating an Enterprise Search Crawl Log Viewer for SharePoint Server 2007. In this article, Joel discusses using the UI to view crawl details, including error messages. Then, he demonstrates how to access the same data programmatically. A code sample accompanies this article, which you can also download. The other article to talk about, also by Joel, is how to use Enterprise Search Property Filters in SharePoint Server 2007. This article talks about how to create targeted search scopes to access some of that obscure data that lives out in the enterprise "wilds" through things like managed properties, including custom metadata in doc libraries, and modified queries.

    Enjoy - and please do add your comments to the articles. Your feedback helps us determine what other content we should present.



  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Sofia has arrived!


    I guess that it should be no great surpise that my first blog post on Erika's behalf is to announce the birth of Sofia - certainly what will be her project with the most long-lasting influence.

    It's with great pleasure that I get to announce that Erika's baby, Sofia was born on Friday at 2:53 PM. Mom and baby are doing great. Sofia weighs 8.1 pounds and measures 19 inches long.

    I was flattered that Erika asked me to help out. I look forward to telling you more about the new content coming up over the next few months.


  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    My New and Most Beautiful Assignment


    Blogging has been one of the things that I've enjoyed the most in the last couple of years. I really like the fact that it allows me to share news related to Office development with the community. For the first time in a couple years I'll have to take a break from blogging.

    I am going to have a baby girl anytime now, so I am taking some months out of the office to take care of my little one, Sofía. Here's a cute little picture I have from her last ultrasound.

    While I am gone, I'll have a guest blogger who has kindly accepted to post in my blog to keep you updated about Office developer content that we publish in the following months.

    I want to introduce you all to Kelly Bowen-McCombs, our MSDN Office Developer Center managing editor. Kelly manages content publishing, our editorial calendar, and editorial guidelines for the MSDN Office Developer Center. More than that, she has been my editor and guardian Angel. Over the last few years, Kelly has edited almost every article I've written and I am forever thankful for all the great advice she has given me. Many of you know that English is my second language and I owe much to Kelly for being my mentor as a technical writer.

    I definitely plan to continue this blog once I get back to share news about Office 14. In the mean time, Kelly will keep you informed. I'd also like to recommend the top ten blogs I always check-on for Office & SharePoint news:

    1. Doug Mahugh
    2. Pranav ... Blogging
    3. Eric White
    4. Eric Carter: NET4Office
    5. Darren Strange: Office Rocker
    6. SharePoint Team Blog
    7. Office Development with Visual Studio
    8. Paul Andrew
    9. Steve Fox: OBA Ramblings
    10. Patrick Tisseghem

    I recommend that you also subscribe to the Office Developer Documentation & DPE OPML:

    You should also check the OPML and Office dev bloggers lists we keep on MSDN:

    I really want to thank all the followers of my blog for hanging on there. I am sure I'll miss blogging a lot. People here at the office make fun of me when I say that I may even blog occasionally while I am gone. We'll see how much time I have left for that once Sofía arrives.

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    My First Book: Programming Microsoft® Office Business Applications


    I think it's quite interesting how knowledge is shared nowadays. With so many blogs, online articles, how do I videos, and e-mail newsletters out there, writing/reading books seems to be just poetic. I still believe good tech books are your best friends when you are trying to get more in depth knowledge about a new technology.

    I would be lost today without my red C# bible: Professional C#

    This book has been my best friend and has helped me through many battles. I got mine almost five years ago and so far, I can tell it's my favorite dev book. It really helped me understand the .NET world.  

    Back in my fun times at MCS, one of my peers took pictures of all consultants working on a project and created a cool cover using our pictures.

    It was a fun joke, and of course at the time I never imagined one day I would write a book for real!


    The real thing: my first book

    I was humbled when I was asked to write an Office development book with talented authors and Microsoft employees such as Steve Fox, Joanna Bichsel, Paul Stubbs, and Rob Barker. I was very excited to work with them on this book project. Especially since it was a book about programming Office Business Applications, one of my favorite topics. This book covers eight areas of Office development:

    1. Introducing Office Business Applications
    2. Creating a Smart Client for Your Office Business Applications by Using VSTO
    3. Building Business Intelligence for Your Office Business Applications
    4. Integrating Web Services into Your Office Business Applications
    5. Building Social Networking into Your Office Business Application
    6. SharePoint and Developing Office Business Applications
    7. Managing Complex Business Processes with Custom SharePoint Workflow
    8. Deploying Your Office Business Application in the Enterprise

    I had the opportunity to author Chapter 7 and I can tell you I had lots of fun playing with workflow in SharePoint and Visual Studio 2008.

    Steve Fox is the lead author and he did an amazing job putting this book together.

    Here's the book info:

    Programming Microsoft® Office Business Applications

    Get practical guidance for creating custom applications by using the capabilities of the Microsoft Office platform. This hands-on reference illustrates how to use Microsoft Visual Studio® Tools for Office and the Microsoft Office system to create Office Business Applications—an emerging breed of application that bridges the gap between line of business (LOB) systems and end-user productivity tools. OBAs allow users to increase productivity by providing a seamless and integrated end-to-end user experience from their desktop to data in enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and other business systems. Experts on the Microsoft Office, Visual Studio Tools for Office, and OBA teams at Microsoft adeptly illustrate how to develop smart clients and Web services in the Microsoft Office environment. You’ll also get guidance on custom development for the Microsoft Office Fluent™ user interface and Windows® SharePoint® Services, application deployment, and managing workflow. Complete with code samples on the Web, this book delivers the pragmatic information enterprise developers need to know to create and deploy custom business applications to the organization.

    You can also find a couple sample chapters online:

    I have to mention that I am forever thankful to Joanna Bichsel for inviting me to contribute to this book.

    Finally, not that this is my book too, but honestly, if you want to learn about OBA development, this is a great book to get started.

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