Hans VB's WebLog - For FREE!!!

About me (Hans Verbeeck). About my work (Partner Evangelist for Microsoft Belgium). Think big, start smal
Der deutsche Education Blog

November, 2005

  • Hans VB's WebLog - For FREE!!!

    From VS2005 & SQL2005 to Vista and Office 12

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    It is so exciting to be at Microsoft at the moment. We are about to launch VS2005, VSTS, SQL2005 and Biztalk and at the same time we are taking steps to keep people up to date on the progress we are making on Office 12 and Vista.  

     

    Register here if you want to be receiving information and beta bits (starting from beta 2) http://www.microsoft.com/emea/msdn/betaexperience/.

     

    (Oh and in the meantime MS will ship XBOX 360, I already pre-order mine! And yes, in case you were wondering we pay full price at Microsoft too!)

  • Hans VB's WebLog - For FREE!!!

    From www.start.com to www.live.com

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    Looks like www.start.com is a preview to www.live.com – which is currently in Beta. At least that’s my early interpretation of the news we released yesterday. I need to read some more faq’s before I can 100% confirm that. Anyway, I migrated my start.com page to live.com today.

     

    I had quite a few RSS feeds added to my start.com page. Fortunately, start.com allows you to export your feeds to an OPML file (click on add feeds and gadgets, then advanced and then you see the link). This OPML file can then be imported in live.com (add content/advanced/import OPML file).

     

    There are some differences in the way gadgets behave in both sites but the experience is largely the same. I definitely like the gadget that shows the emails in your Hotmail or Windows Live account although one can see that not all the potential of that one has been realized.

     

    Now who is going to build me a gadget that just displays hyperlinks (no RSS feeds or anything like that, just plain hyperlinks)? J

     

     

     

     

  • Hans VB's WebLog - For FREE!!!

    Office 12 Open XML File Formats

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    For the last couple of months, I‘ve been focusing on Office 12.

     

    One of the really cool new features is the new Office Open XML File Formats. When you save a Word Document, it gets saved by default to a file with a docx extension. One can rename this to .zip and then open the package to see all the components out of which the document is composed together with the document properties etcetera. The specifications are open and free for anyone to use (more here and here). And yes, we’ll make sure that you can work with them in a (some) pre-Office 12 versions.

     

    These new file formats are a really important innovation from a technological perspective as well as from the perspective of Microsoft playing an important role in the IT industry where we need to compete and act responsibly at the same time.

     

    The technological aspect is the one that I’m most passionate about. There are many advantages to having this new file format ranging from decreased possibility for documents to get corrupted to enabling applications to easily manipulate documents without needing to automate Word, Excel or Powerpoint. I’ve built a small sample application to manipulate some Word documents and at the appropriate time, when Office 12 is sufficiently public, I’ll post that on this site.

     

    I’m a big believer that as long as we make the right technological choices, the market will continue to see Microsoft Office as the productivity suite of choice. There’s plenty of evidence that that is actually the case today. Some of the evidence comes from the small country I call home: https://members.microsoft.com/customerevidence/search/EvidenceDetails.aspx?EvidenceID=13214&LanguageID=1&PFT=Microsoft%20Office%202003&TaxID=20153

     

    Hans Verbeeck

     

  • Hans VB's WebLog - For FREE!!!

    A new day, a new blog

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    I recently found out about the office team allowing us – Microsoft FTE’s - to have an external facing sharepoint site with 200MB of storage.

     

    That’s nice I thought, this is where I will post slides and demos from my presentations. Something people have been asking for a lot.

     

    The site was serviced last night and with a few clicks I had my site: http://hansvb.officeisp.net/default.aspx.

     

    I quickly wanted to achieve two things:

    - sharing my documents with the public

    - blogging from the sharepoint site

     

    The first one was ease: I enabled anonymous access on the web site and then I added a document library to which everyone has at least view access.

     

    The second one wasn’t too difficult either. The Sharepoint discussion webpart is perfectly suited for blogging. I configured it as follows:

    1. Enabled anonymous access. Everyone can view and add content.
    2. Configured the list so that content needs to be approved.

     

    Now a blog ain’t a blog if the thing isn’t exposed through RSS. vNext of Sharepoint will enable this out of the box but for the current version you need to use a tool built by Microsoft partners.

     

    I saw to good solutions:

    1. http://www.u2u.net/software.aspx. I would love to use this tool from my fellow country men but it requires installation on the server something I won’t even bother asking.
    2. The alternative is to use a webpart solution. The Syndication Generator from Bluedog Limited http://www.bluedoglimited.com/default.aspx does the trick very nicely. Installed and configured it in 15 minutes. I won’t be exposing my documents library through RSS. I think the Sharepoint alerts will be more appropriate for that.

     

    (Read this article if you want to find out more about Sharepoint RSS readers and writers.)

     

    Anyway, I’m thinking about only blogging through my portal from now on. It does seem easier to have a site all for yourself including storage for documents, images and so on.  

     

    Hopefully people will know where to find me after a while!

     

    Hans Verbeeck 

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