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With Colleagues Working and Learning About SharePoint

I met with a colleague, Ken Adams* , who mentioned they were interested in learning about SharePoint for a project.

How might I help them learn about SharePoint? I could share a story about my direct experience about SharePoint, in an effort to share what I know about it.

Without further ado, here's a story about a time I worked with SharePoint.

I had been tasked with editing/proof-reading a setup guide for a 3rd party integration tool to integrate with SharePoint. Also a bit later, I was tasked with installing SharePoint along with the 3rd party integration tool, on a development (sandbox) server.

At the beginning of this work, I hadn't worked with SharePoint, so I had to learn as I went.

My environment for installing Windows and for installing SharePoint was on a VMware virtual machine, running on an HP rack-mount server hardware in the server closet down the hall from my office. For this SharePoint project, I never had to touch the HP hardware. If I had to administer the server, like for installing the Windows 2008 OS onto a guest machine, I logged into the VMware host via the vSphere client.

One thing to do was choose an appropriate version of Windows Server OS, and choose an appropriate version of the SharePoint software.

At the time, I had access to an MSDN subscription, which gave me access to versions of SharePoint 2010, and to versions of SharePoint 2013.

In addition, for the Windows Server software that SharePoint would run on, I had the choice of Windows Server 2008 vs. Windows Server 2012.

I ended up going with Windows Server 2008 and SharePoint 2010. As I am usually in favor of using the latest version of each software componenent, this is not what I had wanted to do originally. However in this case, at the time, the 3rd party integration software that I was going to be showcasing had been designed for SharePoint 2010, and so for my purpose it got the job done.

Moving on.

Via the vSphere client, I did the install of Windows Server 2008, with a version of SharePoint 2010.

I configured the SharePoint along with the 3rd party integration tool. Being somewhat familiar with Windows Server and IIS web server from other projects, I was able to follow the installation guides pretty well. SharePoint itself had a Windows-sytle install "Wizard" that prompted me to choose installation options as I went, and did the rest of the installation for me, showing me progress bars throughout the install.

Once SharePoint was up and running as a web application, I could click inside its web interface to configure it, as I would any other web application.

I noticed SharePoint looks like a smooth and polished web application, and doesn't look complicated (not complicated-feeling, so not intimidating-feeling) on the surface. However, clicking into the configuration pages, one soon realizes that it is a very complex software with seeminly limitless options and flexibility.

I got the solution working via the local network, however ran into a problem making the site available via the internet via its internet domain name. After trying a couple of troubleshooting attempts, I felt I was stuck and needed help. At this point, I was extremely glad to have a colleague, John Watson*, who had worked with SharePoint before (and who was professional and ready to help). My colleague researched, and got it working the rest of the way, and followed up with me and showed me how to configure SharePoint the way that I had needed.

Moving on again.

As mentioned above, I had the task of editing the setup guide document. The author who wrote the guide had English as their second language. However they were the author of the software tool. So I was editing for English (grammar, spelling, overall readability), not likely for underlying technical correctness.

How did I proceed? I had a deadline of "ASAP" to meet. So I jumped right in! I followed the guide step-by-step, with the Windows Server and SharePoint page open on one window and the setup guide draft on the other window. I performed the steps in the setup guide, and whenever I noticed an English error, I fixed it, then moved on to the next step. As expected, the guide worked but just had some English issues, which I was able to improve.

In conclusion, this is a brief story of how I worked with, and learned (some about), SharePoint. If I had to advise my colleague of what was effective in learning about SharePoint for me, I'd say the following. It helped me to have an actual project to work on. (In my case, either a server install to do, or a SharePoint-related guide to proofread) It also helped me to have a deadline of "ASAP" looming. Finally, it helped me to have another colleague to help me and teach me when I got stuck at one point!

tags: #mingling , #working

*The asterisk here denotes that this is a pseudonym. (To obfuscate my colleague's real identity, for privacy reasons.)

Note: This post was pre-published on 2016-11-01.

[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]