Just Released: Chatter for SharePoint 2.2

Hi Everyone! I am pleased to announce the availability of Chatter for SharePoint 2010/2013 version 2.2. As I mentioned in a previous post there are significant updates and changes to the middle-tier library which were necessary to correct some performance and session boundary issues within the IIS worker process. This issue affected all prior 2.x family releases. I strongly encourage all customers to download, test and deploy the new version as soon as possible.

Full Change Log

  • Fixes an issue with the Chatter DLL class declarations
  • Fixes an issue with the caching the API-Enabled user account access token
  • Fixes an issue with logging and multiple sessions
  • Fixes an issue where the feed refreshes to the default group ID on postbacks (if one is set)
  • Fixes an issue where user names in the Like and Comments sections were not selectable
  • Fixes an issue with custom salesforce URIs and the password grant type
  • Fixes an issue where under certain conditions the function for returning the AccountName throws a null-reference exception
  • Moved all methods and properties into one class library
  • Updated the licensing system to use actual Chatter-enabled users for the license count, rather than the count of the UserInfo list or the number of User Profiles
  • Licensing system now prevents adding users beyond the licensed limit, rather than blocking functionality
  • Removed LicenseCalculator tool

The other significant change is around the user-count calculation. The application now looks at authenticated profiles rather that the total user count of a site or farm. Once the user count exceeds the license count – no new users can be authorized on the platform until additional licenses are added.

The updated solution ZIP file(s) and documentation can be found here.

Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns. Thank you for choosing Chatter for SharePoint!

On Deck: Chatter for SharePoint 2.1

Hi Everyone. Just a quick update to share with you on the next release of Chatter for SharePoint. Version 2.1 is going through testing at the moment and will be released before the end of May. The full change list is below but I wanted to highlight a few significant changes:

Acceptable Use Policy

Several customers have inquired about requiring users to accept terms-of-use prior to participating on social platforms. Version 2.1 allows you to enable a feature to require users to read and accept terms of use (via a file you supply) prior to completing the authorization process. Proof of acceptance is logged on the server in the authorization log file. See the updated documentation for details on configuring and enabling this feature.

EasySetup Improvements

Another highly requested feature was the ability for the EasySetup and PrepareSharePoint utilities to update the web configuration on remote servers. This can now be accomplished – provided each server has the IIS Remote Administration feature enabled. Run ‘ASPNET_REGIIS -CONFIG+’ on each server in the farm prior to running EasySetup/PrepareSharePoint and it will be able to update all of the web.config files for you.

Other updates/improvements

  • Adds support for Acceptable Use Policy acknowledgement during authorization
  • Adds support for opening object types: Accounts, Contacts, Leads and Opportunities
  • Adds support for jpeg/png/bmp image previews
  • Improvements to API-enabled user account error handling
  • Updates to EasySetup and PrepareSharePoint now allow remote editing of web.config files on multi-server farms
  • Fixes an issue in Read Only Mode where the ‘Like’ names were clickable

Look for version 2.1 to be released shortly on the site. Thanks again to my customers who suggested some of these improvements and I hope you continue to find this solution useful.

Just Released: Chatter for SharePoint 2.0

Chatter for SharePoint 2.0

The wait is over. It’s been a year since I announced the project to create the next major release of Chatter for SharePoint. In that year I released 7 new or updated solutions, saw a 295% increase in traffic to my blog and made many new connections. Chatter for SharePoint now has a per-user installation base approaching 500,000 seats. I am in awe and thankful to each of my customers for choosing to invest in my solution.

My goal has been and continues to be to build the best SharePoint stuff on Earth. I absolutely believe that Chatter for SharePoint is the best solution for integrating SharePoint and SalesForce Chatter. Here are a few key reasons:

  • The fastest installation – up and running in less than 5 minutes using my exclusive EasySetup Installer. Watch the video and see for yourself how easy this solution is to install.
  • A robust set of features1 including the Feed and Search Web Parts; integration with SharePoint pages, lists and libraries; File Uploads; Sync profile information; and more!
  • New support for @mentions, topics and trending; new Files feed; support for Cases; improved Read-Only views and support for RSS rendering of feed data.
  • A clean and customizable UI that you can tweak to fit your company branding
  • The only solution to support Chatter Free and Chatter Plus users; and for all current versions of SharePoint, including 20072, 2010 and 2013.

I encourage you to download the 15 day evaluation and experience it for yourself. Let me know what you like and what you think could be better. Many of the features in the 2.0 release are based on customer feedback and suggestions.

When you are ready to purchase I have two license options for you – Standard and Enterprise. The Standard License includes the Feed web part functionality on a single farm with unlimited users for $299. The Enterprise License includes all of the solution functionality starting at $599 + per-user licenses. Contact me to request more information and a quote.

Visit the Chatter for SharePoint page to get started. Thank you!

Some features require the Enterprise license.
Chatter for SharePoint 2007 supported up to version 1.8.1.7

Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 – Added Features

Hi Everyone. We’re still on track for the big release next week – plus – a few new features have snuck into the 2.0 build: The Files Feed and support for Cases.

Files

The Files feed is a quick way to filter for only those feed items that contain documents. You can open the Files feed from the Feed Actions menu:


Above: The Files Feed and Action Menu

Cases

The feed web part now identifies case feed items and will render them with a Case icon for easy identification. Case feeds work like any other feed. You can use the Action menu to open the case feed and create new post and comments – or – you can open the case and jump over into SalesForce.


Above: A case feed item and the Action Menu options.

Look for Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 to be released next week!

Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 FAQs

Hi Everyone. As we approach the launch of Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 I wanted to provide answers to common questions I am receiving:

Q: What’s new in version 2?
A: A Lot! See my earlier posts for details and screenshots. Some of the more noteworthy improvements include: a completely new (and customizable) UI, faster performance, improved caching, a new middle-tier library and support for: @mentions, following and trending – among many other improvements.

Q: Can I do an in-place upgrade from version 1.x to version 2.0?
A: YES! The upgrade process is very simple. You can use the InstallWebPart utility to automatically retract/remove the old version and add/deploy the new one. Alternatively, you can use STSADM or PowerShell commands to do the retract/remove and the add/deploy. All existing instances of the web part will automatically be upgraded to the new version.

Q: When upgrading do I need to rerun EasySetup or PrepareSharePoint.exe?
A: No. If you already have a working 1.x solution deployed the new version will inherit all of the existing configuration settings.

Q: I have the BETA version of 2.0 installed. Can I upgrade to the final version?
A: YES! Just retract/remove the beta and add/deploy the final version using STSADM or PowerShell. See the documentation for the command syntax if you are unsure.

Q: I have the 1.x solution installed and would like to try the 2.x version – but retain the option of downgrading to the 1.x solution. How can I do that?
A: By default, the 2.x solution changes how the user tokens are stored. This new format is incompatible with the 1.x solution. To retain backwards-compatibility, add the AppSetting ‘Chatter_Compatibility_Mode’ to all your web.config files and set the value to ‘true’. This will allow you to go back to the 1.x solution if you so desire. Note: running in this mode will reduce the security of the user-tokens.

Q: What version of SharePoint does this support?
A: Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 is compatible with on-prem installations of the Foundation, Standard or Enterprise editions of SharePoint 2010 or 2013. This software is NOT compatible with O365/SharePoint Online due to platform restrictions. There is also no 2.0 version for SharePoint 2007.

Q: What are the SalesForce requirements?
A: Your users must have Chatter Free or Chatter Plus licenses on your instance of SalesForce.

Q: Is there an Evaluation Version?
A: YES! The solution will run in Enterprise Evaluation mode for 15 days from the date you first installed the product. You can test all of the Enterprise features with the following restrictions: An evaluation banner message will appear in the web part and the feed results are restricted to only three items.

Q: How much does the solution cost?
A: Version 2.0 has two flavors – Standard and Enterprise. The Standard License is a one-time charge of $299 per farm (unlimited users) and allows you to use the Feed Web Part only. This license DOES NOT include: Ribbon Integration, Sharing of pages/documents/items from SharePoint, Share from Anywhere, File Upload, Search Integration and Sync. The Enterprise license includes all of the solution functionality (similar to the old 1.x license) for a one-time charge of $599 per farm PLUS per-user licenses. User licenses start at $1.50 per user for less than 1000 users. Customers interested in the Enterprise license should contact me for a quote.

Q: I am interested in the Enterprise license. How do I know how many user licenses I need?
A: I have created a License Calculator tool which is included in the ZIP file. Run the tool from one of your SharePoint Servers (see the documentation for details). It will determine the user count based on the larger of the user count in the User Profile Service (if provisioned) or the largest site collection. It will then add 10% and round the number up to the nearest tenth to give you a suggested license size. You may choose to increase that number if you know your user base will grow quickly. Otherwise you can purchase additional licenses in groups of 100.

Q: We already have purchased the 1.x solution. How do we get version 2.0?
A: 1.x customers under maintenance as of November 1, 2014 will be receiving the 2.x solution at no cost and will be grandfathered into the Enterprise licensing model for the number of users recommended by the License Calculator tool. 1.x customers not under maintenance must repurchase the solution under the new licensing terms.

Q: Do you offer support or maintenance?
A: YES! Yearly Support and Maintenance contracts are available. The cost varies depending on the license type. For Standard licenses it is $1000/year per license. For the Enterprise license it is the greater of $1000 or 20% of the total license cost (farm+user licenses).

I hope these are helpful. If you have a question not addressed above please feel free to contact me. Look for the Chatter for SharePoint 2.0 launch during the week of November 3rd!

On Deck: Chatter for SharePoint 2.0

Hi Everyone! As you can guess from the title we are getting close to the release of the next major version of Chatter for SharePoint. This project began almost a year ago and is finally coming to fruition. I’d like to thank my BETA testers for their feedback. Since the BETA was released last month there have been major changes to the codebase, including general bug squashing and significant performance improvements. The majority of the work has been around performance and I am happy to report that version 2 is far faster in rendering feeds and performing feed actions than the 1.x codebase. In many areas – it’s as much as a 100% performance increase. This is due to an entirely new caching design. While the 1.x solution cached entire feed pages – the 2.x code caches individual feed items and dynamically builds feed pages on the fly. This new caching was not implemented in the BETA – but you will be able to see it very soon.

Which leads me into the next topic – the general availability of version 2.x. Plans are to release the final version the week of November 3rd! I’m in the final debugging stages – soon to be updating the installer and documentation.

Next – a final reminder about the licensing change. Only Version 1.x customers who are under maintenance as of November 1, 2014 will be grandfathered into the new Enterprise licensing model at no cost. New and existing customers not under maintenance will need to purchase the 2.x solution and license it under the new terms.

Finally – some screenshots (just because everyone loves screenshots)

Screenshot of the Read Only Feed View

The Feed – with the new Trending Panel open.

A feed item with Topics.

Comments on a feed item with attachments.

New dropdown action menus.

The new Edit Mode info panel – licensing details will be visible here.

The Web Part Properties panel is now just one section for easy management of settings.

Thanks again to all my customers who have invested in the Chatter for SharePoint solution. This version represents a year (on and off) of development – with features and improvements suggested by you. I hope you continue to find it useful. I’ll be updating the site the week of November 3rd with the release announcement. Existing customers will be notified via email with download links and instructions for requesting new license keys.