Chatter for SharePoint Released!

Hi Everyone! Great news – Chatter for SharePoint has been released. In addition to minor fixes this release includes the new EasySetup install method. If you have already installed Chatter for SharePoint nothing changes for you – everything will work as before. If you are new to Chatter for SharePoint you will have a much easier experience getting CFSP up and running. Why? I’ve eliminated the most complex part: Setting up SalesForce! This is by far the fastest and easiest way to get SalesForce Chatter integrated with SharePoint.

Check out the new one-sheet EasySetup Guide. Seven simple to follow steps and within 5 minutes you will be up and running.

What if I want to customize the installation you say? Absolutely! I’ve updated the User Guide with even more instructions and useful information.

As always I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. EasySetup came about from a user suggestion. Have an idea to make Chatter for SharePoint even better? Now is the time to let me know. Version 2.0 development is underway. I have a ton of new features going into the next major release.

Thank you for using Chatter for SharePoint!


Chatter for SharePoint 1.8 Released!

Hi Everyone. It is with great pleasure I release version 1.8 of Chatter for SharePoint – and with it the long-awaited support for Chatter Free. You asked, I found a way. Thanks go out to my beta testers for taking the time to run 1.8 through its paces. This version also includes some great new functionality – including support for thumbnails/previews and direct downloading of attachments right within the chatter feed. The full change log is below. You can download the updated version here.

Changes in 1.8:

  • Added Chatter Free support
  • Added support for attachment thumbnail/preview images
  • Added direct-download of SalesForce attachments in feed items
  • Added new verbose logging option to web.config
  • Fixed issue where comments on Links or Files would not be posted with the item
  • Fixed issue with finding correct web.config with multiple AAMs
  • Fixed issue where group selector would be blank if user was not a member of any groups
  • Fixed issue where the web part would not properly detect a Team Site in edit mode
  • Updated web part branding styles
  • Improved formatting of posts in Read Only mode
  • Web Part Properties panel now updates it’s values from web.config after the initial configuration
  • Cleaned up deprecated code
  • New ‘Edit Mode’ information panel
  • Minor fixes

Thanks for using Chatter for SharePoint!

Coming Soon! Chatter for SharePoint 1.4

Hi everyone. Wanted to share some details and screenshots of the upcoming release of Chatter for SharePoint. The release date is still to be finalized – depends on what else I think I can reasonably finish in the next week or so.

In addition to performance tweaks and fixes, version 1.4 has some exciting new capabilities including:

  • Ability to delete your posts and comments (admins can delete any post or comment)
  • Poll support (users can vote, edit their responses and view poll results)
  • New feed navigation (ability to select company, personal or group feeds right from the web part)
  • File attachments now represented by product icons (Word, Excel, etc)

Let’s take a look:

As you hover over the right-corner of a post or comment, a delete icon will appear if you have permission to delete the item. After confirming you want the item deleted it will be immediately removed from the feed.

Users can now respond to polls created on Chatter right from the web part. You can vote or change your vote and view or refresh the poll results. Note – polls still must be created from SalesForce Chatter for now.

The web part has a completely new and intuitive navigation system. Clicking the feed control now displays a context-menu which allows you to select the feed to view or to refresh the current feed. When selecting Groups for the first time, the web part will load and cache all of the selectable groups and present them as a drop-down within the menu:

Finally – we have a number of ‘fit-and-finish’ improvements to the UI, including doctype attachment icons that leverage the SharePoint DOCICONS cache:

As you can see – a lot of new and useful functionality is in the works. I’m also considering a PowerShell script or GUI Setup to further simplify the installation. Also in the pipeline, but not in the 1.4 release, is support for language localization (RESX), @mentions and post-targeting.

So look for the new version shortly here on the blog and keep those suggestions coming in. I appreciate the support – and for those that haven’t bought the web part yet – what are you waiting for? Seriously – if your must-have feature isn’t in the solution yet, I can fix that. J

Disclaimer: Screenshots above are from the 2010 version and are still in progress. Final features and appearance subject to change, yadda yadda.

Video: Chatter for SharePoint

Hi Everyone – Thanks for visiting the blog. A lot of you have contacted me asking for a demo or WebEx to illustrate the configuration and use of the Chatter for SharePoint solution. It took me a bit longer than expected (due to personal commitments and finding a nice quiet space) but I am now pleased to release a 30 minute video that goes over the prerequisites, installation, configuration and use of the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Please take a look and feel free to comment. Also – if you have not downloaded the solution yet or have been using (or looking at) the SalesForce version – I hope you will download my solution and take it for a spin.


(Recommend you view in full screen and HD for best experience)

Chatter for SharePoint: Foundation Support

Hi Everyone – Thanks to all of you who have purchased the web part this week – I’m amazed at the interest and excitement there is in the community to integrate Chatter with SharePoint.

I am pleased to announce that Version 1.1 of the Chatter for SharePoint solution will be released shortly and includes 2 major enhancements:

  1. SharePoint Foundation 2010 support
  2. Federated Search with Chatter (SharePoint 2010 Standard/Enterprise only)

By far the most requested enhancement has been the Foundation support. This opens the solution up to the entire SharePoint 2010 community and I am thrilled to offer it. When running on Foundation, the search-integration with Chatter will not be available since the Search Server Services are not present.

Speaking of Federated Search – it’s ready and will be in the V1.1 release. The package includes a utility to automatically install and configure the search connector in your environment. All you will need to do is add/update the existing Federated Results web part on your Search Center results page.

As always, existing licensed users can upgrade to this new version by downloading the package, retracting the old WSP, and deploying the new one. Detailed instructions will be included with the solution.

I’m looking to release the new version sometime this weekend; still have some regression testing to do and code cleanup. Thanks for your continued suggestions and support. Have a great weekend!

Chatter for SharePoint: Search

Busy weekend here at SharePoint Snapple! First we release a ton of updates on Friday and now by late Sunday night (ok, technically early Monday morning) I have some more goodness to show you. I’ve been working on integrating Chatter conversations into SharePoint Server’s search and now have some details to share.

I’ve built an OpenSearch-compliant web service that queries the All Company feed, parses the JSON, and renders an ATOM/RSS feed that is compatible with the OpenSearch provider in SharePoint 2010. The service can either pass the user’s token to SalesForce or use a ReadOnly API user to make the call. Links in the returned stream open to the related feed within SalesForce.

I’ve felt that being able to integrate searching conversations into SharePoint is a must-have in this solution and I am excited that it is nearly complete. I will have a lot more details to share once I finish the design – but the early work is very promising.

Chatter for SharePoint – Updated Features

Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you the really awesome enhancements to the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Your feedback has been terrific and has helped make this solution even more useful. Version will be posted shortly on the blog is now available! Get it right here. Existing users can retract and add the new solution to get all of the updated features.

So – what’s new?

SharePoint Ribbon Integration

You can now share pages, list items, and documents within SharePoint from the ribbon! For sharing pages, click on the ‘Page’ tab and you’ll see a Chatter icon in the ‘Share & Track’ grouping:

For Lists and Libraries, the Share on Chatter link will appear in the ‘Share & Track’ group in the Items/Documents ribbon:

When clicked, a modal window will appear with the selected object to share and a space for your comments:

And the result is visible in the Chatter feed:

Browsing within the Chatter Web Part

Prior to this version if you clicked on a user or group name within the feed window it would open a new browser session to SalesForce Chatter. Now, you can browse and post across groups and users within the web part!

A new breadcrumb trail shows your current feed location and gives you one-click access to the All Chatter feed. Also new is the ability to refresh the feed by clicking on the feed in the breadcrumb trail.

New Progress Animations

When you post or update feed items you now get progress indictors while the server is processing the request:

The animations will appear for the following actions: refreshing the feed, posts, like/unlike, and comments. The animations also appear relative to the item being updated – cool.

Web Application Settings

The solution now stores default properties in the web.config AppSettings. This was necessary to support the Ribbon Integration and allows any instance of the web part to use the configuration and license information so you have less to configure when adding the web part to other sites/pages.

Other Stuff

This version also includes a bunch of fixes and tweaks to the user interface, including:

  • Fixed issue where posting to group was being sent to the All Company feed
  • Fixed issue where jQuery undefined message would appear on some browsers
  • Fixed issue where posts on user feeds would appear with a group icon in the All Company feed
  • Fixed alert banner colors
  • Tweaked feed parent/actor display properties
  • Updated some help text and debug messages

Still in Progress

I am still working on the SharePoint Foundation version of the solution as well as Search integration — wanted to get the usability improvements done first. Look for these and more updates in a future release.

Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas – helps me make better solutions for you.

Coming Soon: Yammer for SharePoint

Just a quick update on some of the projects I am currently working on for SharePoint Snapple. First, I am pleased to announce that I will be releasing a new web part to integrate Yammer into SharePoint. The web part will have identical functionality as its Chatter counterpart. In addition, both solutions are getting some new features, including SharePoint Ribbon integration and (by popular request) support for SharePoint Foundation. Look for both of these updated solutions in the coming weeks.

SalesForce releases Chatter Web Parts

A few days ago SalesForce finally released their version (technically, designed by Persistent) of the Chatter Web Part for SharePoint. I had an opportunity to review this solution last year – and it was this project that compelled me to write my own Chatter Web Part. Why you ask? First, it is heavily SalesForce branded (understandable) which did not work well with our branding. Functionally, it had (and continues to have) a dependency on SSL for your web applications. It was never clear to me why this was a requirement. Sure, if my site was publicly accessible I would want my feed to be secure. But if you have an intranet, you may not be using SSL. Or what if you offload SSL and pass HTTP to your front-ends? Plus, the backend server is making the secure call to SalesForce for you – and that doesn’t require SSL on the web application. Then, it was the overly complex installation – plus multiple web parts for different sites – which in my opinion made it more difficult to deploy and quickly use.

Yes, this web part is free on the AppExchange. I think my version is a lot easier to install, configure, and use. I encourage you to try both and make your own choice.

SalesForce Chatter Web Part

You asked for it – the Chatter for SharePoint web part is now available! Download it right now and try it out in your SharePoint farm. The evaluation version is good for 15 days and will demonstrate all of the features of the web part – with only the minimum of nagging and annoying restrictions.