Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sharepoint Server 2007 on Server 2008

I love MSDN. I recently attained a copy of Server 2008 and Sharepoint Server 2007 from MSDN, and have installed them both on one of my computers. Initially, there were several problems getting the default ISO to install, due to compatability issues. Server 2008 (which was apparently designed to give helpful but useless information for EVERYTHING you do) automatically pops up and informs you that it is not able to install Sharepoint because of compatability issues. A quick google search turned up this page, which gives a very useful step by step on how to solve the problem. The installation and configuration of Sharepoint takes a rather large chunk of time. Once you are done "installing" Sharepoint, you have to (at some point) run the configuration wizard, shown below.

Now, to run sharepoint, you need to have IIS enabled. I already did have IIS installed and enabled, so that I could run Remote Apps on my terminal server. (That is another story.) However, this brings me to my next point, which is that Sharepoint does not integrate very smoothly with any existing web sites or web applications. Below is a picture of IIS after sharepoint has been installed. You will notice that the web site that I had previously set up (For my Remote App website) was immediately disabled to open the port for SharePoint. I switched to a different port for my TS website, and everything worked again. Now SharePoint is up and running with the default configuration.

As usual, the default configuration is not enough to make me happy. The SharePoint Server runs great on the internal network, by entering http://computername/ but thats kind of pointless to me. If I was a large company, this might be enough to satisfy me, but to me its quite worthless. I want to be able to access my files from any web browser, anywhere. Technically, since I run Hamachi on all of my computers (and portably from my USB stick) I could do a rather ingenious workaround. I could bind the websites to my Hamachi 5.x.x.x IP (and hope nothing broke.. shouldn't be a problem) and access the files "from the Internet" that way. However, that wouldn't be the elegant, flawless solution I am looking for. Fortunately, SharePoint allows you to configure mappings for external access. Go to your Central Admin Page. (Check your start menu for a shortcut, or check IIS for the port and manually enter it into the browser.) From the main page (shown below), there is a list of common startup tasks that need to be done.

Go to Application Management -> Create or Extend Web Application -> Extend an existing web application. Once you enter that page, you will need to select an existing web application. Select the one that is already mapped to port 80. Next, type out a description for your site. Type your external URL into the host header, and copy-paste that into the URL section at the bottom of the page. Finally, change the zone to Internet. Done!

To check your settings, go to Operations -> Alternate Access Mappings. You should see your URL listed.

One last thing that should be done is to configure Excel Services. Excel Services determines how xlsx files are handled when they are opened in a web browser. Excel Services can be managed from Shared Services. Open Excel Services Trusted File Locations. Most of the options are self-explanatory.

That should have all of the basic options configured for your Sharepoint Server! Next time a slightly more in-depth tutorial will be covered.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Freemind, Apache, IIS 7.0

Recently, I moved my website away from Apache running on Windows XP Professional, to a slightly higher powered Windows Server 2008, using IIS 7.0. Unfortunately, the switch to IIS 7.0 was not an easy one in the least. Apache was a little difficult to pick up originally, but at least almost ALL of the configurations were stored in a central text file that could be easily edited, and was highly configurable. As well, you installed Apache, (and PHP 5) added extensions in the httpd file, repointed the home directory, and a few other minor configurations (.htaccess for example) and it just worked. With IIS 7.0, that is another story. Attached is a picture of the error I get whenever I try and load a mindmap.

If anyone knows what the problem is, feel free to comment. This next picture is how the Mindmap is supposed to look.
In IIS 7.0, I added a MIME type for .mm files "application/freemind" (I think), which had no effect as well. When I edit the .html file to point to the mindmap as a local path, and open the mindmap on the local machine, everything works fine.

In the end, I was forced to install Apache and IIS 7.0 on the same machine, and use Apache for that site, and IIS 7.0 for my sharepoint site.

I am hoping that in the near future mindmaps will be able to be edited entirely online. This will allow for easy viewing and editing from any web browser, using the power of Java. I am currently looking into publishing Freemind on my Remote Apps Terminal server, which will allow me to connect via a web browser, run the remote app, edit the map, and save it again. Certainly not the ideal solution, but it is a solution that works.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MCSA - 70-290

Yesterday I headed back to my old school, Davenport, and took the 70-290 exam, Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment. I took it now for two main reasons. 1) The second chance option is available. If I fail it the first time, I get a second chance. 2) The exam was on sale, which brought the price down to 90 dollars. As it turns out, I didn't need to worry at all. Unfortunately, the 70-290 exam was very easy. Many of the questions were very basic, and did not go in depth at all. As well, there were only 44 questions on the exam. The simulations were better, they at least covered multiple areas, and simulated real life problems, yet even so, they were not very difficult either. The required score to pass was a 700. I got 880, and finished quite quickly. I will start studying for my 70-291 exam (which promises to be a bit more difficult) starting next week.
My next exam will most likely be the Vista client exam. I believe that combined with the Security+ exam, I will have MCSA 2003:Security status.
Next, I will either continue on to get my MCSE for 2003, my Network+ and A+ certifications, or attack my CCNA certification.