SharePoint 2013 Online Preview Site Live

Please go check out my SharePoint 2013 Online Public Site.  I’ve just made it live and will be using it for demo purposes.  Feel free to click around and check out what SharePoint 2013 Online Public Sites have to offer.


SharePoint 2013 Community Sites

Over the last few years I’ve heard several complaints that SharePoint doesn’t offer a worthwhile discussion board.  It appears that Microsoft has heard as well, and it looks like they listened.

Allow me to introduce the SharePoint 2013 Community Site.  This a new site collection template that is available both on premise and in the cloud.

I spent a little bit of time creating some discussions, so I could get an idea of what it looked like with content etc.

This is the result of clicking on one of the discussions

Seems pretty standard, looks pretty clean and gives the user the chance to reply, like or “Most Like”.  It also indicates if a response is most liked.

Next I’m going to go through the community tools:

Note I am an admin, so I can see everything, other user levels will not see all of this.  I’m not going to go into detail about each user’s view etc.

Let’s start from the top, clicking on Manage discussions brings me here:

This screen gives you details about discussion posts and allows you to edit or delete them.  On the far right you can see, well maybe you can’t because it is blurry, “Is Featured Discussion”.  Setting this will move your discussion to the top of its category.  Well, that is what it is supposed to do, but when I click on it, it actually does nothing.  I’m sure this will be fixed at some point before launch.  To get to this option I had to select a discussion and then click on Moderation n the ribbon.

Next we’ll take a look at categories and how to create them.   If you have a knowledgebase you’ll likely have it organized into categories to make it more useful for your users.

First we’ll look at the categories page.  Notice each category is represented by a tile.  Also, notice that in order to create a category you would need to click on Create categories in the Community tools box.

Hovering over a tile displays additional info about the category it represents.

Next we’ll look at how to assign badges to members.  You’ll find a link under Community Tools that you can click, Assign Badges to members.  Badges can only be assigned to members, and can’t be earned.

Clicking Give Badge results in a screen that has a drop down filled with the available badges.  Next we are going to go through the reputation settings which, among other things, is where you have to go in order to create new Badges.

Click on Reputation settings in the Community tools box.  Here you are presented with all of your rating options and can edit whatever you need to.

The last item in Community Tools is Community settings.  From here you can set the Established date, Enable auto-approval, and enable reporting of offensive content.

In the left navigation there is a Members link that is shows you each member, their reputation information, and give you a more detailed view of your reputation scores etc

That pretty much sums it up.  All in all it looks like MS has provided a worthwhile, feature rich discussion board site.  In my opinion this is a vast improvement over what was available in previous versions.

SharePoint 2013 State Service Configuration

“The State Service is a shared service that is used by some Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 components to store temporary data across related HTTP requests in a SQL Server database. In SharePoint Server 2010, the State Service is required by InfoPath Forms Services (including out of the box and custom workflow forms), the SharePoint Server 2010 Chart Web Part, and certain Microsoft Visio 2010 scenarios that do not use Microsoft Silverlight 3.”

The above quote detailing the SharePoint 2010 State service, which best I can tell serves the same purpose in 2013, comes from this technet article:

Update: I recently found this quote… “The State Service must be properly configured for the Search Administration Crawl and Query Health Reports to function properly.”

on this wiki

I think it is pretty clear that this is something that needs to be configured for every SharePoint 2013 install.

Just like in SharePoint 2010 there are only 2 ways to provision the State Service.  One is with the Wizard that provisions everything else, and the other is with powershell.  Since I never use the wizard, I’m left with Powershell as my only option.

To do this simply change the names to whatever you want, copy each line below individually into the command shell and press enter after each.

$stateName = “State Service”

$stateDBName = “SP2013_State_Service”

$stateDB = New-SPStateServiceDatabase -Name $stateDBName

$state = New-SPStateServiceApplication -Name $stateName -Database $stateDB

New-SPStateServiceApplicationProxy -Name “$stateName Proxy” -ServiceApplication $state –DefaultProxyGroup

When you have successfully configured the State Service you will see this in your powershell window:


SharePoint 2013 Search Service Application Configuration

While there have been some major changes made to Search in SharePoint 2013, the process of creating the service application really hasn’t change much at all.

From the Central Admin Home page click Manage service applications under Application Management..

In the Ribbon click New and select Search Service Application.

Name your Search Service Application and Select a service account

Next you’ll select or create an application pool for search.  I’m just going to run on a existing app pool to conserve resources.  If this were production I’d likely create a new app pool for both the search admin web service and the search query and site settings web service.

Click OK and wait…

Upon completion you’ll be presented with the following:

Note: the second time I configured the service app I accessed Central Admin from a computer that wasn’t part of the farm and it appeared to get hung up.  I then browsed to the service aplicaitons screen, search showed up just as it does below and everything works as it should.

Stay tuned, my next search posting will cover how to configure search from this point.