I don’t write as often as I should and with the new year coming up, I’m hoping to change that (again!)
In keeping with what I’ve been blogging about in the past, I decided to write about my latest challenge/adventure. The last few years I’ve been concentrating on Project Management and not really writing a lot of code. However, PM’ing at my latest client has given me tons of programming opportunities if I want to pitch in and help. Lots of PowerShell, Exchange, and Active Directory stuff (with some sprinkling of other types of stuff like SharePoint and faxing, etc.) My latest challenge is creating a dashboard of the data we’ve collected on the Exchange mailboxes.
The client currently doesn’t have any programming or development standards that I can see. They do have certain technologies that they gravitate to. So I could basically build anything I wanted with whatever technologies I wanted to take up. As I had recently put together a SharePoint site for the team I’m working with, i figure that would be the best place to start rather than starting from scratch and building my own website, etc.
I’ve been reading a lot of about SharePoint and I did some development with it in the last year. The more I played with it, the more I was thinking that I could do this stuff easier and faster with (IBM) Domino. Maybe that’s because I already know Domino – however, it just seemed easier back then. in any event, I had one major technical disadvantage – The SharePoint site had all of the really cool features disabled – like Excel Services, and any data connectivity features were in essence disabled. It’s a little hard to pull together a dashboard if you can’t get data to the site.
This presented an interesting challenge as i wanted to keep all of the information the team uses on one site/location. So I started looking for solutions. In the end, the solution I came up with was a SharePoint site that utilizes jQuery to query a custom Web service based on Microsoft’s new Web API model.
This gave me the opportunity to either beef up my skills or learn these new ones:
- PowerShell with ADO.NET development – Used this to gather my data and push it into a database backend.
- MS SQL – Was fortunate enough to have access to a full blown SQL environment. Since I don’t have a DBA on this team of one, I get to do everything there as well.
- .NET Web API – for the new web service. This basically executes the required stored procedures in the SQL database and returns the information in either XML or JSON. (learn so much here…)
- jQuery/JSON – used on the dashboard webpage to get the information from the web service and render the sexy graphs I want to use.
- SharePoint 2010 – This is where, eventually, everything will be housed.
I may write additional articles on how I got all the above working. I’m not sure yet. I got most of the above working already. The last piece of getting everything housed in SharePoint was what prompted me to write this blog entry. I was looking for best practices on SharePoint and jQuery and found this old blog entry, A Dummies Guide to SharePoint and jQuery–Getting Started, by Mark Rackley on his old blog The SharePoint Hillbilly(old site link – new site link.)
Thank you Mark! You helped me with the last bit of info I needed! This goes to show that no matter how old the information is – someone is going to look for it and find it useful.