The Internet wouldn’t work if it weren’t for Short URLs. How else would we efficiently share our funny cat videos? I’ve written a couple of blog posts on them myself. Handy little devils, aren’t they?
One downside of them is you don’t know where they’re going to lead you. That innocent looking bit.ly link could take you to some amazing bit of wisdom on the internet, sure. But short URLs can have a dark side, too. The payload waiting for you on the other side of that t.co link could also be a Rick Astley video, you just never know.
Being a generally untrusting person, I always hesitate to click URLs if I don’t know exactly where they are going. But then I started feeling like I was missing out on stuff. That’s when I put my thinking cap on and wrote this little PowerShell gem:
$url = “https://www.toddklindt.com/sp2016builds”
((Invoke-WebRequest -UseBasicParsing –Uri $url).baseresponse).ResponseUri
This little beauty will take a short URL for any of the common shorteners and tell you what it resolves to. Here it is in action.
The URL at the top is the short URL we want to check, and the circled URL below is the secret URL it’s forwarding you to. If you decide it is safe, you can type start $url in PowerShell and it will open up in your default browser.
Once again, PowerShell comes to the rescue. I hope this helps a few of you explore short URLs without fear, and without having to listen to Rick Astley, unless you want to of course.
For the last few months, the folks at SysKit and I have been keeping a secret. I’ve been a fan of their products for years, and they’re the only company I’ve ever let advertise on my blog because of that. A few months ago we realized that we both wanted to work together more and this crazy idea was hatched. Starting May 1st I am officially the Chief Evangelist at Syskit. I will be working with them to deliver the message about their products, and connect them more to their customers. It lets me do two things I love, playing with SysKit products, and hanging out with SharePoint Admins, some of my favorite, hardest working, best looking people on the planet.
You can read the big announcement on the SysKit Blog. What does this all mean? Well, you’ll start seeing some posts about SysKit products and events here on my blog, and you’ll see me showing up at events with them and probably on their blog from time to time.
My role with SysKit is a part-time role, so I will still spend plenty of time getting my hands dirty in SharePoint and Office 365 environments of all shapes and sizes. This will help me keep in touch with the products and how people are using them.
I’m really excited about working with SysKit and I’m grateful that they’ve given me this opportunity. If you have any feedback on any SysKit products, please let me know.
In the past few weeks I've had a couple of conversations with customers that have wanted to use some old school solutions for modern day problems, with Office 365. One was trying to get Explorer View to work, the other was trying to map a network drive to a document library. Neither were having much luck. That's when I stepped in with what was probably an unappreciated answer, "Use the OneDrive Sync client instead."
OneDrive has taken its share of knocks over the years, and much of that was well earned. In the last two or three years, the OneDrive team has put on both their thinking caps, and their heavy leather working gloves and they've really made things happen. While I struggle to find a single area of improvement that I like the most, the sync client has got to be right up there. Most, if not all of the frustrating, infuriating, sync issues have been cleared up. And it can sync OneDrive Consumer, on-prem SharePoint MySites, and multiple Office 365 tenants. Most importantly, late last year, it added on-demand sync functionality to the Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC). This allows the sync client to see all of the files in the team site, document library, or whatever, without actually downloading the files and taking up local space. Here is how multiple libraries looks in Explorer:
All of those locations are under the purview of OneDrive’s Next Gen Sync Client.
Back to my customers. In the first situation, the customer wanted to get Explorer View to work because that was the way they were most comfortable uploading a bunch of files to SharePoint. They wanted to lasso a bunch of files in Windows Explorer, Ctrl-C copy them, open up a SharePoint Document Library in Explorer View, and Ctrl-V paste them in. I can't blame them. That method has worked for the last decade, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Except it is broken, sort of. Explorer View uses two technologies, WebDAV and FPRPC. Neither of which has aged well. And they behave differently depending on which version of Windows you have installed, and which version of Office you have installed. It's unreliable at its best, and downright infuriating at its worst. And if you're using Edge, it flat out won't work at all.
Instead of having their business balance on that decade old cobbled together technology, I recommended they use the OneDrive NGSC to accomplish this. I told them to sync it with the library where they want to upload the files. That will expose the document library to Windows, in Explorer, PowerShell, and anything else they want to run. Now they can use their lasso technique in Explorer to upload files, and do it with a current, maintained, and mostly reliable client, the OneDrive NGSC. Once the files are copied into the local OneDrive location, the NGSC will sync them up to Office 365. After that's finished the user can choose to no longer sync that folder, or keep syncing it, but free up space by making those files "Cloud Only" with OneDrive.
The other scenario was mapping a network drive to SharePoint. This customer didn't want to do a one time operation like the Explorer View customer above. They wanted a quick, easy link to their frequently used SharePoint documents, and in the familiar Explorer interface. Again, I can't blame them for that. It's familiar, and it works well. Except it doesn't sometimes. Once again, if you're using Edge, mapping as a network drive is not supported. Fortunately, if you have the OneDrive NGSC installed, you can use the same technic we used above, to mimic this behavior. Use OneDrive's "Sync" to sync with all of the locations you would have mapped as network drives. When you do they'll show up in Explorer and your file system. You'll be able to use them however you'd like. Since the OneDrive NGSC supports on-demand sync this won't take up extra space on your local machine, just like mapping as a network drive didn't.
I hope that helps a little.
The cloud has come a long way in the last few years. One of the ways it has improved, though not fast enough in my opinion, is storage allocation or quotas. Cloud storage providers have struggled with how to offer increasing amounts of storage in a way that is financially viable for them. The 1 TB package I could buy from Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive 3 years ago is the same today, despite the fact that physical storage itself is cheaper, and storage needs and cloud storage reliance have increased.
I am happy to report that in one area, Microsoft is getting it right. Very right. Before Friday your Office 365 tenant got 1 TB of storage, plus .5 GB for each user license. This was storage you could assign to any of your SharePoint Online site collections outside of OneDrive for Business. If you had 25 user licenses you had 1012.5 GB of storage in your tenant, 12.5 GB from your licenses (25 x 0.5 GB) and the 1 TB each tenant gets. Each user also gets 1 TB in their personal OneDrive, but that’s a different pool of storage. On April 27th, 2018, in the blog post Increase in SharePoint Online storage allocation, Aaron Rimmer the Product Marketing Group Manager for OneDrive at Microsoft, outlined the changes to SharePoint Online’s storage allocation. Starting on July 1st, 2018, every Office 365 tenant (except kiosk and F1 tenants) will still get their initial 1 TB, but they will also get a staggering 10 GB of storage for each licensed user. That’s a 20x increase! Now, that 25 user tenant would have 1500 GB of storage, up from the current 1012.5 GB.
As someone that is a happy Office 365 Administrator what do you need to do to take advantage of this storage windfall? Two things, first send me $5 via PayPal. Okay, maybe not that. The second step, well, you’re already doing the second step. Do nothing. Microsoft will start rolling this out July 1st, 2018, and they plan to have the roll out completed by August 1st, 2018. Your only job now is to sit back, relax, and start planning on how you’re going to take advantage of all of that storage you’re going to be getting. May I suggest more funny cat videos?
I’ve had a busy month or so of travel, going to the MVP Summit and being honored to speak at SPS Omaha. All of those things are in the rear-view mirror. The next big event for me, really for all of us, is the SharePoint Conference North America.
I could go on and on about how great it’s going to be. Microsoft will be there in full force. Answering our questions, showing us cool stuff, giving away annoying screeching monkeys, and just generally making things fun. There’s also going to be a bunch of the best non-Microsoft folks there. Presenters, sponsors, you name it. It would be a shame if you missed it all.
Speaking of missing it all, here is my schedule during the event. I’ll update it as I add new things:
Monday, May 21st - 11:00 - 11:30 Keynote Wrapup (Expo Hall Podcasting Booth)
Monday, May 21st - 3:00 – 4:00 SharePoint Migration, What Did I Get Myself Into? (Room 123)
Monday, May 21st - 5:15 – 6:30 SharePint, Reception in the Expo Hall
Tuesday, May 22nd – 8:30 – 9:30 Life as a SharePoint Administrator in the Year 2018 (Room 123)
Tuesday, May 22nd - 10:45 - 11:30 Hangout with me at the SysKit Booth in the Expo Hall (Booth 423)
Tuesday May 22nd - 5:00 – 6:30 Record Podcast in the Expo Hall
Tuesday, May 22nd – 8:00 – ???? Attendee Pool-side Party
Wednesday, May 23rd – 9:45 – 10:45
Cloud Authentication Options for Hybrid Environments (Room 121)
Thursday, May 24th - 9:00 – 4:00 SharePoint Administration Day Camp workshop (Room 112)
You can download the full conference schedule from here.
Shane and I are also planning on having a Podcast get together at some point. I’ll let you all know when that will be.
Does this sound like too much fun to pass up? Of course it is! If you haven’t already registered (tsk, tsk) don’t fret, there’s still time. Point your favorite browser to the SharePoint Conference NA web site and get Registered. If you use the Discount Code KLINDT you’ll get $50 off, my eternal gratitude, and it’ll make Shane mad. Everybody wins!
If have the unfortunate situation of not being able to join us at SPC NA in person, but still want to join in, here's a link to a live stream of the Keynote.
See you in Vegas,
Edited 4/18 to fix Podcast time
Edited 4/20 to add Authentication session
Edited 5/15 to add Keynote podcast and time at the SysKit booth
Edited 5/20 to add link to Keynote live stream