As I booted up my Windows Vista laptop today, my Automated Updates icon was trying to get my attention. There was one update waiting for me. It turned out to be Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Vista. A version of Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2008 was also released.
As I searched the web for articles on the service pack, one thing became clear. Microsoft had been struggling with a release date for this service pack. Noted Microsoft watcher, Mary-Jo Foley, wondered in her blog why, as of May 21, had Microsoft not publicly released the service pack. Microsoft had released SP2 to manufacturing on April 28. In the Microsoft Update Product Team blog, it was announced on May 20 that the update would be available “in the coming weeks.” The service pack was also released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers.
System Administrators need to be aware of this update. If they do not want to deploy SP2 at this time, they will need to use the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit to prevent their users from installing it.
For more information about Service Pack 2 for Vista and Windows Server 2008, Check out this page on TechNet:
For a summary of notable changes in service pack 2, see this link:
Book Review: Building Web Applications with Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step
I really enjoy the Microsoft Press Step by Step series. The series is a great way for an IT Professional to get a simple beginner’s introduction to a Microsoft technology without being called a dummy. The Step by Step series can be very helpful for learning how to do something that may be new to or outside your regular work responsibilities. And during this difficult economic time, adding to your current skill set is a very good thing.
I also think that this is a great title to review since Microsoft announced earlier this year that SharePoint Designer would be available for free.
The book contains twelve chapters and 336 pages and is intended to be a starting point for learning how to build a solution on SharePoint. The solutions presented in the book could be deployed on a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) or on a basic Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) installation. As a prerequisite, the author recommends that you have read Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step by Penelope Coventry (Microsoft Press 2008) so that you have a basic knowledge of how SharePoint Designer works. However, if you are familiar with the Microsoft Office interface, you may be able to work the exercises in the book. The book includes a companion CD with practice files, an ebook of the title, an ebook of the Microsoft Computer Dictionary 5th edition, and the Windows Vista Product Guide.
One of the first features I noticed this time was the Chapter at a Glance feature which gives a visual overview of the chapter’s content. I liked how the pictures were screenshots of the actual software being used to illustrate the topic being covered. Page numbers are right next to the picture so that if a certain picture got your attention, you could turn to that page to get more details. This is really a terrific feature.
Chapters included looks at Master Pages and data views. I was especially interested in the chapters on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) which control the format of the web pages, and the chapter on workflow. One of the powerful features of SharePoint is the Workflow Foundation which allows you to automate document routing. Again, the step by step book format simplifies the steps that you need to take to create a sample workflow and learn the basics of this powerful feature of SharePoint.
As a side note, in his introduction, Jansen gives us a look into Microsoft’s web tools product development. Microsoft has three web development applications and it can sometimes be confusing choosing which one to use. If you have ever used FrontPage, you will notice that SharePoint Designer looks a lot like FrontPage. That is because FrontPage became SharePoint Designer. The same development team also created Microsoft Expression Web and Web Express in Microsoft Visual Studio. Jansen explains that the main difference between SharePoint Designer and Expression is that SharePoint Designer can work with content specific to SharePoint and Expression cannot. To illustrate the different audience that each product is aimed at, Jansen provides this scenario. A developer creates a layout with with server controls on it. He hands the layout to an Expression web designer who creates the look of the page. The Expression web designer hands the page to the SharePoint Designer application builder to post to SharePoint.
This book is ideal for anyone that is interested in enhancing SharePoint web sites. Not only is the book good for developers who are just starting out enhancing SharePoint sites, but it is also good for the IT Professional Generalist who wants to understand more about how SharePoint sites are built and how to make simple enhancements.
- Working with Web Applications
- Working with SharePoint Sites in SharePoint Designer
- Accessing the Styles Behind SharePoint Pages
- Creating Layout with Cascading Style Sheets
- Working with Master Pages
- Creating Custom Navigation Controls
- Creating Data Sources in SharePoint
- Creating Data Views
- Using ASP.NET and SharePoint Controls in Data Views
- Using Parameters in a Data View
- Customizing List Forms and Pages
- Using the Windows Workflow Foundation
At a glance:
Title: Building Web Applications with Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step
Today, Microsoft Learning’s Career Express begins its 11-day cross-country odyssey from Atlanta, Georgia to Tech Ed 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Along the way, the Career Express will pick up six contestants who competed for a seat on the bus and admission to Tech Ed 2009. As they make their way across the country led by Ken Rosen of Microsoft Learning, the Career Express will visit Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions, Microsoft IT Academies and other communities interested in learning about the potential for skills development to get a job, keep a job, or grow within their current job in the IT profession.
As the economic climate continues to impact IT pros around the world, it’s vitally important for individuals to enrich their skills, differentiate themselves, and maximize their impact within their organizations.
For IT pros that have not taken a certification exam since January 1, 2007, Microsoft and Prometric are providing a limited offer to the first 4,000 individuals to help them gain their Microsoft Certified Professional status in the MCTS/MCPD/MCITP tracks. You can find more information and register at www.prometric.com/microsoft. The offer is available for customers who have taken their last certification exam prior to January 1, 2007.
So, come on back. Get certified again!
Microsoft Skills Week kicks off today and runs through Friday. As part of Skills Week, there will be more than 175 partner-led events in North America designed to help IT professionals and developers develop and validate their skills, network with industry leaders and achieve Microsoft Certified Professional status.
Microsoft Skills Week events will include the following skills development and career assistance programs as part of its offerings:
•Access to Career Assist. An offering through Microsoft Learning’s Second Shot Program. Second Shot gives individuals the opportunity to retake a Microsoft Certified Professional exam for free should they fail. The Career Assist Package gives individuals who register for Second Shot by June 30 the opportunity to purchase a Microsoft E-Learning Collection for $35 (U.S.) — a 90 percent price discount in most cases. The online programs provide specific tools to help users develop technical skills and prepare for Microsoft Certified Professional exams. The discounted collection purchased with the Career Assist Package will be available for 90 days after activation.
•Exam Crams. Quick study sessions to prepare individuals for Microsoft Certification exams.
•Live Meetings. Sessions with Microsoft technical specialists and legendary Microsoft Certified Trainers who will demonstrate technologies to enhance training and answer questions to enable individuals to prepare for examinations.
•Exam discounts. Opportunities to get certified on-site at events while saving up to 40 percent on exam fees.
More information on Microsoft Skills Week and local events is available at http://www.certificationweek.com.
(Info taken from Microsoft Press Release: http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2009/mar09/03-09SkillsWeek09PR.mspx)