Microsoft Excel vs SharePoint Lists

I’ve been asked the question before: when should I use Microsoft Excel and when should I use SharePoint lists? At first I didn’t have a great answer, but I thought about it, looked into it a bit more, and this is what I settled on:

Excel is better when you need to do operations on the whole data set. SharePoint lists are better when the list items stand more-or-less as independent objects.

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CiviCRM: Personal Campaign Pages

Have you ever taken part in a non-profit fundraising event where you get your own personal webpage that you can direct people to as a way for them to sponsor you directly in the event? Personally I am happy to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year every year, which does have this type of system (not in CiviCRM).

In the language of CiviCRM, these are Personal Campaign Pages. While CiviCRM does offer this functionality, it has some major holes in it. Like a few areas of CiviCRM, it feels like somebody threw it together quickly and then mostly forgot about it. Consequently, I had a hard time ever recommending it as a good solution, even if a client was already heavily using CiviCRM happily. Here’s the official documentation.

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Movie Directory Part 1: The Data

I recently decided to do more experimentation with Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service) in the Power Platform. I did this by making myself an app to solve a need I have myself: a app. I wanted to be able to:

  • Track in what formats I own a movie (Blu-ray, DVD, digital)
  • Link to JustWatch to find where I could stream a movie
  • Assign a movie to different lists
  • Streamline a process for grabbing the movie cover image
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SharePoint: Overriding a Site’s Home Page

This post continues a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

At this point in the series, we’ve now created new SharePoint sites and applied temporary site scripts and site designs. There is one big feature missing from site scripts and site designs, though: templating the home page. You can’t simply say that a project site design should always contain a home page with these specific web parts. This may not be true forever – Microsoft is steadily improving site templating – but as of working on this project a few months ago, it required a bit of a workaround.

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Microsoft Cloud App Security

If you’re an IT admin, do you know what apps users are putting on devices alongside company data? Do you know all the apps that they are directly putting company data into, thinking it helps solve a problem for them? This is the problem of “Shadow IT.” If it’s a personal device, it’s even worse, as they might be installing all kinds of insecure apps without IT approval and it wouldn’t take much to make a mistake like copying and pasting company data or uploading a file into the wrong app.

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The Time I Recommended Yammer

Yammer is often the forgotten piece of Microsoft 365. Some people would even argue that Microsoft has largely forgotten about it. It’s an enterprise social network. It feels a lot like using Facebook, but it’s restricted to your organization.

Several years ago I was tasked with planning an intranet based on SharePoint. A significant portion of the goal was to further enhance communication across the organization, including more casual conversations and not just strictly work conversations. The assumption going in was that SharePoint was the solution for that as well as sharing resource files.

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