Office 365 Developer Accounts: Add 1 free year to your new/existing account.

Post Build 2015, Microsoft has quietly started the Office Dev Mailing List, with an introductory offer of one free year of a 365 Developer account (typically around $9/mo).

You can actually add this free year to your existing 365 Dev account

Simply sign up here using your personal MS account, log in, find the dev program sign up form, and look for the link at the top of the page that says “add to Existing Account”. Click that link, sign in to your dev account, and accept and apply the “one month trial”. You’ll soon receive a “Welcome to your trial” email confirming the one year trial period.

Syncfusion Metro Studio 2

Perfect for quickly generating Site Icons…

Download here (free)

The .html.bit Library – Rich HTML in SharePoint 2010

Just an extremely quick and dirty trick I’ve used for a while now I thought I’d note down somewhere. It’s horribly inelegant and almost definitely very very wrong. You should definitely not do this.

In the ‘Site Assets’ library of a site, create an ‘htmlbits’ folder. In this folder, create a file with the format myFunction.html.bit. (The .bit extension stops various bits of SP machinery – such as SP Timer Jobs – from messing with your HTML)

Then, use these snippets in on a page with a Content Editor Webpart.  Simply set the title of a Content Editor Webpart to the name of the HTML bit, set the Content Link to the .html.bit’s path, and set the title not to display. Your .html.bit file will be injected into the page, and SharePoint will not mess with your code!

This seems to bypass SharePoint’s HTML filtering, and it’s handy for debugging. A sort of nicely self-documenting and simple way for a designer simply trying to inject some HTML, CSS, and JS into a page.The deployment workflow is simple. Save and refresh.

I should also point out that it is potentially going to be frowned on by the security gurus at MS, who may see it as a bug. Dunno – not a security expert.

Anyway, once you have reached a solution using this trick, you should consider whether you can generalize what you’re doing into the master page, or the page layout, or deploy a custom solution using visual studio that can do this in a neater way. Don’t forget to delete the htmlbits folder when you’re done.


Forgot to note that Waldek Mastykarz has a different method which some may find more appropriate for their needs.

Another look at Enterprise Metro: Microsoft CRM codename Orion

Another look at Enterprise Metro: Microsoft CRM codename Orion

The Ribbon and the Classic forms will be phased out in Orion. It will be replaced by the far less visual Command Bar with much less features visible by default.

We’re seeing the ribbon hidden in Office applications too.

Continue reading

Chrome quick-search for SharePoint

One of my favorite features of Google Chrome is “tab to search” – a feature that offers you the ability to search a site before even going to its home page:


For an example of this, you can check out

This feature is extremely easy to implement in SharePoint! Continue reading

Be wary of HTML5 “solutions” with SharePoint 2010

In the SharePoint branding & development communities, there has recently been a lot of buzz around the use of HTML5 features in SharePoint. Solutions like Kyle Schaeffer’s “v5.master“, or Bind templates are being deployed, and this has me a little concerned.

In my testing with IE9, I have found that various pieces of functionality do not work as expected with these solutions. The reason for this is as follows: SharePoint 2010’s IE9 support was tested and developed for IE9 running in IE8 compatibility mode, but these solutions typically disable the compatibility mode, breaking basic SharePoint functionality in the process.

Specifically, the tag…

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8"/>

… has been either removed, or changed to one of these alternatives…

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=9"/>
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge"/>

It would be great if this worked, but the unfortunate truth is that there are various pieces of critical SharePoint functionality which simply don’t work if this is changed. Continue reading – a major efficiency boost for SharePoint pros.

(Not an advertisement) – If you’re interested in tinkering with SharePoint or CRM, there’s no easier way to get started than CloudShare. CloudShare provides hosted, pre-configured test and development environments that far surpass any VM you might run on your personal machine. It’s also great for collaborating on development/test/demo environments:

[wpvideo dZwvPevF] SharePoint Showcase

Prediction: SharePoint won’t be on your Metro ‘wall’.

Judging by reports from Convergence, it looks like Microsoft will be basing its enterprise products on the HTML5 stack. So, time to break out the Build conference videos and learn WinRT right?

Well… Yeah. But don’t expect it to help much when it comes to SharePoint! We know that SharePoint vNext will have a Metro look and feel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that SharePoint will be be joining Dynamics as a Windows-only ‘Metro Wall’ application. SharePoint has far too many legacy restrictions to become a pure Metro Wall + WinRT app. Reality check time:

  • Development of SharePoint 15 is a huge effort, probably started well before WinRT was spec’d.
  • Office 365 is sold as a cross-browser, cross-environment solution. It can’t rely on Windows 8 features. It has to work on Macs, Windows XP, etc.
  • Office vNext doesn’t live inside the Metro Wall – it will be a desktop app.

So… hold up, and in the mean time, check out this neat client-side app stack diagram from the “Single Page Applications” guidance @, and stay tuned for more tips! Client-side Single Page Application Stack

A client-side application stack diagram from Microsoft.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Metro UI applied to enterprise apps : Convergence 2012

Microsoft has just demoed a working prototype of a Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP, running on Windows 8, with a full Metro UI:

This is the first example of an enterprise app for the Windows 8 metro ‘wall’. More info about the demo is available at ZDNet.

The one hour keynote is available online behind a short registration form at (demos start around 40 minutes in).

SharePoint 15 Concept UI

My guess: What a metro enterprise app might look like.

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