Thursday, January 3, 2008

Errata on Mastering WSS 3.0

The book is not yet out and I am finding little things that bother me about the it.

Now mind you, I did not write the book alone. I had numerous editors, both to proof the words and to check the technical accuracy. To add to the madness, I had several coauthors, individuals with their own way of saying things.

Together though, that can create some chaos. Let me demonstrate.

  • Chapter 14-- For some reason Ron, who had to use the SharePoint installer, SharePoint.exe, to install WSS 3.0; called it "SharePointServices.exe." I don't know why.

  • Folders-- folders were mentioned in chapters 5 and 6, but, believe it or not, were going to get serious coverage in chapter 11; which is the chapter about permissions, and is where I feel folders come into their own. However, because of one thing or another, the entire "A good reason to use Folders" sidebar (a good sized chunk of text I might add) was omitted. I will be adding it as an article here for those who might be looking for it.

  • Content Types-- I had wanted to do more with content types, I mean, c'mon, I covered connected web parts didn't I? But, due to page constraints I made due with something of a cop-out by covering it to add a template in a library. I will be doing things with content types here that I intended to do in the book. Mind you, I was given to believe there were several other books by Wiley that would cover content types, but as I have never seen them, I am not going to depend on that.

  • Sharepoint Designer-- There were supposed to be three chapters about using SharePoint Designer (SD) to customize WSS 3.0 as an IT admin, but they had to be cut out due to time, coauthor issues, and page limits.

  • Chapter 11 (written by bill chapman, reworked by charles firth)-- "site groups can be made at the subsite level"-- while technically true could be worded to be more true.~~ I mean that yes, you can use the new group button to add a group and use it at a subsite level if it is not inheriting permissions, but that group is actually in the list for the site collection as if it were created at the top level site. -- That's the point of the groups list for the whole site collection-- to list all the groups in the site collection. That includes those subsites that were created from the start not to inherit and therefore have their own groups. So actually, even if a site group is made at the subsite, it might appear as if it were made at the site collection level. Site groups are just named groups that could contain people, and then the permissions used at a site collection or lower level are applied to the group. So groups can be made anywhere in the site collection hierarchy, it doesn't really matter where. The difference is, there are no permissions being applied to the group at any level but the site that made it (modified it or is using it). See, that's what is really implied with "permission inheritance." ...well, more on that, in detail, later in this blog.

  • Server 2008-- Because the book is printing so, super, incredibly late, server 2008 will be out by the time it hits the shelves. The book was entirely written on server 2003. So what does that mean? Well, I could have stopped production and scrapped the book altogether (it was late enough to cancel at this point... one more delay and bam, right in the kisser), but I found that only certain features are different. So instead of scrapping the book, I decided to publish as is, and instead I'll write the changes here.

Those changes are, namely:

  • -- IIS 7.0 management. Oh, it says that it supports IIS 6.0, but not really.
  • ----IIS Web Sites and Application Pools are backed up and restored differently.
  • --Reliability and Performance Monitor.
  • ----So creating alerts and logs are going to be different.

I will be rewriting those sections to reflect the step by steps necessary to do those tasks in 2008. As a matter of fact, if I can get time to install camtasia, I'll just demo them. However, keep in mind that, out of a thousand pages, there were very few big differences.

I had to make the decision as to whether to publish or not, and decided to go for it. Please forgive me if that doesn't work for you, and email me to let me know why and what can be done to fix it.

Please, feel free to comment here with other errata (or use the errata email address listed in the errata widget near the top right of this page). I worked really, really hard to make sure everything I said was correct, but as with any project that has many chiefs, unexpected errors can happen. I am serious. I am depending on your to let me know if anything in there is misworded, misnamed, or misleading. I really don't like the idea that anyone might be misinformed by any written material, and always I want to fix it, if possible.

More notes on what I find that might be improved as I find them...

Edited to add More Errata (July 2008):

I was glancing through the book, trying to get ideas for sessions at the EMEA TechEd conference in Barcelona, when I happened to notice a sidebar (pages 347, 348, and 349) called "seeing is Believing." Disregarding the bad layout of the sidebar starting at the very bottom of the initial page, and the fact that the figures could have been shrunk a little to better fit the sidebar, the second figure in the sidebar is incorrect. The sidebar contains two copies of the same picture, when the first one should indicate the library with the "shareadmin" login, and the second picture, which in this book is a repeat, should show "saffron" logged in and the document in question should be missing. Unfortunately, the sidebar makes far less sense with two copies of the same picture than it would if the second picture were correct.

You have my sympathy and apologies if this made no sense to you too. The copy I sent in had the correct pictures listed. It appears that something was lost in translation...

Ah-- found another problem-- on page 251, in the "How to Avoid Blank Date Values, the figure it refers to in "You might have noticed in figure 5.38..." should be figure 5.39. Figure 5.39 displays the list with a record that has a blank Expires field. 5.38 is a picture of an email being used to add an item to the Announcements list.

Since the template the publisher required could not do automatic number, every sequential set of numbers (like figures, step by step lists, etc.) had to manually entered, and updated, every single time there was a change.

Yes, that is painfully ineffective (imagine dealing with it for a thousand pages), but that's the publishing biz for you. So during edits, a figure was added, removed, or moved around, without changing the reference in the text, causing the error. My apologies.


Simon said...

Hi Callahan,

first, we bought the Mastering SP book, and so far all very good, all the queries covered off - many thanks for your pioneering work.

One thing (and your para here... "Sharepoint Designer-- There were supposed to be three chapters about using SharePoint Designer (SD) to customize WSS 3.0 as an IT admin, but they had to be cut out due to time, coauthor issues, and page limits..." prompts me to post back a question about a particular little snarl we find ourselves in. If you have time, any response would be appreciated.

We are using the WSS 3.0 server-side sub site template for asset/room booking but need to make a change to the xsl (maybe to the .asp code too?) to change the default 'booked x day' display to a 'booked x week' display. Like I said, small but egregious to our users.

Again, thanks for any suggestions and your consideration.

Callahan said...

Thank you for your nice comment on my book. : ) I did a lot of work on it. Ironically, at the time I was writing most of the content, I was truly "pioneering" because there was little to no accurate information about WSS 3.0, especially about directory management service, planning, or even the details about how to manage content approval. Ironically, as the months went by between discovering and documenting this information in my material, and publishing the material-- Microsoft and others had managed to cover most of what I'd kind of discovered on my own. ; )

Still, no one else seems to have DMS covered completely, so that's some small relief.

As for your question about editing the list in the application template for asset/room reservations: Because it is one of MS's proprietary (see tweaked weirdly and locked down) templates, it might be difficult to edit anything there. However, I will look into it and get back to you. Meanwhile-- and I suggest this to everyone who has a programmatic or customization question-- consider visiting the public newsgroup-- microsoft.public.sharepoint.design_and_customization for more information. The people there are more into customization than I am, so maybe they have some tricks and tips that I might not.

Anonymous said...

This blog entry says we should email servergrrl with errata, but I can't find an e-mail address for her anywhere on this site.
On page 5 there is a box "It's Not for Workstations" that is garbled. The phrase "It is not recommended to install" broke off from the beginning of its intended sentence and snuck up to embed itself to the start of another sentence earlier in the box.

Anonymous said...

p. 13 refers to "the Search service for SharePoint" (singular); but p. 18 says there two distinct search and index services. So is there one or is there two? BTW, the following Microsoft article does not mention any index service separate from the search service:

Anonymous said...

Hi Callahan,

Very nice book. Is there a plan to issue an e-book or PDF?

Callahan said...


My email address should have been in the book and therefore not necessary on this site (I am sure you know how 'bots troll sites for email addresses to spam, so certainly you understand why there isn't one here).

Unfortunately, you have come across a good example of the editing problems that plague my book. Sadly, as the author, I am only in control of my work on the content-- I cannot control the mistakes others make concerning layout, picture placement, or editing.

Here is the correct content as I wrote it (before it was hideously butchered):

"Sharepoint can't install just anwhere, on just any operating system. It requires Windows Server 2003 Sp1 (Standard, Enterprise, Data Center, or Web Edition) or higher. It also requires NTFS, it won't install on FAT32. It supports x86 and x64, although the installer for either version is still sharepoint.exe, so be careful what you download. It is not recommended to install SharePoint on a domain controller.

Web Edition cannot host databases, but it can hold SharePoint. Therefore you can install SharePoint as a web front end server on the Web Edition of Windows Server 2003, but you cannot install the stand-alone version."

As you can see, what I wrote and what ended up in the book are very, very different. What is there is garbled and almost useless, what I wrote was useful and at least somewhat clear.

You probably can imagine how frustrating it is, as the person whose name is on the cover of the book, to have worked so hard to have so much information in a book, only to have those things altered by people by people outside of your control.

Sidebars (which is what those gray boxes are *supposed* to be) in particular really seemed to baffle some of the staff over at sybex. This caused all kinds of readability, layout, and even content issues over the course of months I struggled to maintain the integrity of the content.

Thank you Ricky for bringing up this issue. I will be sure to forward it on to the Sybex staff so the issue is resolved in the next edition.

Callahan said...


Concerning search, you have brought up a good point. That is that documentation and language about sharepoint is rather contradictory at best.

Here is the scoop-- It has become customary, when referring to things search related, to refer to it as a "Search" service, note the singular. It is simply a standard reference. In addition, when referring to the search service on page 13, I was referring to services that are referred to in the singular in the Services console. The index service (or gatherer or crawler, as some refer to it), only really surfaces in the task manager (as the MSSDMN.EXE process) and the event viewer. Don't ask me why, it just does.

However, search for WSS actually uses two different services to perform searches:

a) the Search service that actually responds to user queries.
b) the gatherer or index service that actually does the crawling through the web application databases to index all of the data so the search service has something to query.

They are two different services, and as such, require two different account identities to function. However, when referring to searching in general, search is referred to in the singular.

Why Microsoft has not chosen to clearly state this on the MSDN site that you linked to is Microsoft's issue. I only use the product as an administrator day in and day out.... ; )

Also, the wording of the two sections, one about the services that an admin needs to know about, and then the section that drills down on the details about search, both suffer from some editing errors, post production, that also make it a little difficult to read. My sincerest apologies if that in any way detracts from your experience.

Callahan said...

Anonymous of April 30th,

Thank you for you kind comment about the book. : ) Sybex has in no way offered to allow the book to be released in PDF. But now that I am between conferences, I will endeavor to see if a PDF form can be made available.

Goodness knows that I prefer to be able to search by keyword than use the table of contents or the pretty bad index at the back of the book. 1100 pages could really benefit from being digital.