February 16, 2017

Nintex Workflow: Access denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.

Working with Nintex workflow, I was trying to send an email through "Send Email" action to users within SharePoint Group. If user through which workflow is kicked off, is part of that SharePoint Group then workflow/email works fine. But If user is not added in that group, getting below error: (Even that user has full control permission on site.)

"Access denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource."

Basically, when "Send Email" action executes, Nintex try to get users information to whom email needs to be sent out. If logged in user is added in the SharePoint group, Nintex is able to retrieve the information. But if user is not part of the group, it won't be able to access member information of the group.

To overcome this situation, Allow everyone to see the members of the SharePoint group. To make this change, follow below steps:

Note: This will enable other users who are not part of the group to view all  members of  the group.

  • Go Site Settings --> People & Groups, browse to that SharePoint Group.

  • From settings menu, select Group Settings.
  • Update Group settings --> view permission to "Everyone".
  • Click OK.

If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

January 10, 2017

How to improve SEO ranking of the website.

An important part of promoting your website online is to have it listed by search engines in their search results. The higher positions in the search engine results you get, the more clicks and traffic you will have.
The key to having good rankings in free searches is the so-called “Search Engine Optimization” (for short SEO) which starts by having your site indexed by search engines, goes through optimizing the content for search engines and then building valuable links to it. Google has the most dynamically changing algorithm to consider for search engine optimization.
There are common issues which are need to be fixed to increase SEO ranking: -

Meta Title:
  • Your page’s meta title is an HTML tag that defines the title of your page. This tag displays your page title in search engine results, at the top of a user’s browser, and also when your page is bookmarked in a list of favorites. A concise, descriptive title tag that accurately reflects your page’s topic is important for ranking well in search engines.
  • The meta title of your page has a length of 71 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta titles to 70 characters.

Meta Description:
  • Your page’s meta description is an HTML tag that is intended to provide a short and accurate summary of your page. Search engines use meta descriptions to help identify the a page’s topic - they may also use meta descriptions by displaying them directly in search engine results. Accurate and inviting meta descriptions can help boost both your search engine rankings and a user’s likelihood of clicking through to your page.
  • The meta description of your page has a length of 252 characters. Most search engines will truncate meta descriptions to 160 characters.

<h1> Headings Status:
  • Check if any H1 headings are used in your page. H1 headings are HTML tags that are not visible to users, but can help clarify the overall theme or purpose of your page to search engines. The H1 tag represents the most important heading on your page, e.g., the title of the page or blog post.
<h2> Headings Status:
  • Check if any H2 headings are used in your page. H2 headings are HTML tags that are not visible to users, but can help clarify the overall theme or purpose of your page to search engines. The H2 tag represents the second most important headings on your page, e.g., the subheadings.
Robots.txt Test:
  • Check if your website is using a robots.txt file. When search engine robots crawl a website, they typically first access a site’s robots.txt file. Robots.txt tells Google-bot and other crawlers what is and is not allowed to be crawled on your site. Read More

Sitemap Test:
  • Check if the website has a sitemap. A sitemap is important as it lists all the web pages of the site and let search engine crawlers to crawl the website more intelligently. A sitemap also provides valuable metadata for each webpage.
SEO Friendly URL Test:
  • Check if your webpage URLs are SEO friendly. In order for links to be SEO friendly, they should contain keywords relevant to the page’s topic, and contain no spaces, underscores or other characters. You should avoid the use of parameters when possible, as they make URLs less inviting for users to click or share. Google’s suggestions for URL structure specify using hyphens or dashes (-) rather than underscores (_). Unlike underscores, Google treats hyphens as separators between words in a URL.
Image Alt Test:
  • Check if images on your webpage are using alt attributes. If an image cannot be displayed (e.g., due to broken image source, slow internet connection, etc.), the alt attribute provides alternative information. Using relevant keywords and text in the alt attribute can help both users and search engines better interpret the subject of an image.

Inline CSS Test:
  • Check your webpage HTML tags for inline CSS properties. Inline CSS property are added by using the style attribute within specific HTML tags. Inline CSS properties unnecessarily increase page size, and can be moved to an external CSS stylesheet. Removing inline CSS properties can improve page loading time and make site maintenance easier.

Favicon Test:
  • Check if your site is using and correctly implementing a favicon. Favicons are small icons that appear in your browser’s URL navigation bar. They are also saved next to your URL’s title when your page is bookmarked. This helps brand your site and make it easy for users to navigate to your site among a list of bookmarks.

JS Error Checker:
  • Check your page for JavaScript errors. These errors may prevent users from properly viewing your pages and impact their user experience. Sites with poor user experience tend to rank worse in search engine results.

CSS/JS Minification Test:
  • Checks if any external JavaScript or CSS files used in your page are minified. Minified files reduce page size and overall load time.
Directory Browsing Test:
  • Check if your server allows directory browsing. If directory browsing is disabled, visitors will not be able to browse your directory by accessing the directory directly (if there is no index.html file). This will protect your files from being exposed to the public. Apache web server allows directory browsing by default. Disabling directory browsing is generally a good idea from a security standpoint.
Plaintext Emails Test:
  • Check your webpage for plaintext email addresses. Any e-mail address posted in public is likely to be automatically collected by computer software used by bulk emailers (a process known as e-mail address harvesting). A spam harvester can read through the pages in your site and extract plaintext email addresses which are then added to bulk marketing databases (resulting in more inbox spam). There are several methods for email obfuscation.
Solution: In HTML section, write a tag with random href and In JavaScript file replace href attribute  with original email address. 
<a href="mail" id="linkMail"><img src="~/images/mailtoicon.png" alt="Mailto" /></a>
$("#linkMail").attr("href", mailto:info@binaryrepublik.com);
Micro-Data Schema Test
  • Check if your website uses HTML Micro-Data specifications (or structured data markup). Search engines use micro-data to better understand the content of your site and create rich snippets in search results (which helps in increasing click-through rate to your site). Read More

If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

Deep Dive into Data Visualization Techniques

What is Data Visualization?
Data visualization is terminology that helps us to understand importance of data by visual/graphical/tabular representation.

Data is time variant and as time passes, data from different sources is collected and processed/analyzed. And, this processed/analyzed data enables decision makers at different levels to gain better visibility on various business aspects such as market trends, organization’s revenue, profit percentage over past years etc.

As common human mentality, people concentrates more on data represented in charts and graphs compare to long pages, bunch of papers etc.
Why Data Visualization is Important?
Visualization helps people to analyze data in pictorial or graphical manner. Even the data volumes are very large, patterns and design can be spotted quickly. Visualization convey information easily and it makes it easy to understand.

For example, it is difficult to extract information from normal spreadsheet. It is also time consuming process. Data visualization presents data in a way that, it becomes easy for the user to interpret and analyze data.

Main reason behind the data visualization is that, it provides the past and current trend of data. In a way, it becomes easy for decision makers to take decisions with the help of visualization of historical data.

Selecting Solution for Visualization
As we all know that, if any organization is able to produce and visualize data in effective and correct manner, and if they are able to produce the accurate information then it is the key for doing successful business and enable decision makers to take accurate and right decision.

There are three questions that should be answered before selecting visualization solution:
    1.  What do we want to do with our data?
    2.  Which devices are users consuming the data on?
    3.  Where is our data located?
Microsoft Technologies Supporting Tool for Visualization
There are several tools provided by Microsoft that can be helpful in visualizing data in correct manner. All these tools have their own advantages and targeted for specific user’s skill set.

Selection of visualization tool also depends on the organization requirements and the targeted user to whom data will be delivered.

    -  Excel Services
    -  PowerPivot
    -  SSRS
    -  Power View
    -  Power BI
    -  Performance Point
    -  Visio Services

How to Select Right Tool?
There are several use cases that will help organization in selection of tool.

Use Case 1: If user is an Excel Pro. And organization have lot of data and have SharePoint On-Premise and need to provide and share information to many users on intranet.

Solution is Power Pivot:
    -  It is part of the Excel family (Add-in).
    -  We can build a Pivot table from multiple table (multiple sources).
    -  We can build relationships between these tables in GUI.
    -  Enables the ability to quickly process millions of record.

Use Case 2: Organization have SharePoint On-Premise and they want users to do data analysis and discovery on the intranet on their own.

Solution is Power View:
    -  Power View can be used to explore data, to analyze, sort and to filter the data.
    -  It can also be used to discover relationships and to spot any trends.
    -  It provides interactive data.

As we have seen above use cases, but those are just for example. Selection of tool is based on business requirements and needs of users.

Performance Point vs Power Pivot vs Power View vs Excel vs SSRS
1.  Performance Point:
With Performance Point, we have advantage of advanced drill down on complex cube.

It's better to use Performance Point, if our report is based on certain measures and indicator using Key Performance Indicator.

Performance Point reports are supported on iPad, we just need to hold our finger on any chart and our report will be drill down easily.

2.  Power View:
Power View report runs on Silverlight and this can be considered as disadvantage due to it's incompatibility on iPad.

Power View enables self service report creation for end user. So, user can create report based on Tabular Model Cube and Power View will manage connection to model automatically.

If you would like to merely get a grid of information from the source (cube), Power View is that the only one that will do it. Whereas Excel Services provides view into cubes, that needs to be viewed in Pivot Table.

3.  Excel Services:
Excel services provide many rich feature to visualize our data using Pivot Table, Charts, Slicers etc.

The graphing motor of Excel Services is the best out of all the others. It gives the most choices for designing, diagram sorts, 2D/3D graphs, information names, and colors.

4. Power Pivot:
In Power Pivot, we can pull database up to 4 GB into Excel Sheet by creating data model and then, we can use that model to create reports.

So, basically it will allow users to view data in disconnected mode, in other words, user can carry data with them.

5. Reporting Services (SSRS):
In the event that we require a report to be printed to paper, we might need to have tight control over how the report looks and this is the place where SSRS is truly sparkles, it has capacity to make pixel flawless reports and control things like page edges and widths.

On the off chance that we have reports that should be emailed on a timetable, this should be possible utilizing SSRS. This is helpful in the event that we need a day by day or week after week report to be sent via email.

With SSRS,we can export report to DOCX, XLSX, PDF, MHTML formats.

If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.