Thursday, November 20, 2008
What we were trying to do was create a custom search page that has a meta-data property on it that can be multi-selected. It has almost 200 options in it and the user can select a combination of these to filter the search by.
This worked fine with a few selected but somewhere around 10 selections the query started returned the error 'Malformed Query' as soon as it was executed.
The search was performed against a custom scope and custom managed properties. After a bunch of investigation it appears the issue is solved if you tick the "Allow this property to be used in scopes" option. After selecting that for the field/s that you need to have as conditions with 10+ options the query processes fine each time.
This sounds like a bug to me as we are not actually using the property for defining a scope, but the server we are running on is update to date with current patches and hotfixes so looks like one that is yet to be fixed, luckily the work around is easy :)
The below sample shows the query and code being used with a few field name changes.
Query was like the below but with lots more OR'ed values for Field 1:
SELECT Field1, Field2, ModifiedBy, Created FROM portal..scope() WHERE \"SCOPE\" = 'Custom Scope' AND (ContentType = 'ContentType1' OR ContentType = 'ContentType2') AND (Field1 = 'test' OR Field1 = 'test2' )
FullTextSqlQuery sqlQuery = new FullTextSqlQuery(site);
sqlQuery.ResultTypes = ResultType.RelevantResults;
sqlQuery.QueryText = sql;
sqlQuery.TrimDuplicates = false;
sqlQuery.StartRow = startRow;
sqlQuery.RowLimit = rowLimit;
ResultTableCollection results = sqlQuery.Execute();
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
To be able to deliver a BVPS engagement you need to complete Exam 74-674 first, which I passed on Monday.
Several people have since asked me what to study for the exam, so here is a post on my views.
Firstly I had a bit of head start on it as I was lucky enough to deliver a beta engagement here in Melbourne with assistance from Microsoft and Value Prism Consulting so I got to learn how to deliver an engagement first hand. This of course is the best preparation possible but presuming you don't get a chance to do this then the below info I hope will help a bit.
The first thing you should do is look through everything on the resources page for BVPS here
Then think carefully if you have the right skill set. If you consider yourself a techie do not sit this exam. The skills you need for this are much closer to the BA skill set. However if you consider yourself a "traditional" BA this is probably also not for you either. The ideal skill set is someone that can do process analysis but then also map this to solutions in the office system. You need to be able to do this quickly both in the exam and during a BVPS engagement so it helps if you can do both of these things yourself with minimal assistance. Have a look at the sample agenda's and consider if you can map a existing process, future state process, come up with a high level solutions for doing this with the office system including value propositions etc in those kind of timeframes. This is not easy !!
What I would then suggest if possible is try running a mock enagement ideally get some buy in from your company and try it internally for real. Some things to focus on that I think are important:
- Work out how to determine what the right process is to analyse. Look for the key important factors such as business impact, availability and buy in from stakeholders among other things. Also pick something you can analyse during the timeframe, this may just be a piece of a larger process.
- Map the current process without jumping into solution at all. The idea is not to solve the problem yet but to work out what the current situation is.
- Work out what can be changed at a process level to improve it. Listen to the users in order to do this, they generally have plenty of suggestions for what will likely work in this space, although not all will be possible/realistic. Also don't bite off too much , small incremental changes often work better than one sweeping change.
- Map this to solutions using parts of the Office System i.e. know when to use Performance Point vs. Portfolio Server or SharePoint etc. Also make sure you are not reinventing the wheel, often the solution is just using something the customer already has in a better way.
- Determine the high level value propositions for the business. Make sure they map to the goals of the business and align with what the stakeholders have told you. Know how to work out figures to back up your business case.
That's a lot of what you need to be able to do to deliver a BVPS enagement and hence what you need for the exam, but the training material has fine detail.
The exam itself is a bunch of case studies each with a set of questions. Normal exam advice applies here i.e. make sure you read the case study and questions very carefully, small details can change the answer a lot.
Hope that helps. Good luck :)
The zip file of training material on the BVPS site has been updated and now includes sample exam questions among other new resources so make sure you download it again.
Why did I leave SDM.
There are many reasons but a large one was that I want to work at a company that is less large corporate and is filled with people who are passionate about leading edge technology, especially SharePoint.
I think it's the nature of a large hugely profitable business like DWS (which SDM is now part of) that while there are people employed there that do fall into that category, there are many more that are just there to work their 40 hours. DWS works out really great for a lot of people and I've talked to plenty of happy DWS customers too, but it just doesn't suit me. I think just looking at the careers pages on the two websites makes it easy to pick a lot of the differences between DWS and OBS
Am I sad about leaving.
Absolutely ! I've worked with some really great people and on a lot of very interesting projects.
I'm looking forward to trying to keep in touch with a lot of the people online and offline.
Why go back to OBS
OBS when I worked there was a great company, but in many ways was also quite different to what it is now. The good things about the company have stayed and many of the problems which made me leave have been resolved as you'd expect given I have been away for almost 4 years !
Basically OBS has everything I was looking for which is best summed up by the guiding principles, these are not just empty statements up on a website but actually reflect how the business is run right from the top down. Simply put no where else I've seen yet has such a great bunch of really skilled people in the areas I'm interested in all together in the one place.
There are still some challenges to work through but that is the same for any business the most important thing is they have the right people, the management backing and structure in place to continue to improve in the areas that are needed.
All up I'm very excited to be back :)