The SharePoint Migration: Progress Report and Notes

In case you hadn’t heard, our local SharePoint 2007 install is nearing the end of its life – we’ll be pulling the plug on that hardware July 1. It’s replaced by SharePoint Online, the “Sites” area of Office 365 (accessed through Outlook Web Access). I first wrote about this back in November. This is a short progress report, with some hints on a few things we’ve discovered.

Here is a short list of some of the things we’ve discovered about SharePoint Online – many of them similar to OneDrive (which is built on the SharePoint platform).

  • The browser wars. In several district technology arenas, we’ve already discovered that some browsers work better than others. Firefox is quickly becoming the default for many users in Fayette Co., since IC and CIITS both seem happier there. Here’s what’s up with that in SharePoint Online.
    • Internet Explorer is required for some activities and capabilities, most notably the transfer of masses of files with their folder structures. Only IE can “see” the “Open with Windows Explorer” option.
    • All other browsers actually work a little better with all other aspects of SharePoint Online, which is, frankly, a little embarrassing for Microsoft! But if you get in the habit of another browser, remember what’ll be missing!
  • Permissions. The new system is structured a little differently. At this moment…
    • No students.
    • School sites are available only to staff there.
    • “Access requests” work, but are generally being managed centrally at this moment (that is, by me).
  • File management. See above for “Open with Windows Explorer” notes.
    • File uploads are drag and drop these days, no matter the browser or platform – as long as you don’t need file folder structure (that requires Windows Explorer).
    • “Access denied” – occasionally, transfer of files in Windows Explorer gets this error. Closing and re-opening the window fixes it.
  • Search seriously works in the new system! This is especially helpful, since, amongst other things, customization has been greatly expanded in the new SharePoint space. That’s both good news and bad news. Options are nice, but sometimes site designers have just enough rope to hang themselves, and make things hard to find. If you fail to find something, the “Search” works great!

Attention, site managers

A bunch of new migration dates have been set. Contact me if you’re ready to move. (You’ll be hearing from me eventually, in any case.)

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