Posts Tagged SharePoint

List View Auto-Indexing – This SharePoint 2016 feature is available in SharePoint Online

It’s Sunday evening and I’m working late, so I’m not sure…
But how long has this option been around in the SharePoint Online ‘List Advanced Settings’?


Allow automatic management of indices


A part of me has the idea it has been there for a while, but running a Google search on this feature doesn’t return any results.
Anyway, I guess it can be useful to do a short post on it.

Why is this feature important?

SharePoint lists have never been designed to replace database tables. But SharePoint solutions grow and the result can be that you get into trouble by hitting the SharePoint 5000 list view threshold. When your company is running you’re own SharePoint Server farm, you could try to be nice to the IT Pro guys and ask to set a higher limit (like 10k items), but with SharePoint Online this isn’t possible. Setting a higher limit will Always have a negative influence on server performance, and so it’s understandable that Microsoft doesn’t want to set higher numbers.

Bill Baer (Microsoft Senior Product Manager for SharePoint) wrote a blogpost last week about “Navigating List View Thresholds in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview”. In this post he describes the inner workings of this feature. Basically there is a new timer job that will hunt for Lists that exceed 2500 items and when it find a list that has a view definition that could benefit from setting a index on a column, it will automatically created this index.

For example, if a view includes a filter for “WHERE A=1 AND B=2”, the Timer Job will create an index on either column A or column B. The specific choice depends on the other view definitions in the list, with the goal of minimizing the number of indexes created.

All Lists in SharePoint 2016 and Sharepoint Online are set by default to ‘automatic management of indices’. So there is nothing you have to do, it just there. This is the Office 365 Support article which describes the feature and usecase.

A filtered view with a column index is not only a way to retrieve items more efficiently, but a primary method of working with large lists and libraries without getting blocked. Creating a filtered view with an indexed column is a two-step process: create an index for a column and create a view that uses the indexed column to filter the view:

# Indexes   An index retrieves items quickly and can improve list and library performance. You can create up to 20 indexes for a list or library. Unique values require an index and the ID column is automatically indexed. Because each index adds some overhead to every database operation to maintain the index, it’s best to only add indexes for the most common or likely columns used to query the list or library.

# Filtered views   When you create a filtered view, make sure that the first column in the filter expression is indexed and that the filtered view does not exceed the List View Threshold. Other columns you specify in the view filter may or may not be indexed, but the view does not use those indexes, even if the final result of the filtered view returns less than the List View Threshold. If you use two or more columns in the filter expression, use an AND operator but make sure the first column in the expression returns the lesser amount of data

It’s a useful addition and I love the fact that it will ‘just work’…


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Does SharePoint Online has the ability to show new features per user?

The Office 365 ‘April 9th Update’ added the new command Bar to SharePoint Online and removed the default Sync Button in the upper right corner. But it seems it also introduced something else… People in the ‘Dutch SharePoint Business Yammer group’ mentioned some users were not seeing the new Command Bar, but others did. Both users were using the same Office 365 tenant, the same SharePoint site, the same document library and had the same access right and licences.. Hmmm…

Like Paul Keijzers has also described in his blog post, we then suggested many different things to find the cause. My first ideas was that somehow the new HTML/JavaScript was not loading in the browser… So we asked them to do a hard page refresh, clear the IE browser cache and try different browsers. But since this didn’t have any effect I got a bit puzzled. The test users were identical, used the same PC, the same Internet Explorer and one got to see the new CommandBar feature, but the other didn’t..

One of the tenant administrators mentioned that Microsoft had told them (after creating a support call) the current update ‘is rolled out per user’.  Uh? Can you say that again? Really?  That would make no sense since you would deploy this kind of feature per SharePoint Farm, right?  Then I started thinking about how the Office 365 team is learning from the Yammer team and is coping all best practices for running a SaaS platform. For years Yammer has been launching new features ‘per user’ to measure ‘usage metrics’ and other types of A/B testing. Would the SharePoint Online team also started implementing this approach? During the SharePoint Conference we were told that the Office 365 team was also adopting weekly updates (just like the Yammer team). Hmm.. Now I got really curious…

After posting a question about this on twitter, Joe Gaster pointed me to a great blogpost written by Chris O’Brien. I had read this post before, but I missed the Office 365 Change Management session during SPC14 and it is still sitting in my ‘must see list’. In the session (and blog post) one thing is mentioned which could explain this mystery:  The coming “NDA Preview” for Office 365 will allow changes to be rolled out to a subset of users in a tenant”. This near future “NDA Preview” will allow ‘nominated users’ to see early bits…

So this proves Microsoft is working on the ability to push features to specified users, but this still doesn’t explain why users would not be able to see the new Command bar..

Then I received the word that there might be ‘an issue with the new SharePoint Online architecture’.
So I’m guessing Microsoft has rolled out this ‘per user activation’ functionality in the same ‘April 9 Update’ as the new Command Bar and we might be witnessing some unexpected behaviour.

If I get new info I will post it here…

Update May 2nd.

This is an update one of the tenant admins got from Microsoft Support today.

“I would like to inform you that this is still ongoing upgrade and is not completed yet. The users in one Office 365 organization are located on different server farms. The update is performed not by Office 365 organization; the new patches are deployed on the server farms. This is the reason why not all users in your company can see the new toolbar. The upgrade is still not finished and it is normal that some colleagues of you still don’t have the toolbar available. The update might take up to 2 months. After this time passed all users in your organization should see already the toolbar available.”


Somehow I’m not fully convinced this is the exact explanation…
Such an update could never take two months (especially since the 0365 team is on a monthly update cycle and moving towards a weekly cycle)


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Microsoft brings me to Las Vegas, again!

In 7 days Microsoft is bringing me to Las Vegas for the third time.  From 1 to 6 March around 10.000 people will be visiting The Venetian for the Microsoft SharePoint 2014 Conference.  Basically this means 5 days of technical sessions, drinks, conversations, meet-ups, more drinks, debates, American food, Q&A’s and Parties.

Some people might know I have been a SharePoint evangelist since the day I got my hands on the SharePoint 2001 beta. Although SharePoint 2001 had some serious limitations, it still was a much better solution compared to the tools I had been using in the previous years (combining Microsoft Site Server 3.0  with Outlook Web Access 5.5 :).

My first Microsoft SharePoint Conference was in 2002 with about 100 people in a Hotel at Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam). It was an one day conference and if I remember correctly, Mike Fitzmaurice and a marketing guy were the only speakers.

My second SharePoint conference was the ‘European SharePoint 2003 Conference’ organized by Microsoft in Amsterdam. If my brain functions properly it must have been a two day conference, and after a keynote it had 2 or 3 parallel tracks, Mike Fitzmaurice did most of the important sessions and the event was visited by 200-300 people.

With SharePoint 2003 (and WSS 3.0) the product really started the make waves. The product got picked-up by many IT professionals since Windows SharePoint Services 3.0  was an easy (and free) add-on to Windows Server 2003 that provided some useful collaboration tools.
Microsoft’s last and biggest European SharePoint conference was held in February 2007 (with the introduction of SharePoint 2007). The conference took 3 days and it had more than 50 sessions.  The conference must have had around 2000 visitors. A lot of people I knew from the Dutch ‘SharePoint Scene’ were there and we had loads of fun during the evenings. But this was probably the first conference were I also made a lot of international friends. Here are some photo’s of the conference which I found on the net.  During this conference I fully realised how big SharePoint had become…

When SharePoint (and Office) 2010 beta was about to launch, The only official Microsoft Conference was held in Las Vegas. The day I heard about the conference, I knew I had to be there. I’m not going to write much about the 8 days I had in Vegas (October 2009), but I can tell you it was a week I will never forget! For now, there’s only one picture I like to share and here are many more from other people if you’re interested.

I can be very short about the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 (which was in Los Angeles). I had a ticket, a hotel and there was a seat in the airplane, but I wasn’t there….  My wife was almost 8 months pregnant, and the day before I was planning to leave she had ‘false labour’ pains. You can images stepping into a plane didn’t feel right, so I missed that one….

Then there was the SharePoint Conference in 2012…. again this was truly epic! I went together with a good friend and again (just like SPC09) I could write a book about all the things that happened that week. Here are some random pícture from Flickr (somehow Christian Buckley seems to on all Flickr photos).

In between the Microsoft conferences I also visited most of the ‘SharePoint Connections’ conferences in Amsterdam, organised by the good folks of NC Communications. These are  2 days conferences to get some solid knowledge and meet-up with Dutch and European friends. In 2012 (a week after SPC12) I did a session on ‘How to create SharePoint 2013 Killer Apps’ during this conference.

So, that history….

While writing this blog another day has ended, and in just 6 days I will be flying to Las Vegas for the third time. I have always loved speaking with other “collaboration and productivity software” enthusiasts and one of the best places in the world for sharing knowledge and experiences is during a Microsoft SharePoint Conference!

I hope to see you there!



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