New features in Ultimate Forms for Office 365

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: General | 11/29/2017


Here is the list of the latest features and additions to Ultimate Forms for Office 365. Similar changes will be done to on-premises version soon as well.

  • Tab permissions - a tab will remain hidden even if it shares a column with another tab that is visible. In the past sharing a column forced the tab to become visible, albeit only showing that column. Now, unless the column contains Advanced Column Permissions, the tab will remain hidden.
  • Associated Items Summary columns - can now trigger dynamic rules and recalculations. For example, you can now automatically calculate grand total of an invoice (including tax) on the fly, without having to use calculated columns.
  • Associated Items columns - we will now pass the parent column values to the child form even from Display form.
  • Print - in list templates you can now display totals, including group totals.
  • Print - printing selected items in list template or printing from Actions will now sort the items according to the view specified in the print template.

Thank you for using our product and please share your ideas for new features and improvements!


What Tools are in your SharePoint Toolbox

By: Will Cooper | Comments [0] | Category: General | 11/21/2017

Becoming a Power User in SharePoint requires an ongoing effort to expand your abilities. SharePoint is a platform upon which we can develop a seemingly endless variety of solutions. There is always more that you can do with curiosity and persistence.

I've spent the last several years focused on building solutions almost entirely in SharePoint yet I feel as if there is no end to the possibilities.

Infowise Ultimate Forms has become indispensable to me as a consultant / developer, however I am even more effective combining these tools with other proven SharePoint strategies.

The various methods you learn to build solutions in SharePoint comprise your "SharePoint Toolbox". If you want to be confident and effective, it's time to add some tools!

  • Are all the Infowise Tools in your toolbox? Have you tapped into everything that Ultimate Forms has to offer? There are a lot of possibilities that you may not have considered. In addition to the free tutorials on our web site, we have hands on instructor led training showing you new ways to utilize your Ultimate Forms tools to develop advanced design and functionality. Regardless of your ability level, there is a training that will help you. Details about our training courses are here:
  • Is Powershell in your toolbox? This command line utility lets you query your SharePoint environment or perform batch updates. Depending on your background, your first attempts at Powershell may seem frustrating. Once you get over the hump, you'll feel like you have joined a new SharePoint Club that you thought previously was exclusive to SharePoint Administrators. You can write Powershell scripts to perform operations to update user accounts, create sites, batch update lists, produce output files or do just about anything you would otherwise have to do manually in the user interface. Tie this to Windows Task Scheduler to automatically run processes on a recurring schedule and you will begin to realize the power of this toolset. Here is some information on how to run Powershell scripts:

On prem SharePoint:

SharePoint Online:

  • Is SharePoint Workflow in your toolbox? SharePoint workflows have gotten such negative attention, many of us have completely abandoned the ideas of using this at all. This is a mistake! It's true that SharePoint is changing. Microsoft has a commitment to improving their platform with Flow and PowerApps, however these new tools don't represent a replacement for this functionality. Infowise actions allow us to do most of what we want to do instead of writing SharePoint workflow, but there are situations where extra functionality can help solve problems in workflow. If you haven't ever made a workflow, challenge yourself to make some basic workflows if only to learn a new approach to solve some of your business challenges:
  • Is Javascript in your toolbox? If you haven't delved into the world of possibilities via including javascript in your solutions, it's time to explore! Our Advanced Training module shows you how to incorporate Jquery scripting into your Ultimate Forms related solutions to create more effective customized solutions. The SharePoint Client Side Object Model (CSOM) provides a full API to query SharePoint and make updates from client side code! You could build your own interface and buttons in SharePoint using this functionality to solve custom requirements that would otherwise be impossible:

But Wait There's More!

There are so many ways to tap into SharePoint. With Microsoft's commitment to the platform, the landscape continues to change. Look for ways to explore and experiment with new approaches when you learn about new tools from SharePoint. Challenge yourself to add more tools so that you are more capable of solving problems!

Do you have any interesting tools in your SharePoint Toolbox? We'd love to hear about what you are building!


Action statistics in Office 365

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: Administration | 10/24/2017


We are introducing new statistics indicators to help you understand the performance impact of your actions (and eventually alerts, item IDs and import profiles). With the new indicators you will be able to monitor how many times an action gets executed per day and what is its average execution duration. This way you will be able to identify problematic actions that exert potentially unnecessary workload on your SharePoint and could be subject to throttling both by us and by Microsoft.

When you enter the action settings page, you will notice two icons for each action:

The left one indicates how many times the action executed today (we will be adding historic data chart for the last 7 days). The indicator changes color to yellow and then to red as the number of executions grows.

The indicator on the right displays the average execution time for long-running actions. Only actions that run over about 80% of the throttling limit are included in the average, so it's ok for the value to stay at 0 seconds for most actions, it doesn't mean they do not run, just that they finish quickly enough not to be included in the average. Note if your indicator shows up as red, it means the action gets throttled (almost) every time it runs and it should be reconfigured to lower its workload. For instance, a timer-based action should probably have more precise conditions and not attempt to update too many items at the same time. Throttled actions do not complete their work and some of your items could remain untouched.


Modern UI Support in Ultimate Forms for Office 365

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: General | 10/20/2017


The new Modern UI for Office 365 bring a new, modern user interface to SharePoint Online. Until now, Ultimate Forms required you to view your sites in Classic UI mode as the Modern UI did not support the customization to the extent required by the app.

As Microsoft starts to release customization support, we are now able to offer select features of Ultimate Forms for the new UI. We are proud to release our Ultimate Forms Extensions app, in the first preview version, that brings some of our features to the Modern UI.

At this point the following features are supported:

  • New List Search client-side app version to be used on Modern pages. Closely resembling the existing List Search app part, it brings client-side rendering and updated look and feel. Unlike the existing app part version, it no longer runs within the frame and is able to adjust its size to its content, providing a seamless experience.
  • Custom field rendering in list views - our special field types are now able to render in the Modern list views. Such columns as Color Choice or Associated Items column (and the rest) are able to display correctly both in Classic and Modern modes. There is no additional configuration required, once the app is installed, the columns will just work. Note that you might need to re-save column settings if they were created more than a couple of months ago to ensure they properly register their Modern UI support.
  • UPDATE 2017-11-27: Charts - 11 types of most commonly used charts are now supported, more coming soon.

Upcoming features:

  • Event Calendar - will be released by the end of the year.
  • Filters - new web part, will be released at a later date, as Microsoft releases support for client-side web part connections.
  • Tabs and column permissions - will be released at a later date as form customizations become available.
  • Custom field rendering in forms - will be released at a later date as Microsoft releases support for form customizations.

You can download the app here. It requires the regular Ultimate Forms app to be installed. Your administrator should upload the app to your App Catalog, you can choose to either deploy it automatically throughout your tenant (recommended) or add the app to each site individually.

Note: this is a preview version of the app, it is intended for testing and demonstration purposes only. Your tenant needs to allow preview features in SharePoint Administration. When you enable this support, it might take up to 24 hours to update.


Ultimate Forms for O365 limits and throttling

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: Products | 10/16/2017


Infowise Ultimate Forms exists in two version. One is for our on-premises customers and one for customers using Office 365. The products provides you with a wealth of functionality to help you implement your business solutions in SharePoint. Some background features, such as Actions, Item ID or Import, allow you to create and update multiple list items and documents behind the scenes based on list updates or timer.

We allow you to define your own actions and import profiles and specify the logic of which items to update and how many updates to execute each time. The O365 version runs on the Azure infrastructure and uses power Azure App Services capabilities to execute the necessary heavy lifting of querying, evaluating and updating your items.

Unlike the on-premises version that runs on your own servers, Office 365 version runs on a shared infrastructure with essentially limited resources. To ensure smooth and problem-free operation, the app service must always have enough available resources to keep handling incoming requests. 

For that reason, we need to make sure that no single customer utilizes server resources in excess of a certain pre-defined limit. For example, configuring an action that updates thousands of items every single time it executes will take up a significant portion of the available resources, causing a slowdown for other customers. Moreover, excessive use of the SharePoint API could cause the customer to become temporarily blocked by Microsoft as well.

Until now we did not impose specific limits on the resources a customer could use. The app world is still pretty new and we needed time to evaluate if and how the app should be throttled. Lately, we've been noticing quite a few long-running operations that took a significant toll on our infrastructure. Some of these could be unintentional, due to lack of understanding or simply overlooking the implications.

For this reason, effective immediately we begin to impose limits on duration of execution we allow. The first step is limiting the amount of time an action can execute. The actual limit will depend on several factors, such as the scope of your license, but in general, no action will be allowed to run for longer than 500 seconds (this limit will be adjusted as we examine the impact). If several actions are set to respond to a single event, the duration will be calculated from the moment the first action started to execute.

If an action exceeds the limit, we will trigger an execution error within the action. If your action is set to write to the Action History, you will see an error message similar to 'Exceeded maximum allowed execution time'. If the action updates multiple items, some items will not be updated. Items already updated, will not be rolled back.

Similar limits will eventually be imposed for Item ID, Alerts, Imports and other background processes. We encourage you to monitor your business logic execution and make the necessary adjustments to make sure your actions do not get throttled. For example, you can use conditions to limit the number of list items an actions executes on and that way shorten its execution time.

UPDATE 2017-11-06: We are working on a system where the throttling limit will depend on the customer's license type. In general, the higher the scope of the license and the more users it includes, the higher will be the throttling limit (while still remaining under 500 seconds). In the initial version we currently have deployed, the free license for up to 19 users receives a throttling limit of 45 seconds only and the license for up to 100 users receives a limit of 90 seconds. There is currently no additional ranges, but these will be added in the future.