Now that the portal software is installed, you will spend some time doing the basic configuration necessary for your portal to act like a productivity foundation. You can go as deep or as shallow as you need to in Phase I (I often recommend tackling other services and/or more complicated configuration in subsequent phases). The main goal is to get the platform in place and stabilized quickly.
In this post, I will discuss the basics. Technical details are abundant online, so I’ll leave you to your own devices (and maybe point out a few sources).
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What should I do (minimum)?
The minimum you should do is configure the following:
If you thought through your Information Architecture and Taxonomy, the core search functions will configure themselves and it will work, quite well, right out of the box. Of course, you could also go in the other direction and have a dedicated Search Admin, who will continuously manage, monitor, and tweak search performance and functionality.
For now, just stick to the basics:
- Configure People Search, Best Bests, and Hit Highlighting, for startersf
- Ad any iFilters you may need (such as for PDF files, etc).
- Create a general scope
- Exclude any private content from scope immediately.
User Profile Import
Get your portal ready to recognize its user community. These profiles and their properties will come in handy for many things, including:
InfoPath Forms (and data sources)
The MSDN Blogs have a great resource on configuring user profiles. Once the profiles are imported, verify that all of the properties (and custom properties) are present. The easiest way to do this is to open up some random profiles and rummage through their properties.
If needed, for purposes of InfoPath forms, organization, etc., go ahead and create any new profile fields needed in Active Directory and do an updated import. When your profiles are where you want them to be, schedule future imports (full and Incremental). Set it and forget it!
Example LDAP Filters:
When setting up the User Profile Import, you’ll have to filter out what you actually want, or you’ll return a bunch of “junk” profiles, like printers, servers or whatever. Instead, you just want to fish out the actual users and not all that other stuff that’s stored in Active Directory.
Below are a few sample filters that I’ve used in the past and some explanations on them:
If your initial Portal plan included Audiences, go ahead and create them as soon as all of your user profiles are available. You have to do this after the profiles, because you’ll use profile properties as criteria for the audiences.
Once the audiences are created, you’ll need to compile them. I usually do this as soon as I create each audience (go ahead and compile the audience you just created, one at a time). For companies under 10,000 users, this usually won’t take longer than 5 -10 minutes.
After the audiences are compiled, check them (View members) to see if everyone that should be in these audiences are accounted for, as well as identify those who should not be included.
Once your audiences are solid, you may consider testing at least one audience targeted web part. Make sure everything is working ok before this goes in front of your test subjects.
Also on the MDSN Blogs, here’s a great resource on User Profiles and Audience Targeting.
Master Pages (Do this AFTER your backup plan is in place)
If you’re planning on customizing your UI (Most people do), then this may be a great time to implement the master pages.
Here are the basics of what you should do at this point in time:
- Look for any obvious glitches and get them fixed. The Test users will do more thorough testing on this in the next phase.
- Document the process for implementing your master pages. This will come in VERY hand if you ever have to fix or change something in the future. Also, if you lose your graphical designer (been there), you’ll still have the expertise to fall back on.
- Document location of supporting images/files. This way, you can swap out images, or correct issues as they are identified.
Now you have a pretty good core, so MOVE SOME CONTENT IN and let’s see how she purrs!!!
Next Phase is Analytical! We’ll test everything you’ve done and see what the pilot users think. Stay Tuned!!