Appendix A. Setting up a test environment – SharePoint 2010 Site Owner's Manual: Flexible Collaboration without Programming

Appendix A. Setting up a test environment

 

This appendix covers

  • How to determine what operating system you’re using
  • Upgrading your PC to 64-bit
  • References for install steps to configure SharePoint on your PC
  • Alternate option for configuring an Office 365 site

 

In this appendix we’ll walk through the steps to set up a nonproduction environment of SharePoint on Windows 7 or Vista. You can then use this environment to experiment with the scenarios in the chapters.

In the book, we’ll go through step-by-step scenarios allowing you to experiment and learn how to configure and customize your SharePoint sites. Having a SharePoint environment to do this in is critical. Historically, experimenting was difficult to do because SharePoint prior to the 2010 release wouldn’t run on a PC operating system. Now the Share-Point team has made it much easier to set up a test environment, and you can install and configure SharePoint Foundation or SharePoint Server on Windows Vista or 7. I look forward to walking you through the steps so you can have your own personal playground on which to learn Share-Point! This will give you your own development environment, so you won’t have to rely on someone else’s installation. This is also a good exercise to begin learning the configuration and installation aspects of SharePoint.

There are other options for creating a development/test environment. You could install it directly on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 or set up a virtual environment with Hyper-V. Because most power users won’t have access to a server environment, we focus on an install in a PC environment. More information about setting up a server environment can be found on MSDN.

A.1. Ensuring your computer meets the requirements

I wish I could tell you that SharePoint will run on all computers, but I can’t. Although SharePoint has made improvements on enabling end users to run it in a PC environment with the SharePoint 2010 release, it does now require that the operating system (OS) be 64-bit. If you’re not certain what OS you’re using, I’ll explain how you can check in section A.1.1. If you find out it isn’t 64-bit, I’ll point you to the steps for upgrading to a 64-bit OS in section A.2.

A.1.1. Is your system 64-bit?

As stated in the introduction, with the release of SharePoint 2010, you now have the ability to run SharePoint directly on your PC operating system if you have Vista SP 1 (or higher) or Windows 7. Please note that this type of install is meant to be used only for test or development purposes. This type of install should never be used for production. But it still requires you to have a 64-bit operating system. If you’re not certain, here’s how you can check:

Step

Action

Result/Notes

1 Select the Windows menu (Start).
2 Right-click Computer and select Properties.

Your operating system will be shown next to System type in the System details, as shown in figure A.1.

Figure A.1. You can see the system details when you check your computer properties. You can check if you have a 64-bit operating system and also see your current RAM.

Don’t forget to also check your RAM while you’re here. Although 4 GB of RAM is ideal for SharePoint Foundation, you can run it on 2 GB. For SharePoint Server, it’s recommended that you have 6–8 GB of RAM.

A.1.2. Upgrading to a 64-bit operating system

If you’re not running a 64-bit operating system and your computer is 64-bit (you may need to check the manufacturer’s website), you can easily upgrade by rerunning the installation and selecting the upgrade option if you’re running Windows 7. This will preserve your current programs and files. It’s common for your license to contain both 32-bit and 64-bit installs. So before you run out to buy the 64-bit version, check your current upgrade options to ensure you don’t already own it.

If you’re running Windows Vista, upgrading can be a bit tricky. Ideally, you’ve purchased the full version of Windows Vista. If you have, you can back up your data using Windows Easy Transfer. Afterward, you can go through the install process, starting the computer from the Windows Vista 64-bit DVD. Make sure you select Custom as your installation choice and restore the data once installation is complete. If you have an upgrade license, you’ll need to uninstall Vista and reinstall Windows XP and then upgrade.

A.2. Prerequisites and installing SharePoint

To begin you’ll need to prep your environment. The steps can be found on MSDN.Microsoft.com in an article titled “Setting Up the Development Environment for SharePoint 2010 on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008;” see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869.aspx. Now that you’ve prepped your environment, let’s get started with the actual install. These steps can be found in the same article under the section titled “Install SharePoint 2010.”

Prior to doing this, you’ll need to copy the SharePoint.exe install files to your computer. If you don’t have a license and/or the install files for SharePoint, you can go to TechNet and download the trial version.

When you finish your SharePoint install, you’ll be taken to the Share-Point web application that was created. Here you’ll need to do some additional steps to configure your site. Once the site opens, you’ll most likely be prompted for your credentials. To avoid this, you can add this site to the list of trusted sites in your IE options. This will allow the credentials that you used for logging onto the computer to be passed to the site.

The first step will request you to do a template selection. For the purposes of our scenarios you’ll always be starting from a Blank Site template, which is found under the Collaboration tab, or you’ll be using a Publishing Site template, which is found under Publishing. The publishing site will be available only if you did the SharePoint Server install. An example of the templates you’ll see if you did a SharePoint Server install is shown in figure A.2.

Figure A.2. Once you’ve run through the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard, you’ll need to run though some steps to set up your site. The step shown here is for selecting a template.

The next step will request you to set up groups for the site. Leave this at the defaults for the time being, as shown in figure A.3.

Figure A.3. Step to set up the site permissions. At this point, leave them at the defaults and click OK.

That was the last step in the setup for the site. You’ll now see the site you configured. Figure A.4 shows what the publishing site will look like after creation.

Figure A.4. Publishing site after creation. Good job! You now have an environment to use while you learn SharePoint.

Now you can begin to design your SharePoint site. This gives you the flexibility to access SharePoint from your personal PC without requiring internet access. You now have the ease and flexibility to follow along with the rest of this book without needing anyone else to provide a SharePoint environment for you.

 

Tip: IIS mapping

If you have other web-based applications, you may find that you need to reconfigure SharePoint to use another port besides the default port 80.

When I first went through the install, I changed the IIS bindings for the SharePoint default site. I changed this to 88 using IIS. Right-click SharePoint 80, select Edit Bindings, and change Port to HTTP. That worked for the default site. But when I added a site collection, it still tried to point to my default site on port 80. To get around this, I changed it using Central Administration > Alternate Access Mappings > Edit Internal URL. This is shown in figure A.5.

 

Figure A.5. How to reconfigure your web application to an alternate port

Way to go! If you’ve completed this appendix successfully, you’ve probably worked through the hardest part of this book. You should be proud of yourself. You now understand some of the configuration and setup aspects of SharePoint, and you also have complete control of your own SharePoint environment. Not bad skills for an everyday end user! If you weren’t able to complete the steps above, no problem; there’s an alternate option that you can complete that’s much easier.

A.3. Configuring a site with Office 365

An alternate option to configuring your PC to run a SharePoint 2010 environment is to use Microsoft’s publicly available SharePoint environment. This is part of the Office 365 offering. Office 365 contains a suite of tools, so in addition to SharePoint you will get to play around with email, instant messaging, and Office Web Apps. Setting this up is a simple and easy process. First, go to the Microsoft.com site and search for Office 365 trial. Select the midsize business and enterprise free trial. From this point follow the steps to sign up, as shown in figure A.6. This account will last for 30 days and give you all the functionality that you will need to have a SharePoint environment to complete the scenarios in this book.

Figure A.6. Sign Up page for Office 365

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be redirected to your admin homepage, as shown in Figure A.7.

Figure A.7. Admin page for your Office 365 account

For the purpose of this book we’re primarily interested in SharePoint Online. To learn more about the features and functionality that are available to you, make sure you download the latest service description for SharePoint Online Standard. The service is continuously being updated to include new features, so you’ll need to reference this document to understand the full set of functionality that is available to you. The service description at the point of release for this book has a release date of August 2010. Most functionality to complete the scenarios of the book will be available to you with the exception of anonymous access, which is discussed in chapter 6. You can still complete the steps in chapter 6, but your users will be required to log in to see any of the content.

To get to your site, select Manage under SharePoint Online in the Admin page. This will redirect you a page that displays the site collections that have been created for you, as shown in figure A.8.

Figure A.8. Site collections created for your Office 365 account

Browse to the URL shown in the first link to get to your SharePoint site. You are now ready to get started. Remember this is free for only a trial period, so you better get started!