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Giving Back to help the Philippines

Being a Southern girl, I understand the devastation that can come from a hurricane, but Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines last week was potentially the worst storm to ever come onshore in history.

Our friend and overall great SharePoint guy Dux Raymond Sy put together a fundraiser that has allowed many of us SharePoint Community members to give back. I have elected to donate some of my hours of free time to this endeavor to help raise money.

So please read the blog, donate and request your assistance from any of the SharePoint experts and MVPs in the list.

I for one am honored to participate in this effort and am hopeful that the number of people perished in the storm is less than originally estimated. Natural Disasters are a horrible experience because you cannot prevent them. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone affected by the storm.

Branding Presentations of 2013

Wow, I can’t believe that this year I haven’t put out too many blog posts. It seems so strange, but I can certainly identify why. I’ve been quite the busy cat travelling for work and community.

This year I have given a bunch of presentations but wanted to highlight and post the sessions from a few of these conferences and events.

Check out each of the sessions below and learn more about SharePoint 2013 UX.

SharePoint Evolution Conference 2013

I am extremely excited to have been selected to speak at my 3rd SharePoint Evolution Conference in London in April. (Sadly if not for that Ash Cloud it would be my 4th)

This conference is one of my favorites each year and being selected as a speaker is the highlight of my winter of 2012. Many people ask me why I love this conference so much and the answer is simple.

At no other conference that I have attended is so much attention paid to the quality of speakers and sessions that are selected. Each year I am happy to not only present sessions but to attend and learn in other sessions. Not only is the content of the sessions and the caliber of speakers top notch, but this conference also takes excellent care of its attendees. Between the food, the sessions you might think that this is enough, but add to it the top notch social events. Exhibitor reception, SharePint and attendee party.

This is definitely a don’t miss event if you have any money at all in your training budget. And don’t miss out on my SharePoint 2013 branding sessions and those of Heather Waterman and Penny Coventry as well.

Don’t Look Back… Just take a Glimpse and Move Forward

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…. okay not so much on the worst side. As I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on 2012 I have realized how many fantastic things happened to me during this year.

Let’s focus in on a few of my top highlights.

A New Beginning

In 2012 I decided to switch jobs and sadly decided to leave Summit 7 Systems. While it was sad to leave one job I was extremely excited to join Planet Technologies and continue to expand my horizons. At Planet I get to engage as a Technical Project Manager, Taxonomy and Governance specialist as well as using my Branding and Design skills for customers. I’m excited to continue to spread my wings and grow my knowledge with a great group of people. And to top it all off, my team is fantastic and I count myself lucky to work with some of the brightest individuals in the SharePoint Community. Miguel Wood, Clayton Cobb, Shannon Bray, Becky Isserman, are just a few of these stars who I have already learned a lot from.

Expanding Horizons

Working as one of the leaders of the Women in SharePoint group is always rewarding. Throughout 2012 this was a continued trend. I was able to participate with a large number of women and men to expand the horizons for this group. As a part of this expansion I was thrilled to participate with Women in SharePoint at both of the SharePoint Technology Conferences (SPTechCon) in both San Francisco and Boston. These luncheon events have really helped to expand the horizons of Women in SharePoint. We even got a new group in Boston formed at the Boston Conference. Our group has also gained traction within Microsoft and were featured in an internal SMSG Women newsletter. We have been really excited to expand our reach into Microsoft and at the SharePoint Conference.

At the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Women in SharePoint was featured in the Community Lounge and on the SharePoint TV with a panel interview. A big thanks to the ladies who participated in the panel: Susan Lennon, Debbie Ireland, Karuana Gatimu and myself. You can watch our interview on YouTube here:

This wonderful group of Women in SharePoint never fails to inspire me to continue on. We love to have new groups form and start to form the bonds of mentorship and help with each other.

Friends, Honors, Community and More

One of the things I tried to do in 2012 was continue my focus on the SharePoint community and how I can best help them. This is a big part of why I enjoy speaking at events, working with the Women in SharePoint group, and running a User Group.

Not only was I honored to become a SharePoint MVP this year, I was also given the honor of becoming a part of the newly formed Microsoft Community Leadership Board. These two awards have given me a fantastic opportunity to give back to others in the SharePoint world by helping, learning and sharing my knowledge.  I have enjoyed the last months utilizing them both and hope to continue in 2013 with taking this even further.

I have been honored to speak at quite a few events this year and participate in several conferences. Each of these events become opportunities for me to meet new friends and reconnect with others.

One of the other things I was able to do in 2012 was to release my first CodePlex project with Eric Harlan, Erik Akers and Paul Schaeflein.

What does the Future Hold?

As today is the first work day of 2013 I thought I would include a small bit of looking ahead to 2013. I am certainly looking forward to participating in many events in 2013. The big ones that I know of right now are SharePoint Saturday Virginia Beach this weekend, SPTech Con in March, and the SharePoint Evolutions Conference in London in April.

I am also looking forward to a potential new branding book and some new partnerships for some potential blogs, projects and maybe even community work. With the release of SharePoint 2013 so many options are available that my head is almost literally spinning just thinking of all the opportunities. I spent part of my New Year’s Day building a new SharePoint 2013 virtual machine and making sure my Office 365 environment was ready to go.

I hope to travel to new places, meet lots of new people and challenge myself to learn more than any other year. Those are my personal challenges for this year. I would try to resolve to blog more, but that is a sure fired method to prevent blogging.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” -Abraham Lincoln

So let me know, leave me a comment or send me an email if there is a topic you would like me to write about on my blog or present about at an event. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy SharePointing in 2013 ya’ll!!! Smile

Presenting on Governance at the AvePoint booth at SPC 12

So I have had the great pleasure of working with the group at AvePoint for many years. Working for Planet Technologies who is an AvePoint partner I was honored to be able to present a quick demo at the SharePoint Conference in their demo theater.

This presentation was on the “Top 10 Questions to Ask about SharePoint Governance.”

Here is that presentation.

It was truly an honor to get this opportunity to present and I got some great feedback from the crowd. This was my first opportunity to step out of my branding persona and speak a little bit about the other side of my SharePoint work.

Many people don’t know that I do a lot of Requirements Gathering, Governance and Taxonomy Development. It is fun to split my brain off and move beyond the look and feel perspective into a total User Experience perspective.

To me a lot of the methods and thoughts are the same around both Branding and Governance. When I do requirements gathering and thinking to plan for branding in a SharePoint site I focus on how Users will actually interact with the site.

Approaching a site from a governance and taxonomy perspective is actually a very similar thought process. I have always found that when you talk to users if you talk to them about how they work and what they would like to see instead of in technology terms you will learn more than you could imagine.

That is where this list of questions came from. I hope it helps a few people out.

A Guest Blog Post – So you want to use Modernizr with SharePoint?

A good friend of mine and fellow SharePoint User Experience person, Bryan Gulley, asked if I would be willing to post a guest blog post for him since he doesn’t have his own blog yet. 

One of my favorite things about the SharePoint Community is learning from each other and helping other people out. So I have no hesitation in posting for you guys Bryan’s post below. He is a great resource for me and I know he has valuable information to share with others.

About Bryan Gulley:

bryan_gulley_hsBryan is a User Experience and User Interface designer working for Slalom Consulting in the Chicago metropolitan area with extensive experience in architecting and developing custom branding solutions and frameworks for SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010, and Office 365.


How to make Modernizer and other libraries compatible with SharePoint

Bryan Gulley Monday July 2nd 2012

A couple of months ago I discovered that Modernizr breaks the wpadder.js file in SharePoint. You can guess by its name that wpadder.js is the JavaScript file that provides the web part adder menu when a page is in edit mode. Steve Ottenad found that IE has issues with extending the Array Prototype detailed in his post here

Obviously Modernizr and several other libraries extend Array Prototype. Doing this causes the Type Mismatch error and won’t let wpadder.js load and as a result you can’t add a web part. So just throw Modernizr and all other useful libraries and shims out the window right?… WRONG!

While working on another project I was making use of the Edit Mode Panel to apply different CSS styles to the page when it was in edit mode. I figured I would try to apply the same sort of principle to loading scripts like Modernizr that have conflicts with SharePoint scripts. The result did not disappoint. You can see my code (added to the head of the master page) for the Edit Mode Panel below. The h1 tags are in there for testing so you know which mode you are in. If you are familiar with how SharePoint works in edit mode then you can remove these and just use the page status bar for reference.

<!– Edit mode panels provided to prevent modernizr and other JS library conflicts with SharePoint OOTB JS files –>

<PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel ID=“EditModePanelEdit” runat=“server” PageDisplayMode=“Edit”>

<h1>You are in EDIT mode</h1>


<PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel ID=“EditModePanelDisplay” runat=“server” PageDisplayMode=“Display”>

<h1>You are in DISPLAY mode</h1>

<SharePoint:ScriptLink language=“javascript” name=“~sitecollection/Style Library/Framework/js/libs/modernizr-2.5.3.js” OnDemand=“false” Localizable=“false” runat=“server”/>


OK great. We can add Modernizr and other feature detection libraries to SharePoint. Now what? Well I took it a step further and decided I wanted to use the header tag (<header></header> for those unfamiliar with HTML5). This tag does not render in IE8 and below. What to do?… Edit Mode Panel to the rescue.

<PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel ID=“EditModePanelHeaderEdit” runat=“server” PageDisplayMode=“Edit”>

<div id=”header”>You are in EDIT mode</div>


<PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel ID=“EditModePanelHeaderDisplay” runat=“server” PageDisplayMode=“Display”>

<header>You are in DISPLAY mode</header> </PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel>

Now I’m guessing several of you are sitting there excited to try this out. One word of caution; you do not want to write Edit Mode Panels for headers, footers, sections, asides, etc. It would just take too much time. If you have the time then good on you; feel free to create Edit Mode Panels to your heart’s content. If you don’t have time fear not; there are several other things you can do with the Edit Mode detection. Take hiding the ribbon for example.

I am constantly frustrated by the ribbon and how it can really mess with a design, so I decided to strip out the site actions and welcome menu and hide it in display mode. This lets me have a good looking site that doesn’t look like SharePoint and still allow contributors to edit pages and have access to the ribbon.

<script type=text/javascript>


var inDesignMode = $(‘#MSOLayout_InDesignMode’).val();

var wikiPageMode = $(‘#_wikiPageMode’).val();

if (inDesignMode == “1” || wikiPageMode == “Edit”){



else {





Final thoughts. If we can’t make use of feature detection libraries like Modernizer without creating a twin element using a div while the page is in edit mode why use them at all? Simple. It’s in the name of the type of library. With the mobile device zombie apocalypse upon us and practices like responsive design becoming more common place we will need feature detection. It is far easier to ask a browser if it supports a feature than a device. Besides, who wants to maintain that kind of device library? I know I don’t.

Making a Metro UI for SharePoint 2010

A while ago my friend Eric Harlan approached me asking if I could strip down a master page to its bare bones and make a Metro UI for SharePoint 2010. He had a project he wanted to put in place that would make the landing page of SharePoint look very much Metro.

As we started working on this project, we decided to share it with the community so that others could create their very own Metro UI landing pages.

When I started working on the master page for this project we quickly determined that we would also need a custom page layout to make the page editable in the browser. The project consists of a custom Master Page, a custom Page Layout, CSS and UI images.

We have created a very simple master page that has stripped away all navigation and left just the necessary items in the Ribbon for editing the page. This allowed us to create a blank page for the page layout to handle the web part zones for each of the Metro tiles.

In order to strip down the master page, I utilized an asp:Panel with its display status set to hidden to contain the content placeholders that we did not want to render in our page. Some of the important things to remember when working to strip down a master page is that you should not delete content placeholders from a master page.

Also when working on a master page there are lots of things to test. You should always test for the Dialog boxes as well as for the Web Part Editor. These are two elements of SharePoint 2010 that are important for editing your page properly within the browser.

For now this project is set up for just a landing page within a SharePoint 2010 site.

We will continue to update this project with suggestions or requests. The first is that we are already working with Paul Schaeflein (@paulschaeflein) today to package this as a sandboxed solution.

Please leave us feedback on the Codeplex project. We’d love to hear from you.

  1. Erik Akers – @erikakers
  2. Cathy Dew – @catpaint1
  3. Eric Harlan – @ericharlan

SharePointCat’s Adventures in Wonderland

This year is flying by.  As I sit here almost packed and ready to head off to London for the International SharePoint Conference next week, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all.

Where exactly is this White Rabbit leading me, and why does he want me to drink this bottle of liquid and eat this little cake? I’m always up for an adventure and a challenge.

In the last month I was awarded SharePoint MVP. This is a huge honor and I’m super excited to sit down at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Table.

The next big adventure is that I have decided to part ways with Summit 7 Systems. While I’m not sure where I am going, I have faith that the White Rabbit is going to lead me to the right rabbit hole.

So much like Alice, I have been on a grand adventure and am looking forward to the next chapter of the story.

Who Me… MVP, I’m honored.

What an awesome and humbling day April 1st has been this year. I’m still having a bit of trouble grasping the fact that is not indeed an elaborate April Fools Day joke.  This quarter I was given the great honor of being named a Microsoft SharePoint Server MVP.

This is a honor that isn’t given out to a great number of people. I am so honored to be included in this group. Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the SharePoint MVPs who have shared their wisdom and friendship with me. I just hope that I can follow their lead and do the same to the very high standard I have seen them put forth.

I want to also thank Microsoft for including me in part of this group of dedicated community members. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year in the SharePoint community and trying to find more ways to connect and help others. Smile

Women in SharePoint at SPTechCon

Wow, what a great event. I can’t say enough good things about the BZ Media crew and the great conference that I have been attending for the last 3 days.  I was very pleased to hostess a Women in SharePoint lunch at the San Francisco 2012 version of SPTechCon.

We had a great time getting to know one another and talking about issues that we face as females in a predominantly male industry.  I must say though, that at SPTechCon you wouldn’t know that SharePoint is still a 2/3 male dominated industry.

I want to take this time to thank all of the BZ Media crew, especially David Rubenstein for providing us with a perfect medium for networking and socializing at their conference.  And they did a wonderful job of promoting the event.

I must say it was a tad bit disconcerting when I arrived and checked in for the conference to find my face on the Lunch Tickets for Tuesday’s lunch as well as on the program guide highlights of events.  It was some great awareness for the Women in SharePoint group that is so near and dear to my heart.

Now for the important part.  I encourage the ladies who attended the lunch to sign up and get involved in Women in SharePoint.  We are always on the lookout for new groups to start up under new leadership wherever there are people wanting to meet. All you have to do is let us know you are interested and we will help you get started.

It is exciting to me to see the groups starting, growing and having success.  In fact the Women in SharePoint in DC are hosting their first major Career Building Seminar this Thursday.

The board is certainly excited to see more and more groups forming and events happening around the country for Women in SharePoint!

For more information or to find groups near you, please check out the Women in SharePoint website at: