Lotus Notes to SharePoint Blog

Blog about Dell's Notes Migrator to SharePoint tool and other things related to Lotus Notes migration projects

Category Archives: Notes Migration Projects

Public webcast later today

Checklist for planning the migration of a Notes Database

Before migrating a Notes database to SharePoint, there are a variety of details to gather and choices to make. Thinking through the items on this checklist will help ensure a smooth migration process with minimal surprises.

Source database details

  • Source type (Notes, QuickPlace, QuickR, Domino.Doc)
  • Source name
  • Notes template used (if any)
    • Level of customization from template
  • Domino server & path (closest replica to migration team)
  • Special Notes identity required to access database (if any)
  • Public keys needed to decrypt documents (if any)
  • Approximate number of Notes documents to be migrated
  • Approximate size of Notes content to be migrated
  • Desired priority of migration
  • Desired phase/group of migration (intended to capture clusters of databases that should logically be migrated together)
  • Documents that should / should not be migrated
  • Unique “document types” to be migrated (this usually correlates to distinct Notes forms that back existing data documents)
  • Design Details that will need to be accounted for
    • Forms
    • Workflow
    • External Connectivity
  • Third Party validation/security auditing
    • PCI Compliance
    • FDA Compliance
    • HIPA
  • Security and permissions that will need to be maintained and updated
  • Archiving of data
    • Date Range
    • Data Type

Target Site Details

  • SharePoint site URL
  • Account to be used or provisioning and content migration
  • New or existing site?
    • Template to use for provisioning site (may be custom developed)
    • Site provisioning details – parent site, inherit permissions
    • Provision site security (user permissions, group permissions, roles)?
    • Are specific content databases required?
  • Source of identity mapping information
    • Users
    • Groups
  • Out-of-box SharePoint features to enable/leverage
  • Do file size limits and blocked file types need to be changed from the defaults
  • Site Columns in use
  • Content Types created
  • Workflow type and creation
  • Search and Indexing

Target List/Library (specify for each document type if appropriate)

  • Target list or library name (Naming schemes in use)
  • New or existing list?
    • Template to use for provisioning list (may be custom developed)
    • Add to Quick Launch
  • Provision list/library security (user permissions, group permissions, roles)?
  • Allow tool to upgrade existing schemas if needed?
  • Desired folder structure within list or library
  • Map created/modified identities/dates
    • Behavior if user mapping fails (fail or substitute default user)
  • Out-of-box SharePoint features to enable/leverage
  • Third Party solutions (templates, web parts, etc.) in use or available

Mapping details (specify for each document type if appropriate)

  • Content Type for migrated documents (if any)
  • Target document format
    • List Items
    • Extracted binary file attachments only
    • Generate InfoPath docs (which template; target Forms Server)
    • Generate Word 2007 docs (which template)
    • Generate Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents
    • Generate Web Part pages (which template)
    • Generate Content pages – Publishing pages, Basic pages, Wiki pages
    • Generate HTML files
    • Generate MIME files
  • Use separate library/folder for attachments, images, embedded objects?
  • Field mappings
    • Source data item/column names and types
    • Data transform required (example: translation of keyword values)
    • Target data column names and types
    • Using Lookup columns?
    • Using Managed Metadata columns?
  • Migration options
    • Map document level security (readers / writers)?
    • Convert DocLinks to dynamic links (i.e. use the Link Tracking Service)?
    • Map discussion/response hierarchies
    • Map calendar logic (repeating meetings)
    • Map approval status / workflow state? (How expressed in Notes app?)
    • Map version histories (How expressed in Notes app?)
    • Map data in date ranges
    • Render with form (archive only)

 

NOTE: Two important items were not covered in the above checklist:

  • Development work that may be needed in SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, Visual Studio to reproduce the custom logic you had in Notes.
  • The opportunity to reduce your migration effort by consolidating similar application designs, reusing custom development work, and automating large scale migrations.

Both of these topics are discussed in detail in the Quest white paper “Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to Microsoft SharePoint: Understanding Application Complexity and the Value of Consolidation and Automation” which may be download from http://www.quest.com/documents/landing.aspx?id=9746.

Exporting attachments and generated files to the file system

In case you missed it:  in Session 6 of my Partner Training webcast series, I introduced a free utility for reorganizing the intermediate files that Notes Migrator for SharePoint writes to disk.  Not everyone was clear on what such a utility was good for, so I thought I should elaborate:

Every once in a while, we hear one of theses requirements from customers:

  • Extract all the attachments from a Notes database and place them in the file system (instead of SharePoint)
  • Convert Notes documents to Word Documents and place them in the file system (instead of SharePoint)
  • Convert Notes documents to PDF Documents and place them in the file system (instead of SharePoint)
  • Convert Notes documents to InfoPath Documents and place them in the file system (instead of SharePoint)

The trick to doing any of these things is to use our intermediate data file format.  Just design a Notes Migrator for SharePoint migration job and when running the job, select Save to Intermediate File.  This will give you the option of saving any attachments or generated documents as disk file rather than encoding them in the main XML output file.

image

The problem with this approach is that the files that are saved to disk are not really that useful because they are arranged by Notes UNID, not any way that would be useful to humans.  That’s where the free utility come in.  This utility, which may be downloaded from our Notes migration community site, will take all these files and place them in the folder (or network share) of your choice and arrange them according to your requirements.  If you want to see an example of this tool in action, watch the video of Session 6.  Slides starting at about minute 77 and demo starting at minute 91.  Have fun!

Notes Migrator for SharePoint and Quest Web Parts collaborate to deliver support for migrating Notes Sections

The best kept secret in Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.1 is that we added full support for migrating Notes sections.  That’s right, I’m talking about the expand/collapse sections with the little triangles in Notes rich text items.  When we migrate any rich text that contains such sections, we generate DIV tags for the section headers and section bodies in the resulting HTML. 

The problem, of course, is that these tags do not do you much good because, by default, SharePoint does not know how to use them.  That’s where Quest Web Parts for SharePoint version 5.7 comes in.  If you place our rich text web part on your page, all those migrated sections suddenly start working!  Even better, users can continue to create expand/collapse sections in new documents.  Won’t your Notes users love that?

image

See this post on the new version of Quest Web Parts for SharePoint.  If you scroll to the bottom, you will see a section “Improved Integration with Notes Migrator for SharePoint” and a really cool video describing what is going on.

Quest Web Parts for SharePoint has always been popular with Notes customers.  Features such as multi-level threaded discussions, dynamic navigation areas, and tabbed form layouts has been helping migration teams satisfy the requirements of their migrated Notes applications (at a drastically lower cost than hand-coding those features) for years now.  Of course it is not just for migrated Notes apps, but is really useful of many other SharePoint development scenarios.

Suggested RFP / POC points for a Notes to SharePoint migration tool

There sure are a lot of organizations conducting Notes-to-SharePoint pilot projects, migration tool “bake offs”, POC projects, and RFPs these days!  I often get asked for my suggestions as to what tool criteria people should include in their formal evaluations.  It turns out that the details are very important; there are a number of tools out there that claim to offer some high-level “check box” features, but you need to dig a little to see if those features are really implemented adequately for your real-world migration projects.  So I thought I would share my ever-growing list of tool considerations here.

Note that this list is probably way more than anyone would want to include in any one evaluation project.  My suggestion is to take this as a list of possible items to consider and then select which points will be most important to your users and your particular applications. 

General

  • Tool performs complete pre-migration analysis
    • Tool can be installed and run without consultant intervention
    • Analysis functionality is fully integrated with the migration tool (flowing smoothly from pre-migration analysis, detailed analysis and application consolidation, project management, assignment of targets, design of migration jobs, automated provisioning and bulk migration based on analysis results)
    • Tool facilitates migration project costing with the ability to track estimates for individual applications as well as  consolidated application designs
  • Tool supports migration to SharePoint 2007 and 2010
    • Includes option to migrate over native SharePoint 2010 web services, without installing any vendor code on SharePoint server
    • Includes option to migrate over vendor’s web service optimized for high performance migrations
  • Tool supports migration to Office 365 (SharePoint Online)
    • Supports migration to Office 365 standard (multi-tenant)
    • Support migrating to Office 365 Dedicated via an on-premises staging environment
    • Supports direct migration to Office 365 Dedicated
  • Tool includes a Command Line utility for scripting migration
  • Tool supports migrating to SQL Server, including data normalization, rich text, images, attachments, doc links
  • Tool supports migrating to the file system
    • Supports generating XML files from Notes content
    • Supports exporting file attachments, etc. to file system
    • Supports generating files in the file system (HTML, Word, PDF)

Core Content Migration Details

  • Supports mapping Notes data to any SharePoint column
    • Migrate from Notes items
    • Transform data at migration time using formulas
  • Tool can migrate to SharePoint choice columns
    • Includes option to add missing values to column schema as needed
  • Tool can migrate Notes names to User columns
  • Tool can preserve Notes document metadata
    • Preserves Created/Modified dates
    • Preserves Created By/Modified By identities
  • Tool supports migrating Notes rich text with full fidelity
    • Preserves fonts, table, nested tables, bullets, margins, etc.
    • Preserves embedded images
    • Preserves embedded image resources
    • Converts embedded OLE objects to equivalent file type
    • Migrates embedded attachments
    • Migrates document level attachments
    • Preserves collapsible sections and section headers
  • Tool supports full provisioning of security constructs
    • Provides several options for mapping Notes names to SharePoint (AD) names
    • Maps ACL permissions to either the site level or the list/library level
    • Can set explicit permissions for SharePoint objects based on Notes ACL, including support for custom permission levels
    • Can add users to the existing site security groups based on Notes ACL, including custom site groups
    • Can provision and populate SharePoint Groups from Notes ACL roles
    • Can provision and populate SharePoint Groups from Domino directory groups
  • Tool supports incremental migration
    • Can rerun job, detecting new and changed documents
    • Can write modified documents as new SharePoint versions
  • Tool supports migrating Notes calendars to SharePoint calendars
    • Supports repeating meetings, all day events, etc.
  • Tool supports for migrating Notes discussions to SharePoint discussions lists
    • Supports threaded discussion
    • Preserves subject fields of response documents
    • Offers optional custom web part for presenting discussion lists with a more Notes-like user interface
  • Tool correctly handles Notes doc links and HTTP links
    • Preserve links between documents in different applications at different times
    • Links can work between all types of migration targets (lists, pages, etc.)
    • Intra-document HTTP links (in QuickPlace or other Domino web-enabled apps) are recognized as doc links and translated accordingly
    • Link tracking system that continuously manages doc links as content moves through staging, deployment and production
    • Link tracking system allows finalization (replacing dynamic links with permanent links) after the migration is complete (even on SharePoint Online)
    • If company also provides mail migration technology, are links preserved between migrated mailboxes in Exchange and migrated applications in SharePoint?
  • Tool can provision sites, list and libraries using custom SharePoint templates

Advanced Content Migration Details

  • Tool provides a sufficient choice of migration SharePoint migration targets to accommodate various business and end-user application requirements:
    • Migrate to List Items
    • Migrate files to Document Libraries
    • Generate generic Word documents
    • Generate Word documents using custom templates, properties and content controls
    • Generate PDF documents
    • Migrate to Wiki pages
    • Migrate to Basic pages
    • Migrate to Publishing pages (Other tools advertise advertises this but is very limited)
    • Migrate to Web Part pages, mapping Notes content to any property on any web part
  • Tool can render complex Notes Documents into rich text (for archiving purposes)
    • Tool can render entire Notes documents with their original Notes form to a single rich text column or generated rich text document
    • Tool can render entire Notes documents with a designated form to a single rich text column or generated rich text document
  • Tool supports mapping document approval/publishing status from Notes data to the out-of-box approval/publishing feature in SharePoint
  • Tool can migrate Notes content to SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata columns
    • Support matching terms by alias or locale
    • Support matching terms by hierarchy
    • Supports adding missing terms to term store
  • Tool supports SharePoint 2010 Document Sets
    • Individual Notes document can be mapped to individual doc set (splitting out all the generate files, attachments, etc., as members of the doc set)
    • Multiple related Notes documents can be merged into a single doc set
  • Tool can support data normalization
    • Embedded images, attachments and objects can be normalized to separate SharePoint libraries or folders (keeping the various parts linked)
    • Documents with multi-valued items can be normalized into header and detail documents
    • Documents with tables of related items can be normalized into header and detail documents
  • Tool can dynamically set content types based on data in the Notes document
  • Tool can migrate to InfoPath form libraries
    • Generates documents according to any XML schema
    • Supports rich text, embedded images, attachments
    • Supports migrating multi-valued items to repeating XML elements
    • Supports user (people picker) fields

Design Migration Details

  • Tool supports extracting the schema of a Notes application and provisioning  a similar schema in SharePoint lists and libraries
    • Can determine schema based on Notes forms
    • Can determine schema based on sampled Notes documents
  • Tool supports extracting the schema of a Notes application and provisioning  a similar schema as SharePoint Content Types
    • Can also push these content types into specific lists and libraries as they are provisioned
  • Tool can provision new columns in new or existing lists and libraries
    • Including choice and lookup columns
    • Including data validation, required field, and other standard column options
  • Tool can generate “classic” InfoPath Document Form templates (for use in SharePoint form libraries)
    • Includes form layout for form and all mappable field types
    • Includes rich text and attachment areas
    • Includes option to generate InfoPath sections for area with hide-when logic
    • Includes special handling for Notes static subforms and computed subforms
    • Provides a detailed report itemizing whatever elements could not be migrated
  • Tool can generate InfoPath List Forms (new with SharePoint 2010) from existing Notes forms
  • Tool can provision SharePoint Views based on Notes views
    • Includes a migration wizard allowing users to define computed columns, etc., where needed
  • Tool includes support for consolidating applications with similar designs and automating their migration
    • Recognize class members using template names
    • Recognize class members using full design comparison

QuickR / QuickPlace Details

  • Tool automates the provisioning of SharePoint sites based on the QuickR / QuickPlace room hierarchy
    • Each sub-room is mapped to a SharePoint sub-site
    • Uses SharePoint Team templates or custom site templates
    • Preserves the access control settings of each room and sub-room
  • Tool migrates all types of QuickR / QuickPlace pages
    • Migrates all standard page types: Imported pages, Link pages, Discussion pages, Task pages
    • Migrates custom Page Types, including custom Fields
    • Offers migration of Published documents, Unpublished documents, or both
    • Offers migration of “orphan” documents that are accessible through navigation hierarchy
  • Tool correctly migrates rich text in QuickR / QuickPlace pages
    • Full rich text fidelity is preserved
    • Embedded images are retained
    • URL links that point to other QuickR / QuickPlace pages are converted to SharePoint links
    • Preserves document level permissions
  • Tool preserves QuickR / QuickPlace navigation
    • Converts place menus to SharePoint QuickLaunch area
  • Tool includes pre-migration analysis features that are QuickR / QuickPlace aware
    • Excludes configuration documents from data analysis
    • Summarizes data documents by Page Type used in each room
    • Includes configuration documents in design analysis
    • Detects rooms where custom Page Types and Fields have been defined by end users

Analysis Details

  • Tool performs application usage analysis
    • Includes exclusion of designated user names who should not count as real users
    • Can aggregate usage information across multiple replicas of each database
  • Tool performs Data analysis, finding patterns of actual usage in a particular database
    • Includes detection of blocked file attachment extensions and oversized files that will not be allowed on SharePoint
    • Includes analysis by Form Used, making it easy to extract the “document types” actually used in a database instance
  • Tool performs Design analysis,  summarizing design element details
    • Includes initial complexity calculations
  • Tool can compares all application designs to a predetermined set of templates, which assists in  consolidating applications with similar designs and automating their migration
  • Tool can capture design copies of each database while scanning the environment 
  • Tool can extract all users and group names contained in a set of databases (ACLs, document metadata, usage history, etc.) making it easy to proactively plan for how they will map to SharePoint
  • Data repository is an open format that customers are free to use in any way they see fit
  • All analysis details may be exported to external format such as CSV or XML for use with other reporting tools such as Microsoft Excel

Company

  • Describe track record of delivering top-notch support around the world
    • Support call centers located globally for 24×7 coverage
    • Many counties are staffed with presales and post-sales consultants
    • Company offers well-defined SLA’s including policies for escalating to development
    • Company frequently delivers feature enhancements to unblock large migration projects
  • Company has tools for moving content from SharePoint to SharePoint (upgrades, reorganization, deployment to production) and well as from other data sources to SharePoint
  • Company has related tools for managing SharePoint environments, including discovery, reporting, policy enforcement, and granular recovery
  • Company also has tools for performing Notes-to-Exchange migrations and directory migrations
  • Company offers a set of advanced web parts for reducing the time and cost of rebuilding complex custom applications
  • Company has an experienced professional services team to participate in and/or deliver migration projects to ensure project success
  • Company has an experienced partner network able to deliver migration projects.  For large Notes projects this should include partners with off-shore resources who’s teams utilize tool in a migration factory approach to deliver high-volume, low-cost migrations
  • Company has an established track record in this unique migration space.  Company is able to provide case studies, project references, best practices materials, facilitate POCs, etc.

New Webcast: Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to SharePoint Online in Office 365

Lists, Libraries and Pages

There are three basic ways to store content in SharePoint: lists, libraries, and pages. Each of these has a number of interesting variations, but it is important to understand the differences between these three fundamental types so you can best decide what you want to migrate to. Each type is described briefly here; subsequent posts will explain in detail how to migrate content to each from Lotus Notes applications.

Lists

Lists are similar to tables in a relational database. A list is a flat collection of data records (called items in SharePoint) with a fixed set of data fields (called columns). Each data column has a fixed name and type. For example, a customer list may have a Text column called “Customer Name,” a Date column called “First Purchase Date,” and potentially dozens of other columns. One particularly interesting column type is Rich Text (also known as a “Note” “Body” column); this is where one would typically store large amounts of rich text. Lists can also have one or more binary attachments and may have one or more views, which allow users to select and sort the items in various ways.

All of this should sound pretty familiar to Notes customers, because a list is actually the closest thing in SharePoint to a Notes database. The biggest difference is that SharePoint lists are highly structured with a fixed schema (like a relational database), whereas Notes databases can be very unstructured, with every document having a different set of data items.

Libraries

Libraries are collections of binary files, such as images, Word documents, or audio clips. While lists and libraries are very similar internally, the metaphor is very different: in a list, the document may contain several binary file attachments; in a library, the binary file is the document. The emphasis in libraries is the document management functionality, including versioning and check-in/check-out. As with lists, libraries can have many additional data columns defined for capturing additional information about each document.

In the Notes world, the closest thing to a SharePoint library is a Domino.Doc file cabinet. (Domino.Doc was a popular document management system built on top of Notes.) Many organizations also built custom Notes applications that attempt to implement document management functionality. Any time you see a Notes application where the file attachment is “the document,” consider migrating it to a SharePoint library. It is also common for Notes “team site” applications to have a document library section as part of the overall application.

Pages

Pages are the building blocks of all SharePoint sites. These are the web pages you actually see in the web browser every time you click on a link to view a site, open a document, enter some information, or do just about anything else. Most people do not realize that the same pages that make up the sites themselves can also be used as data documents. SharePoint actually allows you to create several types of content pages, including basic pages, wiki pages, web part pages, and publishing pages. SharePoint Online Dedicated includes several nice publishing site templates that are designed to manage the authoring, approval and display of rich text web pages.

While content pages have no exact equivalent in the Notes world, they can be a great way to migrate certain types of Notes applications. Any time you see a Notes application in which the main intent was to publish a library of rich text pages to a large number of users, consider migrating it to a SharePoint page library or a publishing site. This includes the many Notes applications that implemented public web or extranet sites.

Office 365 launches… Now read the white paper!

Last week, Microsoft  announced the launch of Office 365

One week before that, my awesome new white paper, “Migrating Lotus Notes Applications to Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online”, went live on the Quest web site.

Here is a sneak peek at the table of contents:

Introduction
Pre-Migration Analysis
    Introduction
    Discovering All of Your Notes Databases
    Determining What You Don’t Have to Migrate
    Understanding the Complexity of Your Applications
    Consolidating Similar Application Designs
Formulating your Migration Plan
Migrating Notes Application Content
    Application Migration Overview
    Lists, Libraries and Pages
    Migrating Content to Standard Lists
    Migrating Content to Custom Lists
    Migrating to Document Libraries
    Generating Documents
    Using Document Sets
    Migrating Content to SharePoint Pages
    Archiving Legacy Content: Document Rendering
Migrating Application Designs
    Migrating Schema from Notes Applications
    Migrating Form Designs to InfoPath
    Migrating Approval Process and Workflow State
    Deploying Sandbox Solutions
Understanding the Limitations of Office 365
    Connecting to Enterprise Data
    Mail-In Databases
    Deploying Custom Code
    Standard Server Settings
    Bandwidth and Throttling
    Other “Missing” Features
Conclusion
Appendix A – SharePoint Online Deployment Basics
    Getting Started
    Choosing the Right Office 365 Plan
    Basic Tenant Administration
    Adding Users and Synchronizing Directories
    Provisioning and Managing Site Collections
    Building your SharePoint Sites

 

Let me know what you think!

PS:  A similar paper on migrating to SharePoint Online Dedicated (aka BPOS-D) is going through post-production now.  Stay tuned.

Choosing the Type of InfoPath Form to Use in an Application

Attention all application migration personnel!  Please read this white paper by Microsoft SharePoint Technical Specialist Ira Fuchs:  InfoPath 2010 Enhanced Integration with SharePoint Server 2010 and Its Implications When Designing Forms for Applications

This paper does an excellent job describing how the new InfoPath List Forms and how they relate to the “classic” XML Document-based InfoPath Forms.  The paper culminates in the section “Choosing the Type of InfoPath Form to Use in an Application“, which I borrowed for the title of this blog post. 

I met Ira in person last spring at a Quest Software social event in Seattle.  Before joining Microsoft, he worked at one of my large enterprise customers (financial sector) and was involved in some of their Notes application migration projects.  Like me, Ira is a big advocate of leveraging all the great designer tools in SharePoint to avoid having to write custom code whenever possible.  Ira actually wrote an entire book on the subject which I am happy to also recommend here:  Enterprise Application Development in SharePoint 2010 – Creating an End-to-End Application without Code.

clip_image002

Extracting all the users from a set of databases

The Extract Database Users tool (new in Notes Migrator for SharePoint 5.3) allows you to select one or more databases in any database view in the Migration Console and then extract all the user names contained in those databases.  This tool is useful for simply gaining an understanding of the users involved in a group of Notes applications, but the primary purpose of the tool is ultimately to generate a user mapping file that NMSP can use at migration time.

clip_image001

Depending on how much analysis has been done for these selected databases, we may extract user names from the database ACLs, the Created By/Modified By metadata, the document level security, or the usage activity.  As explained below, users may also be added to the list by expanding Domino groups and by importing existing NMSP User Mapping XML files.  The sources of the user names are listed in the view columns shown below, and you can filter the sources shown to only list users that came from certain sources.

clip_image002

The type of user name (Person, Group, Unspecified) is also shown and you can filter based on them.  Note that Unspecified users may become specified as you perform certain operations such as group expansion or imports.  Finally, you can manually set the user type by using the combo boxes in the view. 

clip_image003

You can also filter by the Notes domain.  This is a simple text match against the last part of the abbreviated name, so either “Westford/IBM” or just “IBM” would select “John Smith/Westford/IBM”.  If is common to want to select all the users plus all the groups, which the “No domain” checkbox allows you to do.

clip_image004

If a group is listed in a database, it is sometimes useful to be able to find all the members of the group.  If you press the Expand Groups button, NMSP will contact the configured Group Resolution Server (from Advanced Configuration) and look up every Group and Unspecified entry (in case it really is a group).  Any new members will be added to the list and indicated as “ACL via Group”.

clip_image005

To remove users from the list, you can select one or more row using the selection column on the right (or press Control-A to select all of them) and press the Remove button.

clip_image006

The last column in the view is the SharePoint names column.  You can set these names automatically using the Import function, using the Set SharePoint Names function, or by typing them in manually. 

The Import process loads in users from existing XML User Mapping files and sets the Imported column.  Imported data is merged with existing data but if a SharePoint name is specified in the imported file, it will overwrite the existing name every time. 

The Set SharePoint Names function gives you several ways to automatically assign your SharePoint names. 

· Load users from Domino Directory – use any field in the user’s Person document on the Domino directory as the new SharePoint name

· Set Default using Format String – Generate a new SharePoint name by substituting the various parts of the Notes name.

· Set Default using the Notes common name  – Use the simple common name as the SharePoint name

Note that in all these cases, existing SharePoint names will be preserved unless the override SharePoint names flag is already checked.

clip_image007

Finally, you can press the Export button to generate a User Mapping file (either in an XML or comma delimited format).

clip_image008

Advice for teaching yourself Notes Migrator for SharePoint

Of course, the entire product is documented in our extensive user manual.  Since not everyone is inclined read such a manual end-to-end, and not everyone is able to take our official partner training courses, I am often asked to suggest other ways to learn how to get started with Notes Migrator for SharePoint and how to accomplish specific tasks.

First and foremost, install the product.  You can get a free evaluation version here or join the 6.0 beta program here.

To learn the basics of using Notes Migrator for SharePoint:

For a drill-down into advanced subjects, as needed:

Migrating workflow state and approval processes

As described previously, when migrating Notes workflows to SharePoint workflows you are really switching from code-based workflows (logic encoded in button events, agents, etc.) to declarative workflows.  And using Notes Migrator for SharePoint, you can migrate your workflow state so you can preserve in-progress workflows between the two systems. 

To achieve this, simply migrate the  (status fields, next review, due date, whatever) as data columns in your list items, InfoPath documents, Word documents, etc.  Depending on how you designed your workflow, you may be done at that point, or you may need to customize it.  The relevant part is that when the workflow starts up for newly written list items,  it should be designed to examine these columns and “advance” to the right state.  For example, the out-of-box “three state workflow” does this but others may not. 

A special (but very important case) is when you are able to replace your “approval process” workflows with SharePoint’s built-in approval process.  This can be a huge win for reducing development costs and eliminating the need to maintain the application later.  What used to be a custom developed application can be replaced with a checkbox feature! 

image

Of course, Notes Migrator for SharePoint correctly migrates the state for that as well.  The relevant part of our documentation can be easy to miss, so I will repeat it here:

Advanced: Customizing SharePoint Data Target Definitions

The Type property can be set to any of the available field types:

• Approval Code – Sets the approval status of documents that are migrated to SharePoint. Input data must be one of the following strings: “Approved”, “Denied”, “Draft”, “Pending”, “Scheduled”.

In other words, map some piece of data (probably using a formula) that yields the values “Approved”, “Denied”, “Draft”, “Pending” or “Scheduled” to a Target field of type “Approval Code”.

There is a lab on this on our support site:  https://support.quest.com/SUPPORT/index?page=solution&id=SOL52223  (Lab 4.5).

Upcoming Notes Migration Webcasts

Specifying alternate repository database with -rd command line option

The Notes Migrator for SharePoint Migration Console supports the ability to read a repository database argument from the command-line.

To use this feature, open a command prompt and start the console like this:

mmc.exe C:\NotesSharePoint\Migrator\MigratorConsole\migratorconsole.msc -rd=YourTemporaryRepository.nsf

The console will start with the database you specified.  As long as you don’t save your configuration, your former repository will be used the next time you start the console without the “–rd” parameter.

To indicate an alternate repository is loaded, the Root Node label in the navigation tree will have the repository name appended.  Example:  “Notes Migrator for SharePoint (TempRepository.nsf)”

The way I use it most is the way our system integrator partners use it:   Different clients have different repository databases, each containing data from that customer’s Notes environment.  It is common to want to quickly switch between them.

Another use is to segment a large environment.  As performance of redrawing views, etc., degrade when you have over (depending on your environment) 2000-5000 databases loaded, a customer with a 20,000 database environment might want to segment it all into 4 – 10 different repository databases.

Migrating Lotus QuickPlace to SharePoint (Part 1): The basics

[Updating and reposting an old series on migrating QuickPlace and QuickR sites to SharePoint.]

I remember when Lotus QuickPlace was introduced into the marketplace back in 1999.  As a developer then focused on using Domino to built cool web applications, I admit that I did not totally get it at first.  After all, there wasn’t much you could do with QuickPlace that you couldn’t do with Domino… and there was a lot you couldn’t do with QuickPlace.  The point, of course, is that you didn’t need a developer.  Users could spin off their own secure sites, define a few properties, and they were off and running with basic team collaboration capabilities.  Users could even add custom layouts, custom form types, custom fields, and even simple workflows. 

And did these sites ever proliferate!  When we talk to large customers who now want to move off of QuickPlace we are frequently talking about hundreds or (more often than not) thousands of QuickPlace rooms.  The good news is that mapping a QuickPlace to SharePoint tends to be fairly straightforward.  All the capabilities and content types in QuickPlace can be found in the simplest SharePoint team site.  This series of posts describes the migration process at both the conceptual level and a tool level (using Notes Migrator for SharePoint).

For those you who have never seen a QuickPlace, here an example. This particular QuickPlace is based on one of the early samples from Lotus (the “Rapid Response Team” government demo) and thus has a particular look-and-feel and layout.  Like most QuickPlaces, it has rich text publishing pages, a discussion area, a document library area, a team calendar, a task list and a member list.  A navigation menu on the left allows you to navigate around and, of course, you access it all in a browser. 

image  image  image

An important aspect of QuickPlace (not obvious from the above screen shots) is the fact that we are looking at a top level room.  A QuickPlace can have can have multiple sub-rooms, each as big as its parent room, and each having its own layout, theme, security rules, etc.  A tree of over 100 rooms and sub-rooms is not uncommon.

As mentioned above, QuickPlaces are customizable.  A particularly important aspect of this is the ability to create custom Forms or to extend existing Forms.  The following screen shots show customizing a form and adding a new field fields using one of the available field types.

image image

When you add new content to a QuickPlace, you typically press the New button to select a Form.  When you save your new document (a “page” in QuickPlace parlance), you decide which folder to put it in. 

image  image   image

Of course there are some obvious defaults in play here:  If you are in a Calendar, you probably want to create a new Calendar page.  And if you are saving a new Calendar page, you probably want to save it into your Calendar.  But it is important to note that QuickPlace is pretty flexible about that sort of thing.  There is nothing to stop you from putting a Task page in a Document Library or a Discussion folder. 

In fact, this is one of the few fundamental differences between SharePoint and QuickPlace:  SharePoint treats each List / Library as a separate container (each with a  strict schema and list of allowed content types). QuickPlace treats each room as a big bucket of pages and those pages are made to appear in particular places (folders, etc.) and can be easily moved.  There are advantages of both systems but you should be aware of this difference when you migrate. 

By the way, if you have Lotus QuickR, everything in this post (and on this blog) applies equally well to you.  QuickR is simply the new rebranded name for QuickPlace.  If you are running the version of QuickR that sits on top of Domino servers, you can migrate them using Notes Migrator for SharePoint just fine.

I want to end this first post with a comparison of SharePoint and QuickPlace concepts.  As you will see, there is almost a one-to-one mapping of concepts.  In the next post in this series, I will dive into how Notes Migrator for SharePoint handles migrating QuickPlace to SharePoint.

QuickPlace concept SharePoint concept
QuickPlace Site
Room / Sub-Room Site / Sub-Site
Folder List, Library or Folder
Page List Item or Library File
Form List Definition or Content Type
Fields Columns
Members Members
QuickPlace Permissions Site Permissions
Page readers and writers Document Permissions
Library Document Library Template
Calendar Calendar List Template
Task List Task List Template
Menu Quick Launch
Imported File List Item Attachment or Library File

Why is this space so hot right now?

Someone inside Quest recently asked me why the Notes application market is so white hot right now.  Thought I would share my answers here…

1. This is prime time for Notes migrations.  SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online have opened the floodgates of a migration wave that was already peeking.  Office 365 in particular delivers many of the improvements that Notes customers were eagerly waiting for.  Hundreds of the world’s largest organizations are committed to migration off of Notes over the next few years.  Similarly, many of the world’s largest system integrators have geared up to help them.

2. SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online create many new opportunities – and new challenges – for migrating complex Notes applications.  New capabilities such as document sets, managed metadata, search and scalability improvements, wiki pages, office integration are all seen as game changers for Notes shops looking to migrate.  InfoPath list forms, new built-in workflow and data validation features, and the ability to integrate external SQL Server databases as “external lists” dramatically reduce the cost of rebuilding complex applications.  Quest was the first Notes application migration tool to support SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online and (with Notes Migrator for SharePoint version 6.0) is rapidly innovating further ways to allow Notes migration customers to leverage these new platform capabilities. 

3. This is not a job for lightweight migration tools.  Because Notes was the platform of choice for building secure, collaborative applications for a so many years, organizations may have tens of thousands of old Notes applications.  Some are still business critical and many others contain valuable and often highly sensitive data that needs to be preserved with full fidelity.  Migrating all these applications correctly can be a very expensive undertaking for an IT department or an outside consultant.  Quest continues to invest heavily in this problem space because we realize that every incremental improvement we make can literally mean millions of dollars in ROI for our customer base.  It is paying off as the deeper people go into complex migrations, the better we look.

Recap of Domino.Doc migration features

We have had pretty darn good Domino.Doc migration features since the beginning, but until recently I have not blogged about it very much.  Now that we about to release support for migrating to SharePoint Document Sets in Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0, I thought it was time for a quick Domino.Doc feature roundup:

  • Notes Migrator for SharePoint gives you default data definitions for migrating the defaults
    • If you really use Domino.Doc to store attachments with some metadata, than SharePoint “document libraries” are a great choice
    • If you store rich text or multiple attachments in one “document” you might prefer to send it to a SharePoint list instead
  • In the cases where users have build custom “Document Types” we give you full power to migrate the custom fields, etc.
  • We allow you to map Document Types to SharePoint Content Types (but you have to design the target Content Types yourself in advance in the current version)
  • We allow you to map Binders to SharePoint Folders
  • We map access control rules at the Cabinet level and Document level
  • You can migrate complete version histories [link]
  • You can migrate unpublished documents
  • Our analysis tools discover the hierarchy of Libraries -> Cabinets -> Binders -> Documents (similar to what we do with QuickPlace)
    • Using the automation features, you can automatically provision sites/subsites for every Domino.Doc library/cabinet
    • You can also automatically generate a new SharePoint list/library on the same site for each Domino.Doc library/cabinet
  • Our analysis tools help you zero in on which Cabinets have been customized and what customization have occurred (new Doc Types, changed subforms)
  • Using Notes Migrator for SharePoint 6.0, you will be able to migrate to SharePoint 2010 Document Sets.  Either…
    • Map each Domino.Doc Binder to a Document Set and out all the documents inside it
    • Map each Domino.Doc Document to a Document Set and out all the attachments inside it

Putting all this together, we do a good job at automating the discovery, target assignment, site/library provisioning, and content migration.

Ten Ways SharePoint 2010 Will Impact Your Notes Migration

Here is a link to my new white paper, hot off the presses: 

[http://www.quest.com/documents/landing.aspx?id=12162&prod=352]

Abstract:

Many organizations are moving from Lotus Notes/Domino environments to Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint and Office. However, applications that are migrated from Notes to SharePoint may need to be rebuilt – typically an expensive and time consuming process.  Even then, the new applications may not function as well as the legacy ones. But with the release of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010, things have changed.  This paper discusses 10 ways that SharePoint 2010 will change the game for enterprises of all sizes who want SharePoint to replace or enhance their Notes environments.  You will learn about major platform and functionality improvements and discover how SharePoint 2010 simplifies rebuilding Notes applications after a migration.

Feel free to post comments here or send to me privately.

New Demo on Rebuilding Notes applications with Web Parts

Ghazwan on the Quest presales team just recorded a demo on rebuilding complex Notes applications in SharePoint with Quest Web Parts for SharePoint. You can watch it [here].

Of course, you can find this demo and many others at http://www.quest.com/notesdemos.