Tuesday, September 27, 2005

OneNote SP2, OneNote 12, and my newfound fame

I started this post intending to complain about how little was added to OneNote SP2. Then I went to search for Chris Pratley's post on all the great stuff that his team added to SP1 and found to my amazement that in his most recent post, he mentioned my post on OneNote and SharePoint! I'm, like, famous now, or something.

Anyway, I am somewhat humbled and will temper what was intended to be a rant with a more humble and professional post than was originally intended to welcome the millions of people that will soon be linking to me.

It was with great anticipation that I noted the release of OneNote SP2. Perhaps performance had improved in opening files from SharePoint? Maybe they had gone and added a scrollbar for the page tabs? Fixed the little glitch where you can't easily copy a picture with writing on top of it? Or link the writing to the picture so that when the picture changes position because you edited lines above it, the writing stays on it? Maybe they had added the ability to do an Insert-->Hyperlink like Outlook? Or to be able to paste some text without prepending and appending carriage returns to it? No, none of that. (Since I am self-critical I will say that I have not attempted in any way to submit any bugs or feedback to Microsoft on these issues.)

No, changes made for SP2 are as follows:

There they are, all three of them. So this is what constitutes a service pack these days? I am disappointed. I was hoping for a functionality leap like we had with SP1.

But I will say that Chris's description of OneNote 12 has me very interested. First, to again pimp my original article, it definitely seems like team note sharing is a focus of OneNote 12:

Likewise if you make a change, we now autosave to the cache (way faster than autosaving directly to the server!). Periodically we try to push up the changes to the server, again just moving the part that has changed if possible.

Pasted from <http://blogs.msdn.com/chris_pratley/archive/2005/09/27/474299.aspx>

So that directly addresses my huge problem with OneNote + SharePoint, which is that periodically the entire giant file is saved back over HTTPS to your SharePoint server (or Windows/Netware/NAS server) at once, during which time OneNote hangs and you can't do anything. It is just a smarter way to do it and will improve performance as well as adding all the stuff Chris talks about like tagging updates with the name of the author to allow for remote real-time sharing.

I am on another project with a team and my team mate also takes all his notes in OneNote. So we have initiated a shared OneNote file on our SharePoint server, but to get around the saving limitation right now, we are using "personal" OneNote files to take notes and then pasting them into the SharePoint file. This has already begun to annoy me a little bit as the pasting is a manual process so we forget to do it, and also I've thought of adding URLs or contextual information (e.g. "recommendation delivered to [client] on such-and-such a date") or what have you to the file after I've pasted it, but then I realize that my local copy won't update, so should I delete and re-paste or what? It is making me treat the shared OneNote file like a static repository which defeats the purpose of having a living, changing team information store.

That said, I haven't quite gotten my head around OneNote shared sessions, though they interest me very much. Some of this is my team mate thinking it is too nerdy and some is me thinking it is too confusing. I will say that in our last visit to the client we wrote a migration plan together and could independently research items and gather screen shots within our shared session, which was helpful. I will be trying to use it in our meetings next week to stand in for an IM client; since I'm on the tablet I would like to be able to write my IMs, we cannot VPN into our office from this client to use Windows Messenger (and the Juniper (Neoteris) SSL VPN is annoying), and I am not going to force my coworker onto MSN Messenger as he is an AIM/Google Talk man. I guess I am hoping that I could just share my note page and then write some additional notes as questions for him during meetings; it just seems like it would complicate things for us to both be trying to participate in design decision meetings, capture information, and leave notes for each other all in the same program. We'll see. I'll blog about it.


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I found your posts on sharepoint and OneNote very interesting. I work in a fairly large west coast law firm that uses WorkSite and is just launching Sharepoint. One thing that is driving us crazy is that there doesn't seem to be an easy way to hyperlink from Sharepoint directly to an individual document in worksite. We have some third-party webparts from XMLaw that provide access to worksite folders on Sharepoint, but we haven't found a simple solution that would allow us to simply use a normal html hyperlink on a Sharepoint page--linking to a worksite document. It seems like this is really a must for KM in a law firm these days. Given your position at a large firm that uses both Worksite and Sharepoint, I thought you might have some valuable insight.

Thanks very much.
I wrote up a new entry to hopefully try and get you started. take a look (and apologies because I clearly do not know how to format long things around the Blogger template)
Happened upon this two months late, but anyway - you can easily link to individual Worksite documents, folders, or workspaces from SharePoint using xmLaw's SPxConnect for Worksite product. Check with xmLaw for more detail...
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