From the Cloud

Interesting topics from the world of technology

New Fillable PDF Capabilities in EfficiencySpring

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in From the Cloud, Press Releases | Comments Off on New Fillable PDF Capabilities in EfficiencySpring

We’re proud to introduce a new capability into our EfficiencySpring platform today! While EfficiencySpring has always excelled at providing online forms and relational database interfaces for data entry, we still live in a world where fillable printer friendly PDFs still exist. Check out our video below that showcases how PDF form data can now be imported into EfficiencySpring, and how fillable PDF forms can also now be used as templates for...

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Workaround for SharePoint Add-In ChromeControl Theming Issue

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in From the Cloud, From the Lab, From the Mind | Comments Off on Workaround for SharePoint Add-In ChromeControl Theming Issue

In 2012, Microsoft released the Add-In model to allow for rich custom applications built on-top of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online. A key part of this new model was for external web applications to be able to inherit much of SharePoint’s look-and-feel via a JavaScript toolset call the ChromeControl. Unfortunately, this year (2018), the ChromeControl’s functionality became broken inside of SharePoint Online. While SharePoint administrators can elect to change the theming of their SharePoint sites, the ChromeControl started to only be able to bring in the default Blue theme. This is a tracked bug in GitHub: Internal traction within Microsoft for fixing this bug in SharePoint Online has been challenging from what I understand. Yet deployed Production Add-Ins do depend on the ChromeControl to function. At EfficiencyNext, we’ve developed a workaround, involving a server-side class we’ve built called ThemeHelper. On the server-side, it downloads the theme colors and background image URL for a SharePoint site. Then, using a server-side generated CSS file, critical tag and class colors which are currently incorrectly specified by the ChromeControl’s CSS are overwritten by our CSS file. Here’s a video of this fix in action! We hope Microsoft does get around to fixing this issue, as not all developers have the luxury of having both server-side code for their Add-Ins and the permission allowances for their Add-Ins to read the SharePoint site’s theme information. However, if your Add-In is fairly trusted in SharePoint environments, and you need coloring to be imported right, this is a way to go! A link to our ThemeHelper class. And an example of an ASP.NET generated CSS file that uses it with SharePoint’s style classes. Need help implementing this fix or with SharePoint in general? Contact us! We’d love to see how we can...

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Our DC CyberWeek Event!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in From the Cloud, From the Mind, Press Releases | Comments Off on Our DC CyberWeek Event!

We are excited to be taking part in this year’s DC CyberWeek, a DC area series of events focused on CyberSecurity. EfficiencyNext will hosting a limited seat round table with the topic of: A Practical Discussion for Securing Your Accounts and Data Maintaining a secure information environment is a challenge, particularly for companies and non-profits that are funded by grants, and do not have large security budgets. This roundtable will provide a venue for attendees to discuss how they have tackled this need, what tips they have to share, and what challenges they still face. A portion of the roundtable will be an open house presented by EfficiencyNext where we will discuss the tools we’ve utilized for account and data security, including multi-factor authentication, at-rest data protection, active data protection, API call limiters, firewalls, cloud services, proprietary technology, and locally encrypted devices. We hope everyone will come out of the discussion with new insights, methods, and tools to try. You can sign-up for the event on DC CyberWeek’s calendar...

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Our FCC filing regarding 17-108 in Defense of Net Neutrality

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in From the Cloud, Press Releases | Comments Off on Our FCC filing regarding 17-108 in Defense of Net Neutrality

Below is our FCC filing regarding 17-108 : Restoring Internet Freedom, where we offer arguments in support of Net Neutrality. Brief Comments: The premise of net neutrality is that an ISP cannot throttle or block access to content based on the application used to access it, the user accessing it, the device it is accessed with, or the location of the content being accessed. The monopolistic nature of the Internet Service Provider industry in the United States makes net neutrality one of the few core enablers of an open and free Internet. In many markets, only one ISP, often the cable company, is present. Other markets maybe have at best two broadband ISPs. This leaves customers with little recourse if their ISPs are allowed to favor access to websites or services that perhaps provide them a kickback, while disallowing or slowing down access to websites or services that do not. More directly, ISPs are beginning to directly sell the actual content they plan to serve their customers over the Internet. What is to stop them from making Amazon’s Prime Video service untenable and slow in order to drive business to their own digital storefronts? The answer is simple. Net Neutrality. There are some points of argument made in favor of disregarding net neutrality, perhaps the most prevalent being that certain applications (such as BitTorrent) dis-proportionally gobble up bandwidth or that services from certain dominant providers (such as Netflix) do the same. Where this argument fails to measure up is that customers are already paying for the bandwidth they use to access such service, and likewise, sites and services on the web also pay for their bandwidth. There is little rationale for allowing ISPs to double-dip at the expense of customers and businesses. To be 100% clear, net neutrality is key to insuring basic consumer protections remain on the Internet, as well as insuring startups and new businesses are not hustled off the web by the very ISPs that are supposed to connect them to their customers via the bandwidth both are already paying for....

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EfficiencyNext ready to support orgs losing Microsoft Access Web Apps

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in From the Cloud, From the Mind, Press Releases, Uncategorized | Comments Off on EfficiencyNext ready to support orgs losing Microsoft Access Web Apps

Microsoft has recently announced it is axing its Microsoft Access Web Apps capability in Office 365 and SharePoint Online. This capability allowed those who work with Microsoft Access the ability to publish database applications into SharePoint without code. While there are were technical ceilings for what the technology could do, it none the less is incredibly impressive and used by organizations. As of now, it is not possible to publish any new Access Web Apps, and inside of a year (April 2018), existing database applications that have been deployed to SharePoint will be shutdown. We view the decision to discontinue Access Web Apps in Office 365 to be a tremendous mistake. When advocates of Office 365 demo neat features and then receive notice they will be killed with only three months notice, they look like fools, Microsoft looks like it can’t stick to its commitments, and customers are sent scurrying for replacements. It’s a lose/lose/lose. What is perhaps most concerning is there is no obvious underlying technical justification for this move. Access Web Apps are Add-Ins, an extendable part of SharePoint that lives separately from the core code. Keeping the feature available (at least through Access 2016’s support life cycle) would not have been an undo burden. If nothing else, SharePoint Online’s infrastructure made such a thing very practical. While this is purely conjecture, the discontinuation of Access Web Apps feels like a way of pushing developers toward PowerApps, a no-code/low-code platform that is similar but definitely not at feature parity with Access Web Apps. Please note this does not affect SharePoint 2013/2016 on-premise customers. If you are running Access Web Apps on premise, Microsoft has guaranteed they will continue to work, and that the next version of SharePoint on-premise will ship with the necessary services to continue that support. So, turning off the rant now. If your organization had plans to implement Access Web Apps in its SharePoint Online environment, and no longer can, contact us! We have a platform called EfficiencySpring that provides relational database interfaces using the same Add-In approach Access Web Apps used. Supported data sources include SQL Azure and SQL Server. A video of this capability is below: We stand ready to assist organizations that want scalable databases inside their SharePoint Online environments, and perhaps just lost what they had been planning to...

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Year In Review 2016 – EfficiencySpring Integration with SharePoint Online

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in From the Cloud, From the Lab, From the Mind, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Year In Review 2016 – EfficiencySpring Integration with SharePoint Online

Hello All! With many of our clients adopting Office 365 and SharePoint Online, we wanted to step up our integration game. To that end, EfficiencySpring, the platform we build all of our custom systems on, can now integrate with SharePoint Online. Below is a video demo! This integration takes the power of EfficiencySpring’s database and process management capabilities, and plugs it into SharePoint, complete with single sign-on, color/theme adoption, and document library saving. If you’re looking to integrate a full-fledged relational database into your Intranets, along with dashboards and other goodies, give us a call! And if you’re looking for help with SharePoint Online adoption in general, we’re happy to...

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