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MindLink for Sharepoint

Version 16.6

1   Technical Overview - Introduction

If your company already uses SharePoint for team-based project and document management, MindLink SharePoint and WebPart allow you to introduce communication streams within the community sites. The MindLink Desktop client can be embedded into a SharePoint page, making it possible to access conversations whilst working around them on a website.

MindLink WebPart requires the setup of FCF and MindLink Desktop. Amongst other features, it is possible to set up single sign-on, for tighter SharePoint integration, by automatically logging the SharePoint user into the chat system

 

1.1   Document Scope

This document gives a technical overview of the system from the user and technical points of view. It gives a description of the capabilities of the system, its implementation, architecture and requirements.

The WebPart is built on top of the MindLink Desktop product, which in turn is built on top of the Formicary Collaboration Foundation. The following related documents are also available:

  •          MindLink Desktop Technical Overview
  •          FCF Technical Overview

 

2   Implementation

The WebPart can operate in one of two modes: with or without single sign-on (SSO).

 

2.1   Infrastructure Components

Typical components of the SharePoint Web Front End Server:

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Figure 1: SharePoint Web Front End components

 

Typical components of the MindLink Desktop Server:

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Figure 2: MindLink Desktop components

 

2.2   Internal FCF SharePoint Web Service

If SSO is enabled, an additional web service needs to be exposed from the FCF server. This provides the ability for the SharePoint server to initiate a chat session for the user before returning the SharePoint page to the user. It is also used to determine whether an existing session is still valid, and hence whether a new session needs to be initialized.

 

2.3   The WebPart

The WebPart itself can be inserted into a page in edit mode. Once inserted, a number of configuration options are available. These settings include the ability to turn on and off discrete sections of the user interface and specify a specific chat room to be joined automatically. Please consult the MindLink WebPart install guide

It’s possible to use the WebPart without enabling the SSO feature; however users will be required to sign in from the SharePoint page.

Figure 3 shows what the WebPart might look like when embedded into a SharePoint page. In this configuration, the dock, toolbar and chat room user list have been disabled, leaving just the chat room history and the chat input box.image003.png

Figure 3: An example SharePoint page containing a WebPart

 

3   Topology

3.1   Without SSO

Figure 4 illustrates a proposed high-level architecture of the system without SSO enabled.

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Figure 4: A system topology without SSO enabled

 

The user loads the SharePoint page (potentially over the Internet) through the reverse proxy1, and also makes requests to the FCF server through the reverse proxy (via the load balancer).

 

3.2   With SSO

Figure 5 shows the system topology with SSO enabled.

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Figure 5: A system topology with SSO enabled

 

The annotated connections between the various components require some explaining.

Initially, the user’s browser will load the SharePoint page (potentially over the Internet) through the reverse proxy (a-b). When the SharePoint server constructs the page, it includes the WebPart. If a session hasn’t been established for the user yet, then doing so causes the WebPart to connect to the FCF servers through the load balancer (c-d). The FCF server chosen by the load balancer will then be tied to the SharePoint user’s session. The SharePoint server connects directly to the designated FCF server (f), and initiates a chat session by authenticating the user. If this is successful, the constructed page is returned to the user. The chat client then makes requests through the proxy to the selected FCF server (a-g).

If the authentication fails (f), then the user will be presented with the chat sign in window. Subsequent requests will then be made through the load balancer (a-e-d), as in the topology without SSO (as in Figure 4).

 

4   Requirements

Refer to the relevant technical overviews for FCF and MindLink Desktop for the specific requirements for these parts of the system.

 

4.1   SharePoint Server

The SharePoint server should be SharePoint Server 2010 or 2013 (Foundation or Server). Multiple SharePoint Web Front End or Application servers can be used together as part of a farm. The installation of the WebPart needs to be on one Web Front End server only and the WebPart will be   made available to all servers in the farm automatically.

 

5   Quick Start Guide - Introduction

The MindLink WebPart allows the MindLink Desktop client to be embedded into a SharePoint page. It also makes it possible to set up single sign-on for tighter SharePoint integration by automatically logging the SharePoint user into the chat system.

The application can be accessed by most popular web browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 - 9, Mozilla Firefox 2+, Safari 3+, Google Chrome 3+, and Opera 9+.

 

5.1   Document Scope

This document gives a quick description of the capabilities of the system, its implementation, architecture and requirements.

The WebPart is built on top of the MindLink Desktop product, which in turn is built on top of the Formicary Collaboration Foundation. The following related documents are also available:

  •          MindLink Desktop Getting Started Guide
  •          MindLink Desktop User Guide
  •          FCF Technical Overview

 

6   Installation

To install the WebPart, copy the installer to the SharePoint server and run it. Follow the instructions on the installer.

The Proxy, Firewall, and Certificates will need to be configured. For this, please refer to Section 6 of the Deployment Guide.

 

7   The WebPart

The WebPart itself can be inserted into a page in edit mode. Once inserted, a number of configuration options are available. These settings include the ability to turn on and off discrete sections of the user interface and specify a specific chat room to be joined automatically. Please consult the MindLink WebPart install guide.

It’s possible to use the WebPart without enabling the SSO feature; however users will be required to sign in from the SharePoint page.

Figure 1 shows what the WebPart might look like when embedded into a SharePoint page. In this configuration, the dock, toolbar and chat room user list have been disabled, leaving just the chat room history and the chat input box.image006.png

Figure 1: An example SharePoint page containing the WebPart

 

7.1   Adding the WebPart to a page

 https://svn.formicary.net/fcf.docs/trunk/Product/Gcwa/SharePoint%20Web%20Part/Installation%20Guide/Images/3%20-%20Configuration/Editing%20the%20page.png

Figure 2: Editing the page.

Navigate to the page that the WebPart will be added to, and click the edit button (in the top-left of the screen.

 

 https://svn.formicary.net/fcf.docs/trunk/Product/Gcwa/SharePoint%20Web%20Part/Installation%20Guide/Images/3%20-%20Configuration/Inserting%20a%20web%20part%20into%20the%20page%20-%201.png

Figure 3: Inserting a WebPart into the page (part one).

Once in edit mode, move the caret to the position where the WebPart will be inserted, and click on the ‘Insert’ tab (under ‘Editing Tools’). Then click on the ‘WebPart’ button (the button may take a moment to become enabled).

This will cause the WebPart form to appear. Select the ‘Custom’ category from the far-left column, then select ‘MindLink Web Part’ in the second column. Once selected, click on the ‘Add’ button ().

 https://svn.formicary.net/fcf.docs/trunk/Product/Gcwa/SharePoint%20Web%20Part/Installation%20Guide/Images/3%20-%20Configuration/Inserting%20a%20web%20part%20into%20the%20page%20-%202.png

Figure 4: Inserting a WebPart into the page (part two).

This will cause the WebPart form to appear. Select the ‘Custom’ category from the far-left column, and select ‘MindLink Web Part’ in the second column. Then click on the ‘Add’ button.

 https://svn.formicary.net/fcf.docs/trunk/Product/Gcwa/SharePoint%20Web%20Part/Installation%20Guide/Images/3%20-%20Configuration/Editing%20the%20unconfigured%20web%20part.png

 

Figure 5: Editing the un-configured WebPart.

The un-configured WebPart will appear in the page. Initially, there will be a notice stating that the WebPart is loading. Click on the small triangle in the top-right of the WebPart and then select ‘Edit WebPart’ from the drop-down menu.

This will put the WebPart into edit mode, and the available settings will appear in a column on the right side of the screen. The settings will appear in a number of separate sections. Refer to the Configuration and Administration document for more guidance.

1 The reverse proxy could be substituted with an alternative gateway/firewall product (i.e., ISA, UAG or TMG server).