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This chapter is from the book

The Groove Client Possibilities

This part of the chapter focuses on the workspace world and how to manage some of the features. There is something to be said for each one of the tools at your disposal and how they work. The Groove help files are pretty thorough in their explanations. Logically, you would concur that the Chess tool is not going to be as helpful in business as the Meetings tool, but each tool expands possibilities for your communication and collaboration (some more so than others). Let's consider some of the more robust tools available.

Making Your Meetings Groovy

One of the more impressive Groove tools is the Meetings tool. This tool helps you organize, conduct, and even record meetings for workspace members.

Both managers and participants can create a meeting as follows:

  1. Select the Meetings tool.
  2. In the upper-left corner, select New Meeting to start the Meeting Wizard.
  3. Enter a subject and start and end times for the meeting.
  4. You can add a location, meeting details, and even attachments that may be necessary to read before or during the meeting.
  5. Click OK to create the meeting.

After the meeting has been established within your workspace tool, you can select that meeting and see five tabs that will help to make that meeting more "groovy," as follows:

  • Profile. Contains the start and end dates and time of the meeting, along with the location, attachments, and details.
  • Attendees. You can edit the attendees through this tab. By default, any attendee whose role is participant or higher can edit the tab. Just click the Edit button and make the changes you want. Attendees are only restricted to members of the workspace. From the Attendees tab, you can select who should attend the meeting, whether they are the chairperson or the minutes taker, and any notes you want to pass on to them.
  • Agenda. To construct the agenda for the meeting, click the New Topic button and specify the start and end times and the topic and presenter for that portion of the meeting.
  • Minutes. During the meeting, the person who is elected to take the minutes can actually use the Minutes tab to work with the agenda and type the notes directly into Groove. Just type the notes for each agenda item as you go. And then, you can save the notes for others to view.
  • Actions. Actions are essentially a list of items that must be handled as a result of the meeting. You can establish a priority for the actions and monitor their completion levels.

Integrate Groove with SharePoint

At times, envisioning ways to implement new technology is easy. Often, you have a need, and the software fills that need; so, it's a no-brainer. Other times, however, you might already have systems in place (workarounds, if you will) that now hinder your ability to visualize how the new software might benefit you. For example, although you might see the immediate benefit of Groove, especially in working with clients who are outside your corporate structure, you might not see where SharePoint and Groove can work together.

The best Groove site on the Internet these days is, hands down, the Groove Advisor (http://blogs.technet.com/groove/default.aspx), which is one of the MSDN blogs that Microsoft promotes. One scenario presented involves a situation in which a person uses Groove workspaces to communicate with 15 different partners. Essentially, he has 15 different workspaces, 1 for each partner. But, he wants to distribute the same document to all 15 partners. He could just use the workspaces to do this, posting the document to all 15. This would work, and probably is what most of us would do. (Again, it's hard to envision new uses.) But, a question arose: Is there a better, more efficient method?

The solution involves taking those 15 workspaces and connecting them to a single SharePoint document library. The Groove Advisor makes it clear that the partners are not connecting to the SharePoint library; that is your responsibility. "The library basically seeds/feeds the workspace with new documents/content." When changes appear within the workspace, Groove takes over and ensures that the documents are in sync with workspace members.

To accomplish this goal, you need to add the SharePoint files tool to your Groove workspaces and establish synchronization between the tool and the SharePoint library. (Logically, you need the SharePoint library, too.) The user doesn't have to update each client, and only has to keep the one document up-to-date on the SharePoint server.

To configure the SharePoint Files tool within your workspace, follow these steps:

  1. Select Add Tools, and choose the SharePoint Files tool.
  2. You will be taken to a welcome screen, as shown in Figure 6.8. It says "This tool allows teams to work together to produce and modify documents in SharePoint libraries. While your team works in Groove, the documents are easily be shared and stored in SharePoint through automatic integration." Click the Setup button.
    Figure 6.8

    Figure 6.8 Setting up your SharePoint Files tool.

  3. Either enter the URL or browse to locate the URL for the SharePoint site with the library or folder that you will synchronize.
  4. After you've located the library, select Open. You will now see the contents of that library from within the SharePoint Files tool.

After you have the connection made to your SharePoint library, you need to configure the synchronization schedule that will be automatically kept between the files and Groove. To set up a manual or an automatic schedule, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Calendar icon located in the synchronization bar.
  2. Choose Manually, if you want to manually synchronize your files, or Automatically, if you want the automatic route (which is easier for you). Then, choose the Every (so many number of time units).
  3. Then click OK.

Now, even if you have everything working off a scheduled synchronization, you might need to perform an immediate sync. No problem. Just choose Edit, and then select the Synchronize Now option. The files are immediately put in sync.

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