No matter how often a client says “it’s JUST a migration”…. it’s NEVER just a migration. Is it a coincidence that “migrate” is very close to “migraine” in the dictionary? Maybe not.
Recently, an Unbounded Solutions consultant was working on a “simple” migration project from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013. After the migration, the client requested that we open up the newly upgraded SharePoint environment so that other affiliated branches of the client could access SharePoint and some of the new configured services, with the primary installation serving as a hub for all.
Simple enough in concept… except that they had never utilized these SharePoint services previously. That’s where this migration moved into migraine mode.
With the new SharePoint environment in place, the client was eager to give Word Automation Services a spin. But a small problem cropped up: Word Automation Service had no associated application with which to function. So, they activated the service and…. Nothing happened. So the question then became, how do we test a function that doesn’t currently do anything? Our consultant answered with a simple solution – MAKE it do something.
By itself, the Word Automation Service is loaded with fantastic features. It has the ability to convert documents to another file type, paginate documents and to merge documents. It can also handle the updating of Tables of Content/Tables of Authorities/Index Fields, recalculate field types and perform XML mapping. But if no application exists to utilize these features, then how can the service be tested?
That was the question solved by Unbounded Solutions’ consultant. He developed a simple application, in this case a PowerShell script, to drive functionality and test the service. Our consultant chose the function of automating the conversion of all Microsoft Word documents in a given list into PDF files.
With an application to test the Word Automation Service, the client was pleased to see it function as they desired. Even better, the application provided a useful value-add to the client, as it automated a process that they had been doing manually to conserve storage space.
There were some choke points, of course. And we’ll cover those in the next few days in part two of this article.