Chapter 6: Groove Server 2007: Mastering the Groove



  • Working with the Groove Client

  • The Groove Client Possibilities

  • Groove Accounts and Identities

  • The World of Groove Development

  • The Ten Habits of Highly Successful Groovers

  • Groove in a Nutshell

There are usually three sides to every deployment: the installation, the configuration, and the client. In the previous two chapters, we discussed the installation and configuration of your Groove Manager, Relay, and Data Bridge servers. In the event you need these servers in-house, you should have no difficulty establishing your server base, ensuring network functionality (by opening the correct ports through firewalls and so forth), or maintaining a connection between your Groove environment and your Active Directory (AD) environment, which are distinct. For most Groove setups, you are complete.

However, there are branches that come off of the base we've given you. This chapter explains how to use your Groove client and what else your Groove structure can be used for, and finishes the discussion about Groove with a solid explanation of how to use the Groove client.

Working with the Groove Client

Some may consider the Groove client to be self-explanatory. They, like all presumptuous software users, will certainly be able to "get it to work," but will most likely be missing out on some of the finer features. But, admins should be up-to-date on what Groove clients can do, and how to do it.

To begin with, let's create our first Groove workspace.

The Groove Launchbar

When you start your computer with Groove 2007 installed, you will see a Groove icon in your taskbar, and the Groove Launchbar (shown in Figure 6.1) will be available by default, although you can alter these startup options. In the event you have disabled your taskbar application icons, which are popular these days, you can always launch Groove through your Programs, under Microsoft Office.

Figure 6.1

The Groove client Launchbar.

You can find everything you need to get started with Groove on the Launchbar. You'll notice that you have two tabs, one for Workspaces and one for Contacts. To alter the appearance of your Launchbar, select the Options menu and turn off Tabbed View. This action stacks both the workspace and contact portions together.

There are different ways to create a new workspace. From the Launchbar, you just click the New Workspace link at the top. Or, select the File menu and choose New – Workspace.

You will be presented with the option to create one of three types of workspaces, as shown in Figure 6.2:

  • File Sharing. This type let's you share the contents of a folder with all computers that you hold a Groove account on or with other users you invite. A file-sharing workspace will appear in your Launchbar under its own heading, to make these workspaces easier to find and sort. If you choose this option, you can select an existing folder for sharing, or create a new folder that can be automatically placed on your desktop (or wherever you choose).

  • Standard. This type let's you work with a Files tool and a Discussion tool. You can add more tools if you like. This is the quickest way to create a functioning workspace. When it is up and running, you can make configuration changes.

  • Template. This custom type let's you choose the initial set of tools within the workspace. Suppose, for example, you just want a workspace for playing chess (yes, an option). You can create one specifically for this purpose and not have to have the Files and Discussion tool in your initial workspace. You can also find other workspaces that you might have saved as templates and use those, with the tools already in place.

Note - Because the added documents and such within a workspace are not kept on a server, usually, but within each person's workspace so that he or she can work on individual pieces when not able to connect to a Groove server, that workspace might grow quite large over time. Although no specific size restriction applies to workspaces, it is recommended that you limit your size to 2GB or less. Beyond 2GB and Groove will not even be able to include new invitees to your workspace. To view the size of a workspace, just right-click the workspace from the Launchbar and choose Properties. The size is on the General tab.

Figure 6.2

Choosing your workspace type.

Quick Access to Workspaces

Laurent Kempé, in his blog at, provides some advice about how to launch a workspace faster than using the Groove Launchbar (upgraded here for Vista):

  1. Select the Start orb and go to your Documents folder.

  2. Create a folder and call it GWS (for Groove workspaces), or something of your choosing. In your GWS folder, you might create additional folders to classify your workspaces.

  3. Open the Groove Launchbar.

  4. Select one workspace and drag it to the folder you just created. Automatically, a shortcut will appear.

  5. Continue doing so for all workspaces you want to have access to.

  6. Right-click the taskbar and choose in the context menu Toolbars, New Toolbar.

  7. In the dialog, browse to Documents, GWS, and then click OK.

You now have a new toolbar called GWS in the window's taskbar that let's you choose a workspace without running the Groove Launchbar.

Working within Your Workspace

A Groove workspace is intuitive and well designed. As you can see from Figure 6.3, you have your workspace members located within a pane on the right, where you can easily add more members to the workspace or chat with existing members. In the Common Tasks pane, you can establish roles, add new tools, send messages, and so forth. And finally, the primary portion of your workspace involves the tools you have available. As you can see from the figure, the default tools provided include the following.

Figure 6.3

Choosing your workspace type.

  • Calendar. Mark important dates and build collaborative schedules with workspace members.

  • Chess Game. Play a game of chess without the distraction of the rules.

  • Custom. Choose from any of a wide variety of tools.

  • Discussion. Engage in detailed conversations with other workspace members.

  • Files. Store, organize, and share files.

  • Forms. Create customized applications for collecting and viewing data.

  • InfoPath Forms. Create customized tools based on Microsoft InfoPath 2007 form templates.

  • Issue Tracking. Report, manage, and track the status of issues and incidents.

  • Meetings. Assign agenda and action items, record meeting.

  • Notepad. A simple text editor that allows all workspace members to see what has been typed.

  • Pictures. Display and share graphic images and digital photos.

  • SharePoint Files. Synchronize files with a SharePoint document library or folder.

  • Sketchpad. Use drawing tools on a sketchpad.

To add any of these tools to your workspace select the Add Tools option and click the check box next to the tool. You can also click the button in the lower corner of your primary workspace window

Note - Many who see the long list of tools available have one question on their mind: How can I create my own custom tool? There are a couple of Groove tools you can use. One is the Groove Forms tool, which developers can use to lay out all the design objects through the Design Sandbox, which provides the environment for tools creation. Another tool you can use is the Groove InfoPath Forms tool. This tool works hand in hand with the InfoPath 2007 tool. Essentially, the InfoPath 2007 tool enables you to define your fields and form layout and then creates an XSN template that can be imported into the Groove InfoPath Forms tool. Then, the developer can add similar features that would be added within the regular Groove Forms tool (such as views and macros).

Note - For anyone who is truly looking to build applications for Groove, you should really consider the new Silverlight tools that Microsoft has recently released. You can find one excellent resource, posted by Hugh Pyle, at archive/2007/06/21/silverlight-in-groove.aspx; this will point you in the right direction. He shows you an easy approach, complete with some code examples.

You might find the Discussion tool interesting because of its ability to be modified through the Design Sandbox (see Note). From within the Discussion tool, select the Designer menu option and choose Open Design Sandbox. This will take you to the settings shown in Figure 6.4, which you can then modify directly.

Figure 6.4

Working with the Design Sandbox for the Discussion tool.

Sometimes you might add too many tools into your workspace. To remove some of your unnecessary tools, right-click the Tool tab at the bottom of your screen and select the Delete option. Or, select Delete Tool from the File menu.

If you want to quickly enter a workspace from within the tool you need the most, select File, Save Shortcut to Desktop; the shortcut will be right on your desktop for quick access to the workspace and the tool.

Managing Workspace Invitees

A workspace is only as useful as the people you've invited into it. Sometimes you only need one other person. Other times, you invite an entire team, or people from other branches (really ... whatever is needed at that time).

So, how do you add participants? Well, after you have the workspace established, you want to open the workspace, and from the Workspace Members pane put the name or email address of the recipient of the invitation in the Invite to Workspace box. Note that if you type a name, Groove will look for a Groove contact to send the invitation to. Or, you can just select a contact from the Groove contact list if a name cannot be located. When you find the person, or put in the email address, click Go to open the Send Invitation dialog, shown in Figure 6.5.

Figure 6.5

Sending invitations to join a workspace.

At this point, you need to assign a role to the person (which we discuss shortly). Select a role (Manager, Participant, or Guest), and select the Require Acceptance Confirmation check box if you want to be able to confirm the acceptance of the invitation. If you select this option, it is more than just a helpful notice for you (because you would already know whether they accepted the invitation by the fact that they would now be part of the workspace members, even without this option being selected). It is also a security measure because you will now have to accept the recipient's response and confirm the identity of the person. If an invitation is sent through email, it's automatically configured to use the confirmation of acceptance option. The recipient must confirm the invite.

You are also welcome to add a message (perhaps explaining the invitation to the workspace as an "official" invitation). And finally, you click the Invite button to send the invitation.

Note - Groove sends the invitation to the person(s) using one of the following methods: For Groove contacts, the message goes out as a Groove message. For email addresses, the message goes through Outlook as an email with a file attachment. If you aren't using Outlook, you are informed that Groove cannot send the invitation automatically. You can then copy the invitation and paste it into another email application you have running to send to the user. To do this, don't close the invitation. Instead, just select File, Copy Invitation to Clipboard.

The invitation includes instructions for persons with Groove and for those who haven't installed it yet. Those who already have Groove can click a link to open the invitation. Those who don't yet have Groove can click a link that takes them to a Groove download page. After Groove has been installed and is up and running, the invitation will open automatically (or can be reinitiated through the original email received).

Workspace Roles and Permissions

Everyone who participates within a workspace belongs to a role. Each role has specific permissions within the workspace. The roles and their permissions are as follows:

  • Manager. The creator of the workspace is automatically given the manager role. You have permission to change the roles of others, send invitations to others, and so forth.

  • Participant. A participant has permissions to interact within the workspace, invite other members, and add tools to the workspace.

  • Guest. A guest has no additional permissions.

Each tool within the workspace has its own permissions that determine what a manager, participant, or guest can do with the tool. To alter the permissions for a tool, open the File menu and select Properties, Tool. The Permissions tab will then open, as shown in Figure 6.6. From here, you can select the down arrow under Select a Role to Modify Its Permissions and choose the role. Then, select or deselect various permission settings and apply those settings.

Figure 6.6

Modifying tool permissions based on the three built-in roles.

Changing Workspace Settings

Each workspace has its own settings. To see/alter these, open the File menu and select Properties, Workspace. Or, from the Launchbar, right-click any of the workspaces and select Properties. From here, you will see four tabs (General, Alerts, Roles, and Permissions) that relate to the entire workspace.

General Tab

From within the General tab of the workspace properties, you can see the following information:

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