Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Emailed HTML Rich Text Column Relative URLs

  • You have a list with a multi line text column with Enhanced Rich Text.
  • The item contains links from the current server.
  • You are emailing the contents of that column via SharePoint Designer 2007 Workflows
  • The hyperlinks in the email do not work.
  • The server name was automatically stripped from the URL, making a relative path.
  • Workaround:
    • Add the following note to the field description notifying users of the problem and the workaround.
      • "Use http://TinyUrl.com for hyperlinks and images on this site.  This will prevent emailed relative links."
    • This works because SharePoint only strips URLs it recognizes as local URLs
      • These are usually defined in the Alternate Access Mappings
    • You can use any URL redirector
  • Fixes:
    • Use Visual Studio Workflows and replace the Relative URLs with Absolute URLs
    • Intercept the outbound emails (on the SharePoint or Email servers) and replace
    • Use a custom Workflow Action that prepends the servername into the URLs
    • Use a different field type.  Try different custom Rich Text editor columns.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Help Desk Template Sealed Columns

  • You wish to install the MS Fab 40 Help Desk template.
  • You need to change the values in, description of, or delete the Status, Priority, or KBArticle choice or lookup columns/fields.
  • These columns are Sealed in the list definition. Therefore, you cannot delete or edit them.
    • Note: The Priority column seems to inherit initial values from the standard Priority site collection column
  • If you haven't done much with the template, you can unseal the columns in the site definition.  You must do the following on each FEW server.  You must then recreate any ServiceRequest lists.
    • Navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\12\TEMPLATE\FEATURES\HelpDeskServiceRequestsList\servicerequest
    • Edit schema.xml
    • Replace all instances of Sealed="TRUE" with Sealed="FALSE"
  • If you have made changes, you can unseal all columns except Priority using SharePoint Manager 2007.  Priority can be hidden from forms and views or may be removed programatically.  Or alternatively, you can change the list definition as above, create a new ServiceRequest list and move the items from the old list to the new.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SharePoint 2007, 2010, and 2013 Cascading Lookup Column Comparison

  • You have multiple SharePoint lists that are related
    • Parent/Child or other relationship
  • You want to allow the user to define the relationship via a Lookup Column Dropdown (Combobox) or Multiselect Interface
  • Or you need filtered lookups or some other additional lookup functionality
  • The out of the box SharePoint Lookup Field columns are severely limited
    • They really only work for relatively small lists of uniquely named items that don't change often
    • SharePoint 2010 natively supports related lists, but do not have all the features below
  • We need one or more of these advanced features
    1. Cascading Updates (and possibly deletes)
      • Maintain Referential Integrity
      • Updates made in one list are reflected in the lookups.
    2. Keyboard filtering from the dropdown and multiselect interfaces
      • Autocomplete, find as you type
    3. Cascading drop-down filters
      • One or more dropdowns to filter the final dropdown
      • Ex: State, County, City
    4. Lookup filters (likely based on a List View)
      • Ex: Only show my Cities, or only show Active Items in the lookup
    5. Datasheet view editing (Excel, Access), InfoPath, and Office DIP support
      • In most cases this is unavailable.  The workaround is to create a view without the lookup fields for use with Office integration and ensure the lookup fields are not required or have a default value.
    6. AJAX
      • We don't want to postback when applying realtime filtering
      • We may not want to preload all the values for very large lists
    7. May be used in a Calculated Column
      • Ideally the text field and ID field would both be accessible
    8. Supports multiple display fields from the lookup list
      • ex: First and Last Name concatenation in the dropdown
      • Workaround would be to use a calculated field within the lookup list
    9. Link to add an item to the lookup list from the lookup column interface
    10. Cross site support
      • By default the list must be in the same subsite as the lookup column
    11. Cross site-collection support and content type hub support
      • Workaround would be to synchronize lookup lists accross site collections using a workflow, content deployment job, or a custom timer job.
    12. Two-way relationships
      • Items within a lookup list will keep track of where they have been referenced.
      • Ex: Orders are linked to a customer via the order form.  On the customer form, you can see the linked orders.
      • SharePointBoost's LookupBoost or Sparqube's Lookup Tracker can be installed to provide this information via a separate relationships page.
    13. Matches the SharePoint look and feel
      • Ex: Inherits themes/styles for drop down
    14. Can be created as a site column
      • Sometimes only implemented as a list column.
    15. Conversion tool 
      1. Converts lookup columns to custom lookup
      2. Converts custom lookup back to a regular lookup
    16. Allow filtering from a multiselect
      • Ex: Filter lookup of Cities when multiple States are selected
    17. Set the lookup column's default value
    18. Referential Integrity (2010 new feature)
      • Cascade or disable updates/deletes when the item is used in lookups elsewhere
      • Not available on a multi-select
    19. Projected Columns (2010 new feature)
      • Lists with the lookup column will expose other columns from the lookup list.
      • Ex: Order list with a Customer lookup column could also include Customer Phone and Customer Email in the Order list view based on the selected Customer
  • The following third-party products are available to meet your needs.  This analysis was done based on the marketing material available on their websites and any personal experience I have with them.   ? - denotes unknown feature
    • SharePoint 2010 Lookup Column (Out of the box - not third party)
      • Features: 1 (includes recycle bin), 2, 5?, 10, 13, 14, (17 via code), 18, 19
    • Sparqube SharePoint Lookup Column (SharePoint 2010+)
      • Features (provided by vendor): 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
      • Note: There are 2 column types to choose from.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.  All features above may not be available depending upon which control you use.
      • (12) Sparqube Lookup Tracker provides this as a separate (included) feature
    • KWizCom SharePoint Cascading Lookup Plus
      • Features: 1?, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12*, 14, 15.1, 17?, 18?, 19?
      • Review Notes
        • Runtime issues will occur if you are still referencing AJAX 1.x
        • Single-select, single-value items appear in a grid format with a header
        • Display form grid uses a hyperlink icon rather than text
        • Dropdown skins do not match SharePoint but are customizable
      • *(12) Same list 2-way relationships are not supported
    • SharePointBoost Cascaded Lookup
      • Features: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (except multiselect), 8*, 9, 10, 12*, 13, 14, 15, 17*, 18, 19
      • *(12) Lookup Boost: Provides feature 12 via a separate relationship page
      • Review Notes
        • Installed properly
        • Worked as advertised
        • Issue with saving a sub-site as a template after implementing a root level site column and content type.  Workaround provided by SharePointBoost
      • *(8) - Doesn't support hyphenated values in the drop-down for SP 2010.
      •  *(17) - Only supports defaulting to first item in a view and does not support the standard Default property, so this is difficult to set from code.  Does not support defaults on a multi-select.
    • Azu Lookup Plus 2013
      • I haven't evaluated this yet.  Please refer to the website.
    • Infowise
      • Features: 3, 4, 9+, 10, 12 (with bi-directional bundle), 13, 14, 15, 17?, 18?, 19?
      • (9+) Enhanced support for inline simple text additions and for task creation
    • Bamboo Lookup Selector
      • Features: 2, 3, 6, 10, 11, 17?, 18?, 19?
    • SharePointBoost Cross-Site Lookup
      • Features: 2, 10, 15, 17?, 18?, 19?
      • Lookup Boost: Provides feature 12 via a separate relationship page
    • SharePoint Tool Basket
      • Features: 2, 6, 17?, 18?, 19?
      • Open Source
    • SharePoint Cascaded Lookup Dropdowns
      • Features: 3, 6 (client-side only), 17?, 18?, 19?
      • Not a column.  Must be applied to each form.
      • Open Source
    • CodePlex Filtered Lookup
      • Features: 4, 10, 17?, 18?, 19?
      • Open Source

Monday, November 8, 2010

From SmartPart To Visual Web Part Demo and Slides

Here is the solution and slides for my presentation on SharePoint SmartPart and SharePoint 2010 Visual Web Part development.

Slides and Project
I updated the slides to add a section on uploading images to an image library, as in my prior post.  I also updated the custom property section of the slides to reflect the need to implement the custom property in the Web Part class rather than the User Control class.

I also updated the slides to include a quick intro to SharePoint for presenting to a .Net usergroup.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adding Pictures to a Picture Library via a VS2010 Module

  • You would like to add some Images to an existing Image Library in your SharePoint site using a Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Project.
  • You do this by following these steps.
    • Add a module to the project
    • Rename the module to the Image Library name
    • Set the module tag's url and path properties to the Image Library name
      • Leaving spaces in place
      • Ex: <Module Name="Recipe Pics" Path="Recipe Pics" Url="Recipe Pics">
    • Add the images to the module using Visual Studio Solution Explorer's "add existing item" option
    • Add the Type="GhostableInLibrary" tag to the Elements.xml tag for each image
      • Ex: <File Path="FriedOkra.jpg" Url="FriedOkra.jpg" Type="GhostableInLibrary"/>
    • Run the project to deploy the solution
      • This should run without errors
  • The images are in the Image Library, but the thumbnails on the list view and the item views are missing.  The Item view displays icjpg.gif instead.
  • This issue is also documented on Eugene Rosenfeld's blog.
  • Check-out and check-in each image you just added
    • This creates the appropriate thumbnails, but this is a manual process and will be wiped out next time you redeploy the module
    • One option is to add a feature that will check out and in each image.  An alternative is to add the thumbnails directly to the module, although this has 1 issue as outlined below.
  • To add the thumbnails to the module, follow these steps
    • On the Image List's default view page you should see the "t" thumbnails for your images
      • Save each "t" thumbnail to disk in an "_t" subfolder
      • Replace any Html Encoding with the original characters
        • Change %20 to a space 
    • Click on each image's view page and you should see the "w" thumbnail
      • Save each "w" thumbnail to disk in an "_w" subfolder
      • Replace any Html Encoding with the original characters
        • Change %20 to a space
      • Issue: The "_w" images do not work correctly in 2010 with this method.  They are uploaded, but the default item view will not display them.
    • Add _w and _t folders to your module in Visual Studio
    • Add existing items to each module folder from the above subfolders
    • Add the Type="GhostableInLibrary" tag to the Elements.xml tag for each thumbnail image

Monday, July 12, 2010

Download for Search Server Express 2008

  • You would like to upgrade WSS 3.0 to Search Server Express 2008 or would like a fresh intall of Search Server 2008 Express. 
  • Microsoft now redirects most of the download pages to Search Server 2010.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CQWP Expiration Date issue

  • You would like to filter your Content Query Web Part by Expiration Date.  You would like items to show up when any of the following are true (OR filter)

    • They are not expired (Expiration is greater than or equal to [Today])
    • Have no expiration date (expiration is null)
  • There is no Null option in the CQWP Web Part Edit Toolpane, therefore you can only enter the first criteria above.  Therefore, when the Expiration field is left blank (null date), the value is excluded from results.
  • One workaround is to use a Data View web part via SharePoint Designer instead of the CQWP.  This will allow you to display a similar format, while adding a null date to the filter.

    • Use the a href="/{@FileDirRef}/DispForm.aspx?ID={@ID}" syntax to include a hyperlink in the title
    • The ... (more) feature will not be included

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dropbox, LiveMesh, and ZumoDrive! Free cloud storage for the masses.

How did we ever do without cloud storage???

I've been a long time user of GetDropbox and have recently begun using ZumoDrive and Windows LiveMesh/SkyDrive and am very impressed with how useful and easy to use they are.  Before GetDropbox, I was an AOL XDrive user (pre-closure) and prior to that I minimally used Yahoo Briefcase!  Dropbox, LiveMesh, and ZumoDrive are must-haves and are much easier to use than any other free service so far.  MS and Google also offer some document specific services via Office Live SkyDrive and Google Docs storage offerings.  These are more limited regarding synchronization, supported file types, and ease of use.  However, they do offer more free storage and free versions of document editing/viewing applications.

LiveMesh is Microsoft's folder synchronization application that supports syncing to the SkyDrive cloud storage system as well as PC to PC.  It is packaged as part of Windows Live essentials which also includes the extremely useful Windows Live Photo Gallery (facial recognition tagging).  All for Free!
How They Work
  • Each service provides a limited amount of free online storage.  Some offer extra space for referrals (GetDropBox) or for running through the tutorial.  Extra storage is also available for a reasonable monthly fee.
  • The storage is automatically synced directly to a drive or folder on your computer or select smartPhones via a downloadable application which integrates into the OS.
    • Working on files offline will sync once connected
    • No manual intervention required
    • SkyDrive's sync app is called LiveMesh
  • On public terminals or without the application, you can still access the files via their web sites.
  • A few versions of each document are stored by each service to keep track of changes and roll-back accidental saves.
    • Currently, ZumoDrive keeps unlimited versions.
    • LiveMesh does not version.
  • You can share the files with friends or the public as desired (Think FTP).  This is very handy for CraigsList posts, linking to a file instead of attaching it to an email, etc.
The Differences
  • ZumoDrive currently offers larger paid plans but GetDropbox is slightly less expensive for its upgraded plan.  SkyDrive (LiveMesh) offers the most free space
    • Prices and plans will probably even out in the future.
  • GetDropbox adds a folder to your MyDocuments folder, whereas ZumoDrive adds a fixed drive letter
    • ZumoDrive shows how much space is remaining as the disc size.
  • ZumoDrive offers unlimited Versioning, whereas GetDropBox is limited, LiveMesh does not version (SkyDrive can version select doc types, but no integration with LiveMesh)
  • LiveMesh has some exclusive bonuses
    • Internet Explorer favorites/bookmark synchronization
    • Unlimited file/folder synchronization between connected computers/devices
      • This is great for those big videos that are too large for the cloud storage solution
Some other must-have cloud solutions
  • Favorites / Bookmarks
    • Live Mesh Favorites synchronization
    • Google Bookmarks
      • With Toolbar and List integration
  • Image/Photo storage
    • Shutterfly
      • My Preferred since full quality images are retrievable via a Backup DVD purchase and full quality images are saved
    • Too many to list. :)
  • Events and Invitations
    • Facebook
    • Evite
    • Pingg
    • Meetup
    • Sportsvite
  • Social Networking
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Google+
  • Online Documents/Collaboration
    • Office Live SkyDrive (Office Web Apps)
    • Google Docs
    • Google Lists
    • Office 365 / BPOS / Microsoft Office Online (Pay Service)
      • SharePoint, Exchange, Communicator/Lync, and Live Meeting
      • When you need collaboration for a small to medium sized office/group
      • Includes Office Web Apps
      • Priced per user with a minimum of 5

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asp.Net Alternative To SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges

  • You would like to run code as the Application Pool user rather than impersonated/delegated logged-in user within a SharePoint Application
  • You would like to run the same code outside of SharePoint in a standard Asp.Net environment or will be developing on a workstation where SharePoint is not installed
  • You can use the System.Web.dll's Hosting.HostingEnvironment.Impersonate() method to wrap the elevated code

  • Using (System.Web.Hosting.HostingEnvironment.Impersonate())
         'Elevated Code Here
    End Using

Friday, January 15, 2010

IE Bug: Embedded CSS Styles within AJAX UpdatePanel

  • You have a Web UserControl with embedded <style> tags within an UpdatePanel.
  • Internet Explorer: After an Asynchronous postback some of the Styles are no longer applied.

    • In my case the height property on a div.  This was confusing since the code was expanding/collapsing the div, but the bug was ignoring the style.

  • If you check the source via IE Developer Toolbar you will see that the style is supposed to be applied.
  • I was able to resolve this by moving the <style> section to the bottom of the UpdatePanel.

    • I don't know why this works.

  • The best solution is to move the <style> section to the Master Page or Aspx Page <header> section.

    • This is the only approved location for embedded Styles.
    • You can alternatively include a css file.

  • Another alternative is to RegisterClientScriptBlock the style or an external css reference from the UserControl

Sample Code:
<asp:UpdatePanel ID="UpdatePanel1" runat="server">
        <style type="text/css">
        <asp:Panel CssClass="collapsed" runat="server" ID="pnlMain">
            1<br />2<br />3<br />4<br />5<br />6<br />
        <asp:Button ID="btnExpCol" runat="server" Text="Expand" />