All posts by Todd

Fabulous Support for the FAB40 on SharePoint 2010

As most of you will know the SharePoint Product Group (PG) released a set of templates for WSS 3.0, known as the FAB40, to assist in addressing common business scenarios. These templates for WSS 3.0 can be downloaded in a single package here. But for those of us running SharePoint 2010 Microsoft is not planning to release new versions of these templates for SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Foundation 2010.

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The Lenovo W520–It’s not a W510 + 10

I have a Lenovo W510 and after reading Keith Combs’ review of the W520 I itching to get my hands on one. My new W520 arrived a couple of weeks ago – the part which I was most excited about was the new internal disk controller which moved from a SATA II to a SATA III. A long while back, just as they hit the market, I purchased a Crucial C300 which when I initially installed in my T61 cranked out some huge performance gains. I then moved it to a W510 and again saw another level of performance out of this drive. As with the other machines installing the C300 installing into the W520 I was not disappointed.

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We Got a Situation With The Federation

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Over the last week my team has received reports from customers running both MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010 that Federated Search Results are no longer working. The Federated location in question seems to be centered around Bing/live.com.

I setup a test this morning in my SP2010 lab and I can confirm the out of the box (OOB) “Internet Search Results” Federated location is no longer working. In fact when you add the Federated Web Part on a Search Results page and choose this location a very long delay will occur when attempting to render the search results page. Doing a sniff I can see the original request for search.live.com gets redirected to bing.com which has been typical in the past however the difference is that instead of being an RSS response, as specified in the format query string parameter, the response is sent back in HTML which injects a delay as the results are processed. Eventually the results cannot be processed and the Search Federated Results Web Part does not render any output.

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A Search SQL Index Issue

Ran into an issue the other day on SharePoint 2010 Search when configuring Managed Properties, specifically I was setting the MaxCharactersInPropertyStoreIndex value on a Managed Property. This is an integer value and is documented here. The maximum value for this property is 450 however if you set this value to its maximum value you will start seeing errors with your crawls and in our case the crawls never would complete. Taking a look at the application event log we can see the following error logged:

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The User Profile Service Heats up With a June CU Regression

Just in time for summer break here in the US the SharePoint product team has released a good number of fixes for SharePoint 2010. Service Pack 1 and the June Cumulative Update (CU) is now available for download. These are fairly substantial updates when you consider the number of bugs that have been fixed and in the case of SP1 the new improvements which have been made. To put it another way, SharePoint Server 2010 is about 1.47 GB and the Uber Package for the June CU (Foundation+Server) has a size of just about 1 GB.

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What am I looking at here?

If you poke around the various icon resources included in Windows 7 DLLs you will find some really old images that have been around since the early days Windows. Some of these icons represent devices such as phones and mobile music players which are looking pretty out dated by today’s standards. According to WikiPedia the Kinect was launched in North America in November of 2010 and publicly announced June 1st 2009. The Windows 7 Beta first appeared in December 2008 and officially in January 2009. Included in the installation of Windows 7 is a DLL named mmres.dll which has a number of icon resources embedded. While digging through the icons I found one that looked familiar and eerily like a Kinect device.

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 4: Writing a Custom Usage Receiver

This is the 4th article and last article in a series where I have been discussing the extensibility offered with the SharePoint 2010 Usage and Health services. If you have read all the prior articles to this point then bravo for you! I really hope this last article was worth the wait. At this point I have provided an overview of the Health and Usage Service, discussed the development of a Custom Usage Provider and showed you how to create custom Health reports and host those within Central Administration. This last article covers my favorite Health and Usage extensibility; “Usage Receivers”. In fact, here is a little secret I will let you in on, to build its analytic reports the SharePoint Web Analytics Service application uses a Usage Receiver to grab all its data from the OOB Request Usage Provider. So take a look at the SharePoint 2010 Web Analytics with all its data and rich reporting and know that all came from a Usage Receiver. 

If you missed the prior articles the list below is for you, otherwise lets jump into the article…

  1. Feature and Capability Overview
  2. Writing a Custom Usage Provider
  3. Writing Custom Reports
  4. Writing a Custom Usage Receiver (this article)

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 3: Writing Custom Reports

This is the third article of a 4 part series where I discuss the extensibility of the new Health and Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010. In the second article we created a custom Usage Provider which collected download information and stored it into the Usage Database. Now its time to take a look at the data which has been collected and report on it. We will do this by extending the Health Reports which currently only include reports for Slowest Pages and Top Active Users – we should have more and we will.. 

Other articles in this series are as follows:

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 2: Writing a Custom Usage Provider

blog-usage-image7This is the second article in a 4 part series were I discuss the new Health & Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010 and how they can be extended to build some very interesting solutions. In this article I will discuss the process around creating a custom usage provider, dive into some internals, and provide code examples which will pull it all together.

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Grabbing Your Pretty Mug from Active Directory

I do not normally create blog posts around topics which are covered on other blogs on the Internet however this topic seems to still draw a bit of confusion as well as I wanted to offer a very complete picture (pun totally intended) of how to move user pictures from Active Directory into SharePoint User Profiles.

Getting Started

For this walkthrough I am using a SharePoint 2010 Farm running the April 2011 CU and a single domain controller on Windows 2008 R2.

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 1: Feature and Capability Overview

This is the first article in a 4 part series were I discuss the Health & Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010 and how they can be extended to build some very interesting solutions. My hope is that after reading the series you find really cool ways to use the Usage Services and I hope to hear back on what you all have built.

The 4 part series breaks down as so with all parts will be published in quick succession so I won’t keep you waiting for the ending.

  1. Feature and Capability Overview (this article)
  2. Writing a Custom Usage Provider
  3. Writing Custom Reports
  4. Writing a Custom Usage Receiver

Continue reading Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 1: Feature and Capability Overview

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Update a List Item Without Anyone Looking

So lets say you want to change a list item but you don’t want to impact any versioning or having to deal with check-in or check-out, and you don’t want to change the last modified or modified by values. You can do this with the bit of code shown below. Grab the item reference and update the item just as you normally would however rather than calling SPItem.Update() you want to call SPItem.SystemUpdate(). You can check out the TechNet reference if you want to see additional code samples.

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We Don’t Need No Stinking Patches

Keeping up with WSS, MOSS, SharePoint Foundation, and SharePoint patches can be a challenge. The guys on my team work with many different clients whom typically run at different SharePoint versions and patch levels. Its often we have only version numbers rather than the specific patch or KB which documents an installed patch. In addition, we sometimes have the need to build out lab environments at the same patch level as the client.

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SSD Disk Allocation Size Test

Once every couple of years or so Microsoft provides me with a new laptop. This time around it was a Lenovo W510 with a quad proc (8x if you count Hyper-Threading) with 16 GB of RAM. Although the machine came with a standard 7200 RPM drive I already had two SSD drives which I plopped into the machine within minutes. Because I was moving data around and wanted to optimize things if I could on disk I wanted to look at the allocation size I used to format the SSD drives to see if I could not eek out any additional performance. Using the secondary drive as my test I formatted the OCZ 120 GB drive using the minimum, default, and maximum allocation sizes available.

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Yuletide ULS

blog-diagnostics0In this season of giving why not consider adding ULS logging to your customizations for your SharePoint administrators. When troubleshooting a critical issue around the holidays nothing goes better with the old Eggnog and Jack Daniels than some good old fashion, the way your mama did it, diagnostic logging. In this post I will show you a pattern that I use which not only provides an easy way to add that logging to your SharePoint customizations, e.g.. one method call, but also allows the SharePoint Administrator, tat has to keep your code up and running, the ability to customize and manage the Tracing and Event levels from within Central Administrator just like any other logging component within SharePoint Server 2010.

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How Many Versions Do You Have?

Seems like a simple question however for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 it may be harder than you think to get a solid answer. What is really behind the question is how much space is my versions taking up or to put it another way if I trim my versions how much space will I get back. Unfortunately we have hit upon two shortcomings with SharePoint, 1) there is no out of the box reporting mechanism to give a SharePoint administrator any insight into number of versions or storage and 2) there is no out of the box trimming policy or mechanism which can be applied. For the most part we are left with implementing storage quota and either increasing quota when requested or asking users to do a self trim of documents and/or versions manually.

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Don’t Tell SharePoint The Name of Your SQL Server

SQL Aliases have been around for a while however I am amazed at how many folks either don’t know about them or don’t use them. A SQL Alias is just a really easy way to do a string substitution of a connection string just before a connection is made to a SQL server. The SQL Alias configuration is stored in the registry and the anywhere the server name portion of the connection string matches the server alias the substation is made.

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