Sunday, 31 May 2015

Provisioing Site Collections using CSOM - Tenant Admin API

Overview:  This post looks at provisioning site collections using CSOM.  You can also provision site collections for SharePoint using PowerShell or any Server side object model. 
Points to Note:
Programmatically you can provisioning new site collections using CSOM using 2 approached namely:
  1. Tenant Admin API
  2. Http Post method (mimic the SharePoint UI for creating a site collection)
Note: Neither approach allows you to specify the Content Database to connect to, you shall need to manage the CDB you site collection goes into using the round robin site collection OOTB method for on-prem SP. 
Note: Tenant Admin API does not allow the Quota template to be specified.  See the FAQ section in this post.
Note: Tenant Admin API requires the April 2014 SP CU or later
Note: the Search Service Application needs to be configured to handle multi-tenancy to work correctly.  As do other the Service Applications using partitions to support multi-tenancy.  If you already have existing running farm, the change is a considerable effort.  The SA need to be created in partition mode and cannot be amended after creation (you will need to re-create the service Application).
Note: Using the Tenant Admin API for SC creation - you don't get the usual SP groups such as owner, contributor and visitor - you need to manually create them.

The Tenant Admin Site Collection can reside on the same or another Web Application where the site collections shall be provisioned.  Each Tenant Admin Site Collection (has it's own site template 'tenantadmin#0') has a SubscriptionId (Subscription Group) and when using the Tenant Site collection to create a new site collection, the new site collection is given the SubscriptionId for the group i.e. you can't specify the SubscriptionId declaratively).

Outline of steps to setup the Tenant Admin API:
  1. Service Application need to be configured in partition mode (important SSA are: search, UPA, MMS, BCS, SSS, there are more).
  2. Enabling remote site collection creation using CSOM on the Web Application
  3. Enable AdministrationSiteType property from a site collection to "TenantAdministration"
  4. Enable SelfServiceSiteCreationEnabled on the Web Application
  5. Set Up Tenant Admin for Multi Tenancy/setup subscription
More Information:
Multi-tenancy/Site subscriber explained by Bill Baer
Spencer Harbar's Rational Guide to Multi-tenancy is a useful resource
General guidance for hosters in SharePoint Server 2013 provides insight into Multi-Tenancy
Scenarios where multi-tenancy potentially shall be used:
  1. O365/SharePoint Online
  2. SPO-D
  3. Hosting companies
  4. Government implementations such as G-Cloud
  5. Large Enterprise (only with extreme requirements)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

SharePoint 2016 Points from the Ignite Conference

6 May 2015

SharePoint 2016 new features (from the Ignite conference 06 May 2015)
  1. Office Graph and Delve are important in SP2016.
  2. MS are releasing a search add-on for SP2013 later in 2016, this will be part of SP2016 (vNext). The add-on stores the index on o365. allows seemless indexing of on-prem and O365 using AD to AAD sync.

Download all the Ignite Videos and Slides:

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Code Reviews for SharePoint

Overview:  Customisation in SharePoint takes different forms and having suitable environments to test code in before setting it free in production is essential.  This post looks at various types of customization and how to code review.  As a solutions architect and when I was running the Application Development CoE for a large multinational having standards and a code review checklist help immensely.

Note: The code review requires depends on CAF, FTC or JavaScript.  Depending on what is being created/built will require different code review.

JavaScript Code Review Checklist:

1.> Project Structure - js into script folder in the solution file (group images, css, js and file types so the projects are easy to understand and consistent in layout)
2.> use strict directive on all pages "use strict";
3.> Always use Javascript namespaces - avoid conflicts
4.> Move hard coding to constants at the top of the file, not single use meaningful info like undefined in.  Move declarations to the top.

5.> Only used approved frameworks like jquery, notify if any other frameworks are used.
6.> Commenting.  Ensure method names tell coders what the method is performing.  Add comments that explain the method.  Don't be afraid to add value by adding inline comments. 
7.> Display friendly messages to the users if something goes wrong and add error handling to tracking /logging such as console.log() or log to ULS from an app using the provide JS api or log to a common logging mechanism.
8.> Single spacing  (no flower potting)
9.> Remove commented out code/unused comment out calls etc.

10.> Always end your switch statements with a default statement.

11.> Ensure coding standard are consistent consider using
12.> Code adheres to your agreed coding standards and example is
C# Coding Standards for SharePoint
This is a checklist, the recommendations need to be matched to your business and some scenarios such as complied C# for PowerShell plugin won’t use all the items in this checklist.
  1. Have you followed the Enterprise design guidelines, branding guidelines and coding standards.
  2. Have you used the Commenting standards e.g.
  3. Avoid declaring inline literal strings
  4. Check empty string using length e.g. if (email.Length()=0) don't use if (email.Empty || email = "")
  5. Use StringBuilder for concatination don’t keep appending strings
  6. Return Empty array rather than null
  7. Methods must be short and focused.  Method names must be meaningful
  8. Use method Overloading, not different names for the same method.
  9. Enumerators should be used where possible, code is more understandable and options are easy to reuse.
  10. Only import namespaces you need and dlls
  11. Make helper functions i.e. don't rewrite code several times - refactor
  12. Open connections as late as possible and ensure you wrap in error handling and dispose of connections in the finally statement
  13. Reuse core code libraries (ensure commonly re-used functionality is add into core libraries cross-cutting concerns/logging/ email)
  14. Use exception Management/Try catch
  15. Try catch must try catch specific errors and lastly catch all errors.
  16. No business logic must rely on using catch statements.
  17. Don't throw exceptions within exceptions,
  18. Catch errors as specifically as possible, die gracefully and appropriately, log the errors using the CoE code core block that puts exceptions in the farms ULS and event viewer. 
  19. Dispose of SPSite and SPWeb Server site objects where approiate. Run before deployment
  20. Run stylecop and code anylsis on code regularly and before deployment
  21. Your code is x64 bit compiled. 
Have a common code/core code librry that deals with cross cutting concerns, logging, caching etc.

using Microsoft.Practices.ServiceLocation;
using Microsoft.Practices.SharePoint.Common.ServiceLocation;
using Microsoft.Practices.SharePoint.Common.Logging;
ILogger _logger = SharePointServiceLocator.GetCurrent().GetInstance<ILogger>();
Exception ex = new ApplicationException("This is my test exception");
Security in C# and SP
  1. Plain text passwords are not in stored Web.config, Machine.config, or any files that contain configuration settings. 
  2. Input surfaces such as application pages, site pages, web parts and other customizations perform client and server side validation to protect from cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. 
  3. Minimal use of elevated privileges to interact with SharePoint objects. 
  4. Sensitive data is not stored in URLs, unencrypted cookies in hidden form fields, query strings or with code. 


208/WCAG compliant?
Jaws/Browser testing?
Mobile/Phone testing?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

PhoneGap and SharePoint

For Mobile Start HTML5 Mobile web App, then PhoneGap (wrapper to interact with devices),
Xamarin, recompiles to each platform, lastly write for each native platform thin iOS/objective C for Apple. PhoneGap and Xamarin are comparable with respect to performance and have trade-offs based on code reuse, developer skill set, and integration into standard developer tool sets

Idea: Start by building HTML5 sites with a responsive design then leverage these HTML5, CSS and JS assets hooking into SharePoint and extend with device capabilities using Hybrid framework (PhoneGap)

Web view Yes Yes
Audio/Video files YesYes
Location YesYes
Local storage YesYes

Notifications (local, alert, push)
Compass NoYes
Native UINoNo
Access to full API/SDK No No

Also see:

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Empty Developer Dashgboard in SP2013

Problem: No data is showing up on the developer dashboard in SharePoint 2013.

Initial Hypothesis:  My initial thoughts where around the SSL cert issue on the VM or potentially Fiddler causing the dev dashboard to be empty.  after looking at the ULS a good developer could see the Usage and Health Data Collection Service Application was not working.

Resolution: Once the Usage SSA was configured, the dashboard started working.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Identity Providers for SharePoint

Overview:  I have worked with and evaluated a couple of Services and Federation Server products.  Here is an old pot of setting up claims, at the bottom I have some thoughts on different services/server products.
Background: SAML and WS-Federation protocols are standard Single Sign-On protocols, the following version exist:
  • SAML 1.0, SAML 1.1, SAML 2.0
  • WS-Federation
Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an XML-based protocol for exchanging authentication and authorization data between security domains.
SAML enables web-based authentication scenarios including cross-domain single sign-on (SSO).  SAML is a token representing a principal that normally represents a user but can represent an app.
Other terms to understand:
  • Identity provider (IdP) think ADFS/Azure ACS,
  • Service provider (SP) is the SAML consumer in our context this is SharePoint but this can be an MVC app.
  • Realm
OOTB SP2010 and SP2013 support SAML1.1 not SAML2.0, you can write custom code or use a Federation Server like ADFS to convert the SAML2.0 so it will work with SP.
Identity Provider (IdP) Products:
  1. Microsoft ADFS
  2. Ping Federate
  3. ThinkTexture Identity Server
  4. CA-SiteMinder
  5. IBM Tivoli (CAM)
  6. Oracle Access Manager
  7. ComponentSpace
  8. Shibboleth
  9. RSA Federated Identity Manager
  10. Entrust GetAccess
 IdP Services:
  1. Azure Active Directory
  2. LiveId
  3. Google
  4. Facebook
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Yahoo
This list is in no way exhaustive, pls post if you feel I am missing any providers.