Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Logging custom error for SharePoint 2010 custom code

Problem: SP2010 has good logging in the ULS logs. Unlike MOSS you can write to the ULS logs in SharePoint 2010, allowing for a single consistant place to log your errors. The event viewer logs errors to a lesser extent than ULS where administrators tend to look first. However, on all projects the topic of how and where to log custom coding errors comes up. What level should the event be caught at and where should they be placed. I have seen multiple was of doing this and it really comes down to what the previous projects used and how do you want to monitor errors.
Tips:
  1. Don't write code to function using error catching i.e. I have seen developers catch a specific error and from this position they know the code is to follow specific logic -it's very inefficient. Write code to deal with all situations.
  2. Catch errors as specifically as possible, then decide if the error should be bubbled up or can it be dealt with via the logs. But catch the appropriate errors so they are logged.
  3. You can write to Unified Logging Service(ULS) logs but these are often not checked or hard to find issues you have thrown up in your code, so consider using a logging block such as Microsoft's Enterprise Logging blocks or Log4net. Ted Pattison suggests writing to ULS and he know his stuff so if you don't have another specified logging policy write to the ULS. And if you do have another logging method consider writing to the ULS anyway.
  4. There are a lot of logging applications for .NET, and most companies tend to have logging code ready for implementation on your SP 2010 project.
  5. I have seen a MS gold partner use tracing on all projects. So when an error occurs they turn on tracing and try replicate the issue in production environments. Far better to catch errors so you can get your issues resolved quickly and don't need to change config setting or leave tracing enabled on the live production boxes.
  6. A web part error can cause an entire page to throw an application error. However don't throw try catch blocks around all code, rather try catch the errors at more appropriate junctions such as at the service layer. Once again it really depends on the WP.
Summary: Avoid using errors for logic (pretty obvious). Log the errors to a distinct area (database, file system(xml files are pretty useful)) to identifying where and what the issue is. Catch specific errors -try not to catch general exceptions and if you do need to catch general exceptions make sure you have looked for more specific exceptions such nullrefobjectexceptions.

More Info:
MSDN SharePoint Logger - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff798361.aspx
Writing to the ULS
Update: 5 Dec 2010 - Writing to ULS using SP2010 by Waldek Mastykarz
Update: 18 Jab 2011 - MSDN article on logging and debugging

The SharePoint Logger
using Microsoft.Practices.ServiceLocation;ILogger logger = SharePointServiceLocator.GetCurrent().GetInstance();
using Microsoft.Practices.SharePoint.Common.ServiceLocation;
using Microsoft.Practices.SharePoint.Common.Logging;
IServiceLocator serviceLocator = SharePointServiceLocator.GetCurrent();
ILogger logger = serviceLocator.GetInstance();
logger.TraceToDeveloper("Unexpected condition");

Update 14 Dec 2010 - ULS Viewer - Tool to view ULS log and filter data
Update 23 Dec 2010 - Tracing using CorrelationId

SharePoint 2010 using VS 2010 and Visual Source Safe 2005

Overview: Client is implementing SP 2010, they don't have TFS and the source control is Visual Source Safe (VSS) 2005.
Steps to integrate VS2010 into VSS 2005:
  • Install the VSS client on your development server/environment;
  • Open the VSS explorer and add the project (Subsequent developers need to locate the file and download a copy) and set the working directory if pulling the project;

  • Open VS2010, select Tools > Options > Source Control > Plug-in Selection > Change the source control to "Microsoft Visual SourceSafe";


  • I prefer to hold my solution file locally and pull my projects however a lot of architects prefer to keep the solution in Source Control. Open the solution in VS2010 and you should be ready to run.
  • Tip: If you projects won't deploy click on the project and look at the "Site Url", this gets cleared down. Enter you local development server url i.e. http://demo1.app.dev/

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Inefficient Queries - SPMetal join issue

Problem: LINQ to SharePoint 2010 (SPMetal) is not querying 2 SharePoint lists, when using SPMetal on a visual web part. I am trying to JOIN 2 lists inside a web part. The Application error message is "The query uses unsupported elements, such as references to more than one list, or the projection of a complete entity by using EntityRef/EntitySet.".



Hypothesis: At the SharePoint conference in Vegas Oct 2009 I remember in 1 of the sessions that inefficient LINQ queries are blocked. This was a little vague but a good start noting the stack trace message "InvalidOperationException: The query uses unsupported elements, such as references to more than one list, or the projection of a complete entity by using EntityRef/EntitySet.]
Microsoft.SharePoint.Linq.Rules.QueryEfficiencyProcessor.Process(Expression e)"
.
Exception Details: System.InvalidOperationException: The query uses unsupported elements, such as references to more than one list, or the projection of a complete entity by using EntityRef/EntitySet.
Using LINQ I can query each of the lists.  Each list has a field of the same type that I am trying to join on. I was totally confused but realised it must be an issue with the efficiency/validity of the query. A simpler query worked so it looks like the CAML is not being correctly formed. I extracted the CAML using the DataContext Log method.
My choices are:
  1. To get and fix the CAML query and then run a CAML query manually in my code;
  2. Use LINQ to objects; or
  3. Perform 2 queries and link the data manually.
Resolution:
Reading a post on MSDN on 2 stage queries gave me a quick fix. By adding the ToList() method, the query works.
var empQuery = from bug in Bugs.ToList()
join emp in Employees on bug.AssignedTo equals emp.Title
select new
{ emp.Title,
Project = bug.Project
};

Explanation: ToList() method forces immediate query evaluation and returns the generic that contains the query result.  As described in the MSDN article above LINQ can't convert the LINQ to SharePoint into a CAML query so by using the ToList() method, the query is broken into 2 stages.  This will apply to queries that use JOINS, UNIONS, and various other LINQ operators as described in the MSDN Unsupported LINQ queries article.

Tip: Turn off Object Change Tracking if you are only reading data.

LINQ to SharePoint Posts on this Blog
Links:
Linq to SharePoint 2010 examples
Tip: CAML query for optimised speed settings, only bring back columns you will use querySearch.ViewFieldsOnly = true;
querySearch.IncludeMandatoryColumns = false;
Display the CAML that LINQ to SharePoint is running

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Connected Web Parts in SP2010

Good starting point for creating consumers & Provider web parts

Delete Web Parts from a page using the browser

Problem: A web part fails, is hidden and you can remove it using the edit mode on a SharePoint page.
Resolution: A custom crafted url will display a list of web parts and allow you to cleanup the page as required. Enter the domain plus http://url/_layouts/spcontnt.aspx?&url=page>

If the page with the problem had the url http://demo1.dev/myarea/printer.aspx
You would enter the url http://demo1.dev/_layouts/spcontnt.aspx?&url=myarea/printer.aspx
Alternatively Approach: Append ?content=1 to the url and you will be directed as above.
Example:
Page: http://www.demo.dev/sites/sponline/Pages/ViewProperty.aspx
Make it: http://www.demo.dev/sites/sponline/Pages/ViewProperty.aspx?contents=1
You get re-directed to: http://www.demo.dev/sites/sponline/_layouts/spcontnt.aspx?&url=%2fsites%2fsponline%2fPages%2fViewProperty.aspx

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

XLV Web Part with filtering and customised UI (xslt)

Overview: Create a filterable view to display orders. 2 SharePoint lists: Product & Order and connected via a lookup column. Each product has an owner that we call the printer. We will use an Xslt List View (XLV) Web Part (WP) to display the multiple orders information. The UI will be customised using xslt and lastly a filter is needed to select the Printer/Owners. This will allow the Owner to see all their outstanding orders.
Steps:
1.> Create a new Site Page using the SharePoint 2010 site.

2.> Insert a SharePoint List Filter Web Part.

3.> Insert a XLV WP, this is created by SharePoint for any list/library that is create in SP2010. You will see the appropriate WP under the “List and Libraries” category when adding a WP to a page.


4.> Configure the SPListFilter to display the Owners/Printers.

5.> Setup the 2 WP to be connected WPs.


6.> Web page for ready for testing.

7.> Perform filtering using the Owner filter.

8.> Results Displayed

Thursday, 17 June 2010

XLVWP - Filtering the xslt List View Web Part Series

Overview: Xslt List View (XLV) Web Part is widely used in SP 2010. This series of posts shows how to use this Web Part. Various connected web parts can be used to filter the XLVWP such as a List Filter Web Part.

Filtering: The filtering web parts provides a good way to filter data in the XLVWP. Using Connected Web Parts it is easy to filter the data you wish to retrieve. Below is the setup of 2 List View Web parts that are used to filter depending on the selected data.


Presentation: SPD 2010 provides a good tool for customising the presentation of the XLV WP. Additionally you can uncouple the default shared XSLT and provide your own customised xslt.

Also see:XSLT List View Web Part (XLV):

Filter web parts are missing

I couldn't find the "filter web parts" on my SP 2010 installation, they are there just add them to the web part gallery.
In the RTM the filter WP are available by default and didn't need to be added.

A list of OOTB Web Parts

How Filter WP work from the MS site. Writen for MOSS but still applies to SP2010.

  1. Connect a filter Web Part to a List View Web Part to display a subset of data.
  2. The filter Web Part provides a value.
  3. The filter value is passed to a column in the List View Web Part by using a Web Part connection.
  4. The List View Web Part displays only those columns that match the filter value

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Finding Your Default File Locations in SMO

Alan White's article helped me figure out where my default databases would be created.
To open SQL Powershell type "sqlps" in the run prompt.

==============================================

Update: 2012/12/20
Problem: After creating a udl file to check my SQL connection to the database which failed I realiased the SQL 2012 install done by the DBA was not on the default port 1433.  And it was set to dynamic.

Resolution: Change the TCP/IP network configuration as shown below

 

SQL Server for SharePoint 2010 notes

  • SharePoint Server 2010 needs 64-bit SQL Server 2008 SP 1 CU2 (Cumulative Update) or 64-bit SQL Server 2005 SP3 CU3.
  • Determine you storage requirements
  • SQL is I/O intensive, to improve this get fast disks and use multiple disks & disk controllers.
  • Use a SAN if possible, the physical hardware with multiple disks that are RAID 10 (Stripped & mirrored) preferable with C:\ drive for programs, d:\ for data and e:\ for logs.
  • Don't virtualise SQL Server unless you are a virtualisation expert and can get extremely high IOPS.
  • Search db's can also be broken into their own drive/disks.
  • Build the database with hardware redundancy (NIC, controllers, RAID).
  • Use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition if possible.
  • Index's will be about 25% of the size of your database storage.
  • 8 GB is the minimum amount of RAM for a DB in production, 16 GB is more comfortable and for large farms or big site collections 64GB is a good guideline. SQL Enterprise Edition (EE) can support up to 2 Terabytes of RAM.
  • Don't install any other software on the database as you want maximum I/Oa nd the DB server/s should be locked down.
  • SQL guideline is 4 SP2010 server for each SQL machine.
  • Use multiple Data files for Content databases (Distribute data across disks, faster backup and restore). Try keep data files roughly similar in size & usage.
  • Large files can be store in Remote Blob storage (RBS), saves db and can be cheaper on disk space. Cheaper storage can be used to hold large blob data such as cloud storage. Blobs can be stored locally using the files stream using all versions of SQL, for remote storage EE is needed (Not sure what this means).
  • Pre-grow data & log files, faster than doing it on the fly when the system is over utilised.
  • Try keep 25% of db space free for growth in peak times.
  • Monitor SQL Servers including hardware counters.
  • SQL Database Mirroring is greatly improved.
  • Use backup compression on SQL 2008 (2005 not supported) is backup size is an issue. I/O is improved for the backup process.
  • SQL 2008 offers improved clustering.
  • Mirroring or Clustering is a good resilience option.  Review for HA.
  • Use Windows authentication not mixed mode authentication.
  • Use throttling if SQL is under load.
  • Transparent Data Encryption is supported in SQL 2008 EE & SP2010, there are costs but security is much better.
  • Failover clustering is still available is you use Standard or EE of SQL 2008.
  • Clustering and mirroring are good options for High Availability (HA) select appropriately for your network and knowledge.
  • Install SQL Server using a domain account.  The windows service account needs no permissions but is needed for advance SQL features as opposed to using built in accounts or local accounts.
  • I tend to use IP adrs for point to SQL Server, the netbios name also works and can be easier in the event of a SQL Server disaster.  For really good availability use a SQL Alias, it takes more setup time but if you loose your SQL box you will be glad you did it as you can switch over to another SQL box quickly.
  • Mirroring is a good option for HA.  Backups can be performed in various ways ensure you select the appropriate backup strategy. 
  • Max Degree of Parallelism (MAXDOP) should be set to 1. This can be found on the SQL Server instance properties > Advanced > Parallelism > Max Degree of Parallelism. Or run the T-SQL SELECT value FROM sys.configurations WHERE name = 'max degree of parallelism' SP2013 tries to reset MAXDOP during installation. 
  • AUTO_UPDATE_STATISTICS & AUTO_CREATE_STATISTICS should be disabled in SP2010.  More Info.
  • Use the default SQL Collation (Latin1_General_CI_AS_KS_WS), a good reason why SharePoint farms should have their own SQL Server instance.
  • Full backups should clear down the transaction log, if the transaction log is not cleaned up, perform it manually after you have checked the SQL backup of the db is valid.
  • Incremental backups are cumulative i.e. they go back to the last Fullback up not the last incremental backup.
  • Don't let transaction logs grow continuously, perform full backups periodically followed by taking a transaction log backup that truncates the log to remove/zero unused transactions.
  • SQL 2008 Developer Edition is the equivalent of SQL 2008 Enterprise Edition.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 is the best option if you can choose.
  • To determine SQL edition in SQL Management Studio run
SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'), SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel'), SERVERPROPERTY ('edition')
  • SQL Server 2008 = 10.0.1600.22 needs cumulative update 2 for SP1. Update - 12/10/2010 or SP2
  • SQL Server 2008 SP1  = 10.0.2531.0 needs cumulative update 2 for SP1.
  • SQL Server 2008 SP1 + CU2 = 10.0.2714.0
  • SQL Server 2008 + SP2 = 10.0.4000.0 Update - 12/10/2010
  • SQL Server 2008 R2  =  10.50.1600.1 Update - 12/10/2010
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 = 10.50.2500.0 Updated - 26/07/2011
I also telnet from each of my SharePoint servers to SLQ Server before I install to ensure networking is working and that SQL Server is available.

SharePoint DB's create:
SPF2010: 1) Configuration database (DB), 2) CA, Content DB's (multiple for site collections, 3) 1 content db stores 1 or more site collections data, Best Practice is to limit content db's to 200GB), 4) Usage and Health Data Collection database (farm health & usage info), 5) Business Data Connectivity database, Application Registry database(BDC in MOSS used for historic reason) & 6) Subscription Settings database.
SPS2010 Std Ed: 1) Secure Store database (stores & masps credentials), 2) State database (State info used by forms server, info path & visio services), 3) Web Analytics Staging database, 4) Web Analytics Reporting database, 5) Search service application Administration database, 6) Search service application Crawl database, 7) Search service application Property database, 8) User Profile service application Profile database, 9) User Profile service application Synchronization database, 10) User Profile service application Social Tagging database, 11) Managed Metadata database, 12) Word Automation Services database
SPS2010 Ent Ed: 1) PerformancePoint service application database, 2) Project Server 2010 databases, 3) Published database, 4) Archive database, 5) Reporting database, 6) ...
More info:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc990273.aspx
Determine the SQL Server version installed
SQL Version no's
SQL DB info for SP 2010 - db's created
Updated 15 Dec 2010 - Database Maintenance for SharePoint 2010 by Matt Ranlett, Brendon Schwartz
Updated 11 May 2011 - Nice simple article on the SP2010 database's by Bert Jan van der Steeg
Updated 24 May 2011 - SQL Server mirror is either Synconous (hot standby for HA) or Asynconous (for DR).  Mirroring requires Enterprise edition and standard edition support is limited.  Clustering is normally done in the same server room whereas Mirroring is done on a remote site, the distance is dictated by the speed of the connection.
Update 11 Aug 2011 - Set the appropriate recovery model for your SP2010 databases.
Updated 28 May 2012 - SQL Best Practices for SharePoint 2010
Update 13 August 2013 - Best Practices for SQL Server in a SharePoint 2013 Farm - In SP2013 still ensure MAXDOP is set to 1.  Note:  During the SPInstall SQL will make this change if it has permissions to do this.

Moving a site collection to a new database

Problem: IT department created my development machine using a base image with a 20GB C:\ drive. The company insists I use SQL Server 2010 express for development. I installed SQL Express onto the C:\ drive. The databases are all stored on the same c drive along with the Windows footprint of 13GB. Very quickly I ran out of space.
Initial Hypothesis: When creating content databases thru Central Administration (CA), SharePoint will use the SQL default file location for *.mdf and *.ldf files. Therefore I need to change the location where the data and log files will be setup thru the UI.
I have a large D:\ drive so I should move the data and log files to the D:\ drive. I need to:
  • Change the default location of the files to the D:\ drive for data\log files;
  • Create a new content database to host the existing site collections; and
  • Move the existing data (site collections) to the newly created content database.
Resolution:
The base image is causing issues, this couple with me putting the default location on my C drive and the inability of this environment to resize virtual machine drives I had had to use the resolution below.

1.> Change the default location using T-SQL (I'm sure there is a better solution using Power Shell for Windows using SMO);
SQL Server Management Studio


2.> Open Power Shell (PS) for SharePoint



PS> Move-SPSite -Identity http://mysharepointsite.com.au/sites/user -destinationdatabase WSS-Content-NewUserDB


Your should work, I will solve the SQL permissions issue in my next post.

More Info:
SQL default location info

Moving site collections using PowerShell or move the entire Content DB

Monday, 14 June 2010

IE won't open the local SharePoint site

If you can open your local sharepoint site using Firefox but no IE you need to diable the loop back check for IE7 & IE 8
To set the DisableLoopbackCheck registry key yourself, follow these steps:
Set the DisableStrictNameChecking registry entry to 1. For more information about how to do this, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281308 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281308/ ) Connecting to SMB share on a Windows 2000-based computer or a Windows Server 2003-based computer may not work with an alias name
Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
Right-click Lsa, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
Type DisableLoopbackCheck, and then press ENTER.
Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck, and then click Modify.
In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
Quit Registry Editor, and then restart your computer.
Back to the top

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Using embedded jQuery in xslt for SharePoint

Problem: A lot of web parts (WP) use xslt to create the html user interface(UI). You need to escape characters in order to get jQuery to work.
Initial Hypothesis:
Can use a Content Network Content copy of jQuery, has the advantage of being up-to-date and may be cached in user browser already. Issue is that may not be trusted or available on an Intranet.
jQuery file/s should be embedded in the master page (this should be activated in a feature).
Inside the xslt add the jQuery to perform your custom actions as shown below that does not escape characters:

XSLT List View Web Part (XLV)

Overview:
SharePoint 2010 has a heavy reliance on the Xslt List (XLV) View Web Part (WP). The replaces the MOSS List View Web Part (LVWP). In MOSS the Content Query Web Part (CQWP) was heavily utilised and the XLV WP is often a better option in SP 2010.

The old LVWP used CAML to provide custom views of the data/lists. Customising the XLVWP display is is done using xslt.

XLVWP has a default xslt for display located in the 14 hive at _layouts/xsl/main.xsl
main.xsl uses vwstyles.xsl and fldtypes.xsl that does most of the work on all the XLVWP in your SP farm.

Note. "XSLT is schema dependent because it iterates through the list of columns by naming each one explicitly. Using XSLT, the schema of the rendered list is fixed; it’s not possible to change the set of fields without changing the XSLT." - Eric Andeen.

XLV WP model - How it works

A custom xslt can either be placed ina style library or in th 14 hive.
Using SharePoint Designer (SPD)2010, you can customise the the XLVWP

More Info
SPD 2010 working with XLVWP
XSLT customisation
Customise the XLVWP
Connected Web Parts (XLVWP)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

SPMetal not generating correctly on lists with only a Title column

Problem: I have 7 custom lists in my SharePoint 2010 site. I run SPMetal against these lists and only 5 lists as available in LINQ.

Initial Hypothesis: SPMetal is broken followed by alot of frustration which eventually I worked out that a custom list must have additional columns to Show up in SPMetal.

Resolution: Create an optional column if you only have the "Title" column in a list that you wish to use Linq to SharePoint on.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Developer SharePoint Machine Prep

BgInfo - Automatically display local computer information on the desktop's background, such as the computer name, IP address, ect
Disable ShutDown Event Tracker - Stop the comment box on Shut down of your developer machine.
CKS - Community Kit for SharePoint: Development Tools Edition by Matt Smith and others. Invaluable if not just for deployment of code.
.NET reflector - Explore compiled .NET assemblies
SharePoint Dispose Checker Tool
SharePoint Manger
U2U - CAML builder tool - Still a great tool and works with SP2010
WireShark
SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2010
Visual Studio 2010 (Professional version is the lowest edition but any version will work)
FireFox with Firebug (like the IE developer toolbar, good developer tools e.g. css), collazilla (colour picker for firefox), Firequery (jQuery addin), FiddlerHook (integrate Fiddler) & YSlow (Page performance and optimisation)
Fiddler
IE Developer Toolbar part of IE 8
Update 29/08/2010 - Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Power Tools - Useful if you are using Sandboxes, adds 2 functions: Sandbox visual web parts & Sandboxed compilation.  Also note CKS has remove there sandboxed template in version CKSDev 1.1 release 1 August 2010.  Update 23/06/2012 - CKSDev is at version 2.4
Accessibility: http://www.cynthiasays.com/ &
Update 20/09/2010 - Also add Visual Studio 2010 Sharepoint Power Tools, it has sandboxed solutions and sandboxed visual web parts has been removed from the CKSDev project, so also get the latest CKSdev code.
Update 20/09/2010 - SPTraceView on codeplex is worth installing.
Update 26/11/2010 - Enable wifi on Windows 2008 R2
Update 24/06/2011 - Smtp4Dev is a useful codeplex project for collecting email sent from the dev machine.
Update 24/06/2011 - Office 2010 Plus has all the office applications and includes InfoPath.
Update 24/06/2011 - Visual Studio 2010 SP1 was realease in May 2011 and should be installed.
Update 24/06/2011 - Unit Testing nUnit, TestDrive.NET & TypeMoch or Rhino Mochs.
Add VS cmd prompt to VS using External Tools:  %comspec% /k ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat"" x86
Update 08/01/2013 - Create Shortcuts on the desktop using Powershell (14 hive folder and  hosts.exe) download
Update 09/01/2013 - Ps to add hosts entries.
Update 13/02/2014 - Process Explorer (Usefule if a machine has high memory, CPU or IO issues)

Moving content between environments

There are some good options for moving content and sites in SharePoint. I have seen to many people write custom migration tools and I strongly urge you to look at Chris O'Brien's Content Deployment Wizard and Metalogix's products before writing a custom tool.

Chris O'Brien has updated his Content Deployment Wizard for SP 2010 - for those of you that don't know the tool from MOSS it's a pretty useful tool for moving content between your SharePoint sites. Take alook at it on CodePlex.
http://spdeploymentwizard.codeplex.com/

Metalogix offer some really good tools around migrating content. The licencing can work out rather expensive for simple jobs but still far cheaper than writing complex code migration. It is very flexible and on the 2 MOSS projects I used it on I would highly recommend their products.
Metalogix have a wide range of tools for moving data to and from SharePoint including from other CMS & html websites.
http://www.metalogix.net/
You can migrate web sites, MCMS 2002, MOSS, file shares, exchange public folders, google apps, to SharePoint or SharePoint online.  I believe Metalogix works for BPOS via web services and for SP365 will use restful web services (.Svc) via the 3 client object models.

More (MSDN) information on SharePoint Migration using the SharePoint API
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb249963.aspx
I'm sure there are other good/bad products out there so if you have used any pls add your comments.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Using Session State in SharePoint 2010

Problem: I have setup session state but when I try add a custom object (class instance) to me ASP.NET session state (SQL) I get an error "unable to serialize the session state. in 'stateserver' and 'sqlserver' mode asp.net will serialize".
Initial Hypothesis:
I am adding a class to my session state
Client Instance = new Client("Paul", "Male");
HttpContext.Current.Session["ASPNETSession"] = Instance;
The Client class is not marked as Serializable

Resolution:
Mark the "Client" class as [Serializable]
http://dotnetguts.blogspot.com/2009/06/steps-for-session-inproc-mode-to.html

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Application Architecture in SharePoint 2010

Problem: I have a client that needs a composite built using 2010. The application is used to manage digital assets for suppliers. Key questions are where to store data and how to access the data.
Hypothesis: Where to store data, previously in MOSS I would of used SQL Server and accessed it via the BDC or custom web parts. In SP 2010 lists have been vastly improved and are now a good option for storing data. The new External Content Type can be used on SQL but goes beyond my requirement.
The key improvements to SharePoint lists are:

  1. Lookup lists are improved and easier to implement;
  2. Query joins and LINQ improve retrieving data;
  3. LINQ gives you strongly typed lists which using the old "Server Object Model" were weakly typed;
  4. LINQ querries are converted to CAML querries and therefore more performant than using the Server object model method and alot cleaner than using CAML to query data;
  5. Formula based validation on fields;
  6. Store level enforcement (MOSS enforce requirements such as null values only at the UI level);
  7. Improved referential integrity between lookup lists.
My choice was between using SQL Server to store the application data and SharePoint lists. SQL tables have the following key advanatages of they are more performant, and are transactionable. The easy of use and adavantages meant that SharePoint lists are the prefered option for storage.
Application for the suppliers and users also has several options however SharePoint provides most of the admin screens. The actual app can be built using application pages or web parts or the method i prefer, the client object model.

Accessing SharePoint Data options to consider are: Client Object Model (Weakly typed), however REST API's are Strongly typed for SP lists only. New in SP2010
Server Object Model (OM) is weakly type lists but offers the most flexibility. The Server OM existed on MOSS but is improved in SP2010. LINQ gives strongly type SP lists that can be read-write (new in SP2010)
Resolution:
Used SP lists to store the digital assets, the ordering data is also stored in SharePoint lists. For speed of development in the prototype I built using application pages using web parts that accessed the lists using LINQ to SharePoint. The final application will be built using the Client OM.

Friday, 4 June 2010

BDC is replaced by BCS in SP2010

  • Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is the replacement for Business Data Catalog (BDC) (MOSS 2007). Brings external data into sharePoint. External data source can be SQL, or Web Services, so it is pretty easy to have CRUD Access to databases, ERP or third parties.
  • BCS has read and write support.
  • Both SPD (SharePoint Designer) & VS 2010 have tooling support for entity modeling to connect your line of business application (LOB).

SharePoint 2010 Developer dashboard

Overview: Developer dashboard allows you to see all calls made from a page under the page in the browser. This allows you to identify poorly performing code & bottle necks. You can see the call stack and the time it takes to perform each call.
OOTB the developer dashboard it turned off. Turn it on using an stsadm cmd or powershell cmd.

Developer dashboard can be setup to allow only certain users to view the stats, this means other users don't suffer the additional resource calls but the developer/administrator can view poorly performing code & page statistics.

Stsadm Method:
1.> Open a cmd prompt running as an administrator
2.> go to: c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\14\bin and
3.> run the following cmd:
stsadm -o setproperty -pn developer-dashboard -pv ondemand
Cmd prompt to turn on the developer dashboard
4.> In the browser click the developer dashboard icon in the top right of the page, as shown below. On the page you can now see the page call information.

Web Services Using the Object Model (Web Serives) Method:
SPWebService cs = SPWebService.ContentService;
cs.DeveloperDashboardSettings.DisplayLevel = SPDeveloperDashboardLevel.On;
cs.DeveloperDashboardSettings.Update();
 
Powershell Method:
$db =[Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebService]::ContentService.DeveloperDashboardSettings;
$db.DisplayLevel = 'On';
$db.TraceEnabled = $true;
$db.Update() 

Linq to SharePoint overview

Problem: Access data in SharePoint Lists.
Hypothesis:
1.> LINQ for SharePoint is a data access mechanism that allows developers to create SQL like syntax against a data sources. Linq improve performance by allowing the back end data source to be queried using CAML to solve the query. SharePoint 2010 fully supports LINQ for lists so that developers can query SharePoint easily and quickly.
2.> LINQ for SharePoint is also know as SPMetal.
3.> The SPMetal utility generates C# or vb.net code to allow you access to existing SharePoint lists.
4.> You can automate you VS environment using the prebuild cmd prompt to regenerate your Linq data access class for builds.
Steps to work with Linq for SharePoint:
1.> Using the stsadm cmd, create the API to your existing SharePoint App

2.> Import the created Data.cs file into the Visual Studio solution. Fix the namespaces on the file.
3.> Begin Using LINQ to SharePoint.
DataDataContext dc = new DataDataContext(http://intra);
// TODO! - retrieve from the web.config
EntityList Assets;
Assets = dc.GetList("My Assets");
var assetQuery = from asset in Assets
where asset.Id == Assetid
select new{
asset.Title,
asset.Description
};

// Bind to a Grid view

More Info:
Getting started with LINQ for SharePoint 2010
Channel 9

SharePoint Session State

Problem: Building a composite application in SharePoint 2010 I need to store information for a user. A basket/shopping cart like feature is required.
Initial Hypothesis: Store data against the user profile, or a custom list and retrieve using Linq/CAML or use session state. Session state is not supported by SP2010 OOTB and it can have severe performance implications.
Resolution: enable ASP.NET session state. This stores the session state in a SQL Server database. Start the Powershell cmd prompt:

Enter the following PowerShell command in the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell window:
or
Enable-SPSessionStateService -DatabaseName "ASPNet_State" -DatabaseServer "spdemo.dev" -SessionTimeout 30Each web application for which you want Edit the web.config file and set the enableSessionState property of the pages element as follows:

More Info:
http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/sharepoint2010general/thread/3145fd29-2315-42f7-8f9d-cf6d52dc3c95
http://www.kajanmoorthy.com/2010/05/enable-session-state-in-sharepoint-2010.html
http://todd-carter.com/post/2010/04/30/A-Session-State-By-Any-Other-Name.aspx