Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Using Box.com Programmaticly - Part 2

Also see: Part 1 post on Using Box.com

Overview:  The last post outlines programmatic access box.  This post shall do the same but use the JWT approach that does not expire the access token.

  1. Setup the JWT
  2. Retrieve the config.json file
  3. Program out access as shown below using the .NET SDK for Box.com:
        private static BoxClient GetAuthenticatedClient()
                IBoxConfig config = null;
                using (FileStream fs = new FileStream(ConfigSettings.ConfigFilePath, FileMode.Open))
                    config = BoxConfig.CreateFromJsonFile(fs);
                var jwt = new BoxJWTAuth(config);
                var userToken = jwt.UserToken(ConfigSettings.UserId);
                return jwt.UserClient(userToken, ConfigSettings.UserId);
            catch (Exception ex)
                Utilities.WriteLog("GetAuthenticatedClient", ex.Message, ex.StackTrace);
            return null;

var fr = new BoxFolderRequest                {
            Name = FolderName,
            Description = "Created through code",
            Parent = new BoxRequestEntity { Id = "6665556661"}

            };   // Specify the new folder details
BoxClient = GetAuthenticatedClient();
var folder = BoxClient.FoldersManager.CreateAsync(fr, null).Result;  // Create a new folder

Alternatively create the JWT by hand and don't use the SDK's:

Simple C# SDK example using a JWT

The below image outlines the Developer console settings I used to get Box.com SDK working for C#

Tip:  Ensure the App has been shared with the folder you are working on, unless your app has enterprise rights, then it's work anyway.

To see the email adress of the app, you can use the following URL: https://paulbeck.app.box.com/app-api/enduserapp/contacts 

Friday, 1 February 2019

Modern Architecture - 50,000 foot

Overview:  I was talking to the board of a company yesterday and they asked me about Modern architectures.  The diagram, below is the most simplistic view I could make of designing an architecture that is technology agnostic.

Friday, 25 January 2019

O365 SharePoint ADFS AAD Authentication in Pictures

SharePoint on-prem. using Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Using Box.com Pragmatically

Overview:  In the SaaS Document Management space Box.com is a competitor to SharePoint Online.  A medium size client request recently came into integrate with a client and deliver files into Box.com, as it is something I have not done before I was eager to see how easy it is.

  1. I merely need to create folders within the clients tenant if needed and drop files into specific folders from a scheduled job that runs every 5 minutes.  
  2. Box.com has API similar to SharePoint CSOM to pragmatically work with your Box tenant.   
  3. Box.com functionality is specific to Documents so the API is really small and easy to learn.
  4. There are multiple ways to pragmatically authenticate to you Box.com tenant, PoC keeps it simple.  Actual must use JWT for the connecting service account.
Implementation Details:
Box.com has several was to problematically connect and to test the API's.  For my PoC I used the Developer Token approach.  We should switch this over to the JWT OAuth approach but for the PoC and working with the API's I used the Developer Token approach.
1. Once you tenant is setup and you have configured your client, set the developer Token that last for 1 hrs as shown in the screen above.
2. Create a new C# console and add the Box C# SDK reference as shown below.
3. You will need to add the Developer Token, Client Secret and ClientId in order to programtically connect from the console.  Below is my app.config.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
        <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.6.1" />
    <add key="ClientId" value="f9y555fiqwqcbv555lst88dmzbxzqa7n"/>
    <add key="ClientSecret" value="CoTT555U7oN555wKF555aPYz5555"/>
    <add key="DeveloperToken" value="TjxJh555ivvW555EE555NTerb555"/>
4. Connect to your tenant using Box.com's API's/ SDK

5. Run the Console and the console looks as follows:
6. Code the file upload logic:

Final Thoughts:
  • Overall I think Box.com is a good option if you don't already have O365.  It's pretty expensive for a small feature set but it is a valid option for clients.
  • The search indexing is ridiculously slow so very hard to build search based solutions using the API.
Part 2 of using Box.com programmatically, I discuss using JWT for access. 

Thursday, 10 January 2019

NoSQL Document Database options on Azure - CosmosDB

Overview: Azure has a plethora of options for using NoSQL, I have used RavenDB and DocumentDB a couple of years back.  Both are easy and great tools for the right situation, DocumentDB now falls under CosmosDB as a product at Microsoft. However, I feel that CosmosDB would be anyone's default choice today on Azure as DocumentDB is really a feature subset of CosmosDB.

CosmosDB"Azure Cosmos DB is a global distributed, multi-model database (db) that is used in a wide range of applications and use cases. It is a good choice for any serverless application that needs low order-of-millisecond response times, and needs to scale rapidly and globally."  CosmosDB is used by Microsoft's Skype, MSN, Xbox, Office 365, Azure products.

Def: CosmosDB is a Planet scalable NoSQL JSON database that has multiple API support (including SQL(Core)).  Multiple copies/instance around the world (think SQL AOAG).
  • Encrypted on Azure at Rest and in Motion.
  • Multiple API's supported including SQL API (DocumentDB) and multiple other JavaScript and Table.
  • A logical breakdown of CosmosDB API
  • Partitions are managed transparently and users are routed based on geographic location and usage.
  • One write db and multiple reads.  Can set automatic failover so if the write db is unavailable, one of the read db's becomes the write db.
  • Determinant geo-replication - Use to be 1 master and multiple read copies of the data.  Not all copies can be written to but if you have country data residency rules you can't configure data to be within specific regions.  I.e. I can't specify certain bits of data are only stored in a specific region.  You can specify a region/location for a container, but not split a container.   : Check!  Not a fact.
  • Backup and Recovery - Point in time recovery and MS ticket needs to be raised.  Can't structure complex backup plans.  Take it or leave it approach.
  • Limited LINQ support
  • SQL API is very limited compared to SQL relational databases, offering no joins or aggregation capability such as GROUP BY.
  • Temporal Tables don't exist, there are good auditing options such as the "Change Feed" where all changes can be streamed into an external database/system.
  • Entity Framework support is limited. Consider a PoC before using.
  • Consistency (copy data to other read-only debs) 5 options: "Strong" (commit to all dbs and acknowledge state, so slow to align but all reading same data but it may be stale.  "Eventual", reads what is in the local db you are going to.   The default is "Session".  As always, it depends on the requirement.

More Info:
NoSQL options - https://www.nebbiatech.com/2017/02/09/exploring-the-nosql-options-on-azure/

Sunday, 16 December 2018

SharePoint Online Property Bag SPWeb Properties are not indexed by default

Problem:  Moving an on-prem SharePoint solution to SPO, I realised that SPO does not automatically index property bag values.

Initial Hypothesis:  The Search schema looks correct and automatically created the correct Managed Properties.  Asked our Microsoft representative and they sent us a link to enable property bag values in the search index.

Resolution: Be aware that you need to do some Powershell commands on your tenant and site collections when using SharePoint Online to make property bag settings appear in the search results.

More Info:

Saturday, 15 December 2018

ShareGate User Migration Gotcha

Problem:  Migrated an Extranet site with a large user base, and multiple users have the same name.  When a user is removed from AD, and running migration to the new farm, the AD automatically picks a different user and gives them the user that lefts permissions.

John Smith (john.smith@contoso.com) has been added to a site collection.
John Smith (@contoso) is removed from AD but still exists in the site collection permissions.
Ran Sharegate to move the content including user permissions to a new farm.
John Smith is added to the same SharePoint groups however, it has added john_smith@clientA.com

Initial Hypothesis: Sharegate tries to resolve the user and is incorrectly resolving the user's name and not the name in AD.  As the user has left the firm, the other user is being resolved and we end up with permission inconsistency.

I got this reply from Sharegate and can see that my issue happens at step 8.

"How Sharegate resolves users from the source to the destination"

"We look at the whole account name available, for matches to users at the destination through the SharePoint people picker.
Once we have a list of potential matches for your user, we go through the list of values below (in the specified order). We consider the account a match when we find the same values for one of these properties:
1.    Exact same account name
2.    Same normalized account name (without claims header)
3.    Same login and domain
4.    Same login
5.    Same login and domain (source login read from display name - this can happen when importing from file system because the account name is set as the display name)
6.    Same login (source login read from display name - this can happen when importing from file system because the account name is set as the display name)
7.    Same email address
8.    Same display name

9.    PrincipalType is not set or is a Security Group and same display name without domain"

Somewhat related: