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Monthly Archives: January 2008

This is Why I don’t Like Using Tools Day Zero

http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.sharepoint.portalserver.development/browse_thread/thread/41e8cbe4f15e8b4c/76506ea401403e35?#76506ea401403e35

If the tool is doing stuff you don’t understand and then it fails in step n of an unknown number of steps, you’re dead in the water…

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Solution to BDC ADF Import Failure: “The following error occurred:”

I was once again crafting BDC ADF files by hand (so that I can build up my "get off my lawn!" cred) and hit this lovely error:

"Application definition import failed.  The following error occurred:"

As you can see, there’s an error, but … it’s not going to tell me what it is.

In my case, the issue turned out that I had started off with a functional ADF for a different project that connected to a database and executed a SQL query against a view.  In this new project, I am calling a method on a web service.  I had stripped out the DB specific stuff and added my web service stuff, but failed to update the <LobSystem>’s Type attribute.  I switched it to "WebService" and I happily moved on to newer and more exciting import errors, which were handled in due course.

Here is the wrong LobSystem:

  <LobSystem
    xmlns:xsi=http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance
    xsi:schemaLocation=http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/03/BusinessDataCatalogBDCMetadata.xsd
    Type="Database"
    Version="1.0.0.0" Name="xyzzy"
    xmlns="
http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/03/BusinessDataCatalog">

This is correct:

  <LobSystem
    xmlns:xsi=http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance
    xsi:schemaLocation=http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/03/BusinessDataCatalogBDCMetadata.xsd
    Type="WebService"
    Version="1.0.0.0" Name="xyzzy"
    xmlns="
http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/03/BusinessDataCatalog">

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BDC Seems a Viable Replacement For Lookups

UPDATE: This MSDN posting has some interesting observations from JXJ based on his, mainly negative, experiences going down this path: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2623565&SiteID=1

We have a business scenario where we need to link two documents libraries via a common "document ID" field.

We often use a lookup column to implements links like this.  There are several drawbacks to lookup columns, three of which are:

  1. Only one column from the lookup lookup library can be linked. 
  2. Performance: The source library could contain hundreds of entries.  That’s too many entries in the lookup.
  3. Search: There is no integrated search.  I don’t mean in the MOSS sense of search, but there’s no way to search / filter on multiple columns from the source document library and locate the link you want.

Backed by BDC, we can use a "business data" column type and it provides a superior search and even allows multiple columns of data to appear in list views. 

I’ve had some preliminary success with this approach and plan to write more about it.

If you’ve worked this angle before and have any comments, please share!

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Solution to BDC Import Error: “Could not load Type described by TypeDescriptor’s TypeName …”

I’ve been working with BDC today, coding ADF files by hand and generating myself some errors.  One such error:

Application definition import failed. The following error occurred: Could not load Type described by TypeDescriptor’s TypeName. Parameter name: typeName Error was encountered at or just before Line: ’35’ and Position: ’20’.

MOSS displayed this error when I tried to import the ADF XML file.

I researched the Internets and found that I was referencing the LOB instance name (from the <LobSystemInstance>) in my <TypeDescriptor> node when I should have referenced the LOB name itself (from <LobSystem>).

Wrong:

<TypeDescriptor TypeName="Conchango.KeyValue, LOB Instance Name" Name="KeyValue">

Correct:

<TypeDescriptor TypeName="Conchango.KeyValue, LOB Name" Name="KeyValue">

Hope this one saves someone an hour or two of time.

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Solution to Problem: “FileNotFoundException” With My Feature Receiver.

I was working on a feature last week that would add some event receivers to a specific list instance.  (I blogged a bit about that list receiver here).

Using the command line, I could install the feature with no error (but see below for the hidden error).  When I tried to deploy the feature on the site, MOSS complained of a "FileNotFoundException" error.  This blog entry describes how I solved it. 

This is the error that MOSS showed me in the web browser:

Feature ‘b2cb42e3-4f0a-4380-aaba-1ef9cd526f20’ could not be installed because the loading of event receiver assembly "xyzzyFeatureReceiver_0" failed: System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly ‘xyzzyFeatureReceiver_0’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.
File name: ‘xyzzyFeatureReceiver_0’
   at System.Reflection.Assembly.nLoad(AssemblyName fileName, String codeBase, Evidence assemblySecurity, Assembly locationHint, StackCrawlMark& stackMark, Boolean throwOnFileNotFound, Boolean forIntrospection)
   at System.Reflection.Assembly.InternalLoad(AssemblyName assemblyRef, Evidence assemblySecurity, StackCrawlMark& stackMark, Boolean forIntrospection)
   at System.Reflection.Assembly.InternalLoad(String assemblyString, Evidence assemblySecurity, StackCrawlMark& stackMark, Boolean forIntrospection)
   at System.Reflection.Assembly.Load(String assemblyString)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPFeatureDefinition.get_ReceiverObject()
WRN: Assembly binding logging is turned OFF.
To enable assembly bind failure logging, set the registry value [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Fusion!EnableLog] (DWORD) to 1.
Note: There is some performance penalty associated with assembly bind failure logging.
To turn this feature off, remove the registry value [HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Fusion!EnableLog].

Troubleshoot issues with Windows SharePoint Services.

I know how to deliberately cause that error: don’t install the assembly in the GAC.  But, it was in the GAC.  I normally install assemblies into the GAC by dragging them into the c:\windows\assembly folder using windows explorer.  I’ve never felt 100% comfortable doing that because I always thought that gacutil existed for a reason … so I tried that.  It made no difference.

I searched the Internets and found this post: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2243677&SiteID=1

The poster happened to be using the same root bit of code (from the Inside WSS book from this list) so that was a hopeful sign.  However, the suggestion of decorating the assembly with an [assembly: ] directive didn’t make sense to me.  I tried it anyway and I was right.  It made no difference.

Then I noticed that my class definition was not public.  I made it public and that made no difference.

Next, I went to the trouble of enabling the "assembly bind failure log" (following the helpful and accurate instructions provided) and this is where things started to get interesting.  That log shows me that the runtime is searching everywhere on that server for my assembly.  It even appears to be searching for it in my medicine cabinet.  But … it won’t search for it in the GAC.

I put on my winter jacket and go searching the Internets again and find that someone has had this problem too.  The lengthy discussion in that posting peters off into nothing and I can’t find a solution.

I move my assembly into one of the places the log claims it’s searching and I make a little more progress.  I’m rewarded with a new error in the browser when I try to activate the feature:

Failed to create feature receiver object from assembly "xyzzyFeatureReceiver_0", type "Conchango.xyzzyFeatureReceiver" for feature b2cb42e3-4f0a-4380-aaba-1ef9cd526f20: System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: type
   at System.Activator.CreateInstance(Type type, Boolean nonPublic)
   at System.Activator.CreateInstance(Type type)
   at Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPFeatureDefinition.get_ReceiverObject()

Troubleshoot issues with Windows SharePoint Services.

Time for one last trip to the Internets!

This time I find out, predictably enough, that MOSS issues this error because the assembly is not in GAC. 

I want to get something positive out of this and try to feel a little proud that I’ve created the Fugitive of MSIL assemblies, but it’s not working.  I’m just plain annoyed.  I find myself muttering "chicken or the egg" under my breath.

I finally decide to punt.  I create an entirely new project and copy/paste the code from the incredible-cloaked-from-the-GAC-assembly non-working project over to this new project.  (I look for a build flag called something like "hide from assembly binding if installed in the GAC" but can’t find one).

I install the feature and activate it and … it works!  So, after all that, I had to basically ‘reboot’ my project.  This is another reason why I hate computers.

I did learn something useful  from this.  I had been installing features using the stsadm command line all day long and been using the "-force" option out of habit.  For some reason, I did not use the -force option when I installed the new project.  This time, I did actually, truly forget to copy this new project’s assembly into the GAC.  As a result, I received that "FielNotFoundException" error.  This time, I got it from stsadm, not when I tried to activate the feature via the web browser.  So, -force actually plays two roles.  It allows you to re-install an existing feature.  It also allows you to install a buggy feature that cannot work at runtime by suppressing the error.  It probably says as much in the help somewhere but I never noticed it.

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Sunday Funny: Top 10 Ways To Annoy Your Wife

  1. Buy broccoli when you know there is already more than enough in the fridge.
  2. Go for a run.  Cool off.  Take off clean pillow case and replace with T-shirt.  Cover with clean pillow case.
  3. When driving, ask if we should go the wrong way down a one-way street.
  4. For 15 years, every Sunday that you wife suggests going to a museum, express surprise that museums are open on Sunday’s.
  5. For 15 years, occasionally suggest going to the local book store on Sunday.  Express surprise that they are not open on Sunday’s (thanks a lot Blue Laws!).
  6. Use 20 points to do a 3 point turn. 
  7. On a cool early Fall afternoon, walk into the room and turn on the A/C.  Complain that it’s cold.  When wife says, "then why did you turn that on, silly" and gets up to turn it off, grab the warm spot she had on the couch.  Bonus points if she does not realize you did it until much later.
  8. Open up a can of delicious white albacore tuna and eat it straight from the can, in bed, at night.
  9. Go into the kitchen while wife is eating dinner, open up the cutlery drawer and push utensils around until wife screams, "what are you looking for!"
  10. On receipt of new business cards, secretly place them all around the house: Under the bed, in pillow cases, inside coffee cups, in her purse, in coat pockets, car glove compartments, the pantry — anywhere you can think of. 
  11. Write blog entries about your wife.
  12. Wake up.
  13. When walking the streets of New York City, be on the alert for "crusty" objects on the ground.  Keeping in mind your wife’s special fears, reach down as if to pick one up up and ask, "hmm, I wonder what that is?" (Be prepared for wife to body slam you as if she’s a secret service agent protecting the President  from a sniper or you’ll find yourself laying on your back on the sidewalk).
  14. Drive twice around a parking lot looking for space.  You know you’ve really hit pay dirt when your son in the back seat yells, "Oh no! He’s doing it again!"
  15. Write "top 10" lists that don’t have 10 items.

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Bonus wife joke:

Two male co-workers go out to lunch.  One of them tells the other, "I let loose an embarrassing Freudian slip the other night."

"A Freudian slip?  What’s that?"

"Well, when we finished eating, the waitress came by and asked how we liked our meals. I meant say, ‘I loved the chicken breast’ but instead I said ‘I loved your breasts’.  I was so embarrassed."

"Ah," his co-worker replied.  "I had the same thing happen to me this weekend with my wife.  We were eating breakfast I meant to ask her to pass the butter, but instead I screamed at her, ‘You ruined my life!’"

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Event ID 1023: “Windows cannot load extensible counter DLL MSSCNTRS”

UPDATE (04/08/08): I seem to have solved this problem.  From the command line, I ran "c:\windows\system32\lodctr /R" as per an entry talking about InstallShield problems and that appears to have solved it for me.

I have noticed that lately, my desktop/server fan never turns off.  I know it used to turn off.  I took a moment to check it out noticed that the a VMware process was running a consistent 20% utilization on one of the CPU’s.  I checked the event log and saw these errors in the application log happening dozens of times per minute:

Windows cannot load extensible counter DLL UGatherer, the first DWORD in data section is the Windows error code.

Windows cannot load extensible counter DLL UGTHRSVC, the first DWORD in data section is the Windows error code.

Windows cannot load extensible counter DLL MSSCNTRS, the first DWORD in data section is the Windows error code.

If I drill into the details of one of those messages, I get this:

Source: Perflib

Type: Error

Category: None

Event ID 1023

I did some research and there was some indication it could be a permission problem in terms of access to the DLLs in question.  I played around with that stuff but could not affect things in a positive way so I gave up on that.

VMware had been nagging me about performing an update for quite some time, so I jotted down the version I had installed (apparently "1.0.1 build 29996") and did the update.  This upgraded me to v1.04.  Sadly, it did not fix the issue.

I can stop the insane number of messages going to my application log if I shut down a service named "VMware Authorization Service".  This prevents me from using the VMware software, so … not such a great option. 

The host operating system is Windows XP 64 bit. 

I don’t think this has always happened, but I don’t recall any particular event that might have led to it.

This is why I hate computers.

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Quick & Easy: Rename Uploaded File Using SharePoint Object Model Via an Event Receiver

 

UPDATE: This works but there are significant limitations which are described in the comments.  This may still be useful in some cirumstances.

UPDATE 2: In my current project, users always upload documents.  As a result, I don’t run into a problem where MS Word is running and thinks that the file was renamed on it.  I did run into a problem, "the file was modified by someone else" and solved this via a simple semaphore type flag.  Users need to change a meta data field from its default value to something else.  The itemupdated() receiver looks for a valid value there before actually performing the rename and since then, I have not had any problems.  Your mileage may vary.

I have a client requirement to change the name of files uploaded to a specific document library to conform with a particular naming convention.  The API does not provide a "rename()" method.  Instead, we use "MoveTo(…)".  Here is a minimal bit of code to accomplish this:

 

        public override void ItemAdded(SPItemEventProperties properties)
        {
            SPFile f = properties.ListItem.File;

            f.MoveTo(properties.ListItem.ParentList.RootFolder.Url + "/xyzzy.doc");
            f.Update();

        }

The only tricky bit is the "properties.ListItem.ParentList.RootFolder.Url".  The MoveTo() method requires a URL.  That mashed up string points me to the root folder of my current document library.  This allows me to avoid any hard coding in my event receiver.

This is a more useful version that does the same thing, but assigns the name of the file to "Title":

        public override void ItemAdded(SPItemEventProperties properties)
        {
            DisableEventFiring();

            // Assign the title of this item to the name of file itself.
            // NOTE: This assignment must take place before we modify the file itself.
            // Calling update() on the SPFile seems to invalidate the properties in 
            // some sense.  Updates to "Title" failed until that change (and update() call)
            // were moved in front of the change to the file name.
            properties.ListItem["Title"] = properties.ListItem.File.Name;

            properties.ListItem.Update();

            SPFile f = properties.ListItem.File;

            // Get the extension of the file.  We need that later.
            string spfileExt = new FileInfo(f.Name).Extension;

            // Rename the file to the list item's ID and use the file extension to keep
            // that part of it intact.
            f.MoveTo(properties.ListItem.ParentList.RootFolder.Url + 
                "/" + properties.ListItem["ID"] + spfileExt);

            // Commit the move.
            f.Update();

            EnableEventFiring();
        }
 

The tricky bit there is described in the comment.  That was a bit of a surprise to me, but not hard to manage.

This works well for me "as is" because I don’t have a folder structure to worry about.  If I did, then I’d have to do more coding.

This is all new stuff to me, so if someone sees a flaw or better way to do this, please email me or leave a comment.  Thanks!

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Forum Discussion: Enforcing Best Practices Compliance in Non-Trivial MOSS Environment

A fellow, "Mark", has started up a potentially interesting newsgroup discussion focusing on "establishing excellent SharePoint Governance from the start" for a 35,000 user environment.

The discussion is here: http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.sharepoint.portalserver/browse_thread/thread/6d9a738d981af772/1c390b15c5407db6?#1c390b15c5407db6

Pop on over and contribute!

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Custom Action URL Won’t Display for New Feature

I’m still in the habit of crafting my feature XML files by hand since it’s all quite new to me.  I don’t want to rely on a front-end tool that does stuff I don’t understand (he said as he wrote a blog entry using a tool he does not understand).

Today, I was trying to add a custom action to the site settings but it just wouldn’t show up.  I could install the feature and see it in the site features, but when I activated it (without error) it simply wouldn’t show up on the drop-down menu.

I finally realized that I misspelled "SharePoint" in the Location attribute of the <CustomAction> node.  This is the bad elements.xml file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
  <CustomAction
    Id="SiteActionsToolbar"
    GroupId="SiteActions"
    Location="Microsoft.Sharepoint.StandardMenu"
    Sequence="100"
    Title="Hello!"
    Description="Custom menu action added via a feature."
    ImageUrl="_layouts/images/menuprofile.gif">

    <UrlAction Url="http://www.xyzzy.com"/>

  </CustomAction>
</Elements>

 

Good:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
  <CustomAction
    Id="SiteActionsToolBar"
    GroupId="SiteActions"
    Location="Microsoft.SharePoint.StandardMenu"
    Sequence="100"
    Title="Hello!"
    Description="Custom menu action added via a feature."
    >
    <UrlAction Url="http://www.xyzzy.com"/>
  </CustomAction>
</Elements>

That one took me a good two hours to figure out 🙂

I take solace in the fact that some day in the future, I’ll be able to say with conviction, "back in the day, I had to walk three miles up hill in the snow (barefoot!) in order to deploy a custom feature to MOSS.  You kids, you don’t know how easy you have it!  Get off my lawn!"

Can’t wait.

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