Monday, February 27, 2006

Using SPUserUtil to synchronize SharePoint user Display Names and Email addresses with the information in Active Directory

Keith Richie published an article on his blog in which he describes how to sync user display names and email address in Sharepoint with Active Directory information.

"SharePoint provides a feature for users to use different Display Names and Email addresses across the site collections they are members of. This information is cached in the tp_Title and tp_Email columns in the UserInfo table for every site collection in which the user has permissions. The individual user can update their information or the administrator can do it by visiting the siteusrs.aspx page for every site collection. This allows a user to utilize say, different email addresses for alerts on the same SharePoint Virtual Server but in different site collections. One scenario is where I may want to alert myself of changes to content on one site collection using my work email address, while content from another site collection should send alerts to my personal email address.

The problem with this, is that most enterprise customers I have worked with find this feature really annoying :). They prefer the users account display name and email address to be consistent to what the have established in their corporate environment, and it is an administrative nightmare to to update this information across literally 10's of 1000's of site collections. It also confuses users of SharePoint when their information changes (Say a contractor becomes a full time employee, etc). It can also cause administrative headache for administrators when they try to change security information on their sites (in some places we try to look up the account with the old NT Login Name). You can however, re-sync SharePoint with the current information in active directory by using SPUserUtil"

Another interesting article of Keith is an earlier article about what to do when the name of a user account changes:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Removing a Meeting from a Meeting Workspace

Yesterday a user had the problem that a canceled meeting could not be removed from a meeting workspace. After searching the Internet I found the following article on the Microsoft site: Removing a Meeting from a Meeting Workspace

It is not possible to solve this issue via the GUI, but you have to do this programmatically via the Sharepoint object model. This article describes the steps to be taken and provides a small piece of example code. Just follow the steps in the article (make new C# project and past the code) and run the program. Then enter the meeting workspace url and id of the meeting which should be canceled.....and voila now you can delete the meeting via the GUI.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Features in next version of Sharepoint

An excerpt taken from a beta document that will soon be available as part of an Office 12 Reference Series:

NOTE: This is based on the BETA1 release of Office 12. Some features may be altered or cut entirely prior to the final release.

Office 12 is the next release of the Microsoft Office System. It consists of both client and server-side elements.

The Office client (a full refresh of the current office suite) features a revolutionary new user interface. The new interface is intended to open up the functionality in Office by making relevant functions available at the right time depending on what the user is doing (i.e. show all the table format functions when the user is working on a table).

To compliment the Office client, there is also a new server offering. The server (currently referred to as ‘Office Server’) constitutes of the next version of the following products:
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003
  • Content Management Server 2002
  • Office Server is based on a new version of Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 (or WSS)
Office Server builds on the functionality of the above products but offers additional capabilities such as Workflow, Record Management, Forms and Business Intelligence.

Document Management
Office Server builds on the capabilities of SharePoint 2003 by offering significantly improved DM capabilities. The concepts of sites and document libraries remain the same, but the following new features apply:

  • Full item-level security
  • Central metadata control (Column templates)
  • Content types (the ability to provide users with a selection of content types to choose from. Content types drive the document template, workflow, metadata and many more settings)
  • Major-minor version control with draft visibility control
  • Document publication and auto-update
  • Integrated workflow
  • Recycle bin
  • Offline capabilities (through Outlook or My Documents)
  • Vastly improved integration between client and server
  • Change auditing
  • Email support (users can email content into document libraries)
Record Management
Based on the core document management capabilities, Microsoft has introduced a record management capability in Office 12 called the ‘Official File Repository’. This is a place where official files get sent, organised, maintained and ultimately disposed of.

Files in the official repository have policies that govern their retention and disposal in addition to normal record management capabilities such as holds.

Office 12 builds on top of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF) by adding WWF integration into all Office 12 lists and libraries in addition to several out-of-the-box document-based workflows, including:
  • Document Approval
  • Document Sign-off
  • Document Feedback Gathering
  • Document Moderation
  • Disposition Approval
  • Issue Tracking
WWF itself is a very rich workflow framework which allows creation of either simple, non-code workflows (via Frontpage) or more complex workflows (via Visual

To compliment the WWF, Microsoft has introduced InfoPath Forms Server as part of Office Server. Infopath server provides online renditions of Infopath forms and directly plugs into the workflows that run within Office 12.

Web Content Management
Office 12 Server is the combination of what we currently know as SharePoint and CMS. Therefore it inherits all of the capabilities of CMS 2003, which include:
  • Online web content management
  • Content change workflow (provided by WWF)
  • Page version control and publication (same as documents)
  • Multiple versions of a site (multi-lingual, accessibility)
  • Images and resource galleries (provided by lists)
  • Centrally controlled structure
  • Full control over layout and graphics (via improvements in such as Master Pages and navigation controls)

Search, Retrieval and People
Building on the search capabilities of SharePoint 2003 and knowledge gained from the public the MSN search utility, Microsoft have significantly improved the search capability for Office 12. The search will index a plethora of content sources including Websites, SharePoint Portals, File Systems and Relational Databases (and more) and make their content searchable from within the main portal.

The results themselves are much more relevant than the 2003 version, this is from several improvements to the core algorithm and additional features including ‘did you mean’, de-duplication and query term highlighting.

As with Sharepoint 2003, people are a core objects in Office Server, but their profiles are now much richer and the server will automatically calculate social distance, working relationships and working patterns for people.

Just a few of the key differentiators between V2 and V3:

  • List Item Security (including versioning) is implemented in V3 allowing increased flexibility and granularity. Lists and document libraries also have a recycle bin functionality where as in V2 these Recycle Bins were constructed by ISVs.
  • The introduction of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). WF will serve as the core for anything workflow related in future releases of windows and at some point will see integration with BizTalk (WF will eventually handle BizTalk Orchestration). Out Of The Box workflows exist within the Office 12 Server and simple workflows can be created with little technical knowledge using FrontPage. WF is highly extensible and allows any competent developer to create their own workflows and activities (not just for Office 12, but for pretty much any application)
  • As mentioned above, the new Office 12 Server will consist of and combines CMS and Sharepoint Portal Server.
  • Something not mentioned above is the new Excel Server, adding the ability to store and manage Excel spreadsheets from a central server, allowing the creation of rules to determine who can access what and how. Calculations and formulae can also be performed on the server.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unwanted Authentication Prompts

Daniel McPherson discusses the topic "Unwanted Authentication Prompts", the causes and their solutions on his blog. Very usefull information!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Aggregating RSS feeds in SPS 2007

A collegue of mine logged a wish at the Office 2007 beta program about the aggregation of RSS feeds in SPS 2007. Below the wish and the respons of Microsoft:

"Given Sharepoint3's widespread adoption of RSS syndication, why is there no *built-in* Sharepoint RSS aggregation webpart?
I realise that both Outlook-12 and IE-7 have aggregation support, but neither is a good substitute for a strong internal Sharepoint facility.
I realise also that there are a number of 3rd-party Sharepoint RSS aggregation web parts available, (and these are also not too difficult to write in house) but I'd prefer native S'point support (i.e. an aggregator web part).
Also, will shipping S/point3 make it easier to find RSS feeds? Seems unnecessarily messy right now.

I'd prefer native SharePoint support for a facility (i.e a web part) that would, for example, allow aggregation on, say, the Home Page of the portal. The web part could aggregate all postings with a Weblog Category of "HomePage"."

Answer Microsoft:
"This issue has been fixed in a newer build of Office 12. The Product team says there is a web part for anonymous RSS feeds - it's called the RSS Viewer Web part. It is part of Beta 2."

So it looks like there will be RSS aggregation support in the new release of Sharepoint.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Office Sharepoint Server 2007 is born

There’s been an MS announcement regarding naming, packaging and pricing of the O12 technologies. Some details at: 'Office 2007' It Is and at: The 2007 Microsoft Office

The main name to remember is ‘Office Sharepoint Server 2007’ – that’s what the server set will be branded as and will include the CMS, EPM, InfoPath Forms and Excel server components. For the enterprise customers it will be the CAL level that dictates which extra components can be used.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

SQL Reporting Services

A customer requested a posibility to get an overview of all available team sites and their sizes on a periodic basis. To fullfill this request I looked into the possibilities of SQL Reporting Services. I installed it as a test on our development Sharepointenvironment together with the Report Pack for Sharepoint 2003. This report pack consists of sql scripts which create the databasesin which the Sharepoint data will be stored, a data extraction tool and example reports.

Steps to install and configure SQL Reporting Services:
  • Install SQL Reporting Services

  • Install SP2

  • Install SQL Server Report Pack for SPS2003

  • Install LogParser

  • Configure SQL Reporting Services

    • Create data source

    • Import sample reports

    • Create and install own reports

With Reporting Services you can enable users to log onto a website and run the reports. The users can even configure Reporting Servicesto mail the reports to themselfs periodically via a scheduler.

More information:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Problems with the search functionality after installing Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

When you have a server farm with three servers or more (e.g. web/search server, job/index server and database server, The job component on a different server than the web component) you might experience some problems with the search functionality after installing Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

In the RTM version of Windows Server 2003 it is sufficient to grant the Sharepoint Admin account Power User permissions on the job/index server. But as of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003, the account must have Administrator permissions. When you have configured the account as Power Users, the search functionality will stop functioning after the installation of Service Pack 1. To solve this, add the account to the local Administrators group.

More information: Searching no longer works on Microsoft Office Sharepoint Portal Server 2003;en-us;555309

Monday, February 06, 2006

ReGhost.NET - A Ghost Hunter Alternative for the Desktop

Sharepoint uses a feature called "ghosting":

"As everyone knows, all pages within SharePoint are stored in the database. This effectively means that for each document, you will find a row in the docs table for that document. The actual file is stored in the Content column. This is true for all files. However, there is one exception - some .aspx pages don’t actually have their content stored in the database. Instead, these pages reference files which exist on the server’s file system. These pages are considered ghosted pages."

Once a page has become unghosted, getting it back to a ghosted state is very difficult.
  • How can you tell if a page is ghosted or unghosted? Quite simply – you can’t.
    There is no way to determine the state of your page. Unfortunately, this functionality simply didn’t make its way into the product. In an ideal world, you would never need to know if a page is ghosted or not. However, we don’t live in an ideal world.
  • Is it possible to “reset” an unghosted page to its original ghosted state? No.
    This ties into the previous answer. Straight out of the box, there is no way to return a page to its original ghosted state.

But now there is a solution for this problem!! Matthew Cosier has created a tool called ReGhost.NET which is able to reghost a unghosted page. This marvellous tool is available for download at:

Friday, February 03, 2006

List of SharePoint Blogs and Bloggers!

Mark Kruger compiled a list of Sharepoint Blogs and Bloggers and posted it on his own blog.

A whole lot of Sharepoint information for the taking!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How to export a theme which is applied to a WSS site

With FrontPage it is possible to change the currently applied theme, apply different theme to a site and create you own theme and apply it to a site. The downside is that only the site collection in which new themes or changed themes are created can use this theme.

When your theme has been applied and you would like to install it on the server so that everybody is able to use it, you are not able to export the theme. To solve this do the following:

  • Open the site via FrontPage (File>Open Site)
  • Browse to the folder _themes\<theme>
  • In this folder you will find the currently applied theme with all the css files and images. Copy these files to your local machine and use them to create a server wide theme.