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Doug Allen's Articles

How to Configure a Filtered Calendar Overlay in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 Calendar overlayCalendar Overlays was definitely a welcome new feature when SharePoint 2010 was released. They provide decent basic functionality for being to have a nice view of multiple calendars at once (up to 10 calendars). Suppose you are in a situation where you want to do some calendar overlays, but you only want to show a filtered set of calendar entries on the calendar overlay view? This turns out to be much easier than it might sound. Now you could write a simple workflow that runs on the child list and copies the list item on the child calendar to the parent calendar, but that’s not really an overlay is it?

As I said, this is actually extremely easy to configure. It feels like it should be illegal to be this easy, so enjoy the moment! So what do we need to do? Here are the overview steps:

  • Create at least 2 calendars (one child, and one parent used to display the overlay)
  • Create items on the child calendar
  • Create a filtered Calendar View on the child calendar (e.g. only show items where category=X)
  • On the parent calendar, configure the overlay, and be sure to choose the new filtered view
  • Sit back, have a drink and bask in the awe of your coworkers and boss as they bow before you in the view of this incredible display of SharePoint awesomeness

Auto-Populate a SharePoint 2010 Contact List from User Profile Data

imageWhile the contacts list is usually filled out for contacts that are outside the company, there are times when you would use a contacts list to store internal and external resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to re-type your internal contacts’ information that are already in the system? Now you can with a little InfoPath customization on the contacts list.

Free SharePoint Training and other Resources

SharePoint 2010 trainingAs I work with various clients with different skill levels with SharePoint, I have on more than one occasion needed to compile a list of training resources. Microsoft (and others) provide a good number of resources so I thought I would try and compile a list in one place. These resources can be a mix of delivery methods including blogs, whitepapers, online videos, tutorials or courses. Let’s start with resources for end users, then move to the IT Pros, then to the developers. I started writing this for the purpose of training, but the lists quickly grew to include other resources, so I hope you find it a useful resource.

For the sake of this post, all resources will be for SharePoint 2010. But with the very soon to release SharePoint 2013, I will provide some information in another post. Stay tuned!

Correct Empty ULS Logs in SharePoint 2010

imageIf you're unsure what ULS logs are or what they're used for, please see my previous post where I cover the basics. On a recent project, I was adding a new server to a SharePoint 2010 farm. After the join was completed, I went to go review the ULS logs to ensure all looked well and no serious errors or other issues came up. To my surprise, it was empty! It turned out to be a simple fix, but here are some things to check when this happens:

  1. ULS logging is driven by the Windows service "SharePoint 2010 Tracing". Ensure this service is started, and if it is already running, right-click on it and choose restart. Then re-check the ULS logs.
  2. If the above tracing service is started and re-starting doesn't help, it likely is permissions related. This was the problem in my case. To fix this, do the following:
    1. In this environment, the tracing service was running as the application pool account. We need to add that account to the local user group "Performance Log Users".
    2. Check the membership of this group on a working farm server, and ensure the new farm server has the same group membership.
    3. Restart the tracing service, and check the ULS logs again for entries.
  3. If you still have trouble, check the other local security groups like WSS_WPG and WSS_ADMIN_WPG groups and ensure the problem server has the same memberships.

While you shouldn’t have to, it might be necessary to either perform an IISRESET on the problem server, or even reboot to ensure new credentials take affect.

Quick Tip: Change the “Search this site…” text in SharePoint 2010

SNAGHTML6b48e8bI recently had a client that wanted to change the default text that appears in all search boxes. By default it shows “Search this site…” and the client wanted it to be a little more customized to their environment. It turns out this is very simple to accomplish, and no code! We just need to edit 2 XML files.

Check SharePoint 2010 Site Collection Locks with PowerShell

Awhile back I ran into an issue where I had some site collection backups that failed to complete. No big deal, but this caused the locks on the site collection to remain in place, as I curiously found my administrator account with deny permissions on all sites in the site collection. This begs the question “What other site collections could be locked?” That becomes a real problem if you have a large number of site collections. Who wants to check each one in Central Administration one by one? Being the non-developer type, I turn to my trusty friend PowerShell.

First, what are we talking about specifically? In Central Administration, click Application Management, then under Site Collections, click Configure quotas and locks. Choose your web application/site collection, and view it’s status:

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Follow The Top SharePoint Blogs in One RSS Feed!

RSS icon

If you’re like me, at some point in your life you have set out to search the internet for SharePoint for one reason or another. After you found what you were looking for, you take a few extra minutes to look at what other posts the site has and you realize, this is pretty useful, I want to grab the RSS feed. Or you are just building a list of your favorite SharePoint MVPs. Or maybe you’re new to SharePoint, and don’t know all the cool kids’ blogs. Well after a while, those really start to stack up in your RSS reader. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine all those useful SharePoint RSS feeds into one single feed?

Keep Up to Date on Microsoft SharePoint Cumulative Updates

SharePoint 2010 Cumulative UpdatesUpdates are everyone’s favorite topic, and I just wanted to throw out a few good resources on how to keep up to date on the updates that Microsoft released for SharePoint 2010 and WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007.

The Updates RSS Feed

First and foremost, to keep up to date on SharePoint updates, you need to subscribe to the updates RSS feed! These posts provide links to the KB articles and downloads for the various configurations (Microsoft Office, SharePoint Foundation, Server, Server with Project Server, Office Web Apps, FAST Search, etc.). Notice that this feed includes all Office products, not JUST SharePoint. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t publish an update feed just for SharePoint that I know of. Also, Stefan Gobner, a Senior Escalation Engineer with Microsoft support, does a bang up job also posting SharePoint CU releases on his blog, as well as when issues come up. Links:

Quickly Find the SharePoint 2010 Configuration Database with PowerShell

powershell_iconI wanted to share this quick tip with PowerShell. Many times, we need to have an easy way to find the configuration database, and like a good SharePoint administrator, you want to try and use PowerShell. I have come across other blogs here and others that mention finding this with the registry, so this is just another way to do it.

Easy Way to Get Relative Path of SharePoint 2010 Site via PowerShell

powershell_iconThe more I learn and get to know PowerShell, the more I love it. I am able to perform what used to be time-consuming tasks (many hours or days) in seconds (after you write the script of course). While writing a script recently to perform some tasks on numerous SharePoint sites (webs to be precise), I was constructing URLs for the sites and using as variables and I needed only part of the URL (the managed path). After a little poking around, I found a nice easy way to do it.

Tips to Avoid Login Prompts in SharePoint

imageOne of the most common issues I hear when implementing SharePoint for new clients, or supporting an existing SharePoint environment is the dreaded login prompt. There are multiple reasons for the password prompt, but I'll try and cover the basics here.  Personally, I haven’t had to login to our internal company SharePoint in at least 6 or 8 months!  How can you achieve this SharePoint nirvana? Let’s walk through the common steps to avoid having to login to SharePoint, whether opening the site or when opening documents. Here’s a quick rundown.

  1. 1. Internet Explorer Security Zone
  2. 2. Windows Credential Store
  3. 3. Prompts When Opening Documents

SharePoint 2010 Ratings and Custom Content Types

imageThere are numerous cool new features in SharePoint 2010, and I’ve found that integrating them into custom solutions are not always straightforward. I found this to be true with ratings as well. Ratings are one of the new social tagging features that gives users a 1–5 star graphic to rate content. You can find a high level overview of social tagging features here on TechNet.

Normally this isn’t a problem. For example, you have your normal Shared Documents library, and you want users to be able to rate content. No problem right? We go into the library settings, and then click on Rating Settings. We simple click Yes, and hit ok. Too easy:

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TechNet Content for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 Now Available on Amazon!

There was no big fanfare on this and could have been easily missed, so I thought it was worth repeating.  Microsoft and the content publishing team have compiled their downloadable content and made available on Amazon in a nicely bound book!  It’s great for all those out there that would stay up late at night feeling guilty for killing so many trees printing it yourself. You can find the the download links here on TechNet. I will include the information here as I’m just nice like that. I also didn’t say they were the cheapest around, but price varies by book ($66 is a little steep in my opinion).

Submitting a Document Set to a SharePoint 2010 Repository in Workflow

docset_welcomepage_bigEvery so often while working in SharePoint, you encounter a feature that has almost no documentation or you can’t find anyone with a similar issue. This happened to me when I was trying to configure a workflow to move a document set to a Records Center. After I got this to work, I wanted to try and save others the grief and frustration that I experienced. If “Unknownerror” means anything to you, this post is for you.

Who Would Use This?

This action might be useful in document management scenarios, where documents have a formal “approval” process, and management policies are defined to “expire” them to meet retention policies. Once expired, they would be removed from the current location and moved to another location, specifically a Records Center in this case where they sit waiting to be purged from the system.

Tip: How to Rename a SharePoint 2010 Server

Even if you’ve planned your SharePoint project properly, or it might be years later, you need to rename your SharePoint 2010 server. This quick tip covers this on SharePoint 2010 which is a much cleaner experience than it was in 2007. There is an STSADM switch that can handle it, but for 2010, there is a certain procedure to yield best results. I was able to do this on a single SharePoint server earlier and it worked great! This was a single SharePoint server with SQL on another server.

For 2010, there’s a new PowerShell cmdlet for this very thing, Rename-SPServer. This is this article on TechNet covering the procedure. It has you renaming the server itself first, then fixing up SharePoint. However I’ve heard of issues with that, and I had better results by doing it in reverse. That is, running the PowerShell to fix up SharePoint then renaming the server. Here is what I did:

  1. Tell SharePoint about the new server name via PowerShell. This is done via the Rename-Server cmdlet. Of course get-help is your friend to get details and examples, however the context help of the cmd (and the technet article for that matter) IS WRONG! It’s funny, because the example is right, but the explanation isn’t. Go figure, nobody’s perfect. Anyway, you give the command the old and new server names. TechNet says the old server name is in the form of a URL. That throws an error. It should just be . So the whole command would be like:
       1: Rename-SPServer –identity “old_server_name” –name “new_server_name”

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Day 4

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Well, today’s the last day of the conference. I know, it’s very sad, but a great time was had by all. This was my first big conference, and I really enjoyed the experience. There were 3 breakout sessions today back to back with the day closing out with lunch in the early afternoon. It’s hard to believe they crammed 240 sessions in 3 and a half days! I got to rub elbows with some of the greats in the industry, bloggers, authors, MVPs and lots of folks from Microsoft. If there’s one tip I can give, it’s to stay in a hotel close to the conference! It was awesome to be able to be in 1 minute walking distance. You have to be able to drop off all the freebies in your room.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Days 2 and 3

I'm attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Whew what a wild couple of days! I didn’t get to blog last night so I figured I would combine yesterday and today. The sessions have been really good.

 

Tuesday – Day 2

Tuesday started with the Todd Carter’s session about Extending SharePoint Health & Monitoring. He put on a good show, giving details on web analytics and diagnostic logging, and how to extend them using custom providers to get detailed reports. Very cool stuff! Then I attended one of the more popular sessions of the day by Microsoft Certified Master Scott Jamison, Best Practices Around SharePoint 2010 User Profiles. Now this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, but I’ve come to a place where I accept the UPA for what it is, even with its shortcomings. He got a volunteer from the crowd (a fellow MCM and MCA Spence Harbar) to configure the UPA live. This was really more of a part 1 of 2, where Spence would take it deeper under the covers and show how to implement it via the UI and PowerShell.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Day 1

SPC-2011sThe first day started with the big keynote with all of the about 7500 attendees! That’s a lot of people lovin’ some SharePoint in one place! Well, let me back up. On my way into the convention center for breakfast before the keynote, I noticed there was all this noise outside. Turns out a software vendor and SharePoint competitor called Huddle had hired a marching band to play a few tunes right outside the conference and march through. In my opinion, quite childish. Anyway, on the good stuff …

Walked into the keynote speech, and was entertained by the sweet sounds of DJ Keenan Kameleon. He’s a Senior Product Manager with the SharePoint Team at Microsoft. I’m told you can listen to his music mix from the keynote online here. Jared Spataro, Senior Director of SharePoint Product Management was up first, and gave some updates on some numbers. Can you say 62 million licenses sold of SharePoint with 125 million users? The overall theme for the conference is Productivity Delivered, which celebrates all the excellent work and solutions that customers and partners have developed on the platform. I won’t bore you with all the details, but you can read more on the MS SharePoint Team blog.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–The Pre-Game Show

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Wow, the time is finally here for the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011! What an exciting time this is for SharePoint. The product celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary recently, and it has come a long way! The latest release SharePoint 2010 is really a game changer and is continuously expanding it’s presence and impact in the industry. This conference celebrates the product in a way that is just amazing. There are so many people from all over the world coming together for a single purpose – to share knowledge.

This year’s conference takes place in sunny Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. Every hotel in a 15 mile area is SOLD OUT! Ok some of that is probably Disneyland. After checking in to my hotel and getting settled, I walked across the street to the convention center to check things out. I got registered and checked out the venue. This place is huge, three floors of SharePoint goodness! There are lots of great-looking sessions, and I narrowed down the ones I want to attend.

Published Content Type Column Order Fixed in August 2011 CU

SharePoint 2010 has many new and very useful features, one of them being new functionality with content types via the Managed Metadata service application. It allows you to specify a content type hub, a central location for managing content types. You can then publish those content types to subscribing site collections. This opens up a lot of flexibility to manage content consistently.

Recently I ran into a scenario where I had configured content types in the hub site, and set the column order and published the content types. After awhile I had made changes to the root content type column order and re-published those changes. I found that the settings for the columns were updated (hidden, required, etc.) but the changed order did NOT update. This is fairly significant to users of a document management system as you don’t want your optional “Enterprise Keywords” field showing first with a required important required column at the bottom. Oh the humanity!

What To Do When the SharePoint ‘What’s New’ Web Part Isn’t Available

Group Work Lists site featureIt’s well documented that the What’s New web part can be very helpful in showing recent information about content in a list or document library. It’s also well documented that to be able to add this web part in SharePoint 2010, you have to activate the site feature “Group Work Lists”. But what happens when you go to Site Actions –> Site Settings, click Manage Site Features and activate the feature, but the web part is still missing from the available web parts list?

Creating a Weekly Team Status Report in SharePoint 2010 Using Wikis

SharePoint 2010 Weekly Team Status

Everyone has meetings they have to attend on a frequent basis, and we all want to get through them as quickly as possible (so we can get back to our game of angry birds). We need to have a quick and easy way for team members to provide an update on their assigned duties, as well as a streamlined method of reviewing them during the meeting. Since we’re lucky that our company has invested in SharePoint, let’s use it! This method I believe provides a very quick and easy way to accomplish your goals for capturing the information without using complicated add-ons or any other heavy lifting.

This is the final result. Cool huh? Nothing fancy, but it does the job (sometimes simpler is better). This is driven by a wiki page library, where every team member gets their own wiki page. You could just have one wiki page and sections where everyone just updates their text, but then you would have multiple people trying to edit that one page 15 minutes before the meeting, and get frustrated with all the merge conflict warnings. If everyone gets their own page, no conflict warnings. Let’s see how it’s done so everyone is happy.


 

Improvements in SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 1

Some of you may have heard by now that service pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 products has been released. There have been some blog posts out there that talk about the improvements in SP1 and major reasons why SP1 is actually a good thing! What I wanted to do here is look at some improvements that perhaps have been overlooked. First let’s get the basics out of the way so you can see the big picture like everyone else. Here’s a list of recent blogs on the subject:

All About SharePoint 2010 ULS Logging

I use SharePoint’s ULS logs almost daily when supporting and administering SharePoint (2007 and 2010 for that matter).  Let’s look at what it is, and how it can help you troubleshoot issues in SharePoint 2010.

What is this “ULS Logging”?

Like most (but not all) features in SharePoint 2010, logging did get an upgrade from 3.0 / 2007.  First of all, what is ULS?  It stands for Unified Logging Service (ULS).  It is the engine that handles creating a detailed trace output of all of the events that occur in SharePoint.  It is dependent on the Windows service “SharePoint 2010 Tracing”.  By default, SharePoint creates these log files in the file system in the “14 hive”:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS

These log files are written by SharePoint in real-time and contain information regarding event logging per its configuration in Central Administration. 

Resolve an TCP 10061 Error with the SharePoint 2010 User Profile Service

I went to go run a manual sync of the User Profile Service in SharePoint, and was unable to get to the Service Application.  After reviewing the ULS logs, I found this error:

UserProfileConfigManager.StartSynchronizationForOneManagementAgent: Unexpected exception: System.ServiceModel.EndpointNotFoundException: Could not connect to http:///ResourceManagementService/MEX. TCP error code 10061: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it IP address:port. ---> System.Net.WebException: Unable to connect to the remote server ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it IP address:port.

Luckily this error has an easy fix.  This error occurred because one of the two ForeFront Identity Manager services that the User Profile Service depends on wasn’t started.  Go into Services.msc and check to ensure both services are started:

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You should be able to start the service without an issue and this should allow you to connect to the User Profile Service again. 

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