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User Profile Database Growth Issue Resolved

16 April, 2012 (08:15) | SharePoint | By: Liebrand

It appears the User Profile Database growth issue I posted about previously has been resolved with the February cumulative update for SharePoint 2010.

In my previous post, a temporary solution was provided that involved creating a stored procedure and running it on a scheduled basis to clean up the appropriate tables. In reviewing the KB Article 2597150, it states:

This hotfix package provides store procedures that clean up the Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) history tables during profile synchronization jobs.

If you implemented the workaround, I would encourage you do remove it and then install the February CU.

Here is a link to the February 2012 CU for SharePoint 2010:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/stefan_gossner/archive/2012/03/07/february-2011-cu-for-sharepoint-2010-has-been-released.aspx


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SharePoint + Word + Metadata + Spaces = Death

16 January, 2012 (11:08) | Office, SharePoint | By: Liebrand

This morning I received an interesting support ticket.  The reported issue was that when clicking a document from SharePoint it would completely freeze the browser and Word.  I tried it from my desk and was able to reproduce the issue. It was only occurring with a specific document.

Immediately I thought this form must be corrupted. I saved it to my local desktop and was able to open the file without any issues. Bizarre – I click the File menu (I am running Office 2010 but problem exists on both 2007/2010) and all of a sudden Word froze and I received the “Not Responding” message in the title bar. I finally had to kill the process; tried it again, same issue.

I extracted the contents of the DOCX file and started investigating the content.  I noticed that the document had metadata columns from SharePoint with some values in them. One metadata column stood out from the rest because it had about 20 blank spaces at the end of it.

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I deleted all the blank spaces, re-compiled the DOCX file, and tested it and the problem was gone.

I thought to myself there had to be something special about this document. So I decided to create a brand new SharePoint library with a couple metadata columns and then created a brand new Word document. When I edited the Word document, I immediately went into the Document Properties panel, keyed in some text, and then added about 20 blank spaces. When I clicked the save button, word hung again with a “Not Responding” message.

Decided to do a few more iterations; I added 1 trailing space, worked fine, 2, worked fine, 3, worked fine. I started to notice that the more spaces I added the slower the “Save” dialog got until I eventually hit about 13 spaces and it no longer returned and Word completely froze.

Under normal circumstances, you should never have this many spaces trailing your metadata but I think this user cut and paste the text from another location and selected too much.

In the past, I have had numerous issues that involved Word freezing when saving or opening but never knew the root cause. We generally fixed it by re-creating the document. I at least now have another location to check before we resort to re-creating a document.

Check it for yourself – you will no doubt have the same issue.


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Goodbye SharePoint… Hello PeopleSoft… for now…

13 January, 2012 (22:35) | Personal, SharePoint | By: Liebrand

SharePoint is a platform I am pretty passionate about and I have been doing it for many years. Unfortunately, over the past year my priorities at work have shifted to other projects and my SharePoint interactions have been limited.

2012 is going to have some new challenges and learning experiences for me. My organization has shifted my focus and I’ll be living and breathing PeopleSoft for the next year or so. This change will undoubtedly limit my interaction with SharePoint yet again.

I have high hopes to return to the SharePoint platform in the future and I will do my best to remain intact with the community and the happenings around SharePoint.

You will more than likely see a shift in my posts from SharePoint to PeopleSoft related content over the next few months (if I feel I have something to contribute).

Thank you for the continued support – SharePoint definitely has one of the best communities out there.

Anyone else in the community have PeopleSoft experience?  Any pro tips?


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Broken road is but a memory…

15 December, 2011 (21:51) | Personal | By: Liebrand

Throughout my childhood I always felt close to my brothers. But as my older brother and I started our own families that sense of brotherhood fades. We see each other at family events and in passing but we will never really get back to that point where we were as kids. When you finally realize this gap exists it is too late to make up that time. In recent conversations, we bring up fond childhood memories and relive those moments; always putting a smile on our faces. As brothers, we will always have a strong bond but we don’t always tell each other how we feel.

My younger brother has been dealt a pretty shit hand in life but has always risen above it and has always had the love and support of his family. Frankly, I do not think he realizes how much respect I have for him — this letter is to address that and is written for him.

To my youngest brother,

I see the heart and passion you put into everything you do. As a self taught music producer, artist, and video producer, you continue to grow with every new project. You refuse to believe that you have reached some ceiling and continue to strive.

During your recent stay, we had this silly idea to record a video of me playing all the instruments in Rock Band and then you would edit it all together and create an epic music video. There were some moments during that experience that you couldn’t script and made us laugh so hard. This is totally something we would have done as kids. Having that very specific moment with you brought back that childhood feeling — it is a moment in time that I will remember forever.

While driving home the other day, I was listening to your latest album you produced with Nonsense and I felt an immense sense of pride overcome me. "This is my brother’s creation I hear coming out of my speakers" I thought to myself — I just couldn’t believe it. This new album is definitely a high point in your music career and you should be proud of what you have created.

I had no problem laying down my $8.99 for this album — the feeling of passion and creativeness speaks for itself. I have always supported your work but I have never purchased your work. That ended with this album and it was worth every penny!

You have had many struggles and challenges in your life but I know you will achieve great things.

Standing at this fork in your life journey looking back at the broken road you have travelled; remember that it has built a solid foundation and life experience that is invaluable. The journey forward will be smooth sailing. Never look back but always remember where you came from.

With much love and respect,

Your brother,

Paul

Related Links:

Better Late Than never – Nonsense

Limp Bizkit – Re-arranged by Darkside Productionz and Poogle
Five Finger Death Punch – Hard To See by Darkside Productionz and Poogle


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SharePoint URL Shortener

5 October, 2011 (14:57) | SharePoint | By: Liebrand

A few years ago I developed a free SharePoint URL Shortener and released it to the community. I have not had much time to go back to it since.  I had some time recently and decided to add a feature that I have wanted to have for a long time and many have asked for.

With the release of 1.0.2, you can now customize the short name before it gets created.  If you do not specify a name then one will be generated for you.

The following screenshots show the process:

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If you decide not to customize the name, you simply click “Ok” and one is generated for you:

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You can download this solution from my CodePlex site at http://spurlshortener.codeplex.com.

Future plans for this solution include:

  • Removing the dependency on Central Admin
  • Allowing users to update shortened URLs
  • Provide a list of shortened URLs assigned to an item

[Updated]

SharePoint URL Shortener 1.0.3 was released that added initial SharePoint 2010 support.

SharePoint 2010 Generate URL


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“Set as default My Site”, “SharePoint Sites”, or “My SharePoint Sites” missing in Office 2010 on SharePoint 2007?

27 September, 2011 (10:15) | Office, SharePoint | By: Liebrand

If your organization is rolling out Windows 7 with Office 2010 in your environment but you are still using SharePoint 2007 you might notice that the “Set as default My Site” option is no longer working. Clicking this link is crucial to enabling the Office / SharePoint integration points.

If you do not already know this, each time you click on the Open or Save menus within an Office product it looks for a special registry key under the user profile. This registry key tells Office what SharePoint farm your user is connected to and will retrieve their SharePoint site membership information. Once this information has been retrieved, it will hydrate the “SharePoint Sites” (or “My SharePoint Sites” on Office 2007) folder.

NOTE: If it successfully finds this location in the registry it will not check it again for up to 24 hours.

9-27-2011 9-56-29 AM

I have other posts that explains how this membership works in SharePoint and how to effectively use it with Office.

On to the issue – you will notice that if you visit your My Site with Office 2010 installed you may see the “Set as default My Site” display momentarily and the disappear.

If we look closely at the HTML source of the My Site page, you can see that Microsoft is attempting create a new ActiveX object:

objPersonalSite = new ActiveXObject("PortalConnect12.PersonalSite.1");

If you use the developer toolbar and attempt to evaluate objPersonalSite it will return null.

Searching through the registry, I found no mention of PortalConnect12.PersonalSite.1 – I did however find a mention of PortalConnect14.PersonalSite.1. No wonder the ActiveX control is not working – there is no reference to it on the system.

I took the PortalConnect14 keys and duplicated them and changed the values from 14 to 12 using a registry file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PortalConnect12.PersonalSite]
@="PersonalSite Class"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PortalConnect12.PersonalSite\CLSID]
@="{E7339A62-0E31-4A5E-BA3D-F2FEDFBF8BE5}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PortalConnect12.PersonalSite\CurVer]
@="PortalConnect12.PersonalSite.1"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PortalConnect12.PersonalSite.1]
@="PersonalSite Class"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\PortalConnect12.PersonalSite.1\CLSID]
@="{E7339A62-0E31-4A5E-BA3D-F2FEDFBF8BE5}"

I went back to my My Site and the automatic dialog box popped up asking if I want to set this site as my default My Site:

9-27-2011 10-09-17 AM

I clicked Yes and went to the registry location I was aware of (HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common) but did not see the Portal key I was expecting.  Come to find out, on Windows 7, this is written to another location:

HKCU\Software\AppDataLow\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Portal

At this point, if you fire up any of the core Office applications and click on Open or Save As and wait a few minutes, you should see a “SharePoint Sites” option appear and start hydrating it with all your SharePoint membership sites.


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Is it really that difficult to create numbered lists in Word?

19 September, 2011 (11:31) | Office, Rant | By: Liebrand

A really poorly styled Word document lead me to write this blog post today to rant!  Is this really that difficult?  I see it all the time – people constantly screwing around with the numbered lists in documents. They decide to re-number something but they change the number and the rest of the numbers change, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes even half of them change.

I have seen people battle with this problem for hours!  In the end, all this headache could have been avoided with about 1 minute worth of effort up front. Most people will rely on Word’s automatic numbering system to figure things out – it’s not worth the hassle… trust me!

In a new Word document, do the following:

  • Click the Heading 1 style and type “Heading 1”
  • Click the Heading 2 style and type “Heading 2”
  • Click the Heading 3 style and type “Heading 3” (and so on)
  • Click on the Define New Multilevel List button

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  • On the Define New Multilevel List dialog box, click the More button in the lower left corner. Select 1 on the left-top and then on the right select Heading 1 as the style to use for the level. Repeat this for all the levels you have defined (in my example, 3) and then click Ok.

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Magically your document will be transformed! You will never have to mess with it again!  If you do then it means you messed something up.

9-19-2011 11-11-09 AM

Pro Tip

The default behavior when pressing Enter will change the style back to Normal.  If you want to continue the heading styles instead you can solve this easily by modifying the styles of the headings you want this behavior on.

For example, if I select the Heading 2 style and type “Heading 2” and hit enter and I want it to keep the Heading 2 style, so I can type Heading 3, etc. then simply right-click on the Heading 2 style in the styles box and select Modify. Then change the Style for following paragraph to Heading 2.

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Now when I press enter, the style will stay.

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If at any point, you want to adjust the settings of the multilevel list, simply right click on one of the numbers and click Adjust List Indent and you will be taken back to the multilevel list dialog box.

I don’t think this is rocket science – if it is, then I guess I am a rocket scientist!


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SharePoint 2010 Analytics Reports coming up blank when customizing?

15 September, 2011 (13:06) | SharePoint | By: Liebrand

I was recently evaluating the web analytic reporting capabilities within SharePoint 2010 and ran into a strange problem.  Although the reports were displaying correctly they would appear blank if I attempted to “Customize” them. After spending a few hours scouring the Internet and reading different posts and solutions I was able to piece together a solution that resolved it for me.

9-15-2011 12-53-55 PM

If you attempt to customize a web analytic report in SharePoint 2010 and it comes up blank, make sure you have done the following:

  • Started the Claims to Windows Token Service via Central Admin > Application Management > Manage services on server
  • Verify the User Defined Function Assemblies via Excel Service Application has a reference to Microsoft.Office.Server.WebAnalytics.UI, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c (Assembly Location is Global Assembly Cache).

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If any one of these is not setup correctly, your reports will show up blank when you view them via Excel in browser or in client. Once you have these two things configured correctly, reports display perfect!

9-15-2011 1-03-31 PM

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The launch of our company Intranet using SharePoint 2010

16 August, 2011 (10:47) | SharePoint | By: Liebrand

The old Intranet served our company well over the last 10 years. It was a gateway into employee benefits, company activity, news, etc. There were a number of issues with our old Intranet. From a technology perspective, it was running on an old version of ColdFusion. From a content perspective, there was no true structure followed so content was difficult to find.

In early 2010, a project was kicked off with a small core team, which I was not part of at the time, to redesign and rebrand the company Intranet. SharePoint 2010 was chosen as the new platform and the team began its journey. An outside firm was hired to help get the ball rolling by analyzing content, providing best practices, and some initial wireframes.

In late 2010, the project team started on the branding phase with the outside firm but they were having some challenges with turnaround time and visions/ideas not being understood. A co-worker on the core team knew I had the skillset to fill this gap and threw out the idea of bringing the branding in-house. Bringing it in would put it in the hands of a team who knew what they wanted and understood our company culture.

After being approached by my management to join the team I was soon underway working on bringing their vision and ideas to life. This was my first time doing a massive branding effort on any SharePoint platform so it was an exciting challenge for me.

After a number of iterations on the original design we finally came up with a design we all agreed upon. I sliced up the Photoshop mocks, created the master page and CSS to support the mock and presented a rough working proof of the design. Having a running site (vs. a Photoshop mock) highlighted some issues with our design, so after a few more tweaks and iterations we landed up with something that worked for all of us.

After months of hard work by the whole team, more than 1200+ pages migrated from ColdFusion and a new fresh look, we launched on July 15th to a well-received Intranet.

I was able to get some approved screenshots of the new Intranet to demonstrate the work we did and I’ll provide a little background, specifically on the branding, for each one. There was some custom developed web parts and solutions used throughout the Intranet also. I might write up future articles on the technical side of things in the future (or get my co-worker to co-author it).

Home Page

Key features include:

  • Featured article which automatically rotates every 10 seconds.
  • Employee phonebook search
  • Weather
  • Market Summary

Splash-001

Sub Pages

Points of interest:

  • Navigating to another section reveals a sub menu to allow users to drill into bigger content buckets
  • Related links allows content owners to relate the content to other locations.
  • We have about 10 different page layouts depending on the site you are on.

Splash-002

Manual Rollup Pages

These types of pages allow content owners to manually create a rollup of logical content.

Splash-003

Automatic Rollup Pages

These types of pages allow content owners to flag specific content they want to rollup into specific sections on this landing page.

Points of interest:

  • I created about 60-70 icons (the yellow graphic you see below) from scratch that were used throughout the Intranet based on ideas I got from the core project team.

Splash-004

Company Bulletin Board

The old Intranet had a bulletin board but it was a very manual process. When I finished with the man branding components, I was also asked to build a new bulletin board system that semi-automated the process. Employees can now submit a new item, upload up to 3 images, and it gets routed to a team to approve them before it gets published.

Because we did not want to train every single employee on how the SharePoint 2010 content editing experience – we built a custom form that just asked the questions and a page layout was created on their behalf (see result in next screenshot).

Splash-005

Bulletin Board Item

Splash-006

Some random page layouts

Splash-007

Splash-008


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SharePoint and the “Cannot move <filename>: Cannot read from the source file or disk.” error via Windows Explorer View

24 June, 2011 (15:35) | SharePoint | By: Liebrand

Using Windows Explorer view to copy and/or move files around is one of the most preferred methods for end-users when they are using SharePoint. It is a very familiar process because they have used it for years with network shares.

I am sure that ever person that has used the Windows Explorer view has attempted to move a file from one location to another and received the following error message:

Cannot move <filename>: Cannot read from the source file or disk.

MoveError

I am sure you have seen that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and caught yourself wondering why. Copying the file from one location to another works 100% of time. The obvious solution to this problem then be to simply copy the file to its new location and then delete it from the old location. Depending on the situation, this might be easier said than done.

For instance, copying a file from one location to another does not bring over the metadata but moving the file does (as long as the destination library has the same metadata fields).

There are many posts on the Internet that refer to the WebDAV 50 MB file limit as being the root cause of this problem and a solution to solve this (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/900900). However, this will not solve it completely.

Although this post does not have a permanent solution to this problem; it is more to bring awareness to it. Here are the scenarios in which a move will work 100% of the time and where it will not work at all.

Working Scenario

  • Moving files between libraries within the same site. For example:

http://portal.company.com/library1 (source)
http://portal.company.com/library2 (destination)

  • Moving files between libraries across different sites as long as they are directly below the root site. For example:

http://portal.company.com/site1/library1 (source)
http://portal.company.com/site2/library1 (destination)

Non-working Scenario

  • Moving files between libraries in sub-sites that are more than 1 level below the root site. For example:

http://portal.company.com/site1/siteA/library1 (source)
http://portal.company.com/site1/siteB/library1 (destination)

In any other scenarios outline above, a copy will work every single time but a move will fail. Does not matter if you running Windows XP, Windows 7, SharePoint 2007 or SharePoint 2010.

Microsoft’s response…

I have been working with Microsoft support on this issue and as of right now they claim this is by design because they do not recommend moving files this way. HOGWASH!!!

My gut tells me that this used to work and something has changed which has now broken this functionality. Whether it be a SharePoint fix or a Windows fix – I don’t know.

What do you guys think? Agree, disagree? Have you seen the same thing? Perhaps some of you other there in the community can conduct your own tests around this and let me know what you see.

Update – 6/29

Microsoft today acknowledge this issue and said they will push it through escalations to determine if it can be fixed in a future release of a product.  Don’t hold your breath … if we ever see a fix for this, it will not be for a couple years.

In the meantime, Microsoft suggested using copy / paste (instead of cut/paste) if you do not care about metadata, or activate publishing features and use the content structure feature to move stuff between libraries.


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