The LandPhil be honest, be honorable, be kind, be compassionate, and work hard.

June 8, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 4:01 pm

So I have to toot my own horn for a bit.

First off, I haven’t really written a program since I was in college.  And that really isn’t a decent real world coding experience anyway.  In school, you’re working in a fairly closed environment in terms of what’s expected and what’s provided.  “Here’s what a data structure is…now go write one.”

I’ve played around with Java, did a little bit of coding around making IRC bots, but nothing terribly exciting.  And, I really haven’t had to solve any problems with code, mostly.  I’ve been working as a systems administrator.  Sure, there’s some scripting, but I wouldn’t consider it the same thing.

Two things changed that for me:  PowerShell and my new job as a SharePoint farm administrator.  PowerShell came out during my last job, and I played with it a bit, but I really didn’t get the awesomeness of it until I started working in SharePoint.  PowerShell is a scripting language, but it’s object oriented and tightly integrated with everything in the Microsoft stack.  Writing scripts in PowerShell is nipping at the edges of .NET programming.  You’re working with the same object models, but in an environment where you can load and unload objects in the structure at your whim.

Because of this, I came to greatly understand the SharePoint object model.  I scripted large swaths of what I was doing in SharePoint.  Farm configuration, web application configuration, site collection creation and permissions.  It even got to the point where I was tinkering around with the portal navigation providers in PowerShell.  (Adding links to the top site navigation and the quick launch, complete with security trimming!  Something that you can’t do in the graphical interface.)

Well, it’s finally come full circle.  Over the last two days I have written, compiled and deployed my first custom event receiver in SharePoint.

First off, why?  Well, there’s a lot of functionality provided by SharePoint.  But Microsoft is in this for the money, so they’ve restricted access to certain functionality based on the “tier” of the application you’re using.  The free version, SharePoint Foundation, does a lot, but at the same time, it’s fairly restrictive.  SharePoint Server Standard adds a lot of fun stuff, but there’s a hefty price to be paid to get there.  Enterprise adds on even more functionality, but aimed at higher business functionality (think business intelligence.)  So, as you might expect, you have to live with some caveats if you’re using SharePoint Foundation…

Unless you decide you can just do it yourself.  Enter my new found (or old remembered) ability to write code.

The past 48 hours have been entertaining.  My solution went from a farm solution to a sandboxed solution (I didn’t like the fact that the features it enabled could be activated in any site in the entire farm, it just made it messy.)  I also had to solve the interesting problem of how to catch and handle errors (my farm solution just wrote to the ULS logs on the web front ends, but sandboxes are restricted from doing that, so I had to come up with a custom solution for that too!  (That is rather ingenious, I might add.  Hunting through logs is messy, so I create and write to a custom list.))

I’m actually pretty jazzed.  Too bad I’ve got enough “administrative work” to sink a ship.  I’d probably keep coding.


December 30, 2011

Leave SharePoint Alone!

Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 1:06 pm

This is only funny if you’ve ever worked with SharePoint.  Or really any enterprise level Microsoft product.  Or really any enterprise software product…

No, only funny to SharePoint folks: Leave SharePoint Alone

Props to Christian Buckley.

December 29, 2011

SharePoint: Upgrading is a bear

Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 6:57 pm

So you’ve patched SharePoint.  And then you’ve run the configuration wizard on all of the farm machines to actually apply the updates.  Or, perhaps you prefer to use the command line psconfig.exe.  In any case, you get the dreaded (and very generic and not at all helpful) “an update conflict has occurred, and you must re-try this action”.

Fair enough, it says you should re-try, so you do.  And you get it again.  Ad infinitum.

Turns out it’s a problem with the configuration cache on that machine.  You need to clear that out.  I found the steps here (, which is an article for SP 2007, but it worked for me on 2010.)

I’ll summarize them:

  1. Stop the timer service
  2. Go to <systemrootdrive>:\ProgramData\Microsoft\SharePoint\<GUID>
  3. Open the cache.ini file and look at the number.
  4. Backup the folder.
  5. Delete all of the XML documents in the folder.
  6. Edit cache.ini so that it only contains “1”.
  7. Restart the timer service.

When you restart the timer service, it should rebuild the contents of that directory, along with changing the value in the cache.ini file.  You should also then be able to run the upgrade wizard (or psconfig.exe).


April 7, 2011

Maybe I’m wrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 5:31 am

I tend to write and talk as if I’m an authority on a subject. I do it because it keeps arguments to a minimum. It’s also easier to push your agenda when you’re aggressive.

That said, I am in no way claiming that anything I write on this blog is 100% accurate. I’ve looked at sources, I’ve tested the solutions, but I still may be wrong. I may have patched some issue that was ancillary to the problem I was hoping to address, I may have made a change that covered up the problem I was trying to solve originally.

The short version of what I’m saying is this: Correct me. Leave a comment if you see something is wrong, or you think I’ve led people down the wrong path. I’m not above correcting my posts. This isn’t a static document. I honestly want to makes things easier for others struggling down the same path. I believe I would be remiss in not doing so.

January 21, 2011

SharePoint: Office Web Apps – PowerPoint Broadcasting

Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 9:05 am

So I thought I’d give the Office Web Apps installation a try, just to see how things worked.  The installation itself is pretty easy.  You may see a lot of stuff go flying by in the SharePoint Configuration Wizard (that you have to run after the Office Web Apps install is finished) that would seem to indicate that it’s creating a bunch of service applications.  Don’t worry, it’s not.  I assume it’s just doing a check to make sure all of the applications that are supposed to be installed are installed.

At any rate, once that was done, I wanted to set up a PowerPoint Broadcast site.  This turned out to be a learning experience, so here are a few gotchas.  The PowerPoint Broadcasting is only available as a site collection template.  I assume there’s probably a way to shoehorn it’s functionality anywhere using Visual Studio or SharePoint Designer, but I just wanted to get it up and running.  So, when you create a site collection, do it then.  Also, when you create the PowerPoint Service Application you can also create a site collection that will be the “default” broadcasting site.  However, if you don’t do it as part of the service application creation process, you can’t add a “default” broadcasting site afterwards.  Live and learn.

January 2, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — phil @ 5:36 pm

By clicking this link:

You are helping to increase the population of my virtual town.

Yes, this is silly.

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