Thursday, April 26, 2012

Setting up a development environment for SharePoint and Windows Phone 7

There are basically 3 flavors of setup that you can use for setting up a development environment when you want to build a Windows Phone 7 app that integrates with SharePoint:

  • Physical single machine setup using Windows 7: install both SharePoint 2010 and Windows Phone 7 on a physical Windows 7 machine. This will not work in a virtual environment since SharePoint requires a 64 bit machine and the Windows Phone SDK requires a 32 bit setup when installing in a virtual environment. Installing the Windows Phone SDK on the Windows 7 host and using VMWare is not an option either – see  Help – Windows Phone 7.1 emulator crashes my VMWare workstation. You can not install the Phone SDK on a Windows Server 2008 (R2) but there seems to be a workaround which you can use at your own risk (I did not test it).
  • Single machine with Windows Server 2008 R2 hosting 2 VHDs – one with Windows 7 and one with Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Two physical machines – one with Windows Server 2008 and one with Windows Phone 7
  • Use a hosted solution for SharePoint such as Cloudshare

If you just want to experiment with integrating WP7 and SharePoint Server 2010 don’t not use Office 365/SharePoint Online since SharePoint Online uses quite a different authentication mechanism compared to an on-premise deployment of SharePoint. If anyone has a working sample of a Windows Phone 7 app connecting to SharePoint Online please leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RSS Feeds are default not enabled in SharePoint 2010

Default RSS feeds for SharePoint lists are not enabled – you will need to enable it per site collection. On the RSS settings page you will also be able to add some additional info to include into the feed such as copyright statement, managing editor, webmaster as well as the time to live (in minutes).

Next you need to define on a per list basis whether you will allow RSS feeds. It is also in this screen that you can define whether you want to include additional fields/columns in the RSS feed. Be careful though, when you add additional columns outside of the standard fields in RSS (title and link), these will be exposed in formatted HTM and not XML which will make it difficult to parse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SharePoint Designer 2010 Custom Actions–Lock a SharePoint Discussion thread

I recently got a question whether it would be possible to lock a discussion thread in SharePoint 2010. The quickest (no code solution) according to me would be to use the new quick step/custom action features in SharePoint 2010. For a basic overview take a look at  SharePoint 2010 – Create a new quick step & custom actions .

My first idea was to hook a SharePoint 2010 workflow with just one workflow action to the new quick step – declare as record (part of the new records management capabilities in SharePoint 2010) – check out this full list of the available workflow actions in SharePoint Designer 2010 . Unfortunately a discussion thread is actually built on top of a folder content type and you can’t declare a folder content type as record.

Next I took a look at adding a workflow action to SharePoint Designer 2010 to change the security on the specific discussion thread. Unfortunately there is no such workflow action available out of the box in SharePoint Designer 2010. So two options – either built one yourself (this is pretty similar to what you did in 2007) – for a interesting rundown take a look at Make a custom activity available to SharePoint Designer 2010 or you can take a look at the SharePoint Designer Custom Workflow Activities project on Codeplex which provides the following custom actions:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Survey on SharePoint deployment in Belgium

Please take a moment of your time to fill in a survey around SharePoint deployment in Belgium organized by two students from the University College of Ghent:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this survey. This survey is organized by the University College Ghent. It is aimed at measuring the deployment of Microsoft SharePoint in Belgium. Answering the approximately 25 questions will take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Try to be honest when you answer the questions, we can assure you that all the data is confidential and will only be processed by the researchers. No answer is right or wrong, we only want to know your opinion. Please try to fill in every question, even if you have doubts.

The survey is anonymous, but if you are interested in the result of our survey you can fill in your e-mail address at the end of the survey and we will send you the result. This e-mail address will only be accessible by the researchers and won’t be given to third-party companies. Feel free to send out the survey link to other interested persons or to distribute it through social media channels – the goal of this survey is to reach as many SharePoint users as possible within Belgium.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Accessing Microsoft CRM 4.0 data using web services

A couple of days ago I wanted to write a plugin for Excel 2010 which would allow me to do lookups in Microsoft CRM 4.0 for adding extra information to a worksheet.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was. Microsoft CRM 4.0 exposes all of its data through the CrmService web service - http://[server:port]/mscrmservices/2007/crmservice.asmx which exposes a number of interesting methods ( see CrmService Common methods)  of which one is the CrmService.Fetch method which allows for retrieving CRM entities in XML based on a specified XML query syntax which is called FetchXML.

The only tricky part is creating this FetchXML but there are a number of  tools that you can use to actually generate this FetchXML:

There is however another simpler method – just open CRM 4.0 and use the Advanced Option to create a new search. Click CTRL+N to open a new window with the address bar visible – now build your query and click Find. When the search results screen appears – paste the following in the address bar - javascript:alert(resultRender.FetchXml.value);  and hit enter

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