When you implement a solution, you test it in different situation and depending on the results, of course, you correct the little mistakes that may be present. What I found very interesting so far in software development is the way to reproduce a behaviour following a given set of steps. For the same steps, you get the same result. That is also a way to qualify a bug or a defect, most of the times.
So, what is more frustrating when the problem or the bug happens randomly ?
However, that is what happened recently on a SharePoint 2007 web site during a roll-out.
The symptoms ?
Having activated the anonymous access, pages prompted the users for credentials and when no credentials were entered, a simple message "401 Unauthorized" was displayed. Now, on that same page, simply pressing F5 to refresh was loading and displaying the page correctly.
Checked that all the resources were accessible by anonymous users, being CSS, images, documents, etc. Some images were referenced using absolute URLs, but apart from that, nothing special.
Checked in the Windows Event Log, absolutely nothing related to this problem.
Checked the ULS, crawled megs of text files, several "excessive number of SPRequest" messages were present, but they were here before the roll-out as well. The only clue was some "Access denied" messages, but, no reference to a resource or no stack trace.
Checked also the web.config, everything was ok. And anyway, this is normally handled by SharePoint.
Checked the IIS Directory Security permissions, verifying the identity of the user used by the application pool, but here again, everything was normal.
Custom code doing a forbidden action ? After a complete removal of the three custom controls, the problem persisted, so, it was not that.
After hours and hours of investigation, I found one thing. The Master Page and Page Layouts gallery was not accessible anonymously, so I fixed this first, but still, the 401 issue was still here. Being in the library I decided to check the content of the master pages and the page layouts and found couple of "__designer" tags referencing resources. We indeed used the SharePoint Designer to apply some changes, but never had this problem before. But, to be sure and to definitely clean these files, every "__designer" tags have been removed and pages provisionned again.
The result ?
Everything was fine. So, for some reasons, the tags added by SharePoint Designer seem to cause access issues, but not all the times.
In this particular case, what was really annoying is that nothing can lead you to the solution or where the problem is located. A lot of people wrote about 401 random issues, caused by either a hotfix applied here or load-balancer problems there, but mine was still another one.
So, before spending hours or days looking for useless (in that specific situation) logs, check your master page or your page layouts and remove "__designer" tags. Check also that they are accessible anonymously.
Title : Mastering Your Organization's Processes
Authors : John O'Connell, Jon Pyke, Roger Whitehead
In another post I mentioned why BPM is important today for the companies. Mastering the processes and the change is primordial for the managers in an enterprise. This book explains what is a business processes and their management, then describes the different systems of an organization. It also defines the actors involved in business processes, such as the ones outside the organization, the people and other systems. Finally, it gives some strategies for BPM and also some guidance to choose a BPM product.
I found this book difficult to read, most likely because I am not in the targeted audience for this kind of book. For me, it was too high-level and too conceptual. It seems, for me, that to apply the concept, there will be a missing pieces between the book and the reality of the field. One great positive point : every chapter ends with a case study that is very well explained.
Title : Business Process Change - A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning, and Automating
Authors : Paul Harmon
In the software industry, BPM or Business Process Management is present since the mid-90's. Even earlier according to different sources. But nothing is really new and nothing has really changed since Henry Ford in 1903 when he started Ford Motor to design and build a high-quality but easy to assemble car. What is done since ages in the manufactory industries tried to be applied to many other sectors.
Nowadays, having the best product on the market is not enough and companies have to constantly adapt themselves to changing parameters such as new competitors, suppliers, new technologies and so on. Today, it seems that the only way for a company to survive is its business processes and its ability to change them quickly (others would put the word "agile" here, but I keep myself making this shortcut).
The book starts by explaining the value chain and what is process management. A whole part is dedicated to the modelisation of the processes before going into BPM, including Six Sigma. In the middle of the book, some technologies are explored, such as XML and some ERP systems without forgetting UML.
Really good book, with excellent explanation. What I liked was also the level of details and the numerous examples and case studies. Nevertheless, if requires a little knowledge of what is BPM and is definitely not a technical book (I knew this before reading it, but it is more for clarification as most of the posts I do on this blog are technical). In addition, there are a lot of diagrams that help to understand the concepts explained throughout the book.
The first part of this article focused on how to create a taxonomy with SharePoint 2010. This one goes a bit beyond and describes how to use the defined taxonomy
The 8th of May, Microsoft released a set of two Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machines with the 2010 wave of Office products. It includes the following software :
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- SQL Server 2008 R2
- Office Communication Server 2007 R2
- Visual Studio 2010
- SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
- Office Web Applications
- FAST Search for SharePoint 2010
- Project Server 2010
- Office Professional Plus 2010
- Visio 2010
- Project 2010
- Office Communicator 2007 R2
To download and for the instructions, it is here : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=751fa0d1-356c-4002-9c60-d539896c66ce&displaylang=en
Microsoft revealed couple of weeks ago a new service called docs.com.
This service offers the possibility to share Office 2010 documents and integrate directly them in Facebook. In other words, it will add a new tab in your Facebook profile, named Docs, where you will have all your published documents.
It will be possible to either upload Office 2010 documents, or to use the web version of Office 2010 to create your documents and publish them, except that it will not allow concurrent edition of the files, like in the Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010.
The question I have in mind then is : what about Skydrive ? I have a Skydrive account which enables me to share documents in my Microsoft Live ecosystem, so what brings docs.com that is not in Skydrive ? How will Microsoft position this new product ?
Currently, the product is still in Beta and I am sure that new amazing features will be added in the next weeks or months that will help the users answering the questions....
Designing a SharePoint 2010 workflow in Visio 2010 is just great. You can put the shapes on the design surface, draw the transitions, and it is really interesting for people that need visualization of their workflows. Unfortunately, this is where it stops. Because there is no direct link between Visio and SharePoint (meaning that no information from SharePoint comes to Visio), it is not possible to set the conditions or roles or users to the shapes. In other words, you can put a decision shape, but you cannot set the condition itself.
This is why the Visio file has to be exported into a .vwi (Visio Workflow Interchange) and then imported into SharePoint Designer 2010. After that, you have to set the conditions and all the parameters to the different shapes that are part of the workflow. Ok, so far, so good. But, how can I take my workflow and import it somewhere else ? How could I reuse the workflow with the parameters ?
When you export a workflow from SPD, you cannot import it, even if it is not in the same site. The message specifies that “This workflow cannot be imported because it was created in SharePoint Designer for a different site, or the original workflow has been moved or deleted. To move a workflow between sites, use Save as Template (.wsp file) instead of a Visio workflow drawing.
I tried to see what is inside a .vwi file to check what was different between the original .vwi file and the one exported by SPD. To do this, it is possible to rename the .vwi file into .zip and to look inside the compressed folder. The main difference is that an additional file has been generated, named
“workflow.xoml.rules” "workflow.xoml.wfconfig.xml". Deleting this file will make this file importable again and, surprisingly, all the settings that were set in the SPD are still there.
Ok, I did it several times, in the same environment (AD), but I can imagine that it is not a “supported” way to move workflows, knowing that exporting a .wsp and deploying it is the recommended way…
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome on stage Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 !!!
Since today, both products are available for MSDN subscribers, earlier than I expected to say the truth. At the time I am writing this post, I already started the download