Category: Top Posts

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Wrap

Another Microsoft Ignite Conference is in the books.  This year’s event, hosted in Orlando, Florida unleashed a treasure trove of announcements both big and small.  Just within the area of Azure there were 118 announcements queued up for last week in the Azure Updates listing with most (if not all) of the services in Preview this fall making their official transition to General Availability last week.

Announcements

Here are the five focus areas I noticed:

  • Hybrid
  • Data
  • AI
  • Security
  • Serverless

Hybrid

Arguably the biggest announcement of the conference may have been the Azure Arc service which provides organizations a consistent, single interface to govern and manage resources on-premises, using Azure Stack, in Azure, or other cloud platforms.  Should be a great service for organizations that still manage multiple local or collocation centers, in addition to cloud services on one or more platforms.

Data

There was a lot going on for data people starting with the official GA of SQL Server 2019 and the introduction of Azure Synapse, Microsoft’s new data warehousing and analytics tool that can leverage on-premises and cloud data sources in addition to ML to quickly create powerful new insights on your data.  You can find a detailed introduction by Rohan Kumar here:

Azure Synapse.png
Azure Synapse Analytics – image from Microsoft

Three other Azure SQL announcements I find interesting include:

AI

In addition to all of the great AI capabilities being leveraged by Azure services like the Azure Security Center and the Azure Synapse Analytics previously mentioned, I was introduced to a new service currently in preview within Cognitive Services called Anomaly Detector.  Anomaly Detector is a tool that makes it super easy for developers to feed it regular time-series data.  Over time the ML will determine what is normal and abnormal operations and provide rich analytics for proactively identifying and solving problems.  I already have a rich use case for this, so look for a detailed write up soon.

Security

Security and trust continue to be a big area of focus both for Microsoft and its customers.  I see a continued focus on trying to get consistency between on-premises and cloud resources to identify issues as well as new ways to easily remediate identified threats.

Here are four announcements with impact that I noticed:

Serverless

I continue to be super excited by all of the great work happening in the world of serverless computing at Microsoft.  Ignite brought three big announcements I was happy to see.

General Thoughts and Wrapup

As a cloud consultant and technology evangelist I always find conferences like Ignite valuable to help me get aligned with where Microsoft is going, where companies are, and where they are trying to go with their technology decisions.  It can be difficult to remember that consultants are often on the cutting edge solving new and challenging problems so we forget that we may be ahead of the pack.  The continued focus on hybrid operations reflects the reality of where organizations are.  It was interesting to see how many organizations are still in the early planning or adoption for their cloud journey.

If you are reading this and near the beginning of your cloud journey, I highly recommend taking a look at Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) information which can help speed up your adoption remove some of the guesswork early on.

It was a great time, I learned a lot, and had a lot of great conversations.  Any conference that leaves me energized and hungry to learn more is a great investment.  Looking forward to future events!

User Profiles – Adding a Custom Tab and Page

The User Profile Pages within the MySites area of SharePoint 2010 is significantly more robust than in previous versions.  I really like the concept of making it a central/social hub and using it as a central place to hold and maintain content.  While I generally shy away from major customizations to the Personal sites (aka My Content), the My Site Host that stores the User Profile Pages and Activity Stream provides a great place to load centralized content and features.  It could be for integrating into other social applications your organization might use, or perhaps a place to hold executive Dashboards.  Since the My Site Host is shared between all users within that profile store it is easier to maintain than the individual Personal sites.

I have found myself in a number of conversations recently with people asking about how to customize and extend the User Profile Pages but I have not seen any good sources of information on how to approach it.  Today we will look at how you can define a custom ApplicationPage that uses the User Profile format and how to link to it from within the tabs present in the User Profiles section.

Managing User Profile Tabs

For those that are not aware, the horizontal tabbed navigation displayed in the User Profiles section is actually powered by the QuickLaunch menu for the MySite Host site.  You can add a new tab simply by adding a new Heading entry for the QuickLaunch.

Here is a screenshot of the tabbed QuickLaunch on the User Profile page.

Here is what the QuickLaunch configuration looks like:

 

Custom User Profile ApplicationPage

The sample code included in this project includes the standard formatting for the page so that it blends in perfectly with the other pages within the section.  Your custom page has access to the full Server OM and can include complex user controls or visualizations.

<%@ Page language="C#" DynamicMasterPageFile="~masterurl/custom.master" Inherits="Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal.WebControls.PersonalAdminPage,Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal,Version=14.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="SharePoint" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="Utilities" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Utilities" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="WebPartPages" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="OSRVWC" Namespace="Microsoft.Office.Server.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.Office.Server, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="OSRVUPWC" Namespace="Microsoft.Office.Server.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.Office.Server.UserProfiles, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="SPSWC" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="SEARCHWC" Namespace="Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.Office.Server.Search, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>
<%@ Register Tagprefix="PublishingWebControls" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing, Version=14.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>

<asp:Content ID="Content1" ContentPlaceHolderID="PlaceHolderLeftNavBarDataSource" runat="server">
<SPSWC:DataSourceReplacer runat="server" ControlID="PlaceHolderLeftNavBar/QuickLaunchNavigationManager/QuickLaunchMenu">
<SPSWC:MySiteDataSource runat="server" ShowStartingNode="False" SiteMapProvider="MySiteLeftNavProvider" />
</SPSWC:DataSourceReplacer>
</asp:Content>

<asp:Content ID="Content2" contentplaceholderid="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server">
Custom Page Title
</asp:Content>

<asp:Content ID="Content3" contentplaceholderid="PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea" runat="server">
Custom Page Title
</asp:Content>

<asp:Content ID="Content4" contentplaceholderid="PlaceHolderSiteName" runat="server">
<SPSWC:PersonalSpaceMainHeading TitleMode="true" runat="server" />
</asp:Content>

<asp:Content ID="Content5" contentplaceholderid="PlaceHolderMain" runat="server">
<Sharepoint:FormDigest runat="server" id="FormDigest" />

<div class="s4-notdlg noindex">
<a id="A1" href="javascript:;" onclick="javascript:this.href='#SkipContactCard';" class="ms-SkiptoMainContent" runat="server">
<SPSWC:StringValueEx ResourceFile="spscore" LocId="SkipContactCard_Text" runat="server" />
</a>
</div>
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyLoader id="m_objLoader" LoadFullProfileOfCurrentUser="true" runat="server" />
<div class="ms-profilepageheader">
<table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0" ID="ZoneTable" width="100%" class="ms-tztable">
<!-- business card zone -->
<tr><td colspan=3 width="100%" style="padding:24px">
<table class="ms-contactcardtext3" cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0 width="100%">
<tr>
<td width="150" valign="top">
<div class="ms-contactcardtext3" style=""width:100%;">
<SPSWC:LocalTimeControl runat="server" />
</div>
<div class="ms-profilepicture ms-contactcardpicture ms-largethumbnailimage">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyImage PropertyName="PictureUrl" RenderWrapTable="False" ShowPlaceholder="true" id="PictureUrlImage" ImageSize="Large" CenterVertically="true" runat="server"/>
</div>
<div class="ms-contactcardtext3" style="width:100%;">
<div><SPSWC:EditProfileButton runat="server" id="ddlEditProfile" /></div>
<div><SPSWC:AddToColleaguesButton runat="server" id="TBBAddtoColleagues" class="ms-my-addcolleague"/></div>
</div>
</td>
<td valign="top" width="320">
<div style="min-height:175px">
<div class="ms-contactcardtext2 ms-identitypiecenotediv">
<SPSWC:StatusNotesControl runat="server"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-top: 50px;vertical-align:top;" class="ms-name ms-contactcardtext1" id="ProfileViewer_Name">
<SPSWC:PersonalSpaceMainHeading TitleMode="false" runat="server"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueTitle">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="Title" runat="server"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueDept">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="Department" runat="server"/>
</div>
<br/>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueOfficePhone">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="WorkPhone" dir="ltr" runat="server"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueOfficeLocation">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="Office" runat="server"/>
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyCheckValue PropertyNames="Office,Location" runat="server" Text=", "/>
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="SPS-Location" runat="server"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueEmail">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="WorkEmail" runat="server" PrefixBrIfNotEmpty="true"/>
</div>
<br/>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;display:none;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ProfileDetails" >
<SPSWC:ProfileDetailsViewer id="ProfileViewer" Collapsible="false" runat="server" />
</div>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 20px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3">
<SPSWC:ContactCardDetailsLink AboutMeId="ProfileViewer_ValueAboutMe" ProfileDetailsId="ProfileViewer_ProfileDetails" EllipsisId="ProfileViewer_Ellipsis" runat="server" />
</div>
</td>
<td valign="top" width="418">
<div style="padding: 50px 5px 0px 15px; overflow:hidden; min-height: 142px; height: 142px;" class="ms-contactcardtext3" id="ProfileViewer_ValueAboutMe">
<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyValue PropertyName="AboutMe" runat="server" PrefixBrIfNotEmpty="false"/>
</div>
<div style="padding-left: 15px;display:none" id="ProfileViewer_Ellipsis" class="ms-contactcardtext3"></div>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
</td></tr>
</table>

<SharePoint:AspMenu
ID="MySiteSubNavigationMenu"
Runat="server"
EnableViewState="false"
DataSourceID="MySiteSubNavDS"
AccessKey="<%$Resources:wss,navigation_accesskey%>"
UseSimpleRendering="true"
UseSeparateCss="false"
Orientation="Horizontal"
StaticDisplayLevels="1"
MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels="0"
PopOutImageUrl=""
SkipLinkText=""
CssClass="s4-sn">
</SharePoint:AspMenu>
<SPSWC:MySiteDataSource
ShowStartingNode="False"
SiteMapProvider="MySiteSubNavProvider"
id="MySiteSubNavDS"
runat="server"/>

</div>

<a name="SkipContactCard" tabindex=0></a>

<div class="ms-profilepagecontent">
Your Page Content Here!
</div>
</asp:Content>

Managing the QuickLaunch Entries

For this to be a robust feature the QuickLaunch entries should be managed as part of the feature activation/deactivation process so a FeatureReceiver has been added to the project to add and remove the entries respectively.

using System;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using System.Security.Permissions;
using Microsoft.SharePoint;
using Microsoft.SharePoint.Navigation;
using Microsoft.SharePoint.Security;

namespace CustomMySitePage.Features.Customer_User_Profile_Page
{
[Guid("d2754488-4038-42fd-9c9e-f93f19d4e093")]
public class Customer_User_Profile_PageEventReceiver : SPFeatureReceiver
{
public override void FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)
{
using (SPWeb web = properties.Feature.Parent as SPWeb)
{
SPNavigationNode node = new SPNavigationNode("Custom Page", web.Url + "/_layouts/CustomMySitePage/PageTemplate.aspx");
web.Navigation.QuickLaunch.AddAsLast(node);
}
}

public override void FeatureDeactivating(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)
{
using (SPWeb web = properties.Feature.Parent as SPWeb)
{
SPNavigationNodeCollection nodeCol = web.Navigation.QuickLaunch;
foreach (SPNavigationNode node in nodeCol)
{
if (node.Title == "Custom Page")
{
node.Delete();
}
}
}
}
}
}

Deployed Custom Tab and Page

Here is a final look at what it looks like with the feature activated and the Tab and Page available.

 

Template Project Source Code

The source code for this project is available for download here:  CustomMySitePage Project

I will not be providing support for the code as it is merely an example of how the pages within the User Profile section of MySites works.

Use the Status Bar to Display Active Workflows

Over the past six months I’ve found myself moving more and more towards using the new Client OM for things that I used to use jQuery and SPServices for.  While I still love SPServices, it is not always required and now that I am getting more knowledgeable about how to do things in the Client OM, things are getting a lot easier (although you have to go back to writing CAML).

After a recent session at SharePoint Saturday The Conference an attendee asked me about ways to show a user they have an open workflow task.  After thinking about it, it was pretty similar to something else I had done recently that involved reading for a SharePoint list and adding an item to the status bar using the Client OM.  This particular request involved a little more code in order to properly filter down the task list, but it works like a charm.  It is important to remember that the client OM only works within the given Site Collection, and this particular code as-is will only look at the site the user is on at the time.

If you want this to display on a single page, you can simply add it to the page. In order to have it show up throughout the site though, you will want to add it to the MasterPage. If the MasterPage is used throughout many sites and or site collections, it will show any open tasks for the specific site.

To start off, we will create a div container. I typically put something like this just inside the tag of the MasterPage. Add in some global variables and then add in the Ajax Execute/Delay command that will call the first method, getUser() when the page is fully loaded.

   <div id="SetStatus"><script type="text/ecmascript" language="ecmascript">
    var url = '';
    var statusId = '';
    var isitDlg = window.location.href.match(/isDlg/i) != null;
    var taskOutput;
    var context = null;
    var web = null;
    var curUser = null;

    if (!isitDlg) {
        ExecuteOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(getUser, "sp.js");
    }
</script></div>[/sourcecode]   

Next, within the script block we will add the methods to support getUser(). These methods will get the current user's information which is needed to be able to load only the current user's assigned tasks.

[sourcecode language="js"] function getUser() { context = new SP.ClientContext.get_current(); web = context.get_web(); curUser = web.get_currentUser(); curUser.retrieve(); context.load(web); context.executeQueryAsync(Function.createDelegate(this, this.onSuccessMethod), Function.createDelegate(this, this.onFailureMethod)); } function onSuccessMethod(sender, args) { var user = web.get_currentUser(); LoadNotifications(); } function onFailureMethod(sender, args) { alert('Error: ' + args.get_message() + 'n' + args.get_stackTrace()); }

With the user’s name available we can now read the list items from the local Task List that are active and assigned to the user. If successfull the (ReadListItemSucceeded() method is called otherwise if an error is raised the ReadListItemFailed() is called.

function LoadNotifications() {  	
var listTitle = "Tasks";  	
context = SP.ClientContext.get_current();  	
var list = context.get_web().get_lists().getByTitle(listTitle);  	
var camlQuery = new SP.CamlQuery();  	
camlQuery.set_viewXml("<view><query><viewfields><fieldref name="ID" /><fieldref name="Title" /><fieldref name="FileDirRef" /><fieldref name="StartDate" /><fieldref name="DueDate" /></viewfields><where><and><eq><fieldref name="AssignedTo" /><value type="User">" + curUser.get_title() + "</value></eq><or><eq><fieldref name="Status" /><value type="Choice">In Progress</value></eq><eq><fieldref name="Status" /><value type="Choice">Not Started</value></eq></or></and></where></query></view>");  	
this.listItems = list.getItems(camlQuery);  	
context.load(listItems);  	
context.executeQueryAsync(ReadListItemSucceeded, ReadListItemFailed);  
}  

The returned list of tasks is now processed and the output is prepared. If tasks are prepared, the SetStatus() method is called to show the status bar message.

function ReadListItemSucceeded(sender, args) {  	
var itemCount = 0;  	
taskOutput = " <div id="tasks"> <table width="800"> <tbody> <tr style="font-weight: bold"> <td width="500">Task</td> <td width="150">Start Date</td> <td width="150">Due Date</td></tr>";  	var items = listItems.getEnumerator();          
while (items.moveNext()) {             
itemCount += 1;             
var listItem = items.get_current();             
var isLate = false;             
taskOutput += "<tr><td><a href="&quot; + listItem.get_item(" FileDirRef') + "/DispForm.aspx?ID=" + listItem.get_item('ID') + "' target='_top'>" + listItem.get_item('Title') + "</a></td><td>" + listItem.get_item('StartDate') + "</td><td>" + listItem.get_item('DueDate') + "</td></tr>";         
}         
taskOutput += "</table></div>";         
if (itemCount > 0) {             
SetStatus("Reminder: ", "You have a workflow task! <a href="javascript:ShowTasks()">View open Workflow Tasks</a>", isLate);         
} 
} 
function ReadListItemFailed(sender, args) {         
alert('Error: ' + args.get_message() + 'n' + args.get_stackTrace()); 
} 

The SetStatus() method shows how simple it is to work with the Client OM. The SP.UI.Status.addStatus call will post the message including the title and the body of the message. We then make a second call to SP.UI.Status.setStatusPriColor to change the color of the bar. Pretty simple, yet so powerfull!

function SetStatus(title, message, isLate) { 	
statusId = SP.UI.Status.addStatus(title, message, false);         
if (isLate) {             
SP.UI.Status.setStatusPriColor(statusId, 'red');         
}         
else {             
SP.UI.Status.setStatusPriColor(statusId, 'yellow');         }     } 

The last method is the ShowTasks method which is the javascript function that is called from within the status messages to show a simple output inside of the Client OM’s ModalDialog. First format the display options for the window and then call the SP.UI.ModalDialog.showModalDialot() method.

function ShowTasks() {  	
var _html = document.createElement('div');  	
_html.innerHTML = taskOutput;  	
var options = { html: _html, autoSize:true, allowMaximize:true, title: 'Open Workflow Tasks', showClose: true };  	
var dialog = SP.UI.ModalDialog.showModalDialog(options);  
}  

Not a lot of code to provide a very usefull solution that does not require anything to be deployed to the server. Below are screenshots of the solution in action.

Open Workflow Tasks Status

Open Workflow Tasks Listing

There are definitely some things that can be done to better format the output of the ModalDialog, but you get the idea. This is just one way to leverage the Client OM for some very useful business features.

Quota Management and Storage Reports in SharePoint 2010

A few years ago I wrote an article about how to enable and work with the Quota Management features in SharePoint 2007 (click here for article) which proved to be a popular post.  Quota Management is a pretty important topic when it comes to SharePoint Governance and overall maintenance of the platform.  While the overall Quota Management features in SharePoint 2010 were maintained, there was one big feature left out when SharePoint first shipped, and that was the “Storage space allocation” page also known as StoreMon.aspx page that was available to Site Collection administrators from the Site Settings page.  

New Storage Metrics

With the release of SharePoint 2010 SP1 (download here) the feature returns, but in a much different format and vastly improved.  The page was renamed “Storage Metrics” and it is a gold mine of information since it provides a way for Administrators to navigate through the content locations on the site and provides details for the item’s Total Size, % of Parent, % of Site Quota, and Last Modified Date.  This makes it easy for administrators to identify where content is concentrated, and can also show an exceptionally large lists, libraries, folders, and documents. 

There was one aspect of this that I thought was helpful in 2007 that is no longer supported, and that is the ability to view the number of versions of a given document right from the report.  In many cases I’ve seen versioning turned without any limits, and some popular documents might have 1,000s of versions.  The report used to provide a way to find those exceptions so that they could be cleaned up.

 

Performance Improvements

From what I understand, it was removed because it proved to be extremely resource intensive and information was gathered in real-time so it could cause service stability issues in very large environments.  With its return is a completely revamped gathering process that relies on timer jobs, titled Storage Metrics Processing, resulting in much faster page loads and no risk of crashing the server just by viewing the report.  These jobs will pull data every 5 minutes but like all timer jobs, the frequency can be adjusted to better meet your needs and environment.  For larger environments, it might be a good idea to reduce that frequency to avoid the extra overhead.

Configuring Quotas

As with the 2007 version, this feature is only available if quotas are enabled.  In cases where quotas are not currently being used and proper limits managed, the safest bet is to establish a quota that cannot be met.  This will enable the features without the risk of triggering a warning or locking a site that exceeds the thresholds.  Locking the site is the only risk with quotas, there is no risk of data loss.

Summary

Both Farm and Site Collection Administrators should review the functionality and add its review into their content review and cleanup processes.

Disabling the “What’s Happening?” Display on the User Profiles

One of the SharePoint 2010 features I really like is the user status information that is integrated into the updated User Profiles.  Unfortunately some organizations are not quite comfortable or ready to support the feature.
Here is what it looks like with the user status set:
User Profile with Status

Disabling the Status Message field

With normal User Profile property management you can disable the Status Message field (known internally as SPS-StatusNotes).  You want to not only change the Edit Settings to not allow users to edit the value, but you want to also ensure that the property is not displayed on any of the profile pages.
Here is a screenshot of the Edit User Profile Property screen:
Edit User Profile Property screen

Removing the Control

While the property is now disabled and we have configured it to not show on the regular profile forms, the Status Message control still shows on the Person.aspx page and gives the users the impression that they can continue to use it.
Here is a screenshot from after the property was disabled:
Edit User Profile without Status
The status essentially stays unset, and anything that the user might type in cannot be saved. There is no way for them to know that the status can no longer be set and no error is displayed so it is confusing.
The control cannot be removed through configuration unfortunately.  To remove the control you will need to edit the Person.aspx page in the MySite Host site collection.  It is important to note that the Person.aspx page is shared among all user profiles in the User Profile Service Application so any changes to the page impact all uses.
To edit the page you will need to be a site collection administrator for the site collection.  Open the site collection in SharePoint Designer and then open the Person.aspx page.  You will need to go into Advanced Mode, which is selectable in the SharePoint Designer ribbon on the right hand side.
Once the page is editable, find and remove the following code:

[sourcecode type=”plain”]
<SPSWC:StatusNotesControl runat="server"/>
[/sourcecode]

Once the page is saved, the control will be removed and you will no longer see the pop-up bubble.
Here is what it looks like with the control removed:
Edit User Profile without Status Control

Re-Enabling the Control In The Future

If you need to re-enable the control in the future, you can simply reset it to the original Site Definition in SharePoint Designer.  This will restore the control and the page back to normal.
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