El Blanco's Office 2007 Blog

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Useful Bits and Pieces

Quite often (and on a Monday in particular after a weekend's postings) I find a list of useful things from my RSS feeds which I think are really useful. Then, in the future, when I try and find them again I can never find that one link I want. So on a Monday I'm gonna start posting a list of my favourites from the past week - sort of a "recommended reading" list for others and a one-stop shop of my useful links for me ! Since I've just decided to do this this weeks list will be a little short, but here it is:

1. Thanks to Andrew Connell for pointing me to a useful article by John Holliday on CAML.NET - really cool.
2. A useful web part for redirecting users to different URLs can be found here.
3. LINQ to SharePoint - excellent article here.

Told you it would be a short list this week - the list next week will be longer !

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Site Collection created from the Team Site template and Wondering where the Master Page settings are ?

I had a colleague today who had created a Site Collection within a web application based on the Team Site template. However, when he came to set an alternate CSS for the site collection through the Master page settings he found that the "Master page" link under the "Look and Feel" section of the site settings wasn't present.

To solve this problem we had to enable the "Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure" feature at the site collection level. Once this had been done the "Master page" link appears and you can set the alternate CSS as you wish.

I'm reliably informed that the reason it isn’t there is that it wouldn’t normally be available on a WSS only infrastructure (we were running MOSS, not WSS) so the team site template has no dependency on it. So if you need this functionality within MOSS and you've created the site collection from the team site template, make sure to enable the "Office SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure" feature at the site collection level.

UPDATE 25-04-07: Turns out that the "Navigation" link under the "Look and Feel" section of the site settings page is also affected by the presence of this feature too - I wonder what else it affects ?!

All you need to know about Alternate Access Mappings (AAM)

Troy Starr of the WSS Test Team has written an excellent 3-part article detailing AAM.

The details can be found below:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Definitely worth a read . . .

Office Client and MOSS Integration - Fair, Good, Better, Best

Thanks to my colleague Mark Wilson for pointing this out - a version of the beloved document from SPS 2003 has been released for MOSS detailing the differences in Office client versions when interacting with MOSS. You can find the document here.

Workflow Debugging - Attaching to W3WP.EXE Crashes VS.NET

Ever come across the problem where you want to debug your workflow so you attach VS.NET to the w3wp process and VS.NET crashes ?

Marcel de Vries has a solution - in the attach dialog, only attach to Workflow instead of allowing VS.NET to automatically determine the type of code to debug. For details of Marcel's solution, click here.

I used to hit this problem time and time again, but since finding this solution and selecting only workflow when I want to debug a workflow I have yet to hit the problem - so looks like the solution works !!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Slow Page Loading Times for WCM Site ?

If you're developing a WCM site (i.e. internet facing) then you may notice that pages within the site are slow to load.

An excellent post by the Microsoft ECM team can be found here which details a workaround - it turns out that a large portion of the page load time is due to the download of the core.js file. The article described a workaround to allow the core.js to load in the background once the page content has loaded.

VS.NET Extenstions for WSS 3.0

For those that don't know by now, the Visual Studio Extensions for WSS 3.0 have RTM'd ! You can find them here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Make Your MOSS Workflow Forms Look Like Microsoft's

When creating InfoPath forms for your custom developed MOSS workflows you typically fire up InfoPath and start dropping on controls etc. I've done this in the past until recently I wanted to develop a workflow that looked more like the out-of-the-box workflows that ship with MOSS.

So, how can you style your forms to look like the out of the box forms that ship with MOSS ? Easy . . .

The workflows that ship with MOSS are simply features installed in the same manner as any custom feature you would develop yourself. So go to the 12 hive in Windows Explorer, then navigate into the TEMPLATES directory. Right-click on the "FEATURES" folder and select "Search" to search for files in this folder. Enter a search term of "*.xsn" in the "All or part of the file name" text box and this will return all of the InfoPath forms that ship with MOSS.

Personally I've copied all of these into another separate folder, so I don't run the risk of messing up the forms in the features folders. You can then open these in design mode in InfoPath and interrogate font styles, sizes and colours, paragraph spacing, button rules etc. to your hearts content !!

It's easy to make your forms look more like the out of the box forms by just spending a little time. e.g. when loading InfoPath by default you are using Verdana font size 10. Most of the out-of-the-box forms appear to use Tahoma size 8.5 !!

My favourite form to base look & feel on is called "ReviewRouting_Review_1033.xsn" and can be located in the following location "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\FEATURES\ReviewWorkflows\Forms" - it has multiple views so you can get a good grip of the various look and feel aspects of the form. As I said, make sure you take a copy of the file before opening it incase you accidentally save any edits !!

Monday, April 16, 2007

WSS Master Page Samples

Microsoft have recently announced the release of some sample master pages for WSS 3.0.

Check them out here.

Recycle App Pools Easily

When developing for MOSS you quite often have to recycle the application pools. This is a much quicker way than resetting IIS (via an iisreset command) each time.

Recently I came accross a really useful utlity that allows you to recycle app pools either individually, all at once, or perform an iisreset. The utility is really handy and lives in the system tray.

Check it out here. I'm running version and it works great, although it sounds like there may even be more updates on the way e.g. hotkey shortcuts etc. which would be great.