Archive for July, 2008

Investigate and debug your SharePoint application…. with the help of some nifty tools

Have you ever trawled through megabytes of log files using a text editor and a search keyword and thought to yourself…. there must be a better way! Well it turns out that there are FREE utilities out there to be used!

Log Parser, can parse your logs and enable you to perform SQL like queries on them.

LogParser 2.2
Figure 1: Log Parser 2.2 by Microsoft 

See more information about Log Parser at  the University of Delaware’s Cyber Crime Unit pages

SQL Nexus can analyse your SQL Server performance and produce funky graphical displays.

sql_nexus
Figure 2: SQL Nexus (requires Log Parser 2.2)

See more information on SQL Nexus at "There’s something about SQL blog".

PAL Tool can analyse your performance monitors.

paltool
Figure 3: PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) Tool

More information on the PAL tool can be found at the Management Technologies blog

This is just a sample of utilities to help the SharePoint administrator or developer… there are many more as posted on the Debugging Toolbox blog

SpittingCAML



And the winner of must un-useful error message of the day goes to "The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly"

An interesting one that has just reared its head on our K2 [blackpearl] production server.

It only seems to happen when you start a freshly deployed workflow for the first time… the events in the order they happen seem to be

  1. Create, or modify an existing workflow
  2. Deploy
  3. Start the new workflow
  4. … nothing happens
  5. … still nothing happens
  6. Check error log - "The requested Performance Counter is not a custom counter, it has to be initialized as ReadOnly" in the K2 [blackpearl] management console error log (Shown in Figure 1 below)
  7. Scratch head…. and investigate some more…
  8. … give up investigating
  9. Start the new workflow (again)
  10. … IT WORKS.. no errors in the log…

and repeat for every new instance of a workflow deployed… It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a brand new one or an update of an existing one.

Performance Counter Issue
Figure 1: A picture of the error

Have anyone seen this before? I think I will log it with the K2 support team…

Some preliminary investigation points to the fact that it is not very descriptive about the error, and it really means is that the Performance Object Category does not exist.

I’m referencing R. Engberg’s blog by the way :-)

Interesting one… if you have any advice, do leave a comment as it is an unwanted feature of our production server!

SpittingCAML



InfoPath, K2 InfoPath or ASP.NET as your workflow forms technology?

Jason Apergis has done an excellent comparison on his blog: here

In my organisation we hit the limits with InfoPath 2003 pretty soon after starting to use it with K2 Workflows, mainly because of complicated user requirements that could not be implemented using InfoPath due to the lack of ability to code behind it and control every aspect of the form… K2 InfoPath brings in the tightly coupled SmartObject integration that creates a rule for each SmartObject method…. this is a real nightmare when you have ten or more of them to manage…. and then there’s the rules that go with them, that you can only edit by clicking through each one. I know which platform I’d choose, for my development team’s sanity! ASP.NET

Still, have a read of Jason’s blog, he’s opted for InfoPath as his organisation are very comfortable with using it.

SpittingCAML



The IISRESET alternatives for SharePoint developers…

Due to popular demand, I will expand on my IIS Reset "Friend or Foe" posting from the 1st of July 2008… in particular for those of you for copies of many SharePoint textbooks.

In front of me I’ve got a copy of Bill English’s Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Administrators Companion - an excellent book - I’d certainly recommend it to all SharePoint developers (yes, even developers should read this book!) and administrators

On pages 928 (installing a new feature) and 936 (updating an existing feature)… and in many other places… It is suggested that the developer performs an IISRESET following the stsadm installation command.

Now, I want to throw my hands up and question this… surely a simple recycle of the application pool would suffice?

I point you to these articles:

  • Joel Olsen’s alternatives to brute force IISRESET
    • Run From the command line (to perform a recycle!)

      cscript 
      c:\windows\system32\iisapp.vbs 
      /a "%SharePointAppPool%" /r

  • The recycle utility for SharePoint developers
  • Gustaf Westerlund’s Avoiding IIS Reset posting

phew…

SpittingCAML


By SpittingCAML in ASP.NET, IIS, SharePoint  .::. Read Comment (1)

Claim your blog on Technorati

Thats what I’m doing right now

Technorati Profile

See… that was painless wasn’t it… for more information on claiming your blog, go to TECHNORATI.COM

SpittingCAML


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Configuring SharePoint 2007 using PowerShell

It’s been a while since I looked at a new (to me) language. I’ve come across lots of posts on how to manage SharePoint using PowerShell… with our MOSS server farm about to exponentially grow by the day, it’s probably useful for my team to get hold of some of these scripts and not rely on the point and click of the SharePoint interface.

  1. Have a read of Zach Rosenfeld’s introduction to SharePoint and PowerShell fusion
  2. The quick start guide written by Christian Glessner is very useful
  3. Then take a look at Michael Blumanthal’s library of scripts
  4. … and finally a concrete example of using PowerShell to create a Portal site

Some excellent reading there :-)

SpittingCAML


By SpittingCAML in PowerShell, SharePoint  .::. Read Comment (1)

Microsoft Popfly

I put together a quick Microsoft Popfly demonstration (took me 20 minutes). This is a brilliant tool in it’s embryonic stage at the moment. Even so, the powerful ability to create ‘mashups’ of RSS and other material from around the web without having to do a single line of code is invaluable for the user community!

Could it be the end of Web Designers…. I think not, but it makes myspace and facebook look like a tonka toy while this tool is a JCB digger! :-D

Enjoy

SpittingCAML

P.S. a full screen version available here: Popfly Demonstration


By SpittingCAML in Popfly, Silverlight  .::. (Add your comment)

All themed up :-D

As you may notice (if you aren’t reading through an RSS reader…) the site now features realistic Spitting Camels…

Many thanks to the Lights on a stick editor for producing the eye catching graphics :-)

SpittingCAML


By SpittingCAML in Blogging, Themes  .::. (Add your comment)

IISReset…. the developer’s friend or foe?

iisresetpicture
Figure 1: The IISReset in action (thanks to Jon Galloway for the picture!)

Jon Galloway has written an article describing the alternatives to using the IISReset command. If like me, you find that other developers performing this action on shared development/staging servers during office hours is a real pain…. this article might be worth a read.

A link to the article: here

A link to an article discussing IIS metabase corruption when using SSL certificates: here

Another article about mysterious IIS changes: here

The recommended way (from Microsoft) of performing safe web application resets that do not corrupt the metabase: here, perhaps an oppertunity for the script monkeys to create a script to do all this for us so we don’t have to think for ourselves :-D

enjoy

SpittingCAML


By SpittingCAML in ASP.NET, IIS  .::. Read Comment (1)


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