Sunday, November 28, 2010

My SharePoint Development Environment

I have seen many blog posts on using a variety of configurations to run SharePoint 2010, MOSS, WSS, etc. Most of the solutions that I have seen, they revolved around having a hosted machine to run the development environment.

Face it, developing SharePoint solutions is not an easy task. There are so many different factors that can affect your results. The best way IMHO, to create SharePoint solutions is to have a SERVER OS Environment. Since Microsoft VM does not support creating 64bit images, you are left with either Sun’s VirtualBox or VMWare. Regardless of which of these 2 you choose, you still have to deal with the fact that you will run a hosted environment inside your machine.

One of the cool tip I got from AC (#BuckeyeSPUG meeting), was to use Windows Virtual Host. Since I am running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, I decide to give it a try. This is my laptop configuration:

Hardware: Dell Vostro 1520, 6GB RAM, 320GB HD. OS: Win7 x64 Ultimate edition.

Step 1: Make sure your laptop supports Hardware Virtualization. You will need to enable this setting on your BIOS. If you have the Dell Vostro 1510 you are out of luck (asked me how I know… ;). A: It supports virtualization, but it is disable on the bios.. WTF..!

Step 2: You need to get a bootable image. For more information, check this article on Technet about VHD Support in Win7.

You will need to use the Windows Image to Virtual converter tool Wim2VHD. Get it from

Get your Win2008_R2 iso and mount it. Run the following command to extract a bootable image. In my case, the iso image is mounted on the F: drive. Also, I put all of the output inside a root folder named vhd.

  • cscript wim2vhd.wsf
    • /WIM:f:\sources\install.wim
    • /SIZE:51200
    • /VHD:c:\vhd\SP2010\win2k8_r2SP2010.vhd

Step 3: Now you need to get familiar with BCDEdit (Boot Configuration Data Store Editor). .

Once you have your bootable image, then you can create multiple boot configurations:

bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Win2008R2 SP2010 Base Dev"

This will return a GUID. Copy that GUID, you will need it for another step.


bcdedit /set {returnedGUID-in-here} device vhd="[c:]\vhd\Base2010\win2k8_r2SP2010.vhd"
bcdedit /set {returnedGUID-in-here} osdevice vhd="[c:]\vhd\Base2010\win2k8_r2SP2010.vhd"

Now when you reboot, you will see another entry in your boot menu:


Pros: I can run my virtualized environment with full access to 6GB of RAM and no overhead of running a host system.


Pros: Another benefit is that I dont have to go buy a Solid State drive to see the improved performance.

Pros: You can attach/managed any VHD using your Win7 Disk Management Console

Pros: The best part of this configuration = MULTIPLE MONITORS.... :)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

MOSS 2007 – Configure Incoming email

Reading through these 2 technet articles, you get the main idea on how to set this up

Plan incoming e-mail (Windows SharePoint Services)

and in here

Configure incoming e-mail settings (Windows SharePoint Services)

In Windows Server 2008 R2,  there are some steps that are different from the technet articles.  My environment is as follow:


First is to add the SMTP server feature.  Open Server Manager, add features, and select the SMTP Server


once you click on this, it will bring another dialog box, prompting you to add more role services


It seems that it requires the SMTP Server Tools from the Remote Server Administration Role, and also the ODBC Logging.

click Add required button and continue. Now click on the Next button on the features wizard.

On the confirmation screen you can verify these 2 new roles


Click install.

After the installation, Open IIS 7, and under the Features View, double-click SMTP Email.


Click on Apply.

Now go back to MOSS Central Administration and click on the Incoming e-mail settings task for the Administrator


On the item,  task, select the Action: Configure Incoming E-Mail Settings.


After you have configure the incoming email you can now receive emails on our SharePoint document libraries. Now you can follow the instructions on this article to get those emails inside your document library enable/configured email article.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to Pre-Populate MySites with Pictures in SharePoint

Allowing MySites in a SharePoint environment is good.  But you have to put some governance into it.

Maybe one of the requirements from the HR department is to have only official taken pictures of all employees.  Make this easy to update, but do not allow the employee to change that information.

It's not me, nor you... ;)

Maybe, we need to avoid employees from uploading pictures on reflectives surfaces (bing keywords: ebay pictures kettle).

Anyways, the solution is to give control where control is needed.  In our case, we want the HR department to control what pictures are displayed and we want this process to be painless for them.

I have seen another solution in which they store the picture inside the AD.  But that solution is very cumbersome and not very user friendly.  Not to mention, that it will make the size of your AD database grow exponentially.

Here is an easier way.  Store the pictures in a picture library and then just store the url inside a custom field in your AD. There are 5 easy steps.


Step 1:  create a picture library to hold pictures (duh.)

Step 2: Modify your AD to put the url of the picture into the ExtensionAttribute1 field


Step 3: Map your AD field to the SharePoint field, and don't forget to set this field to Read-Only mode


mapped the field.


Step 4: import your user profiles from AD

Step 5: crawl through the user profiles to populate the information.

To test this, perform a search


there, Picture is display correctly.!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Doing the right thing

It’s been almost 2 months since I have left the independent life to become a full time employee.  I have found a small consulting company that shares most of the personal goals that I have in mind.  This company name is Halcyon. The main message is “to seek happiness for our customers and employees”.

Before entering into negotiations with them, I thought they were just another consulting company.  However, after meeting with the owner of the company and see his passion for charity work I’ve change my mind.

image It is very refreshing to find a company with such high ideals. While most companies I have come in contact with, have a few individuals that are very dedicated to help others, this company is different.  We are obligated encouraged to do community service.  As a good citizen, you are to do the right thing for others.  You know that, and I know that. But, when that command comes from the owner of the company, it trickles down to the all of the employees, and you can feel the effect.

Of course there are other perks like YOGA classes every other week. (which I have yet to attend one… ;)  So, in short, Halcyon is trying to bring a balance between your work and your personal life.  The fulfillment that comes from helping others is very different than the one you get when you get your paycheck.

Mohan latest project is to help integrate war veterans back into IT. Not just office work training, but actual programming training.!  I am just happy to be a part of this initiate of giving back to those that put their lives in danger for us. If all of us took the time to do a good deed every day, the world would be a different place…

Another aspect that I enjoy is the dogfood.  We are not only preaching SharePoint, but our CEO firmly believe in this technology.  We have BPOS as the technology for our intranet connecting both of our offices (US, India).  Also our website is built on SharePoint (soon to be SharePoint 2010).  Find out if your company uses SharePoint or just claiming to use SharePoint how to tell if a site is running SharePoint?

In all I am excited to start a new phase in my life and in my professional career.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Using Excel as a Source for your Data Generation Plan in Visual Studio 2010

I like to use DataDude for almost anything related to SQL Server.  I use the data generation feature quite a lot.  Most of the times, I am happy with the string randomly(RegEx) created by it.  However, I encounter a situation in which I needed the random source to be in a group while still preserving the randomness of the wizard.

Of course, I could have created a SQL server temp table and use that as my sequential data bound field. However, I wanted to try to see if I could use a different source.

I’ve created a simple CSV with 3 columns, that I’ll use to populate my SQL server project.


Notice the name of the columns, and also the name of the worksheet.  You will need those for later.

Assuming your SQL Server Database has a table named CommtDefn.


Import the schema into a SQL server project in Visual Studio 2010. After you have imported your schema in your solution, you would be ready to populate this table with data. 

First step, is to add a new data generation plan, then select the table CommtDefn and, select the first column.

Your Data Generation plan would initially look like this


Select the first column and choose the Sequential data bound generator option.


Under the properties window, select <Add new connection..>


then on the Data source screen, select <other>.  For the data provider, use the ODBC provider, and not the OLE DB Provider as instructed in MSDN.  Now click Continue


On the connection properties, select the Use Connection string. NOTE: the trick in here is to specify the type of connection we are going to use


So in this box type the following:

Dsn=Excel Files

Now, click the build button. A dialog box will pop up asking you to select the Data Source, click OK to dismiss this dialog box. This action will bring another dialog box where you can specify the actual excel file you want to use.!!


Select your Excel worksheet, and then click OK.  The Use Connection string field is populate with the proper connection string:

Dsn=Excel Files;dbq=C:\vsProjects\2010\PowerShell.SQL\PowerShell.SQL\Excel CSV\Committees.xlsx;defaultdir=C:\vsProjects\2010\PowerShell.SQL\PowerShell.SQL\Excel CSV;driverid=1046;maxbuffersize=2048;pagetimeout=5

Click on the Test Connection button, make sure it is successful. Click OK twice to close all dialog boxes.

Go back to your Properties window and write the following query

SELECT * FROM [CommitteesDefinitions$]

In here, don’t forget to enclose the name of the worksheet in parenthesis and also you need to add the “$” at the end of it.

Your screen should now look like this


Now if you go back to the data generation screen, you will see that the Generator Output column has been populated with the columns extracted from the Excel worksheet.!!


* BTW, there is a MSDN article on how to generate data from an excel spreadsheet, but after following those instructions I could not get that to work with VS2010 data generated plans.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to remove SQL Mirroring from MOSS 2007

So mirroring technology with SharePoint 2007 does not seem to be working as expected. As a consequence, the decision to remove it from our production servers was made.

I have been trying to remove the mirroring from the SQL Serve 2008 R2, and it still shows the Mirror Databases on the secondary server.  Worse, the status does not change, it is still showing as (Restoring).


from the MSDN, this is supposed to be an easy step: ms189112 but it is not.!

As you can see, my SQL1 server has the actual databases, while SQL2 is supposed to have the mirrors of SQL1.

A quick search on the internet turned nothing to the (Restoring…) status message.  Connecting to the second SQL Server and trying to delete the database were encountered with failure.

TITLE: Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

Alter failed for Database 'SPSProd_Main_Search'.  (Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo)

For help, click: Some useless article on MSDN


An exception occurred while executing a Transact-SQL statement or batch. (Microsoft.SqlServer.ConnectionInfo)


ALTER DATABASE is not permitted while a database is in the Restoring state.
ALTER DATABASE statement failed. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 5052)

  Then I went into the query editor and ran the

DROP DATABASE <databasename> from the master databases. It worked.!


Command(s) completed successfully.!  :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

How to Synchronize LiveWriter’s blog drafts using LiveMesh

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I have a myriad of environments that I am working with.


Windows XP Pro, Vista x64, Win 7 Ultimate x64, Win 7 Home Premium x86, Win Server 2008 R2.

Throughout the day I am in any one of these environments. I would get an idea for a blog post, then I start to write a draft.  Next thing you know, I am out to do something else so I save the blog post as a draft and exit live writer.  However, there are times when I could dedicate a couple of minutes to continue that draft (Dr's appt which are the norm and not the exception lately.. :(.   Come to find out that I've written the latest updates on a different computer.  I began to research on the practicality of using an online storage. 

Experimented with Dropbox for a little bit. It works ok for single files, but it is not very flexible for blogging.

So, I have started to use Live Mesh to keep all of my drafts, that under different locations, into a single repository. The only problem with Live Writer is that it does not allow you to specify the location in which to save the drafts/posts (Build 14.0.8089.726)

The trick to get Live Mesh to synch all of the content,  is to find the path where the drafts are stored.  I have compiled a handy table of paths for the OS'es I've used:

Environment Path
XP Pro C:\Documents and Settings\arnulfo\My Documents\My Weblog Posts
Vista C:\Users\Arnulfo\Documents\My Weblog Posts
Win 7 C:\Users\arnulfo\Documents\My Weblog Posts


Then all you have to do is setup your Live Mesh folder to point to these locations.

Go to your Mesh folders, Manage Folders


Then when you set the folder in Live Mesh, specify the correct path location depending on the OS you are running.  For i.e. this the default location for Win 7


I change it to


That’s it.!  Now if you go to the Live Mesh Folders and check the synch settings


you will see all of the devices where my blog draft/post will be synchronized.


happy blogging… :)