Things I'm discovering about Project Server 2007

by Vishal 30. September 2010 05:46

If people have faced any of these, please feel free to comment, post work arrounds, rant. I'll add more as time goes on

  1. There are issues with the sync job that sync group/user permissions with WSS project workspace site permissions that cause the queue job to sometimes not finish. WHen taht happens, certain users get locked out of accessing PWA. the only cure I've found is to open and resave the user/group and when the new queue job finishes, the users access is restored.
  2. There is no way to allow a user to select from a list of saved workspace templates when publishing their project. Only one default template is allowed per PWA site instance
  3. no documented way of migrating projects from one instance to another

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Sharepoint | Project Server 2007

Field type <blah> is not installed properly. Go to the list settings page to delete this field. - When trying to use custom field types developed using VseWss 3.0 v1.3

by Vishal 14. November 2009 23:17

When developing a custom field type using VseWSS 3.0 v1.3, I encountered a strange problem. The field type compiled successfully and deployed successfully as well, but whenever I tried to use the custom field type, I just got a generic error in SharePoint: “Field type <blah> is not installed properly. Go to the list settings page to delete this field.” Looking into the event log, the SharePoint logs and the vsewss log didn’t come up with anything useful either.


After searching a while online and coming up with a bunch of different solutions documented by other people, I found nothing worked. I went back to reading the VseWss 3.0 v1.3 release notes a couple of times over; especially the following couple of lines under the “Known Issues” section:

  • Custom Field Controls
    • During packaging additional XML configuration code will be added to the fldtypes_FieldControlName.xml file. To ensure the correct deployment of your field control you must add (if not already present) and Guid attribute to your SPField derived class. 

public class MyFC1Field : SPFieldText 

  • After packaging your project you must modify the fldtytypes_FieldControlName.xml file and synchronize the following element with your class's Guid:

<Field Name="FieldTypeClass">f5627588-e216-402e-844f-f85a0db34aa5</Field> 

·         Field control items are not able to be deployed due to a GUID being inserted instead of the type in the XML. This is a known issue , you can manually add the correct entry which will result in two entries in the fldTypes*.xml file 

I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant by when comparing the fldtypes_blah.xml that gets generated for the field type at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\XML and the fldtypes_blah.xml in my vsewss project, there was a difference.

The vsewss fldtypes_blah.xml contained:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

  <Field Name="TypeName">LogFieldFieldControlField</Field>    
  <Field Name="TypeDisplayName">LogFieldFieldControlField</Field>
<Field Name="TypeShortDescription">LogFieldFieldControlField</Field>   
  <Field Name="ParentType">Text</Field>
<Field Name="UserCreatable">TRUE</Field>
<Field Name="FieldTypeClass">b2931c02-1f9c-4eeb-8839-421be14a38d5</Field>

The generated fldtypes_blah.xml that gets put in the 12 hive contained:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <Field Name="TypeName"BlahFieldControlField</Field>   
 <Field Name="TypeDisplayName">BlahFieldControlField</Field>   
 <Field Name="TypeShortDescription">BlahFieldControlField</Field>   
 <Field Name="ParentType">Text</Field>   
 <Field Name="UserCreatable">TRUE</Field>   
 <Field Name="FieldTypeClass">blah.blahcontrolfield</Field> 

Looks like the FieldTypeClass field node that contained the guid of the field type class gets replaced by the class name on deployment. But the class name is not fully qualified like most manual steps state that it should be.

I replaced it in the deployed fldtypes_blah.xml so that the xml node now looked like:

<Field Name="FieldTypeClass">Blah.BlahFieldControlField, blah, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=8adae1dce348f885</Field> 

i.e. the value is namespace.classname, assembly name, version, culture, publickeytoken  

Then restart IIS

that got my custom field type working. So what you need to do is deploy the solution using vsewss 3.0 v1.3, then go into C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\XML, find your fldtypes_blah.xml and replace the FieldTypeClass node text which contains the class name to contain the fully qualified class name. Then restart IIS. So far this is what has worked for me, but if I come up with a better way, I’ll update this post.

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SharePoint versus file shares. When to use SharePoint and when to use a traditional file share?

by Vishal 19. September 2009 06:04

I get asked this question a lot. If an enterprise adopts SharePoint internally, does SharePoint replace file shares? 

My short answer is, no - SharePoint and file shares are not the same thing and they not meant to be thought about or used in the same way.  

Firstly SharePoint has limitations on the content that it is able to effectively store based on its type, its size, its numbers and its use. You can use a file share to store anything at all, provided there is available disk space. A fileshare has different limitations on how many documents it can effectively store and how it retrieves and searches them. 

Secondly, there is a reason why you are choosing to use SharePoint to store a particular document over a file share. It may be that

  • it is a file that needs to be made easily available (published) to multiple people within an organization,
  • or that it may actually needed to be worked on by different people,
  • or that different versions of it need to be maintained as it evolves,
  • or that there is a need to store additional business meta data around the document that cannot be stored in a traditional file system,
  • or it needs to be effectively and easily searched for by business users
  • or that it requires certain business processes to be built around it such as approvals or alerts. 

If you have none of the needs above, maybe you’re better off using a traditional file share.

For example, your IT department probably does not want to store the Windows 7 installer in a SharePoint document library. Your marketing department probably does not want to store its 700 mb video files that do not require versioning, collaboration, have any content to search within SharePoint. All that content can remain in a file share. 

SharePoint is a great place for storing files that are used for collaboration or publishing among team or across organization. It is even especially beneficial when you have given a good amount of thought to what files you are storing in document libraries and thought about the document metadata, its purpose and the business processes that the files are part of. This truly allows you to use the power of SharePoint to share, collaborate, search and publish documents and build business processes (workflows, events etc.) around these activities easily and quickly. This is the real reason why you want your files in SharePoint. 

On the other hand when you think of a file share, in the traditional sense, you are often talking about unclassified documents, with no business metadata, no versioning in the classic sense and you are talking about storing any type of file. The file could be a 10 GB video file, a PowerPoint presentation, a executable file or anything else. Little thought is given to what it is that you are actually storing, there is no related business metadata and usually difficult to build business processes around the contents. 

You do not want to replace your file share by dumping a huge number of unclassified files that were in a file share, into a share point document library. There is little benefit to doing this. There will be no business metadata that you will need to tie to unclassified content or build business process around. It would also be a pain point for users to effectively be able to use and search.

By doing your thinking ahead of time, you will quickly realize which of your unclassified documents that were in a file share need to be moved to SharePoint document libraries. You also realize that there will be different document library locations for different files. A document library would only hold carefully selected files having something in common and some business meta data in common, probably sharing a content type and business processes. 

Hopefully this will help you decide between when (and most importantly, how) to use SharePoint and when to use traditional file shares, for storing your files. A completely different conversation and should also be thought about, is the use of SharePoint versus document management systems like documentum or document locator. I never believe that there is a universal solution. A good solution depends on the problem it solves. There is always a very good reason to use SharePoint, file shares or a document management system depending on what business problem you are looking to solve. The only thing is, do your thinking & planning ahead of time – understand the problem or problems before deciding on the solution. 

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MOSS | Sharepoint

Getting Ready to split up a very large MOSS 2007 Content DB into multiple content DBs

by Vishal 16. July 2009 03:01

 Very Exciting. Getting ready to split up a large content DB on a large enterprise level moss farm deployment. The idea is to distribute data that has grown over time into multiple content databases for performance and reliability. The plan is to use stsadm -o mergecontentdbs. However this is known to have implications and issues - We are taking all necessary steps to avoid any problems. I'll update this post later on how our operation does.

 Update - Sorry for the late update guys. heres how it went.

 We had 2 tasks ahead of us. One was to move a content db from one database server to another in the cluster. The other was to split up a large content db on one of the servers into multiple content dbs.

Splitting the large content db into multiple content DB's:

 Microsoft recommended that we do not run the merge content db command on databases larger that 10 GB in size. So instead of moving out the larger site collections into new content databses, we decided to move all of the smaller site collections out instead. This would take much longer, but would be safer so we went that route.

  1. Make sure we stop all search crawls. This is important. Not pause but completely stop the search crawls. Let the running crawls complete and remove the schedule for all future crawls. If we do not do this, we take the risk of corrupting our search indexes.
  2. Create the new content databses
  3. Run stsadm -o preparetomove on the content db to be split
  4. Create a sites.xml using stsadm -o enumsitecollections on the source content database
  5. split up the sites.xml into manageable chunks containing the site colllections that we which to split out
  6. run stsadm -o mergecontent dbs on the source and destination content databases using the site.xml files created in step 5 to move the site collections from source to destination database to the destination content databases
  7. run stsadm -o databaserepair command on the source and destination databses to remove any orphan records - we had none
  8. test

we moved approximately 150 GB of data from a large content database into 5 diffenet new content databases. It took us approximately 18 hours including testing. After the maintennance, we improved page response times for the site collections. We also reduced app pool recycles for our web applications due to processes hitting their virtual memory limits. These almost seemed to dissapear after the maintennance. Overall we were very happy with the results.

Moving a content db from one server to another:

We had multiple large content databases on one server and we wanted to balance it out by moving a large content database from one server to another in the cluster.

  1. Run stsadm -o preparetomove on the content db to move
  2. detach the content db by running stsadm -o deletecontentdb
  3. using sql management studio, detach the content database from the server instance
  4. move the databse files from the source server to the destination server
  5. using management studio, re-attach the content database on the new sql server
  6. add the content database by ising stsadm -o addcontentdb
  7. Test

that was pretty much it. After our maintennance, we started our search crawls and reset the schedule. balancing out the databases also increased performance on our web applications.

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MOSS | Sharepoint

Sharepoint Dev Wiki

by Vishal 25. May 2009 22:47

I think this was long needed. A must have link for sharepoint admins and developers. Also great for business wanting to gain more insight and understanding into customization and development on sharepoint. I usually get a lot of different views when it comes to specific topics on sharepoint development. I think a wiki is a great idea to get all of those views in one place and create open discussion.

 check it out!


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MOSS | Sharepoint

Adding Color Columns to Sharepoint lists

by Vishal 2. November 2008 21:02

I was working on a project that used a sharepoint list with a column called "Urgency" that was a choice column with values "Low", "Medium", "High". The client wanted to show the co0lumn in the list view but instead of the text, show a corresponding color - Green for Low, Orange for medium and Red for High. Also I needed to have this configured without downtime or custom code.

I found a great post online here that helped me do exactly that using a calculated column and a content editor webpart, out of the box!


  • Create a column in the list called "Urgency Level" for example. Its a choice column with values "(1) Low", "(2) Medium", "(3) High"
  • Create s column in the list called "Urgency" which will display the color. This is a calculated column. The formula for this column is

          =”<DIV style=’font-weight:bold; font-size:24px; color:”&CHOOSE(RIGHT(LEFT(Urgency Level,2),1),”red”,”orange”,”green”)&”;’>&bull;</DIV>”

  • Add a content editor web part to the bottom of the page and copy the below script into it.

<script type="text/javascript">
var theTDs = document.getElementsByTagName("TD");
var i=0;
var TDContent = " ";
while (i < theTDs.length)
TDContent = theTDs[i].innerText || theTDs[i].textContent;
if ((TDContent.indexOf("<DIV") == 0) && (TDContent.indexOf("</DIV>") >= 0)) {
theTDs[i].innerHTML = TDContent;
// ExpGroupRenderData overwrites the default SharePoint function
// This part is needed for collapsed groupings
function ExpGroupRenderData(htmlToRender, groupName, isLoaded)
var tbody=document.getElementById("tbod"+groupName+"_");
var wrapDiv=document.createElement("DIV");
wrapDiv.innerHTML="<TABLE><TBODY id=\"tbod"+ groupName+"_\" isLoaded=\""+isLoaded+ "\">"+htmlToRender+"</TBODY></TABLE>";
var theTBODYTDs = wrapDiv.getElementsByTagName("TD");
var j=0;
var TDContent = " ";
while (j < theTBODYTDs.length)
TDContent = theTBODYTDs[j].innerText || theTBODYTDs[j].textContent;
if ((TDContent.indexOf("<DIV") == 0) && (TDContent.indexOf("</DIV>") >= 0)) {
theTBODYTDs[j].innerHTML = TDContent;

Thats it! Here was the result:


 Also, you would have realised that you can do a lot more than add just colors, you can add any html to be rendered including scripts, mouse overs, colors, images...

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e-commerce | MOSS | Sharepoint

Tool to build WSP solutions for MOSS/Sharepoint Projects

by Vishal 10. September 2008 18:46

The tool is called STSDEV. I found it on codeplex. The tool allows you to generate Visual Studio Projects & Solutions to facilitate building of MOSS deployement solutions. Its a simple command line utility that allows you to select the kind of deployment you are trying to do. The hoices include, empty solutions, features, webparts etc. By simply selecting the type of solution and clicking a button, it creates the visual studio project templates for building the WSP. You can drag and drop all of your deployment files into a predefined 12 hive structure. Hitting build on your solution, atomatically create sthe manifest file and builds the wsp. Till now I was building the mannifests and wsps by hand and that is a pain.

There are a number of build configurations generated for you that allow you to retract, deploy, redeploy, install the solutions directly to MOSS without needing to use stsadm. Its a great little tool for development and debugging.

 The project can be found at

 Here are some sceen casts that are very helpful in getting you started:



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.NET | Sharepoint | MOSS

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