Andosi Blog - the Art of Great Design

Executing SQL Queries via SharePoint Web Services

Can you really execute native SQL Queries from SharePoint Web Services?

Microsoft SharePoint is great for building enterprise systems tying together various data sources.  If the information you are looking for is in a SharePoint List or Document Library, it is straightforward to call the built-in Web Services to query or manipulate that data.  Through custom Web Parts, you can run server-side code and easily retrieve data that lives outside SharePoint.

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Capturing (and using) raw SOAP messages in WCF

WCF is great for building web services.  It's also great for interacting with existing web services.  Visual Studio makes it so easy . . . add a service reference, point to the WSDL of the service and just like that, you have a set of classes to handle the service and data contracts.
Unfortunately, sometimes web services don't live up to their contracts.  Recently, I was interacting with a web service and found that sometimes the response would be null.  I fired up Fiddler and looked at the SOAP messages.  Sure enough, an error had occurred on the remote server and the response, while valid XML, looked nothing like the promised Data Contract.  It did however provide a useful description of the error.
There was no SOAP fault . . . no exception thrown (unless I tried to use the null response without checking), just a null response object by

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CSS Consolidator jiu-jitsu

CSS Consolidator

Sometimes you inherit a huge pile of CSS and want to make a few changes. Sometimes there are huge groups of duplicated rules. Sometimes, you just want to see everywhere Comic Sans is used in your stylesheets. (Hopefully, nowhere.)
Paste in your Source CSS below and click Consolidate CSS.  Rules and selectors will be consolidated in the next textbox.  All processing is done client-side in JavaScript.
Below that, you will see a breakdown of your styles, arranged by Selector, Attribute and Values.
Why did I do this?  Why not?

Source CSS (No @media tags please)

Consolidated CSS

SelectorsAttributesValues

This blog has been relocated from http://mbsguru.blogspot.com/ with authorization.

Resolving "Error occurred in deployment step 'Activate Features': Invalid file name"

The other day I was working on a SharePoint project that required the deployment of a Content Type, a List Template, a couple of List Instances and a couple of Feature Receivers. Things were coming along well until I started to reorganize the project. I dragged the List Instances into the List Template folder and renamed several folders to better represent their purposes. When I went to deploy, I got the error: "Error occurred in deployment step 'Activate Features': Invalid file name".

 
I looked around the .spdata files, checked the Feature file and double-checked them all again. Everything looked right. The ULS Logger wasn't much help but it did give me the actual exception: "Exception: Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: Invalid file name. The file name you specified could not be used. It may be the name of an existing file or directory, or you may not have permission to access the file"
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Love, Hate and the ViewState

I was recently tasked with creating a SharePoint interface to Microsoft Dynamics GP Item Maintenance. As the client's business had grown, inconsistencies in theirItem Master became apparent. When new items were needed, a similar existing item was copied and the details updated to match the new item. If there were no similar items, a new item was created.
The problem was, many of the existing items were not properly categorized. There were people in the organization who knew bits of information about items, but nobody had all the information to correctly set up an item. Setting up an item properly required a combination of phone calls, emails and a little bit of luck. It could sometimes take weeks to get the item set up. This held up BOMs, Routings and pretty much everything else dependent on the new item.
As usual for a new project, we started with a discovery phase.

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