Thursday, November 22, 2007

MOSS Jumpstart Presentation

Here are the slides from the MOSS Jumpstart training that I have been running in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Thanks to all those that attended, I enjoyed it. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment

Sunday, November 18, 2007

MOSS Jumpstart training resources

This is for the benefit of those who have attended the training sessions that I have been running recently. These are links to resources that you will find useful for finding more information about SharePoint:

art4EF1MOSS 2007 Administrators Companion (Bill English)

art4F02Microsoft Forums (

art4F03User Groups –

art4F04SharePoint Blogs – (OPML)

art4F05SharePointPedia -

art4F15CodePlex (link)

art4F16TechNet SharePoint site (link)

art4F17Ontolica wildcard search

art4F28MOSS SDK (link)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

SharePoint Jumpstart Resources

I mentioned the following resources as part of the SharePoint Jumpstart training I ran today in Perth. I promised to post these links, so here you go:

SharePoint End User Learning Kit

Excel Spreadsheet comparing different versions of SharePoint

Coming to a city near you

City Tour

I am on the road at the moment delivering SharePoint training on behalf of Microsoft. It's part of their Jumpstart programme to help Microsoft partners and customers get up to speed on the platform. I have just delivered the first session in Perth and the feedback has been positive. Next up is Adelaide, then Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

There is more information available on these events on Microsoft's site

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

SharePoint Gurus on track

When not obsessing over SharePoint, I like to get out on my mountain bike. Recently my mates and I took part in a 24 hour mountain bike race in Canberra. We had a team of six riders doing a relay, which meant we each did a circuit every 4 hours.

We made up our own team shirts, so I got the SharePoint Gurus logo put front and centre. We even used a public SharePoint subsite for organizing ourselves for the weekend. Talk about collaboration.

This was Dave Turner's going away ride - he has left us and moved to New Zealand. However, as official photographer he has now uploaded some photos of the event here

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Needles in Haystack Presentation

Here is a link to the presentation that I delivered at the Sydney Office Dev Con. The session was about the SharePoint Search engine and how you can make use of it outside of SharePoint.

Here are the resources that I mention at the end of the presentation

  • Sydney SharePoint User Group (link)
  • MOSS SDK and Technical Articles (link)
  • Mike Taghizadeh's Blog(link)
  • Mick Badran’s Query Ranking command (link)
  • Evaluation guide for Search in MOSS 2007 (link)
  • Customizing and Extending the Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 Search (link)
  • Wildcard search from Ontolica (link)
  • CodePlex – MOSS 2007 Search Manager (link)
  • CodePlex – Test WSS and MOSS Search Web Service (link)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Office DevCon this weekend

Office DevCon is kicking off this weekend at the Microsoft offices in North Ryde. Graham Seach has put a huge effort into setting up this free Office developer event, and there are some great presentations scheduled.

I'll also be presenting - my session is about making use of the search engine in MOSS 2007. I'm scheduled for around mid-day on Sunday. Unfortunately my session didn't make it onto the registration page, so no one had the opportunity to select it as one of their preferred events.

So while all the other presenters are comparing crowd size numbers, I'm preparing to present to myself. Oh well, it won't be the first time.

If you are attending the event and would like to have a one-on-one about the SharePoint search engine, do drop by. I believe they are currently scheduling my session for the broom cupboard on level 1.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Difference between SharePoint and AD Groups

Someone on the SharePoint forums asked about the difference between these two types of security groups. Here are the ones I could think of:

Domain Groups

  • Normally created and maintained by the IT department

  • Can be used across different SharePoint sites and site collections

  • Organisations may already have good AD group structures that map well to your SharePoint implementation

  • Groups can be nested - e.g. you can add another AD Group as a member to an existing AD group

  • No features for users to submit a request to join a group

SharePoint Groups

  • The creation of groups can be done by business users
  • When a group is being created, you can define who "owns" the group

  • Can allow users to submit a request to join a group

  • Can determine who has permissions to see the users within groups

  • Groups are created within a particular Site Collection - cannot be used in other site collections

  • You cannot add a SharePoint Group as a member of another SharePoint group (no nesting)

  • SharePoint Groups cannot be used in other systems (e.g. network Shares)

  • The SharePoint Groups are separate from Active Directory - so you can go wild with the SharePoint Groups without upsetting your AD administrator

Friday, October 12, 2007

October Sydney User Group

"You are the Silverlight of my life" - come on down to participate in our discussion on whether Silverlight is going to rock your SharePoint world, or are we just chasing moon beams.

The October event is at Level 14, Roden Cutler House, 24 Campbell Street, Haymarket on Tuesday October 16th 2007. Kick-off from 5:30pm. Click here to register. For more information visit


New User Group website

FINALLY! We have moved the SharePoint User Group site off version 2.0 of WSS and set up a version 3.0 site. I no longer have to hang my head in shame at the User Group meetings any more - well, at least not because of the website.

The new site has been implemented using the SharePoint Community Kit User Group Edition. We also have a new address so don't forget to update your favourites and/or default home page to You can even sign up for the new Events RSS Feed so that you can get the details of our next meeting delivered right to your computer without having to lift a finger.

Do drop by and let us know what you think, the Discussion Board is open. You'll also find an archive of all the presentations given at the User Group.

SharePoint User Group

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Central Administration site - Service Unavailable

I was working on a client's environment this week when all of a sudden the Central Admin and Shared Service Provider sites stopped working. Requesting any URL from these sites returned a "Service Unavailable" message. The main content web site kept responding though.

When I checked IIS I noticed that the Application Pools for these web apps were stopping as soon as I put through a page request. I'd restart them and they would stop again straight away.

IISReset didn't do anything for me. Two Event Log errors entries being written each time the app pool was shut down. Details are below.

We executed our "Base Cotingency Plan" (i.e. we rebooted the server) and everything went back to working as expected.

I've no real insight on this one, but I thought I'd post it in case others come across it.

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: W3SVC
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1009
Date: 9/10/2007
Time: 12:33:13 PM
User: N/A
A process serving application pool 'SharePoint Central Administration v3' terminated unexpectedly. The process id was '11380'. The process exit code was '0x80'.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at

Event Type: Error
Event Source: W3SVC
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1002
Date: 9/10/2007
Time: 12:33:13 PM
User: N/A
Application pool 'SharePoint Central Administration v3' is being automatically disabled due to a series of failures in the process(es) serving that application pool.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

MVP for another year

I just got word from Above that I have been recognized as an MVP for MOSS for a second year. My acceptance speech contains the usual thanks to all involved in making me look good (you know who you are).

I have a feeling that this is going to be an exciting year, I'm glad I don't have to hand back my MVP t-shirt just yet.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Anonymous Users – Access Denied

At a client recently we tried to enable Anonymous Access to a WSS site, but unauthenticated users were still being prompted for a username and password. If you cancelled the log-in prompt, you would get an IIS "Access Denied" page. So I ran through the default tests:

  • Web Application created with the "Allow Anonymous" setting enabled – Check
    (by the way, after the Web Application has been created this setting is managed from the Application Management – Authentication Providers section)
  • Site Collection has anonymous access enabled for the entire site – Check
    (Site Settings – Go to top level site settings – Advanced Permissions – Settings – Anonymous Access)

That should have been it. After some tinkering around I discovered the problem was a web part on the home page. This was trying to filter the list of tasks based on the current user. Taking the web part off the page resolved the problem.

If you really need this functionality you will need to develop your own custom web part that will first check if the current user is authenticated before retrieving and filtering the items.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WSS 3.0 Search Capabilities

Greetings from Singapore! I'm here attending a training course on MOSS Administration, but more on that some other time. Right now what I've brought you here to talk about is WSS Search. So it is common knowledge that the search technology has changed between version 2 and version 3. In version 2, WSS used SQL Server full text indexes. Now WSS uses the same underlying engine for indexing content as MOSS.

However, what I feel isn't common knowledge is how this affects the end user experience. When you performed a search in WSS 2.0 you could only get results back from the document libraries and lists in your current sub-site. You don't see results from any sites underneath it. In WSS 3.0 it's a very different story. Not only will you see results from any child subsites, you will also see results from any site collections located underneath the sub-site you are searching! Surprised? I was.

So this means that you can run a search from the very top of your website and it will search the document libraries and lists in all your site collections. The results are still security trimmed. Nice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

User Presence in WSS

You might have noticed the User Presence icons in SharePoint. They have been there since version 2. You will see them appearing beside a user name, like "Modified By" or "Assigned To".

This will work with your instant messaging software to display your availability status to others. For organisations that have Microsoft Office Communicator installed, this works with little or no configuration. You can see when your colleagues are online, and even look up their other contact details, such as their extension.

The User Presence information also works with MSN Messenger. The only hassle with this in WSS v2.0 was that you had to use your MSN Messenger e-mail address in the SharePoint environment. Well, now in WSS 3.0 you get to specify a separate field for your User Presence details. So you can now get your SharePoint alerts submitted to your work account, but have your User Presence information based on your MSN account.

To update your details just go to the top right corner of any page on your SharePoint site and drop down the Welcome ... menu and select My Settings.

You can then edit the SIP Address to be the e-mail address of your MSN Messenger account. Voila – your user presence details should now be available for others to see. Change your status in MSN Messenger and the user presence information updates almost straight away on the SharePoint site.

No? Still can't see your user presence details? You might want to add your WSS site to the Trusted Sites zone in Internet Explorer (Tools – Internet Options – Security)

One final thing – the SIP Address information is stored at the Site Collection level. If your environment has many site collections, then you will have to update each one individually

Saturday, August 25, 2007

WSS 3.0 Content Indexing: The update cannot be started

I noticed recently that I was getting an error in my Application Event log every time the WSS Search Service ran. That means an error every five minutes, which is a little disheartening. One option is to change the WSS index schedule so that the error only occurs once per day – but some might say that is avoiding the issue. Which I suppose is a fair point.

The error that was showing up in my Application Event Log was:

Event ID 2424
The update cannot be started because the content sources cannot be accessed. Fix the errors and try the update again.

Context: Application 'Search', Catalog 'index file on the search server Search'

I fixed this by going to Central Administration – Operations – Services on Server. I selected the Windows SharePoint Services Search entry. I then changed the Service Account username and password to match the Content Access Account details. Click OK on the bottom of the page and wait five minutes.

Once I saw that the error was no longer being logged I went back and set the Service Account back to its original username and password. Still no sign of the error. I also verified that WSS was indexing content again.

So a bit of a strange issue. It looks like some settings got messed up along the way and just need to be reset. I did notice that the error started to happen after some scheduled maintenance on the SQL Server. I'll have a word with the SQL Admin and see what he's been up to.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August 2007 User Group meeting

We have a jam-packed session this month. Brad Saide will be presenting on the Business Data Catalogue. Then Han Duong will cover customizing SharePoint themes. To top it off Jey Srikantha from K2 is returning to show us the K2 Blackpearl capabilities. This extends the out of the box workflows in and integrates directly with MOSS 2007.

This month's session is on Tuesday 21st at the Unique World offices in Haymarket. So come along, grab some beer & pizza and mingle with the local SharePointers. For more information go to

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bluetooth Mouse on Windows Vista Macbook Pro

This post has nothing to do with SharePoint but I thought I'd blog it anyway in case someone else is trying to do the same. I'll admit it probably isn't a common scenario, but you never know.

I'm currently using a 17" MacBook Pro as my laptop. I've used Apple Bootcamp to create a Windows partition and I installed Windows Vista. It's a great setup and I love using the machine. It's got 2 GB of memory and dual 2.33 GHz intel processors. However, one thing was bugging me – I couldn't get the internal Bluetooth device working. This meant I couldn't use my groovy Microsoft Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000.

From the blog posts I could find I seemed to be in the minority. A few people wrote that Bluetooth was working fine for them right after install. Some people had steps for manually enabling Bluetooth, but this seemed to be for earlier releases of Bootcamp because I couldn't find the files they were referring to.

So here are the steps that I used to get it working. Some of these may be redundant – feel free to experiment and leave comments:

  1. Downloaded and installed the Bootcamp 1.3 beta software from the Apple site to my Mac partition
  2. Created a Mac Driver disk using the Bootcamp Assistant
  3. Booted into Windows Vista and ran the Setup.exe on the Mac Driver disk
  4. Launched the Device Manager. Expanded out the Universal Serial Bus controllers section. I was looking for the device with a Hardware ID of USB\VID_05AC&PID_1000 (I found these details here). To view an entry's Hardware ID:
    1. Double click on the entry under the Universal Serial Bus Controllers
    2. Click the Details tab
    3. Change the Property drop down to Hardware IDs
  5. Once you have found the right device select the Driver tab
  6. Select the Update Driver... button
  7. Select Browse my computer for driver software
  8. Select the C:\Mac Drivers\program files\Macintosh Drivers for Windows XP 1.1.2\BthKicker location

Once I completed these steps Windows Vista identified a new device and tried to install a driver for it. It couldn't find an appropriate driver. At this stage most people would get dejected, but I'm used to this kind of thing. The next thing to do is run the\Drivers\Apple\AppleBluetoothInstaller.exe file on the Bootcamp Assistant CD that you created earlier.

And that was it, my Bluetooth mouse now works with my Vista install running on a MacBook Pro. I love it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

MySite Hotfix

I ran into a problem at a client site recently. We already had the ability to create MySites, but they were being created under the Shared Service Provider website. We wanted these under the main portal instead. Not a problem – we set up a managed path on the portal and created a new site collection underneath it to host the My Sites. We made sure to select the My Site Host template when creating our new site collection. From the home page of the site collection we specified that we wanted to use this as the location for new My Sites. This worked just fine in our development environment. A user without an existing MySite could click the MySite link at the top of the page and their site would be created for them within the main portal.

Not so good in the production environment though. When you tried to create a new MySite you would see an error along the lines of:

There has been an error creating the personal site. Contact your site administrator for more information

Looking in the SharePoint logs revealed the following error:

The site /personal/demo could not be created. The following exception occured: Value does not fall within the expected range

I certainly wasn't expecting that. Luckily I found that Microsoft has released a hotfix specifically for this issue. The details are at You will need to contact Microsoft to get them to e-mail you the patch. Once we ran this in our environment all was well again. One thing though – the documentation for the hotfix says that it does not require a reboot, however we were prompted to perform a reboot after installing it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

...In with the New

Microsoft have just announced that they have received Department of Defence 5051.2 certification (DoD 5051.2) for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Great huh? But what does it mean? DoD 5051.2 is a US Government standard for records management. Any records management solution used in the US Government must have this. It's also becoming a de facto standard in other industries too.

Microsoft have developed an add-on pack to provide the additional features required by the DoD 5051.2. If you want to comply with this standard you will need to run this (soon to be released) add-on pack as well. If you don't need to comply, then kick back and relax.

Read more here:

Out with the old...

Got any servers running the Beta 2 Tech Refresh of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server? Well, the bad news is that it expired on May 15th. The good news is that you can get information on how to upgrade to the released version here:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Knock, Knock...

MOSS 2007 allows users to send an e-mail to request additional access to a site. But do you know who this e-mail goes to? Or for that matter do you know where to go to configure this?

This setting is available from the Site Permissions page. To access this go to Site Actions – Site Settings – People and Groups. Now click on the Site Permissions link in the left hand panel. From this page you can select Access Requests from the Settings menu.

If you cannot see this menu item you (or your SharePoint Administrator) should check that the Outgoing Mail Server setting is configured for your environment. This is done through the Operations section of the Central Administration site.

So how does SharePoint determine what e-mail address to use by default? It's simply whoever initially created the sub-site. It can only be set for sites that do not inherit permissions.

So here's a pop quiz for you: Let's assume Bob created a sub-site called Department X along with a child site called Projects. Initially Projects inherits its security settings from Department X. Then Sue comes along and configures the Projects subsite to use unique permissions. Who do you think SharePoint will use for the Access Requests settings?

  • Bob
  • Sue
  • No-one

I'll give you a hint, the answer rhymes with True.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

ForeFront SharePoint TechCenter

Microsoft now have content on TechNet specifically about ForeFront and SharePoint - ForeFront is Microsoft's anti virus product. It includes 8 anti-virus engines to scan content. Up to five of these will be used during any individual scan. This ensures good coverage across a range of attacks. Seven of the engines are from external vendors - AhnLab, Authentium, CA, Kaspersky, Norman, Sophos and VIrusBuster.

There doesn't seem to be many other vendors offering SharePoint 2007 AntiVirus software just yet. McAfee and Symantec still only advertise a SharePoint 2003 product. Hopefully more vendors will step up soon. With SharePoint becoming increasingly popular as the collaboration and file storage platform, anti-virus is going to be a must-have feature.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

SharePoint User Group tonight

The SharePoint Conference has been a great success. There were some really good presentations and I've enjoyed catching up with a lot of people that I haven't seen in a while. So far the most fun part has been the unicycle - pictures to follow.

Of course the real highlight is the SharePoint User Group meeting that is going to start at 5:30pm. This is going to be in Room 2 on the lower level. Andrew Connell is going to join Mike Fitz and Joel Oleson on the panel to answer your questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there

Sunday, May 13, 2007

SharePoint APAC Conference Session Recommendations

Going to the SharePoint APAC Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday this week? Here are my agenda recommendations. I'm presenting the session on MOSS and Enterprise Architecture – the rest of the sessions compliment this theme. There are a lot of other great sessions on though so make sure to check out the schedule.







MOSS and Enterprise Architecture 

Lower Level Room 4



Business Data Catalog and LOB

Ballroom B



BI with Excel Services 

Ballroom B



Web Content Management Overview 

Ballroom B








Multilingual Portals 

Lower Level Room 2



Search Technical Drilldown

Ballroom A



Document Management & Taxonomy 

Lower Level Room 2



Coding Compliance Components

Lower Level Room 3



Panel Discussion with SharePoint Experts 

Ballroom B



Sydney SharePoint User Group

Room 2


Technorati tag:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Presenting at the SharePoint APAC Conference

I've just finished a round of presentations on SharePoint Enterprise Search. Next week I'm off to the SharePoint APAC conference in Sydney to give another presentation. The topic is "How much can MOSS replace your Enterprise Architecture?"

If you are around, do drop by and say Hi. When not presenting I'll be at the Unique World stand. Don't worry – you won't be able to miss the stand.

Find out more about the conference at

Sunday, May 06, 2007

All Joost Up

I've managed to get myself a Joost invite. This is the future of TV. I've been interested in the convergence of TV and PC technology for some time, and Joost looks like the best combination I've seen to date. It took me about 2 minutes to get this up and running, and my initial experience is positive. The picture quality isn't great, and I've been disconnected once or twice from the shows that I was watching, but it's still a hell of a lot of fun.

I don't have any invites yet, but as soon as I do I'll pass them around. It looks like Joost may be days away from launching, so that mightn't even matter soon.

Update: I can send invites now, so if you want one, just drop a comment with your e-mail address

Sunday, April 22, 2007

WSS 3.0 Hosting Providers

I have been researching WSS 3.0 web hosting providers, so I thought I'd share my list with you. This is not an extensive list of providers, but I'm hoping to add to it as I find out about others. I'm only showing the basic plan for each provider, to give some level of comparison. Figures valid as of April 22, 2007-04-22


Plan name

Yearly fee




SharePoint Basic 

$212 USD 

1 GB 


30 day free trial

Managed SharePoint 

$860 AUD 

0.5 GB 


SharePoint Hosting

$239.40 USD 

0.5 GB 


15 day free trial


$139.35 USD 

0.5 GB 


Select the Advance hosting option ($9.95 pm), then add the SharePoint Basic component ($19.94 py)


$383.52 USD 

0.15 GB 


SharePoint Professional Plan 

$371.40 USD 

0.2 GB 


Bronze Hosting 

$299.50 USD

1 GB 


Daily backups


179.40 GBP

0.5 GB

Unlimited 3.0

$300 USD

5 GB


Nightly backups

SharePoint Standard - Basic

$300 USD

1 GB


Nightly backups, 30 day free trial

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bob Fox - Screencaster

Check out the following screen casts from Bob Fox that visually demonstrate some useful concepts

How to Screencast:  Setting up your Virtual Lab Part 1 – Setting up Active Directory, POP3, SQL and IIS

How To Screencast: Alternate Access Mappings or AAM – An introduction to setting up alternate access mapping

Friday, April 13, 2007

April SharePoint User Group

Anyone in Sydney on Tuesday April 17th should try to come along to the Sydney SharePoint User Group meeting. We got two great speakers lined up. Noel Williams from MacroView is going to demonstrate tools that help you manage your e-mails directly in SharePoint 2007.

Then we have Stephen Cummins of coming along to tell his tales from the trenches. This guy has been involved in more than 30 SharePoint deployments for companies such as HP, Kraft and the Disney Corporation. That's a wealth of experience that you don't get to meet every day.

So hop over to here to register for the event. It's on at the Unique World offices in Campbell Street (map). For more information about the user group and to subscribe to e-mail notifications on upcoming events check out


Monday, April 02, 2007

Slow file uploads

I was working with a client recently that was experiencing poor performance on their SharePoint environment. They were about to go live, but the performance testing was coming back with terrible results, even with only a small number of users. Initially we weren't sure where the problem was, but we were able to quickly isolate the issue down to network performance.

We noticed that certain users were able to upload quickly, but for other users the file upload process crawled. We ran up Performance Monitor on our front end SharePoint server to see what was happening. Adding the Total Bytes/sec monitor in the Network category gave us some useful information. For the users experiencing the good performance, our monitor would spike and then drop back to zero (the blue line below). For those experiencing bad performance the network utilisation would stay low. Something was throttling the network bandwidth for these users

To cut a long story short, the client finally discovered that the issue was to do with a default setting in Internet Explorer 6.0 and earlier. This limits the data rate that the browser sends information. This becomes particularly noticeable with larger files (e.g. greater than 2 MB).

To resolve the issue you need to make an update to the registry on the user's computer. You can read more about this here

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ishai Sagi is MVPed

I just heard from Ishai that he has been awarded an MVP in SharePoint. Well deserved too – this guy puts so much effort into his blogs, forum posts and community presentations. Congratulations buddy!

Publishing from Word 2007

Finally! I now can publish to Blogger directly from Word 2007. I could never get this working before, but I have just rebuilt my laptop and I was able to register my account without any hassles.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Renaming the Central Admin Content Database

I worry sometimes that I might be just a little too pedantic. I can spend way too long figuring out an ideal naming convention. So you can imagine my distress to discover that MOSS 2007 does not give you the option to name the Central Administration content database.

You are able to specify a name for every other database in your installation except this one. It's pretty upsetting for someone as anal as me. All the other databases have a naming pattern that you could write a song to, but the Central Admin content database uses some horrid GUID for it's name.

I decided that I needed to fix this. There is a good reason for this - your SQL Server might host a few Central Admin content databases from different SharePoint Farms. In which case it would be nice to know which SharePoint farm the database belonged to without having to check a list of GUIDs somewhere.

In theory it's relatively straight forward - here are the steps, taken mainly from Ricky Whitworth's blog entry:
1. From Central Admin, remove the existing content database from the Central Admin Web Application.

WARNING: This will break your Central Administration site until you complete the rest of the steps!

2. Backup the existing Admin content database from SQL
3. Restore the backup to SQL using a name that makes you happy
4. Use the STSADM -AddContentDB to attach your renamed content database into your Central Admin site

It was this final step that caught me out. I kept getting a "Access Denied" message. This is not particularly what you want to see when you have just broken your Central Admin site.

What I discovered is that you need to run this command using the AD account that you specified for connecting to the database during your SharePoint installation. Now normally this account should not be a local administrator on your web front end server. However I also found that the command did not work for me until I made this account a local administrator.

So here are the extra steps I carried out between 3. and 4. above:

1. Grant the account running the Central Admin application pool access to the Local Administrators group on your SharePoint server

2. Use the "runas /user:myDomain\myAccount cmd.exe" command line to launch a command window under the credentials of the Central Admin application pool account.

3. Run the following command in your new command window:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\BIN\stsadm.exe" -o addcontentdb -url myCentralAdminSite -databasename myCentralAdministrationContentDatabase

4. Remove the account from the Local Administrators group

Update:Here is a post from Keith Richie on how you can use psconfig.exe to set the database name during your initial installation

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What a crazy week

I'm just back from the Microsoft MVP Summit in Seattle. What a whale of a time. I finally got to meet many of the other SharePoint MVPs in person. We even spent some time with the SharePoint product team giving our input into what we think is important for the next release of MOSS.

If only every week was as interesting as that. You can check out some photos of the week here

Now, must get back to work

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

SharePoint Conference - Sydney May 15-16 2007

The circus is coming to town!

Well, almost as exciting - the SharePoint Conference is coming. Sydney is the third city to host this show, with great reviews already in from Seattle and Berlin.

The conference is going to be at the Hilton Hotel and will include such SharePoint greats as Mike Fitz, Joel-The-Man-Oleson and ring master Derek Burney. With any luck the Sydney SharePoint User Group will also be well represented.

There are only 500 places available so make sure to book the 15 and 16 of May out in your diary now. Registration for the event will open soon. Check out Angus Logan's blog for more details.

Monday, March 05, 2007

No Underscores in MOSS

I just found out that MOSS doesn't like Underscores in Host Headers. If you try to create a new web application with the "_" in the Host Header, SharePoint rejects it as an invalid character.

This also applies to setting up Alternate Access Mappings for an existing web application

Saturday, March 03, 2007

How do SharePoint 2007

Check out this new content on MSDN that descibes how to do common development tasks in SharePoint 2007:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Browsing to a VPC from the host

This is something that I am always trying to figure out. I stumble across a solution and then forget how to do it next time. So here is the link that describes how to set up your VPC so that you can browse to it from the host desktop: (courtesy of Aaron Zupancic)

Now I know where to find it next time I have to look

Development Environment for MOSS 2007

I'm interested in working out the best approach for developing on MOSS 2007. My first preference is to have a central MOSS server that is shared by the team and allow developers to debug remotely.

The advantages that I see with this are:
  • The development environment remains similar to the production environment

  • Less resources required on each developer's workstation

  • Better chance of identifying issues with other developer's code early on

  • Forces you to have good deployment strategies that can be re-used for deploying to test/production/DR environments

  • The disadvantages are:
  • Harder to debug - must be done remotely, and from what I hear this is particlarly difficult with workflows

  • Risk of overwriting other developer's efforts (proper use of a source control product reduces this risk)

  • May need to co-ordinate debugging/testing with others in the team

  • For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but I'm keen to understand other people's experience in this area. Please provide your comments if you have any experience/opinions on this.

    The other configurations that I see include:
  • Installing Visual Studio on the Dev server and allowing developers to remote-desktop on to debug. I dislike this because it means that you have to modify the permissions on the server, it means the Dev and Test environment are significantly different and puts extra load on the dev box. Also only two developers can work on the server at any time (assuming you only have the standard Terminal Service licenses).

  • Each developer running local Virtual PCs. Because our company mainly does on-site consulting, a lot of our developers have laptops. This makes it more expensive to beef their machines up to a spec that can comforatably run a MOSS 2007 VPC that runs Visual Studio. In fact a few of our laptops cannot have their memory upgraded beyond 1.5 GB. Another hassle here is that each developer is working in isolation. Conflicts between components won't be discovered until a later stage. This risk can be reduced by having strong source control and deployment processes.

  • I also found this great post from Eli Robilliard on this topic:

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    February SharePoint User Group

    For those of you in Sydney, the SharePoint User Group is meeting on Tuesday 20th. This month's presentation will be of particular interest to SharePoint 2007 administrators and developers.


    Friday, February 02, 2007

    Ontolica goes Wild*

    Ontolica has announced a free tool for adding wildcard search features to MOSS 2007. Just fill out the form here.

    Ontolica will be coming out with more new products this month that extend the MOSS 2007 search features. Here is a look at their roadmap:

    Ontolica Add-ons for MOSS 2007

    Monday, January 29, 2007

    My new favourite website

    I just found out about this website, but I think it's going to become a regular haunt for me. Strangely it has nothing to do with SharePoint:

    Give them the name of a favourite song or artist and they will create a personalized radio station for you based on that style of music. You can rate each song they give you to help fine-tune the station. And it's all free!

    Now that I think about it, it does have something to do with SharePoint. This is very similar to the Knowledge Network component that Microsoft is planning to release later this year.

    This wil allow you to track down other people in your organisation that share similar attributes based on your SharePoint profile. It can even look through your e-mails for keywords to suggest to you to add to your profile.

    So not only can you find out about new music that you would like, but you can also track down that other person in your organisation that is passionate about Information Architecture for legal firms.

    Isn't the internet wonderful?

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Grouping Documents By More Than Two Levels

    We are all very used to organizing our documents by folders. We have been doing it for years in File Explorer. But it does have it's drawbacks. For example you can only organize a set of documents in one way. You might have reports that you file by region. If you wanted to see them by Customer instead, you are stuffed.

    Then SharePoint came along and provided meta-data. Now we have the ability to tag our documents with the relevant properties (such as Region and Customer). We can define views based on these properties to see our documents in many different ways. We can even combine folders and meta-data so that users can continue to file documents in folders, while at the same time providing views based on the meta-data.

    The "Group By" view option allows you to define a hierarchy for viewing the documents - say by Country and then by Region. But what if you need to go beyond two levels? What if you want to view documents by Country, Region and Store? This article explains how you can achieve this using SharePoint Designer and WSSv3 (most of this is the same in FrontPage 2003 and WSSv2).

    I will assume that you already have a document library with the necessary meta-data. To make it more interesting, I'm going to also assume that your documents are stored in a folder structure within the document library.

    1. Launch SharePoint Designer and open your site (File - Open Site...)

    2. Open the default.aspx file in your site. We will place our web part on this page

    3. Select the Data Source Library tab in the right hand task pane

    4. Open the drop down listbox for your Document Library and choose Copy and Modify...
      Copy and Modify

    5. On the Source tab, change the Item and folder scope to RecursiveAll

      Data Source Properties - Source

    6. On the General tab give a meaningful name to this Data Source and click OK

      Data Source Properties - General

    7. Drag and drop your new data source onto a web part zone. Now click on the > button on the right-hand-side of your new web part. You will see the following menu, select Sort and Group:

      Sort and Group

    8. Use the Add >> button to specify the fields you want to group your data for. Click on the Show group header checkbox for each of the fields you move across. Click OK once you have finished.

    9. Now from the right-hand-side menu select the Filter option. Specify the filter shown below. This will make sure that folders are not displayed in your web part. Click OK and you are done.

      Filter Criteria

    This works if your web part is going to be on the same sub site as the document library. In my next post I'll show you how you can do this with a document library from another site.

    Note: I've noticed that once you get to four levels, the web part does not correctly group items. It basically uses the first value it finds to group all items at each of the 4-level-deep branches. If I find a fix to this, I'll let you know.

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    You've been tagged

    Five things you never knew about me

    Here are the rules - you get tagged by a colleague/friend/complete stranger, you have to blog five things that people don't know about you and then pick five more people that should do the same.

    By my calculations the entire blogosphere should be tagged by February 3rd - I guess it's all part of being Person of the Year.

    Ishai Sagi was so kind as to tag me, so here you go:

    5. I'm not Canadian. I reckon more people ask me if I am Canadian than any other nationality. I've never even been to Canada (eh?). In fact I'm Irish. I'll admit that my accent isn't a very strong Irish accent. Some people have suggested that the Irish accent has had a strong influence on forming the American accent. Personally I think it's because I watched too much Sesame Street as a kid. So my theory is that people hear me talk and think "hmm, not quite American, he must be one of those Canadians (eh?).

    4. I was going to be an RPG programmer for Microsoft. We are not talking about Role Playing Games, this is the Report Program Generator language. I interviewed for a consulting firm doing work at Microsoft in Dublin. Our university was one of the few places that taught RPG and Microsoft were running their manufacturing on an IBM AS/400 at the time (there's one thing you didn't know about Microsoft). In the end, they gave me a job working on VB and SQL projects instead.

    3. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. I think I was 10 at the time. I remember trying to grasp concepts such as for loops and If/Else statements. I still remember the so-called "touch-sensitive" keys and the fact that you would have to wait about 10 seconds for the screen to refresh every time you pressed a key. After all, it did only have 1 KB of memory.

    2. I failed Irish in school. Shameful really. The Irish language is compulsory in school up to your final exams at 18. I was shockingly bad at it. I found it impossible to spell, and the grammar just threw me completely. My poor Irish teacher put in so much effort to helping me, but he got so little out of it. The scary thing is that you need Irish to get into a lot of university courses. Thankfully, the one I wanted didn't require it. I didn't even bother studying the night before my final exam. I worked on my maths study instead (god knows I needed it).

    When it came time to do the exam paper, I wrote a letter in English to the examiner, letting him know that he could go off and make himself a nice cup of tea, that I was not going to force my shocking spelling skills on him. When I got my final grades, I wasn't too surprised to discover I failed. My parents weren't that happy and they suggested that I have my paper re-checked. I declined. So now I'm not eligible to apply for any government job in Ireland, which hasn't proved to be a big drawback since I've moved to Sydney.

    1. I've had Blues Harmonica lessons - note the distinction between "I've had lessons" and "I can play". I've always been a fan of the Blues, so when I saw some lessons advertised, I signed up with another friend. We gave each other Blues names - he's Magic Eight-Ball Delahunty, I'm Bleeding Gums Wilson. Despite these great names, I have yet to reach a level of proficiency where I'd feel comfortable quitting my day job and make a living busking on the streets.

    My turn to tag - not that there are many people left:

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Discovery Wizard for SharePoint

    I just found this handy free tool on the Quest website. It will scan your network for servers running SPS, MOSS or WSS (v2 and v3) and display basic information about your servers, site collections and sites.

    Discovery Wizard for SharePoint

    Thursday, January 04, 2007

    Large logs with MOSS

    I noticed recently that the log files on my MOSS server were getting very large. These log files are located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS

    Each log file was about 500 MB in size, and there were about 20 of them. This was not good. When I looked at the logs I noticed that I was getting a lot of messages for the general category.

    So I ran the following command to turn off logging for the general category:
    stsadm -o setlogginglevel -category "general" -tracelevel none

    Bingo! Log files back to normal size. Some day when I have more time on my hands I'll try to find out what the messages mean.

    You can also modify the number of log files MOSS generates from Central Admin:
    1. From Central Admin, click Operations Management in the left panel
    2. Click Diagnostic Logging
    3. Modify the number of trace logs and click OK (I've set my test environment to 5)