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Another SharePoint Blogger

Posted in SharePoint at Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:58 AM Pacific Standard Time

While looking at SharePoint Blogs I ran across another SharePoint blogger Alex Chang. It looks like Alex will be blogging about SharePoint and Project in addition to other ASP.Net topics.

Subscribed...

(I really need to update my links)

SharePoint Resources

Posted in SharePoint at Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:51 AM Pacific Standard Time

I just posted a short article that lists some of the SharePoint resources that I have found to be useful. I'm sure I missed quite a few of your favorite links, so just post them in the comments.

While looking for a couple of sites using Google I ran into the SharePoint Blogs. I hadn't seen this before so and it looks like there are some interesting bloggers there. A few interesting posts:

 

SharePoint Resources

Posted in SharePoint at Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:32 AM Pacific Standard Time

There are a lot of good SharePoint resources out there, so here is a partial list of some of the ones I have found to be useful.

Update: I'm moving this list to a page on my wiki.

Resouce Lists

Sites:

Articles:

Blogs:

SharePoint Webcasts:

Last updated: 5/27/04

To Open Source or Not to Open Source...

Posted in General at Thursday, March 25, 2004 1:58 AM Pacific Standard Time

McNealy has announced that Java will not be moving to Open Source [via Vinod].

“Go open source with DB2 and then you can tell me what to do with my assets,” was McNealy’s response to IBM.

These are interesting times. There was speculation that this is what McNealy would do, but I think his response is interesting. IBM would be happy with Open Source Java, but I kind of doubt they would ever Open Source DB2.

So where does this leave the C# vs Java, the battle for the Linux desktop debate? Now that Java definately isn't going to be Open Source, is C# the closest thing? Is this all just a show put on by corporations?

Thoughts on .Net

Posted in Sql and Xml | Reporting Services | SharePoint | BizTalk at Tuesday, March 23, 2004 11:45 PM Pacific Standard Time

If you're one of the handful of people who read my blog, then you probably noticed that I've been all over the map lately. Reporting Services, SharePoint, and now BizTalk. This is due to the work I've been doing at Countrywide. It has been a lot of fun to learn all these new technologies.

Now I'm no expert on these new technologies, but it seems like they have been fairly easy to pick up. I was reflecting on this last night as I was sleeping. I came to the conclusion that the reason it has been pretty easy to learn these technologies is because they are .Net based and integrate with Visual Studio. So now that I'm becoming proficient in .Net, it has become easier to pickup these new .Net based technologies.

Don't believe me? Think back to the VB6 days (not too long ago). I remember going through the VB6 Win32 API tutorial. It seemed like each new technology that came out you had to dig through the SDK to even begin to understand the product and even then you probably would still get the calls wrong. Maybe it's just gotten easier because I've been doing this longer, but maybe .Net is making a difference.

Now we just need Yukon Beta 2 to be released so we can see how much of a difference it makes having .Net in the database...

Update: Just reading Overview of Native XML for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and thinking that even though you can create HTTP Endpoints without using .Net, they are still easier to understand because of .Net. .Net made web services (and HTTP Endpoints for that matter) something the average developer has a basic understanding of.

Also the article states that “SQL Server 2005–native Web services require Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 as the operating system, because they rely on the kernel mode http driver http.sys that this version provides”. But after reading Don Box's comment on XPSP2 about HTTP.SYS I'm wondering if you could run this on XPSP2. Maybe it is the “kernel mode” that XPSP2 doesn't support. Anywho, the CREATE HTTP ENDPOINT format looks somewhat similar to Indigo's self-host syntax.

Netgear MP101

Posted in General at Tuesday, March 23, 2004 11:32 PM Pacific Standard Time

Remembering that Matt Warren found the Netgear MP101 to be a good solution for streaming media files to the stereo system I decided to pick one when I found them on sale at Frys. I set it up last weekend and so far it has been a lot of fun. I only have one complaint, it skips when the song has been encoded at a variable bit rate.

Hello BizTalk File Transfer

Posted in BizTalk at Tuesday, March 23, 2004 11:05 AM Pacific Standard Time

This is a very basic example that will walk you through the steps to set up a simple file transfer using BizTalk Server 2004. This example assumes that you already have BizTalk setup correctly (unlike my first setup snafu). I'm running on Windows Server 2003 and running BizTalk Server 2004 Developer Edition.

I'm trying to start to follow the xp programming techniques, so when I started a new BizTalk project I decided to try the simplest thing first and just do a file transfer. Below are the steps I came up with for transferring a file just by using the BizTalk Explorer pane in Visual Studio.

1) In the BizTalk Server Explorer, expand your server by clicking the plus next to it.

2) Right click “Receive Ports” and select “Add Receive Port...” from the context menu as shown below.

3) In the Create Receive Port dialog, leave “One-Way Port” selected and click OK.

4) In the One-Way Receive Port Properties dialog, change the name to “ReceivePort_Static” as shown below.

5) Click OK.

6) Back in the BizTalk Explorer panel, under the ReceivePort_Static port, right click “Receive Locations” and select “Add Receive Location...” from the context menu as shown below.

7) In the Receive Location Properties dialog perform the following actions:

a) Change the Name: to “ReceiveLocation_Static“.

b) Change the Transport Type to “FILE”.

c) Change Receive Handler to “BizTalkServerApplication“. Note: if this option isn't available then your server might not be configured correctly. Read the documentation section on Configuring your server.

d) Change the Receive Pipeline to “Microsoft.BizTalk.DefaultPipelines.PassThruReceive”.

e) Finally, click in the Address (URI) field and then click the “...” button. For the receive folder you will need to put the path to a folder you want BizTalk to pickup the files from. I created a folder specifically for this at c:\tests\StaticTest\Receive. I would suggest you do the same. The file mask for this example will be "*.txt". This setup is shown below.

f) Click Ok on the File Transport Properties dialog. Your Recieve Location Properties Dialog should look something like the following.

g) Click Ok on the Receive Location Properties dialog.

8) Back in BizTalk Explorer, right click “Send Ports” and select “Add Send Port...” from the context menu as shown below.

9) In the Create New Send Port dialog, leave “Static One-Way Port” selected and click OK.

10) In the Static One-Way Send Port Properties dialog, perform the following actions:

a) Change the Name: to "SendPort_Static".

b) Change the Transport Type to "FILE".

c) Click in the Address (URI) field and then click the "..." button. For the destination folder you will need to put in the path to a folder you want BizTalk to deliver the files to. I created a folder specifically for this at c:\tests\StaticTest\Send. The file name for this example is %MessageID%.txt. This is shown below.

d) Click Ok on the File Transport Properties dialog. The Configure Static One-Way Send Port Properties dialog should look like the following.

e) Next click on the "Send" folder in the tree view control on the dialog. Change the Send Pipeline to "Microsoft.BizTalk.DefaultPipelines.PassThruTransmit" as shown below.

f) Next Click on the "Filters & Maps" folder in the same tree view control and then click on "Filters". Click where it says "Click here to add a new row!" In the Property dropdown select the "BTS.ReceivePortName" and in the Value field put "ReceivePort_Static" (without the quotes). This is shown below.

g) Click Ok on the Configure Static One-Way Send Port Properties dialog.

11) Back in the BizTalk Explorer, right click the ReceiveLocation_Static and select "Enable" from the context menu.

12) Next right click the "SendPort_Static" and select "Start" from the context menu.

At this point, assuming everything was done correctly, you should be ready to experience some of the BizTalk magic. Drop any file with the txt extension into the folder you specified on the receive location and it will quickly disappear. If you next look in the folder you specified for the send port and there should be a new text file there which is a copy of the file you dropped in the receive location. Magic!

Hopefully you will find this very simple example to be useful.

Hello BizTalk File Transfer

Posted in BizTalk at Tuesday, March 23, 2004 7:32 AM Pacific Standard Time

I just posted a short article on how to do a simple file transfer using BizTalk. It is a very simple example but might be a useful walk-through if you're just getting started with BizTalk.

BizTalk Content

Posted in BizTalk at Tuesday, March 23, 2004 5:47 AM Pacific Standard Time

Darrell Norton has posted a BizTalk Overview that links to a lot of BizTalk resources. [via Jan Tielen]

Additionally I've also found the BizTalk Server 2004 Generic Adapter Sample to be a useful read. The workspace is currently down but you can download it from the link provided.

Already-Initialized Correlation Sets

Posted in BizTalk at Monday, March 22, 2004 7:48 AM Pacific Standard Time

I guess this is what I get for not reading the manual first. I've been playing around with the BizTalk SqlAdapter Sample and I'm stuck on step 4g with the following error message:

“you must specify at least one already-initialized correlation set for a non-activation receive that is on a non-selfcorrelating port“

I guess I need to read up on the BizTalk lingo so that I can understand the error messages it produces....

Update: Ok I figured out that first message by looking at one of the sample projects. I needed to set my receive shape's Active property to true. Now I'm on to a new error message:

“[Microsoft.BizTalk.Deployment.DeploymentException] Unable to deploy early bindings.
[Microsoft.BizTalk.Deployment.Binding.BindingException] Failed updating binding information.
BindingException: Receive Location 'SimpleBizTalk_1.0.0.0_SimpleBizTalk.Simple1_ReadFile_ReceiveLocation' has no receive handler. Specify a Receive Handler.
[Microsoft.BizTalk.ExplorerOM.BtsException] Receive Location 'SimpleBizTalk_1.0.0.0_SimpleBizTalk.Simple1_ReadFile_ReceiveLocation' has no receive handler. Specify a Receive Handler.”

Update (Working!): After reading the installation docs a little more carefully and after a reinstallation of BizTalk Server 2004 where I followed the docs, I got everything to work correctly. Cool! I think what I did was when I originally installed the server I unchecked the configure BizTalk checkbox. Then when I later ran through the configure wizard I didn't configure things correctly.

Passport Down?

Posted in General at Friday, March 12, 2004 5:21 AM Pacific Standard Time

Is it just me or is Microsoft Passport down? Wow, if it is that is quite a hit on a lot of websites.....

Configure This

Posted in General at Monday, March 08, 2004 8:11 AM Pacific Standard Time

After reading Christoph's post about a simple way to configure a domain account to access the database, I thought that I would give it a try. Of course if there is a way to break it, I will find it, but of course it will be unintentional. So first I go download the aspnet_setreg tool and stick it on my server. Next I follow all the steps listed in the article. Finally I try to hit my database from the application I'm working on. So what do I get?

Description: An error occurred during the processing of a configuration file required to service this request. Please review the specific error details below and modify your configuration file appropriately.

Parser Error Message: Error reading the password from the registry.

So I go through all the steps again, change a few things, no dice. At first I thought that maybe I had to apply the hotfix to make this work, but then I read here that this fix was included in the 1.1 version of the framework. Finally I had an idea of something I should check. So I changed renamed the key in the registry from “MyApp.Web“ to simply “MyApp“. Bingo. Everything now works. Humph.

So if you decide to store your credentials in the registry like this, make sure you don't have a dot in your application name. Maybe this is the darkside to the power of the dot.

Going to Dev Days?

Posted in General at Monday, March 08, 2004 2:53 AM Pacific Standard Time

If you're going to Dev Days, check out:

http://www.mydevdays2004.com/

 

The Wayward WebLog

Posted in Sql and Xml | General at Friday, March 05, 2004 1:13 AM Pacific Standard Time

I've linked to it before, but if you're not reading the Wayward WebLog, you're missing out. Here are a few of my favorites:

The funny thing it that it reminds me of a column that I used to read on MSDN, or maybe it was Site Builder Network. But the column was about some supposed software development project at Microsoft. It was always a fun read. Anyone remember that column?

Making Use of RDL

Posted in Reporting Services | SharePoint at Thursday, March 04, 2004 8:42 AM Pacific Standard Time

If you're using Reporting Services then you should probably get familiar with RDL. RDL is what drives reports in RS. The cool thing is that once you start to dig into it you realize that it is actually fairly simple. When I first looked at RDL it seemed like information overload. However, as I've been working with it I've started to like it.

One of the things I'm currently working on is a SharePoint web part that will allow the user to “play” with the data. I'm currently use the RDL to get me the data. This is being done by deserializing the RDL into objects which I can then use to create things like connections, commands, and datasets (not RDL datasets but System.Data.DataSets). I've been surprised at how well it is all working so far.

Now that I've gotten comfortable with RDL, it seems like it would be fairly easy to write your own RDL generator. Now that would be a cool SharePoint Web Part...

Comment Spam Solution

Posted in General at Thursday, March 04, 2004 1:50 AM Pacific Standard Time

I don't have a problem with comment spam on my blog (probably because only a handful of people read it), but I have read about this problem occurring on other blogs. Well I had an idea on how that might be fixed.

The idea came while I was checking out the ASP.Net Resource Kit. The kit comes with a free component from SAX.Net that does human verification.

By including the Sax.net Human Verification Component on your site, you can protect your server from these automated programs.  A web page that contains the Sax.net Human Verification Component acts as a virtual gatekeeper who ensures that only real people and no automated programs fill out forms on your site.

If you've ever bought tickets from price gougers ticket master then you've seen this type of component at work. It shows you a phrase that is obfuscated so that only a human can read it. So the idea would be to put this component to work in the comment form so that you could verify that only a human was posting the comment.

Anyhow, maybe this is a dumb idea. If so just disregard it, but you should still check out the ASP.Net Resource Kit since it has a lot of free goodies (and maybe they will give you some good ideas). :)

BizTalk Server 2004 Released

Posted in Sql and Xml | SharePoint at Tuesday, March 02, 2004 2:37 AM Pacific Standard Time

Just finished watching the Getting up to speed with BizTalk Server 2004 for the Visual Studio .NET Developer. BizTalk Server 2004 looks like a great product. I have to say I was very interested in the schema editor and the mapping tool (downloading BizTalk now to check it out). The mapping tool made me think of ObjectSpaces, will MS be utilizing the same type of editor for this? I liked the “functoids“ which allowed you to do some cool stuff when transforming from one message to another.

The presentation was done by Scott Woodgate. Scott has posted links to BizTalk Server 2004 adapater SharePoint libraries.

Wanted: Cube Browser WebPart

Posted in Reporting Services | SharePoint at Monday, March 01, 2004 8:08 AM Pacific Standard Time

At my new job we are doing a lot of work with OLAP cubes. We have to create reports that run off these cubes. We also use SharePoint as our dashboard technology to display these reports. Currently we are using two main technology to access our cube data: Reporting Services reports and Office Web Components.

The problem is that Reporting Services reports don't offer a lot of functionality to the user. They can view the data, change the parameters, but that is pretty much it. We can show/hide stuff but really there isn't much functionality other than giving the users a very cheap access to the data. On the other end of the spectrum, Office Web Components offer a lot of functionality to the user but don't give the user a good way to print. They also have enough features to thoroughly confuse users and they directly hit the cubes.

What I would like to have is a WebPart that displays data in a grid so that the user can sort and filter all they want without directly hitting the cube. But when they hit the print button I want the same data that is in the grid to be displayed in a Reporting Services report so that I can give them pretty reports.

I'm thinking about building this myself since I haven't been able to find anything like this so far. I'm thinking that I will have to generate the RDL base on what the user has setup in the grid. Or maybe I will just let the user save the state and only the admin can generate the RDL. Either way it would be a lot of work and I really wish there was a good solution already out there.