The blogs of Black Marble staff

Workflow and SQL Error: Part 3

As you may remember from my earlier post and subsequent follow-up, we have been seeing an issue related to workflows and the Workflow History list in SharePoint 2007. As I've already mentioned, the case is with Microsoft and I also said that I would post updates as new information arrived. Today, more detail has emerged and, as promised, I am sharing.

Whilst replicating the fault today we were having trouble - one of us had a SharePoint install that failed every time and the other had one which would not fail at all. Whilst looking at possible differences we realised that the failing site was a publishing site and the non-failing site was a team site.

After some testing, I can now report that the fault I have described only occurs when the SharePoint Publishing site feature is enabled (note, the site feature, not the SharePoint Publishing Infrastructure site collection feature). If you're not using a publishing site you have nothing to worry about from the problem we see.

The Cops are in at Work

New versions of my favourite Cop(that’s police to you and I) Duo, FxCop and StyleCop are out.

FxCop 1.36 is out including but not limited to 200+ bug fixes over Beta2, new globalisation rules (I smell a Guy at work), half the memory requirement.

StyleCop 4.3 is out also including great features such as better VS integration, a bunch of new rules which you can’t live without and the final changes to make StyleCop its name :)



Netware 6.5 on Hyper-V

As part of a customer project I needed to create a Netware environment for testing. It's been a little while since I did any netware management and I quite enjoyed it. I did, however, encounter a couple of gotchas which I thought I'd write up for the greater good.

Netware OS

Installing the Netware OS was actually pretty straightforward. There are no integration services offered for Netware so from the outset I knew that I would need to use legacy hardware options in the virtual machine.

I created a nice big dynamic virtual hard disk for the server because I will need to install GroupWise and a whole bunch of other services later. I attached this to the virtual IDE controller, gave the machine a single processor core as anything more needs integration services, and (critically!) added a legacy network adapter. Netware isn't a huge memory hog, so I added 1Gb of RAM and off we went.

I hit a snag at the point where the server tried to identify network drivers - it couldn't find any, and I couldn't see any in the list to load manually which matched the emulated hardware.

The solution turned out to be really simple: as you step through the installation screens there is an option to allow unsupported drivers. By default that is set to no. If you change it to yes, the installation recognises the network adapter as an old DEC and loads a driver which works.

Apart from that, I have experienced no difficulties with the server whatsoever, other than I have to run the machine connection window full screen to be able to switch between console screens.

Windows Client

I will admit, this one drove me crazy for a while before my final epiphany. There is a Novell client for Windows Vista now available, but why build a Vista VPC when an XP one would need less horsepower?

I dutifully grabbed an old Virtual PC VHD of our XP base install and fired it up.

Problem number one: In order to install the integration services I need to first uninstall Virtual Server Additions. No sweat, thinks I, clicking the uninstall button. Nope - you get a nice message saying that setup can only run inside a virtual machine!
Slightly surreal, I must say. I had to fire up the machine under Virtual PC and remove the additions, then copy the VHD back on the hyper-v server and start the system so I could install the integration services.

Problem number two: Once I'd installed the Novell client I couldn't get it to see the Netware server. Nothing I did would work - I strapped down every setting I could on the client to point it at the Netware machine but it refused to connect, although I could ping between the two quite happily.
The solution, when I finally figured it out (and I must admit it was pure chance that I thought to try it) was to remove the shiny new virtual network adapter and replace it with a legacy adapter. As soon as I did that, the Novell client could communicate quite happily with the server!

The situation would appear to be that the Novell client stack can't communicate properly through the new virtualised driver provided by Hyper-V. Exactly why this should be, I have no idea, but it drove me wild for a good couple of hours today.

251 ways to help the community and learn visual studio

I have been consistently impressed by the blog/efforts of the ever lovely Sara Ford. for those of you who do not know who Sara is, she is a SDE/T on the Visual Studio Core team at Microsoft and via her blog provides us time strapped developers with visual studio hints in bit size easy to understand chunks almost everyday. if you don’t read her blog shame on you, subscribe now.

Sara is the author of the upcoming book Microsoft Visual Studio Tips.  Sara has compiled 251 tips from her Tip of the Day series, to help on your way to Visual Studio enlightenment.

Sara comes from Waveland on the coast of the US which was hit badly by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and quite wonderfully Sara is donating 100% of her author book royalties to create a scholarship fund at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Black Marble have ordered half a dozen to get things going. I would suggest ordering a copy of this book for any/all of the reasons mentioned.



Why doesn't my ActionsPane appear when I create a new document form a VSTO enabled template?

When you are using a VSTO enabled Word Template inside a SharePoint custom content type you have to be careful which actual .DOTX file you use within the SharePoint custom content type.

  • DO NOT - use the .DOTX from your VSTO Visual Studio project directory
  • DO USE - the .DOTX from the the project's ClickOnce publish location.

The key point here is that until you have published the VSTO project via ClickOnce the .DOTX template does not know where to find the deployment of the associated assemblies. The copy in the project directory never actually knows this location as it is just a source file not a deliverable.

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 is here

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 is now available on MSDN subscriber downloads. or from Microsoft download.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (exe)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (iso)

there are a good number of fixes and new features in the service pack (including TR1 for you C++ philes out there)


you MUST read the readme to make sure there are no problems and with the Silverlight 2 beta 2 tools you will need to download and run the new installer

If you get a Windows Update prompt to reboot during SP1 installation, ignore it.  Wait until after the SP1 installation completes and then reboot.



Argh... more media rights issues

I posted about NBC  Olympic coverage - today I discovered I cannot stream BBC provided media content from the Olympics on my Windows PDA using Opera via the Vodafone 3G service. Seems the BBC does not think I am in the UK. I know Yorkshire assumes it should be independent, but I don't think it has happened yet.

I suppose this is all to be expected, technology that allows reasonable media delivery over a mobile network at a vaguely sane price is new; especially when roaming between countries/networks. I doubt we will see this problem disappear soon unless the media rights are more commonly picked up by the telco providers such as Vodfone as opposed to the broadcast media companies like NBC and the BBC.

Makes you think how long can terrestrial broadcasters last in it current form as boundaries blur between delivery mechanisms?

That said the BBC has 7 media streams up at the moment across digital terrestrial, satellite, cable and the Internet, but I still find myself watching the primary BBC1 terrestrial coverage. After watching events on the other streams that are showing coverage of just one sport, I realise that in general I want the editorial service the BBC provides on it primary coverage, unless I have a real dedicated interest in one sport.