Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hi Folks,
Just today i realized that it has been too long that i have not posted a single post on my Blog, actually i was going through a technical transition stage, in 2014 i am relocated for the time being to U.S to work for a client on certain critical project deliverable. And kind of life a developer has onsite is totally different then what we do at Offshore.
Now these days i am working on Several Technologies apart from Microsoft SharePoint, helped the client in developing some Mobile Apps consuming SharePoint Workflows using Twitter Bootstrap as Front End, SAP HTML5(a.k.a SAPUI5), Microsoft Project Server 2010, Signal R, C++.
And there are many more yet to explore which are on stack for upcoming deliverable like a Google Glass App is in the Queue i have been asked to taste the Flavor of XAMARIN to develop Apps.

Working with so many different technologies creates a genuine requirement to blog about each and everything what you are exploring.

So 2014 will contain blogs not only about SharePoint but also about some random exploration and i am hopeful that whatever i will blog will definitely help others.

Ankur Madaan.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Develop Microsoft SharePoint 2013 APPS - Part 1

Yes this is the time I think I should talk about my learning and work with SharePoint 2013 Apps, The main reason of APPS in SharePoint 2013 is to give Developers the power of creating customizations without full trust access to the target farm, and the sweet reason is you can create apps and publish them in marketplace or corporate app catalog.
This blog series about sharepoint apps will be of different parts and i will try to discuss everything i know here with demonstration. So lets begin:-
APPS the Word(APPS for SharePoint):- You all are familliar with the word app, it was Nokia, Apple then Android who made this word popular in today Techno World, and even a first grade student can explain to you what does an "app" means, Microsoft evolve this in sharepoint from Farm Solutions --> then came SandBox Solutions --> then SharePoint Apps, the reason of this evaluation was mainly to avoid hick ups that admin people feels for Solution Deployment and to avoid effecting SharePoint Farm with custom Solutions or Customizations.
Many of Clients i worked with preffered SharePoint Designer Based customization even though i gave them explanation on how this disturbes the caching and Loading of SharePoint Pages as these have to go through different Parsing mechanism, the only answer they have is Designer based things are easy to modify, change and does not effect our SharePoint Environment.
Yes partially they are right but actually it costs alot to performance and Migration , Upgradation Scenerios.
So i think this evolution of SharePoint Apps are handy but this does not means that Sandbox Solutions are completely Obsolute, Microsoft Says that one should now preffer APPS as much as one can but at situations you have to go with Sandbox Solutions, as we can not modify things on SharePoint Main Sites with Apps
Silly Classification :-
One can classify apps on the basis of Configuration  and hosting model.
Conifguration:- 1) Full Page 2)App Parts 3)UI Command Extension.
Personally if you ask then my favourite is APP Parts but in this part of series we will work with Full Page Apps.
Ahhh i am sorry i should explain you guys first what are these:-
Full-page Based on one or more web pages, these apps include a dedicated UI. You should provide a back button for returning to the parent site, where the app is launched from—but your app will have a UI of its own.Simple as it sounds.. create web pages put javascript on the background yeah and here we go.
App Parts
Also called Client Parts, these render some app content in an IFrame inside pages of the parent site. Usually, App Parts are used to provide users with a small piece of information or functions that can directly interact with the SharePoint user interface.
UI command extension
Used to extend the UI of the parent site, these apps may include a ribbon button or an ECB (Edit Control Block) command to lead the user to a page or function provided by an external app.

Hosting Model Classification

This model relies on a subweb of the parent site (also called an app web) and enables you to use all the common SharePoint artifacts for implementing the UI and the behavior of the SharePoint app. You can take advantage of all the features of SharePoint, such as lists, Web Parts, pages, workflows, and so on.

Apps following this model are hosted on Microsoft Windows Azure, which can access a Microsoft SQL Azure database for managing data, too. The apps are automatically deployed on Windows Azure on your behalf and can communicate with SharePoint through events and the Client Object Model. Secure communication with SharePoint is enforced using OAuth.

From a functional perspective, apps that follow this model are almost the same as autohosted apps. The only difference is that a provider-hosted app has to be deployed on your own hosting environment and does not necessarily use the Windows Azure environment.

Lets Start:-
Ok so lets stop any more discussion and jump on the first app development, I have my development environment ready services required for APPS and Forward lookup Zones for Apps and Service Applications are configured Properly. There are several blogs availlable on how to do this http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fp179923.aspx

Ok SO lets begin to develop our very basic and Simple App.

• This going to be a on-premise/sharepoint hosted app.
• Open Visual Studio 2012, create a new project -> Select SharePoint Apps ->;Apps for SharePoint 2013, .Net Framework 4.5 and give a proper name to project (I have given it as KickOff).

• Enter Url of target SharePoint Site & then Change hosting to “SharePoint Hosted” from Autohosted .
• Click Finish and VS 2012 will create a Project for us.
• And this will be what you will get :-

Now let me brief about what we have :-
1. Features Folder:-
 Contains all the features for provisioning contents and capabilities to the target web site, Upon creation this contains only one feature scoped to web-level.

One Major thing to note is you cant modify the scope of this feature and it packages all the contents, the main perpose of this feature is to deploy all the APP contents to the “TARGET APP WEBSITE”.

I would like to add a note here that you should know:-

NOTE:-One has to remember that an app website is provisioned and unprovisioned together with its app. Thus, we create an app that stores content inside its app web, if end user remove or uninstall the app, however the app will be gone also its related data will go away.

2. Package Folder:- Contains the package for deploying the app.
3. Content Folder:- Contains CSS style and a Module to deploy it to the target app.
4. Images Folder:- A Module and Images with default APP Icon image of 96*96 pixel, you can modify this with one of yours.
5. Pages Folder:- Module Feature and the pages of target app contains in this folder, default.aspx is the page contained by default.
6. Scripts Folder:- Represents a Module Feature that is for Javascript Files, APP.js file is the file where we put oue custom scripts(it is our entry point.
7. AppManifest.xml file:- Contains configuration and deployment information related to app.
8. Packages.config file:- Information about the packages referenced by Visual studio project.

Allright now lets just see what happens when out of box feature contained web is deployed to the Site, press F5 and see what happens:-
First Uploading of app starts then installation begins:-

Depending on the kind of environment and configuration installation progresses and takes time

And thus the app will get open:-

You can see there that it does have its default.aspx page loaded and link to go to the site from which it was reffered, in my case "test site" 
If you go back to the Man Site "Test Site in my case" then This app is located under site contents:-
Now Lets Start the Fun :- Make Changes
Open Default.aspx page:-
You will see this :-

Apart from SP.js files it also contains an App.js file reference and this is our target start point of scripting and we will use this to provide our logic.

Now let me just show you a very simple thing, we will create a div and load all site users into it:- so declare a div element in your page with id:- “AppDetails”

And Now lets open" App.js" file and modify the code in it

add two global variables :-

var htmltoappend = ""; //Will store the html string to append in div
var siteUsers; // will store the siteUser object retrieved from CSOM of SharePoint 2013.

This is how the modified APP.js will be:-

We are just initializing siteusers and showing the title of each users and creating a table and loading  this table into the div, just run the app now and see the changes:-

Thanks and coming up next is App Parts and many more exiting Notes about SharePoint Apps....

Friday, October 19, 2012

Custom SharePoint 2010 Ribbon Action for a Specific List Using Visual Studio 2010

Greeting to all my blog readers, we all know how good the sharepoint 2010 Ribbon is, and most wonderfull part is that it is Customizable by using both Visual Studio 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010.

Recently on Microsoft Technet Forums a person asked this question: "I need a Ribbon Button for a Specific Lists using Visual Studio 2010" as he was thinking to attach Javascript code or CSOM code on that button(not possible with designer way), there was no way he was able to achieve the same using in Elements.xml file.

So i tried my luck with Server Side Object Model to achieve this and later even got the code Client Script object model and Server Side Object Model code to do this. In this blog i am only sharing the way i discovered this in server side object model.
I am showing code written as a Console Application to create a Ribbon Button on Specific List using Visual Studio.

It uses UserCustomActions Collection Property of SPList Object and to add a new UserCustomAction.
The Major Property is:
UserCustomAction.CommandUIExtension, this recieves token from the XML, the same way we enter in the Elements.xml during the traditional way. So here is how my code looks like:-  

Thats it and you will get a Explicit Ribbon button for a Particular List Only...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SharePoint 2013 is Running at my Home System Now

SP 2013 is at my home now:

It took me three days to make it happen, but yes I have got SP2013 Foundation Preview running on my system.
It is not that tricky that I thought it going to be, actually if we struggled during 2010 and know very well the right ways of installing SharePoint on  a 64 bit environment then it won’t be a big deal this time as we are habitual of certain issues.

So here Is how my first 2013 site  SharePoint foundation site looks like:

My Current System Configuration:

1)Windows Server 2008 R2

2)Sql Server 2008 R2.

3)VS 2012 RC

4)SharePoint Foundation 2013.

How I made it happen:

1)I downloaded SP Foundation from here:

2)Next I Downloaded SP 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2, which is require for SP2013 install from here:

Next I ran the Pre-requisite for SP2013 , if you find any issues with pre-requisite then suggest to follow this blog, which describes awesome powershell scripts to get them all, it helped me too:

Friday, May 4, 2012

SharePoint, How to Implement Logs in my SharePoint Code Easily..

Hi everyone, today I am going to discuss a very important topic of Implementing Logs in SharePoint Code.

As per the scenario the SharePoint Logs which code generates get stores in the 14 hive folder at location:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS

If you try to see this then you can find logs which SharePoint code creates, and also usage reports, next you can use tools like SharePoint Log Viewer to have a Look into these.

So how can we write these logs in our Customizations?

Many People have their own thoughts on Logging; I have myself used several approaches like:
1) Use a text file, deploy it to the Layouts folder and then write the logs into it, benefit with this is we can view these logs from any SharePoint Site url.

2)Use a Custom List on the Specific SharePoint Site  and implement Logging into it.

3)Use SPDiagnosticsServiceBase class  of Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration to create logs in the SharePoint 14 hive folder, the out of box and generic Way.

Here we are going to discuss the general and best approach, approach number 3 as mentioned above.

Tasks we will do:
1)Create a Utility Logger class which inherits from SPDiagnosticsServiceBase.

2)Create a Console Application which will generate the Logs using our Logger.cs  Class.

We will inherit the SPDiagnosticsServiceBase class:
I am trying to re-use the code written here:  SPDiagnosticsServiceBase

Step:1)Code Logger.cs Class.

2) Code for the Console Application/In our Custom Code of SharePoint Solutions:

Finally we can use SharePoint Log Viewer to View the Logs
SharePoint Log Viewer.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Creating Custom Workflow Activity using Visual Studio 2010 for SharePoint 2010 (SharePoint A to Z Series)

Hi, since long i was thinking to blog about this topic and finally got a chance to do so. Normally we prefer to create Designer Based Workflows, as they are easy to create, manage and quite flexible.

But still at situations Designer Workflows not allow us to do certain Tasks, for an instance , performing cross site Tasks, like Creating a Document Library in a different site or Creating a new site on certain conditions.
Instead of Creating Complete Workflow we can still use Custom Activities Development in Visual Studio 2010 which is much easier to built and easy to manage for client's Power Users.

So what  i mean is simple “Code an Activity” instead of Coding a Complete Workflow.
Now lets come to the point and follow some steps to create a simple Workflow Activity. Remember this will be Number 1, and quite easy one, later i will post some bigger and much cruciall Activities.
What I’m about to show you is what I did and tested in the following environment: 
• Microsoft Windows server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition
• SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
• MS SQL 2008 Enterprise Edition
• Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate
• Code was done in C# only
(Note: we don’t need the exact environment, but as such a similar one to get started)

Step: 1) Create a Project to support Activity Deployment to Farm

Create an Empty Project in VS2010 and Name it “CustomActivityDemo”, make Sure it should be a Farm Scoped Project.(No SandBoxed), And select the site on which you like to test it /*Empty SharePoint Project*/

Next Click Finish.. It will be just like a scenerio where this project will act as a Rocket Launcher for our Rocket(Activity).. :)
We will setup code and properties later in this, now lets move ahead and create our Activity Project in the Same Solution.
Step :2) Create WorkFlow Activity Project
At the Solution level Right Click and “Add a Project” in VS2010.
Next  Select the Visual C# >Workflow >Workflow Activity Library and set the project name as ‘CreateSiteActivity’.
Now whole solution will appear like this:
Note that after adding Workflow Activity Library Project  a Design view of Activity appears which shows Activity1.cs
lets now follow these subpoints:
• Right click the Activity1.cs and rename it to “CreateSiteActivity.cs”,

• Again Right Click “CreateSiteActivity” and click “View Code”.

• Now add a reference to
 Microsoft.SharePoint.dll and  Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.dll   located in ISAPI Library:

• Import the following NameSpaces in the code file:

This will how the code will appear now:
Before going further lets discuss some of the important terminologies:

Step :3) Some Introduction to WorkFlow Terminologies:
This will be boring a bit but very quickly please do read these lines as it will clear our process in a bigger way:

Dependency Property
Dependency properties provide a centralized repository of a workflow's state.
The DependencyObject is a hash table that stores the current values of any DependencyProperty that is applied to it.

Dependency Object Class:

An instance type of a dependency property can be bound to instance data, in which case the actual value is not determined until runtime.
You set this type of dependency property's value to be an ActivityBind to bind to the actual value that is accessed at runtime.

ActivityBind binds an activity property to any of the following:
• Another activity property.
• A field.
• A property.
• A method.

In Simpler Word:

Dependency Property provide a mechanism that allows SharePoint Designer to provide values for your custom action before you add your custom functionality.

To allow SharePoint Designer to pass values to your custom action when the workflow runs, you must create public properties inside your custom action. In this example, you will create a custom action that will create a new site within SharePoint whenever executed inside a SharePoint Designer workflow.

Before Writing any Dependency Property and its Binding Property, we have to think about our Inputs, so in this example here are the inputs:

SiteUrl: Where the site will be located.

SiteTitle: Title for the new site.

SiteDescription: Description for the new site.

SiteTemplate: Template to use to create the new site.

InheritPermissions: True, if the new site will inherit permissions from its parent site.

For each field, you create a property in your custom action to allow the users to specify these values when designing their workflow in SharePoint Designer.

When creating properties for a custom action, you create the property itself and a matching DependencyProperty. The DependencyProperty class allows SharePoint Designer to bind the property to the UI in the workflow wizard, where the user specifies the values of these properties in the workflow being created.

Note: Please follow the Syntax we will use while Creating a Property and a Matching Dependency Property, there is Matching Relation require in both of these Names.

Add the following code to create a property and DependencyProperty for SiteUrl:

Parameters it takes are : 1)String Name of the associated Property, Type of Property, Type of Owner(Activity Class Name)

Now for a while just think on what we have written:

Dependency Property Name : SiteUrlProperty and Matching Property Name is SiteUrl
It is required to follow above Syntax i.e always write Dependency Property with Suffix “Property” if you miss this then you will get Compilation Error.
Step: 4) Getting Current Workflow Context


Step:5) Complete Rest of Dependency Properties Simmilarly

simmilarly complete the Dependency Properties for rest of inputs we discussed earlier and code should now look like this:

Step:6) Execution of Main Action

Whenever in Workflow the pointer reaches to the Activity then There is an entry method which executes and this method/function is Execute :

We need to override this function to write the functionality of our activity:

This function returns an ActivityExecutionStatus which is an enum containing values. And takes executionsyntax as parameter.

For getting refference to current site , we will use _Context property that we defined above

Step:7) Code to insert in Execute Method:

Note: If an error occured then we have used ISharePointService to logtohistory list whatsoever error occurs.

Step : 8) Create ACTIONS file

NOTE:Before reading the next lines first Sign the Assembly and run "sn.exe -T 'Path to Dll'" command to get the PublicKeyToken Value of CreateSiteActivity.dll

Next Step is to Create an Action File, this file is require to tell Designer how the Activity will appear in UI to the USER, this will make the custom activity to appear in the Wizard.

An ACTIONS file is an XML file that is used by SharePoint Designer's workflow wizard to provide a user-friendly experience for configuring actions. Every action must be configured in an ACTIONS file before it can be used in SharePoint Designer. By default, there is only one ACTIONS file, located at

{14 Hive}\TEMPLATE\1033\Workflow\WSS.ACTIONS, and it contains an entry for each of the built-in actions in Windows SharePoint Services.


for a complete refference of this file please visit this msdn article:

Step:9) Deployment Process

Deployment Process Consists of Four Sub Steps:

1)Sign The Assembly and Get The Public Token and place it in the ACTIONS file:

Right Click “CreateSiteActivity” Project and then go to Properties and then in “Signing”, create a new key name it “CreateSiteActivity”, then BUILD the Project and later Sign the assembly using:

Sn.exe –T “path to CreateSiteActivity.dll”

Note the PublicKeyToken and modify the Actions file accordingly.

2)Place the ACTIONS file to the Worklfow Mapped Folder of SharePoint 14 Hive:

In the CustomActivityDemo project Add a SharePoint Mapped Folder to Template /1033/Workflow

i.e{SharePointRoot}/Template/1033/Workflow and save the above ACTIONS file, with ACTIONS as extension.

3)Deploying CreateSiteActivity DLL to GAC and Create Safe Control in Web Config of the Web Application.

1)Expand the Package Item in the CustomActivityDemo Project,

Then double click it, which will open the Package properties then click Advanced.

 click Add. And select Existing Assembly:
Add Necessary Information to add safe control, when complete it will appear as this:

4)Add Authorize Type in web config

To do this, we will include a feature in sharePoint Project: "CustomActivityDemo" (The Rocket Launcher) Project, Name it something Suitable and Scope it to WebApplication:

Then right click the Feature and Add a Reciever:
Add using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration Namespace to its code file
Uncomment Feature Activated Block.
As scope of the Feature is SPWebApplication , from properties take the instance of feature parent as spwebapplication:

If you see the properties of SPWebAPPlication Instance then you can see a collection WebConfigModifcations:

Now we have to add a new webconfigmodifcation to this collection , to do so create an Instance of SPWebConfigModification class:

SPWebConfigModification modification = new SPWebConfigModification();

Now we will initiate these properties of Modification:

Entire Code will appear as this:

Next Build, Package and Deploy your solution.

Step: 10) Test the new Action
Next open the site which we used for testing this project in SharePoint Designer and Create a New List  Workflow  on any of List (take Task).

And in List Actions you can see our newly created activity:

It will Work as it did at my end. Please test yourself and use it in your daily workflow cycle.

Hope it will help and Workflow Activities creation will be now a simple process for you all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Programming InfoPath Forms 2007 - Part 1(Creating the Infopath Form Project)

We all know the power of Infopath Forms, everyone simply Love them, they are sleek, easy to use and end users also finds them interesting.

But for Developers, ahh dont tell me, if you believe ---> "They are Easy to Code" and Debug with SharePoint Process w3p.exe??

Actually it is not as simple as we think, from my exeriences with this blog, i will share what i do normally.

This will be 3 parts series and in 1st part we will create the Base, "The Project containing Code".

Many of times when a newbie code with VSTA, he gets confuse how can i attach the process to debug the code and why VSTA is opening VS 2005, by default, so in this post, i will show you how can we create a VS 2008 Code Project for Infopath Forms.

With this as well we have a Case Study, which will remain there for all three Posts.

These Posts are not about designing forms, so i believe if you are reading this then you must be aware of designing Infopath Forms.

Here we will use a very simple Case Study:
  • In a Company namely "Lorem Ipsum" :).. Scrum Follows, and everyday a manager assigns Tasks To his associates, on work they have to perform, Manger uses an Infopath form, to create multiple tasks for his associates.
So Keeping this in mind, i have developed a solution simmilar.

SO Lets Look into it:

1)Team Site:We will have a sharepoint site, can take a Team Site, with Enterprise Features Activated.
2)Infopath Form Library:
We will have  an Infopath Form Library “TasksCreator”,namely .
3)Task List: For assigned Tasks we will use Default Team Site Tasks List.
Infopath Form Design:

Please follow these Points to Design the Form:
1)    Open Infopath 2007 Designer and click Design a Form Template:
Choose Blank from Infopath Form Template Options:
Don’t Forget to “Enable Browser Compatible Features Only”.
2)Next we will Design our Form , so that i will contain a repeating table a check box and a manager textBox like this:

Remember, we are not giving importance to the way form is designed, instead we want  to give prefference to Coding, so go ahead change the way it looks .


So here is how  My Data Source is Presently:


·         managerName: Manager’s Name-Text
·         assignTaskCheck- CheckBox Value True/False
·         Entry: Section
  • Group7: Repeating Table
·         Group1: Contact Selector
·         TaskDescription,DueDate,DateComplete
·         targetSite(V. Important) : To get the current Web url on which this form is running, instantiating SPSite object
among all of these targetSite is very important field, in this we will store the target site and use its url to instantiate SPSite object in our code..

For details on how to add Contact Selector in

Now Comes the Action Part: Coding this Form to perform our Action:

Here are the Steps we will follow to do this for us:
1)Modify Trust Level

Go To Tools in the Menu, from there go to Form Options and select “Security and Trust”, uncheck Automatically Determine Security Level and then select “Full Trust”.

2)Change The Coding Language for VSTA
I am a C-Sharper, so I will choose C#, you will find this in” Programming “ section of Form Options:

Also at a point of time if you feel that you need to remove the code, then you can do this by clicking Remove Code Button.
3)Make Data Connections:

Before Starting Coding we will create two Connections and Manage Submit Options,

a)Context: For Contact Selector, as you can find details in the link http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms558892.aspx

b)“SharePoint Library Submit”- This we will use to modify later with our code to submit our form in the library, for now just create it as follows:
Go to Data Connections then select "To Submit Data to Document/ Form Library"

For Now just Give any Form Library in the Site, later we will modify it using code.


I have Given File Name with a Format: concat(managerName, "-form", today())
you can choose different way, and do check Allow Overwrite if file exists. That’s it finish it by doing next twice.

4)Enable Submit Options:

Go To : Tools in Menu, Submit Option and Configured as below, choose Perform Custom Code action,

Press Edit Code. Save the form if its prompted and then it will open VSTA -2005 Code for you in VS-2005 Environment,

Don’t do anything now just Save it, and if asked , press ok in the submit Options in Infopath Designer and Save the code .

5)Now Lets Convert Our Code in the VS-2008 Code.

Go to the Infopath Designer click on Submit Button and in Button Properties in Action Drop Down Choose Submit, and that’s it. We are now ready with coding work. Save The Form.

Close the VSTA , VS 2005 project, do copy the directory path of it, and open then open VS-2008.Or Just Change the Location of the Project and then open it in VS2008, It Will ask you to Upgrade the Project, Please do that and that’s it we are done with it.
It Will Get Upgraded, Now Close The Project.

* Save  Form as Source Files:
Next, we will Extract the Form Source Files and save it in a Folder as “Infopath Form Template” Open the Form in Infopath Designer 2007, Go to File then choose Save as Source Files.


NOTE: Please Do Follow the Same Name of the Folder as we have choosen.

Now Copy that Folder and Place in the Project that we upgraded above at root.

* Open the Project in VS 2008.Open the project again and “Click show all files”, then you will be able to see Infopath Form Template folder, include the folder in the project.

Rebuild The Project, and you can see pdb and dll created in the same folder.

If .pdb files are not created then check if the Project is in Debug mode and Debug Config should Be Full.

For this , go to Project Properties, their select “Build” and from there choose Advanced option in the lower right corner, and in output for Debug Info Change Drop Down Value to full, see below:


Save the Project and Now we are ready with the upgrade and its finally a Infopath Form SharePoint Compatible VS-2008 Project. You can now see that VS 2008 contains all Designer Menu Items and Options.

Data Source and rest of Properties are enabled in the same VS2008,

Open Manifest.xsf file in Infopath Form Template Folder, so here we have over Designer Enabled here in you can see the form right there in VS2008.:

Go To Second Part of this Blog to see how to do coding  with this  to achieve our Case Study.

  • It Contains a Manager Name Text Box(We will use it for Naming the Form), as per logic it contains name of manager who will assign multiple tasks to his associates.
  • "Assign Action Item" Check Box, If Checked then our repeating table will get appear and manager can create multiple Tasks in it , it will look like this: