SharePoint Hurdle Series #2


SharePoint 2010

I’ve had a handful of obstacles to overcome since the initial announcement of the SharePoint Hurdle Series. This either proves two things: I know little about SharePoint or SharePoint is so massive of a platform that you can’t assume to be an expert on it all. I’m hoping the latter but pretty confident it’s the former. So, let’s jump into it.

The Farm is Unavailable – Please Leave a Message after the Tone

I needed to deploy a custom master page solution to SharePoint. The environment has two web front ends and an application server. So, I fire open my good ‘ole buddy PowerShell, slap in an Add-SPSolution command and go check Central Admin. I’m met with a “Deploying” message next to the solution. I thought no worries; I’ve seen solutions vary in times before. However, this one is going on several minutes now – and red flags are popping up in my head.

I decided to cancel the deployment job and click on the solution file to look at the details. I saw that it had deployed to 2 of the 3 servers. My red flags are now confirmed. Something is going on with the other server not listed. I searched high and low and found to run ‘ole faithful “STSADM -o execadmsvcjobs” on all servers. Each server worked fine, expect for the server not listed in the deployment details of the solution. I was met with “The farm is unavailable”. Unavailable?!?

So, I started digging around this error message. As it turned out, after coming across Lori Gowin’s excellent post, the SQL Alias (cliconfg.exe) used on this server had a typo in the Port field. Ut oh! A quick edit of this and redeployment of the solution pushed the file properly to the server in question! Thanks, Lori!


Win the Battle Versus Machines – Use CAPTCHAS!

I’m helping my employer launch an online product/service (soon to be announced!) and one of the requirements was to have an anonymous InfoPath form. We wanted this form to be secure from spammers, bots, whatever you want to call it that will try to submit rogue entries or Denial-of-Service attacks. I began searching for a CAPTCHA for InfoPath 2010. While we made the decision not to do an image CAPTCHA (they remind me of Stereograms), this text based solution worked extremely well and was very simple to implement. Kudos to you, Neeraj!


Calendar Styling and Profiling (Rick Flair Reference)

I’ve been looking for this for a while and I’m surprised that I haven’t found this earlier. This 5 minute modification takes the Content Query Web Part (CQWP) and a Calendar list to new heights and is amazingly sharp looking! One extra tidbit I had to do was that I wanted the month to be shorthand and not spelt out – as in Dec for December. So, I replaced the month variable with this:

select=”ddwrt:FormatDateTime(string(@EventDate), 1033, ‘MMM’)”

Check out the site here. It’s a simple edit of the ItemStyle.xsl file and adding some CSS:


That’s it for now, until I’m stumped again with SharePoint – which should happen again in about 10 minutes.



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