Friday, March 28, 2008

Cannot open virtual machine in VMware Workstation

You will receive this error when your virtual machine was not properly shut down "Could not open virtual machine: C:\.......\machinename.vmx. This virtual machine appears to be in use." This can be due to the host computer system crush. The virtual machine becomes "virtually" :-) unusable, because you cannot start it.

Open up the folder with this VM image configuration file, you will see about four folders with .lck extension. These folders get created upon the start of the VM image, if the VM is properly shut down these folders will be automatically deleted, but if the VM was not shut down properly they will persist in the folder, thus preventing you from starting this image by sending the wrong message to the system about the status of your machine.

Here is how you can resolve this issue. Delete these folders and your VM image will start up.

It's that easy

Friday, March 21, 2008

Follow Up: Training Classes Scheduling Solution (Full Version)

Even though the goal for the Beagle Article was to introduce you to one of many ways you can unleash the power of SharePoint designer with DataView Web Parts, to show how you can create a business solution without custom coding and in a minimum time-frame. I originally picked this scenario just because most of you who are working in medium- to large-sized companies can relate to this topic.

As it turned out, most of you were actually looking for something to solve this particular business need.

So.... Due to the overwhelming demand for a "FULL" version of this solution.. without further interruptions.....(drums)... here it is...

The following solution  will help to facilitate class scheduling and management of attendees by providing employee self-signup functionality and attendance approval administrative interface.

Let’s review the functionality required. An employee of the company goes to the training site and sees all available classes that were scheduled by trainers ( Figure 1). With a click of a button they sign up for the class of their choice and are presented with a list “My Classes”, this list allows employees to keep track of classes they have signed up for. All classes scheduled will have a limited number of seats, and people that sign up for a class will have to be approved by a trainer or a manager. Once the person gets approved, the number of seats gets automatically updated to reflect the number of people attending the class.


Figure 1

The site that this solution will be built in, is created using a team site template. Create a calendar list named “Classes”, this list will be used to schedule classes, track number of seats available, and assign trainers to a class (Figure 2).


Figure 2

Only four fields in this list need an explanation:

1. Seats – this column will hold a number to represent a total number of seats available for this class.

2. Filled seats – this column is going to hold the number of attendees that signed up for the class a have been approved by a manager, the default value is “0”.

3. Seats Increment – this column will be used to increment “Filled Seats” column. This is created as calculated field. When an attendee gets approved by a trainer, Filled seats column will be updated with this column value which is [Filled seats] +1. (Figure 3)

4. ClassID – this field will hold the same value as the actual raw ID. It will be populated by a workflow on creation of an item in the list. This field will be used to identify the raw in Classes list to increment “Filled seats” column when attendee gets approved to attend the class.


Figure 3

Open this site in SharePoint Designer and create a workflow based on Classes list, verify that the workflow starts on new item creation, set field “ClassID” to “Classes:ID”, or to Current Item ID.

Second, create a custom list called “Attendees”. This list will be used to keep track of people signed up for a particular class (Figure 4).


Figure 4

1. Title – Title of the class employee signed up for.

2. Start Time – Start Time of the class employee signed up for.

3. End Time - End Time of the class employee signed up for.

4. ClassID – this column will hold a raw ID of an actual item from the Classes list and will be used as a link between two lists.

5. Approval – this column will be a choice column with following values: Pending, Approved, Rejected. The default value in the field will be “Pending”.

These columns will be populated with information by a workflow triggered by an employee clicking the “Sign Up” button.

Open dafault.aspx page in SharePoint Designer.

Insert DataView Web Part onto the default.aspx page. Choose “Classes” list as your Data Source. In “Common Data View Tasks”, click “Edit Columns” and select Title, Start Time, End Time, Location, Trainer and Seats as displayed columns (Figure 5).


Figure 5

Once the Data View Web Part is rendered, add a filter to the view where “Start Time” is equal or greater than [Current Date], there is no, or little value in allowing users to sign up for a class that has already passed. In the DataView Web Part insert an extra column to the right of the “Seats” column. Open “Toolbox”, drag and drop “Form Action Button” control into this empty column. SharePoint Designer will then prompt you with a “Form Action” menu. Double click “Custom action” and click on “Settings”.

This action will bring you to the SharePoint Designer and create a new workflow that will be attached to the button. Create a workflow variable called ClassID as “List Item ID”. We will use it to pass the selected Item ID parameter from the DataView Web Part into this workflow.

Next, create an action that will trigger “Create New List Item” in the “Attendees” list. The title will be a value from the “ Title “ field in Classes list where Classes:ID equals workflow variable “ClassID” . Next, you will add a “Start time” field and set it to Classes list’s Start Time field (where Classes:ID equal workflow variable “ClassID”). Repeat this routine for population of the End Time field value. Add ClassID Field from the Attendee list and set it to workflow variable “ClassID” (Figure 6).


Figure 6

Save the workflow. In Tag Properties of your Form Action Button, change the value property to “Sign Up”. Go to your “onClick” event. It should read something like this:

javascript: {ddwrt:GenFireServerEvent('__workflowStart={{7696F6EA-2079-4A53-A97B-CE61D99A02AB},New,{66402E3B-C94E-4E6F-9936-10E596CC5795},}')}

Modify it and add the following (see addition in red color):

javascript: {ddwrt:GenFireServerEvent(concat('__workflowStart={{7696F6EA-2079-4A53-A97B-CE61D99A02AB},New,{66402E3B-C94E-4E6F-9936-10E596CC5795},ClassID=’,@ID,’};__redirect={MyClasses.aspx}'))}

This change will allow you to pass an input parameter into a workflow and redirect your employee to MyClasses.aspx page that has attendees list view filtered by Created field equals [Me].

Create My Classes view in Attendees list and add this to MyClasses.aspx page, don’t forget to save your default.aspx as well.

The next part of this solution is the creation of the administrative interface that will be used to manage attendees and classes.

Create another page “ManageClasses.aspx”. Insert DataView Web Part with Classes list as the data source, then insert another Dataview with Attendees list the Data Source. Right-mouse click on Classes DataView and select Web Part Connections. Choose “Send Row of Data To”, then “Connect to a Web Part on this page”. Next, select Attendees Web Part and choose “Get Filter Values From”. From the Attendees side, select ClassID and from Classes select ID (Figure 7).


Figure 7

Finish this wizard and save the page. Next go to Attendees’ Data View Properties, select “Editing Tab”, Check “Show edit item links”. Save the page.

Create a new workflow and attach it to the attendees list.

The workflow should start on an Item change event. As the next step, create a condition “Compare Attendees field”, choose “Approval” field equals to “Approved”. Under this condition create an action that will update list item in “Classes” list. Select “Filled seats” field and set it to “Classes” list “Seats increment” field value (If you remember, we set this field to a calculated value of “Filled seats” column plus one) where Classes:ClassID equals to Current Item’s ClassID (Figure 8).


Figure 8

As the next step add another branch to your workflow, set the condition and check for “Approval” field to be equal to “Rejected” value. In actions menu use send an email notification to the user who created the current item, this email will notify the attendee that their attendance for the class has not been approved. Add another action to this branch to delete the current item.

Here is how your workflow will look at the end (Figure 9).


Figure 9

Let’s review the solution and recap.

When a trainer goes to ManageClasses.aspx page and clicks on a particular Class, he/she will be presented with a list of people that signed up for this class with ability to approve/reject the attendance for chosen class(Figure 10). When attendee is rejected, attendee receives an email notification and the record gets deleted from Attendees list. If attendee gets approved the number of seats filled for this class gets incremented.


Figure 10

Both groups benefit from this solution, SharePoint users are able to sign up for a class with a single click of a button, and training managers have simple to use interface to quickly and efficiently manage classes and attendance.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Installing SQL 2008 (CTP6) on Windows Server 2008

To all of you who are used to building your own VM images for SharePoint and want to try “the latest and the greatest” such as building an image for SharePoint on Windows 2008 with SQL 2008.

Inspired by “Best of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 for SharePoint Deployments “ session at SPC2008 presented by Joel Oleson  and Bob Fox (by the way, IT WAS GREAT!)       

Well, I’ve decided to built test image for SharePoint.

Installation of Windows Server 2008 went smoothly. As I always did before, I configured it as Domain Controller and finished the rest of the steps.

The SQL 2008 installation was aborted though with the following message “Database Engine failed to install”.

Very puzzling at first… It seems that if run DCPromo to make your image a Domain Controller (creating a new Domain) prior to the Installation of SQL, installation of SQL will fail.

What I have found is that if you install SQL 2008 without having DC role for the server, the installation went very well. Then I assigned the DC role to the server running dcpromo.

Installation of SharePoint ran normally and now I have a new image!

The moral is change your install sequence!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Assigning InfoPath Form template to forms library in a custom site Definition

I ran into a very interesting issue today.
It should be very straight forward to assign your custom xml form as a default template for forms library in your custom site definition.
And I’m not talking about globally overwriting the default template.xml, I just want form libraries within sites created from my custom site definition to use this template.
If you are interested in the steps, here they are:
You open your ONET.xml and locate the following lines (if you don’t have it, you can add it)

<DocumentTemplate XMLForm="TRUE" Path="STS" DisplayName="$Resources:core,doctemp_BlankForm;" Type="115" Default="TRUE" Description="$Resources:core,doctemp_BlankForm_Desc;">
<DocumentTemplateFile Name="doctemp\xmlforms\blank\template.xml" TargetName="Forms/template.xml" Default="TRUE" />

NOTE: If you have custom list definition for your library, make sure TYPE property matches DocumentTemplate Type property.

So, I would expect that by simply adding my xml file to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\1033\STS\DOCTEMP\XMLFORMS\BLANK\ directory and modifying the Name property to point to my xml file instead of template.xml, I would get it working.
To my surprise, the template that was picked up by my library still was the original template.xml
Well, the solution turned out to be really simple, move your custom xml template file OUT OF “\BLANK\” directory, simply put it into C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\1033\STS\DOCTEMP\XMLFORMS\ and modify DocumentTemplate’s Name property to point to it.
In my case it looked something like that “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\1033\STS\DOCTEMP\XMLFORMS\customForm.xml”
Save ONET.xml, reset your IIS.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tips for custom EditForm and NewForm

First of all, if you create new custom page for editing or adding items, BASE IT OFF THE ORIGINAL EditForm.aspx or NewForm.aspx.
You do it by saving these files “AS”.

Second of all, DO NOT REMOVE THE ORIGINAL ListFormWebPart.
If you do it, you will not be able to set this page as the default edit or add page.
Even if you don’t create custom page, instead you modify the default once, when users are opening item for edit, they will be redirected to the home page of the portal.

The key is to hide the original ListFormWebPart and modify some properties in order for it not to be displayed and interfering with the submission of the custom List Form webPart that will be doing all the action.
Here are the properties that you will have to modify in the original ListFormWebPart:
1. <IsVisible>true</IsVisible> set it to <IsVisible>false</IsVisible>
2. <ControlMode xmlns="">Edit</ControlMode>
3. <ControlMode xmlns="">New</ControlMode>

set it to

<ControlMode xmlns="">Display</ControlMode>