Care and Feeding of Your SharePoint Sapling

This article by Wendy Neal illustrates what I try to communicate to businesses about their SharePoint investment. Most companies install the product and point users to the URL. That’s like planting a sapling, and then walking away from it! Don’t blame the sapling that doesn’t grow because you don’t provide care for and feed it. No wonder people don’t like saplings!


I Don’t Wanna Go – My SP2010 Tantrum

I don’t want to upgrade beyond SharePoint 2010, at least not right now. I’ve seen 2013, and it’s got some pretty cool features. It also lacks some things that made it easy to customize. I know that 2013 was built so that we the developers couldn’t play around with things that Microsoft feels you shouldn’t have access to unless you have a Little Orphan Annie SharePoint decoder ring or something. And I’m still a bit resentful about that. 2010 is a good solution, and provides a scalable customizable platform upon which you can do a great many things. There are lots of free solutions that extend it further, and virtually limitless aftermarket bolt-ons if you want to go that route. It’s not that I don’t want to learn about the new version, I just don’t think the new version is good enough (yet) to make the jump. I suppose that eventually I will have to. Probably right after I upgrade my home PC from Windows XP.

Too Many Nodes, and Your Workflow Explodes!

Recently I had some issues with an SPD workflow I was making. I had 5 Start Approval Processes, and everything worked well. Then I had a requirement to break out one of the 5 processes into 2, so that made 6 approval processes altogether. And everyone knows that an SPD workflow can only handle 7000 nodes, right? I mean, who doesn’t know that?!? And you know that every Start Approval Process brings 1176 nodes with it, right? So simple math tells us that alone is 7056 nodes! About that same time the 2 step approval process got cut back to just one, so I was tried to cull parts of the processes that I THOUGHT WERE UNECESSARY. Turns out they were necessary and I had deleted the portion of the processes that actually created the tasks and emails! So I scrambled about for a day or so trying to figure out where the create task/email section was. Three hours before a status meeting about the workflow I decided to scrap the original and rebuild it using Collect Feedback processes. Collect Feedback processes have 1010 nodes each. Not lightweight, but lighter than the approval processes. Even with these lighter processes I had to cut back some of the other nodes in the workflow I myself had created. In any case, the moral of the story is that generally speaking the limit for Start Approval Processes in a workflow is 5, and 6 for Collect Feedback Processes.

Am I Getting Behind?

I’m still working with SharePoint 2010 because that is what my customer just migrated to. Am I getting too far behind in SharePoint land? I feel somewhat stressed because all the SP frontrunners are all talking about 2013, and one even mentioned SPNext! This is all overwhelming and I wonder if I’m hurting my career by not getting up to speed with 2013. Since my customer just went to 2010, I am still learning some things about that. Do I need to brush up on some 2013 courseware to stay abreast of the technology? Does anyone else feel like they are having a hard time staying afloat with SharePoint?

SharePoint Access Denied Error

Some time back I had an issue with a SP2007 site. Users were getting the Access Denied error in the front end site. I couldn’t even log in with a Farm Administrator site! I could get to CA though. I spent days searching and trying different things, messing with permissions, etc. Eventually I stumbled upon a page with information about the SetSiteLock feature.

So I check the site lock setting with this script:

stsadm -o getsitelock -url http://server_name

Lo and behold it was set to readonly, which makes you think that you could access it. In this case however, no one could access it! So when I set the SetSiteLock to none, it was fixed. So I found that while the server was performing a backup, Windows Update came along and applied updates. Naturally it kindly restarted the server for me, leaving the site in Readonly (but somehow locked) status. Since the powers that be would not let ME control the Windows Updates, I scheduled backups to NOT coincide. I’ve never had that issue come up since.