Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My blog is moved

In case you didn't noticed.. I've moved my blog to my new company that is zevenseas. You can see and check out my new blog at I will not migrate my previous posts to the new blog so this blog that you are currently reading will not be deleted. So! See you at the zevenseas!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Time for a change..

It's been 3,5yrs ago since I joined Atos Origin after graduating in july 2004. A lot has happened since that time, not only professionally but also personally. During my carreer at Atos, I've met a lot of good colleagues/friends like (my fantastic people manager): Gijs, Coen, Joost, Paul, Stan, Steve, Suus, Jacques, Karlijn, Hendrik, etc.. And gained a lot of experience and knowledge and my particular interest in the product SharePoint.

So why the change? Well I was asked by Daniel McPherson to join a new company called zevenseas (yes.. no capital in the name) which is founded by Daniel himself and Hans Blaauw. So what makes zevenseas so special? I'll tell you!

  1. Being a member of elite team of SharePoint experts
  2. Being a part of something new that has the potential to become something very big in the (near) future and having the influence of creating it
  3. 4days @ the customer and 1 day 'creative learning' work ethic
  4. Having two new fantastic friends/colleagues/bosses and one more in the near future!

Pretty good points eh? ;)

So to conclude this post. I just wanted to share that this is my first official day working at zevenseas and so far I like it !

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

InfoPath FormViewer Webpart in action

Ok so yesterday I posted what the webpart did and how it can be used. Today I'm going to show you how it actually helps the approver(s) by showing the complete process of submitting the form until the very last approval.

  • Opening up the form and fill in the data

  • Submitting the form SharePoint and check if the workflow is kicking off

  • Open up the view and check if all the columns are properly promoted. This view is also the view that is being used by the webpart

  • Go the task list and check whether a task is created for the approver

  • Open the task and see what the approver needs to approve

  • Approve the task. Since there is only one person who needs to approve this process for this particular eCRF, the workflow is complete and it will show in the refresh of the page.


So hopefully I have shown you the functionality and thus the benefits of using this type of way of presenting information from a InfoPath form. In the whole process the infoPath form itself is never opened so it saves a lot of clicks for the user who needs to approve this.


Technorati Tags: ,,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

InfoPath FormViewer Webpart

It's been a while since I lasted posted and there is a very good reason for it! I will save the reason for another post in the very near future but right now I wanted to share this webpart I've been working on. As the title suggests it's a webpart that views the content of an InfoPath form. Now it's not a webpart that just renders the xsn file (like the FormViewer webpart). No, what it does is displaying all the promoted columns of a particular submitted form.

The big question is ofcourse.. "Robin.. why on earth did you build this" Well it has something to do with posts I made in the past ((Approval) Workflow thingies continued & (Approval) workflow thingies) where I copied information from the promoted columns of the form into a tasklistitem. By doing this, an user can easily see what he/she needs to approve in just one or two click(s). Now I was getting tired to copy every promoted column by hand in SPD for each Action I created per step. So I decided to build a webpart which did the following :

  • Show the promoted columns without specifying them per form
  • Show headers to group columns
  • Have the ability to Approve or Reject the form
  • (optionally) show the approver which phase of the workflow status he/she is approving

Now within defining the workflow in SPD, the only thing I need to copy each time into a new taskitem is the ID of the form and the person who must approve that step. The webpart takes care of the rest by using that information. How? Well you drag the webpart onto the 'editform.aspx' page of the task list. Using this page, it will give me the ID of the task (querystring in the URL) and by having both ID's (task and form) I can display and update the information.

Now a screenshot tells you more than a lot of words so here's what it looks like:

Pretty impresive eh? (I know I need to fix the layout;) .. Now the only input this webpart needs is the following :

  • FormLibraryName, the name of the library where the information should be fetched from
  • Name of a view, this view is being used to show the columns that you want to have in the webpart.
  • TaskName, the name of the tasklist where the tasks are created for the workflow
  • Headers, a comma separated string where you can specify where headers should be placed and what the title should be.

So how does the code look like? Well.. it's quite big so I will only post the relevant stuff.

  • Hiding the default EditForm formfield
  • writer.Write("<style>#WebPartWPQ2{display:none;}</style>");
  • Getting the reference of the taskitem and the formitem
  • SPWeb web = SPControl.GetContextWeb(Context); SPList tasklist = web.Lists[_tasklist]; SPListItem taskitem = tasklist.GetItemById(Convert.ToInt32(Page.Request.QueryString["ID"])); SPList formlist = web.Lists[_formlibrary]; SPListItem formitem = formlist.GetItemById(Convert.ToInt32(taskitem["ListItemID"].ToString()));
  • Displaying the status of the workflow by using a column named "Status" in the formlibrary
  • SPFieldChoice status = (SPFieldChoice)formlist.Fields["Status"]; writer.Write("<table cellpaddin='0' cellspacing='0' width='100%'>"); foreach (string _status in status.Choices) { if (_status == formitem["Status"].ToString()) { writer.Write("<tr><td class='ms-formlabel'>"); writer.Write(_status.ToString()); writer.Write("</td><td class='ms-formbody'>"); writer.Write("<b>You are here</b>"); writer.Write("</td></tr>"); } else { writer.Write("<tr><td class='ms-formlabel'>"); writer.Write(_status.ToString()); writer.Write("</td><td class='ms-formbody'>"); writer.Write("&nbsp;"); writer.Write("</td></tr>"); } } writer.Write("</table>");
  • Displaying all the columns based on a view. And when given, display a header
  • //Render the columns with their values based on the view that is selected writer.Write("<table cellpaddin='0' cellspacing='0' width='100%'>"); SPView view = formlist.Views[_view]; System.Collections.Specialized.StringCollection strCollection = view.ViewFields.ToStringCollection(); for (int i = 0; i < strCollection.Count; i++) { try { //For all of the headers that are typed in the properties in "1;Header,2:Header2" way we add those headers. try { string[] seperator; char[] splitter = { ',' }; seperator = _separators.Split(splitter); for (int x = 0; x < seperator.Length; x++) { string[] colom; char[] _splitter = { ';' }; colom = seperator[x].Split(_splitter); for (int y = 0; y < colom.Length; y++) { if (i == Convert.ToInt32(colom[0].ToString())) { writer.Write("<TR><td>&nbsp;</td></TR><tr><td style='font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:9pt;font-weight:700;'>" + colom[1] + "</td></tr>"); } break; } } } finally { //Write all the columns that are in the view with their values writer.Write("<tr><td class='ms-formlabel'>"); if (formitem.Fields.GetFieldByInternalName(strCollection[i]).Title != null) { //ColumnName writer.Write(formitem.Fields.GetFieldByInternalName(strCollection[i]).Title); } writer.Write("</td>"); writer.Write("<td class='ms-formbody'>"); if (formitem[(strCollection[i])] != null) { //ColumnValue writer.Write(formitem[(strCollection[i])].ToString()); } writer.Write("</td></tr>"); } } catch (Exception error) { writer.Write(error.Message.ToString()); } } writer.Write("</table>");

The other code just renders the webpart properties, controls and handles the click events of the buttons.. no real rocket science there ;)


Technorati Tags: ,,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

.NET 3.5 (finally) brings some decent Active Directory support!

Back in the old days (like AD Change Password WebPart and Account locked WebPart) you had to use the "Active DS Type Library" (Interop.ActiveDs.dll) to interact with Active Directory to retrieve things like :

  • Change Password
  • Lockout Time
  • Last password change date
  • Change users password, etc

Now there is .NET 3.5 with the inclusion of System.DirectoryServices.AccountManagement! Using this piece, gone are the days when you had to invoke a property and you got a LargeInteger as a return value which you had to split up in a high and a low part and make a datetime thing out of it (see samples below to see what i'm talking about ;))


bool isDisabled; isDisabled = ((int)entry.Properties["userAccountControl"].Value & (int)ADS_USER_FLAG.ADS_UF_ACCOUNTDISABLE) != 0;

object lastlogon = entry.InvokeGet("LastLogin");

LargeInteger liAcctPwdChange = entry.Properties["pwdLastSet"].Value as LargeInteger; // Convert the highorder/loworder parts of the property pulled to a long. long dateAcctPwdChange = (((long)(liAcctPwdChange.HighPart) << 32) + (long)liAcctPwdChange.LowPart); DateTime dtAcctPwdChange = DateTime.FromFileTime(dateAcctPwdChange);

Nowadays your code will look like this

PrincipalContext ctx = new PrincipalContext(ContextType.Domain, "domain", "DC=domain,DC=com"); // Create an in-memory user object to use as the query example. UserPrincipal u = new UserPrincipal(ctx); // Set properties on the user principal object. u.SamAccountName = "Robin"; // Create a PrincipalSearcher object to perform the search. PrincipalSearcher ps = new PrincipalSearcher(); ps.QueryFilter = u; PrincipalSearchResult<Principal> results = ps.FindAll(); foreach (UserPrincipal _user in results) { DateTime LastPasswordChange = _user.LastPasswordSet; DateTime LockoutTime = _user.AccountLockoutTime; DateTime ExpirationDate = _user.AccountExpirationDate; int FailedLogonAttempts = _user.BadLogonCount; bool UserDisabled = _user.Enabled; bool UserLockedOut = _user.IsAccountLockedOut; }

Pretty sweet eh? No more Googling to find out which property in AD you need to address in order to get things working :)