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Showing posts from 2009

Come see the lovely Anne Marie in Bye Bye Birdie!

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Hey Everybody,

Just wanted to let you know that my wonderful Wife, Anne Marie, is going to be performing in Bye Bye Birdie with the Arlington Players. She has a lead role in the production as the character of Rosie Alvarez and has several major song and dance numbers. I would love if you could all make it out. Performance dates and ticket information is below.

Bye Bye Birdie
Performance dates: September 18, 19, 20(m), 25, 26, 27(m), October 2 & 3, 2009
Click here to purchase your tickets online.

CRM Asynchronous Process Failure Settings

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One of the things I do when setting up a CRM 4.0 server is modify the Recovery settings of the Asynch process. This process tends to have a lot of difficulty recovering if it loses the connection to SQL.

Figure 1

By default the service is set to Restart only on the first failure and the restart time is set to occur after 1 minute (Figure 1). The problem is that it typicaly takes a SQL server longer than one minute to reboot. In order to better ensure that you don't need to restart the service manually I typicaly change the Second failure to Restart the Service and set the Restart service after setting to something between 3 and 5 minutes (Figure 2).


Figure 2

By tweeking these setting you can help reduce the strain on your support folks by not always having to do a manual restart of this service every time they want to install patches on the SQL box.  Also your users won't be sitting there wondering why their workflows are not kicking off.

Copy data between rows in the same table

So here was my issue. I needed to copy some <binary data> from one row in a table to another row. I tried using the SQL Server Managment Studio but it does not allow you to copy and past binary information. Instead I used a UPDATE... FROM SQL statement.

Here is an example:

UPDATE LoadTestRun SET LoadTest = b. LoadTest FROM LoadTestRun, LoadTestRun b WHERE LoadTestRun.LoadTestRunID = 4 AND b.LoadTestRunID = 1
Here is the generic format:

UPDATE table SET field = b.field FROM table, table b WHERE table.PirmaryKeyID = "Copy To ID" AND b.PrimaryKeyID = "Copy From ID"

Creating a Visual Studio 2008 Results Repository

Learned a very important lesson. If you don't set up a results repository database before running a load test in Visual Studio you won't be able to pull up your reports later.

In this example only one machine was being used for load testing and SQL Express was installed as part of Visual Studio.

To create the results repository database in SQL Express follow the instructions below. If you want additional information or want to know how to create the database in SQL Standard check out Microsoft's instructions at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms182600.aspx

-Open a command prompt by going to Start -> Run and type in CMD and hit Enter

-Type: cd n:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9\Common7\IDE

-Type: SQLCMD /S localhost\sqlexpress /i loadtestresultsrepository.sql

Moving a secondary site collection to a root site collection

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I was recently tasked with migrating a secondary site collection to a new SharePoint server and making it the primary site collection.

Here is an example of what a URL looks for for a secondary site collection. http://www.example.com/sites/collection

Here is an example of what a URL looks like for a root site collection: http://www.example.com/

You will notices that secondary site collection are placed by default under /sites/

Completing the Migration:

1. Run a backup of the site collection on the original server using STSADM. Here is the command line I used:

stsadm -o backup -filename "c:\backups\backup.bak" -url http://www.example.com/sites/collection
2. Copy the backup file to the new server where a new SharePoint instance is created and contains a new root site collection.

3. Run a restore of the site collection on the new server using STSADM. Here is the command line I used.

stsadm -o restore -filename "c:\restores\backup.bak" -url http://www.example.com -…

Changing the MOSS Service Account.... ughhhhh

Bad Idea... Changing the password of the SharePoint service account used to set up and run everything SharePoint. If you have done this read the next paragraph before touching your keyboard again.

Worse Idea... Trying to change the password back to what it was, but when confronted with domain password policies that do not allow you to change the password to one you have used recently you delete the user. Then you go in and recreate the user and assign him the old password. IMPORTANT: If you go into the Active Directory Users and Computers under the Administrator tools and you are a domain administrator you can reset the password of any user to whatever you want. Domain policies be damned. So if you have not deleted the service account yet just change the password in the way I just described. Then reset your sharepoint machine and be thankful that you don't have to read the rest of this article.

Now lets say you decided to do these two things..... ughhhh. Why doesn't recreating …

Register Bamboo Calendar Web Part

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I recently downloaded the Bamboo Calendar Plus Web Part v2.5. I ran the setup file and installed both the Calendar Plus Web Part and the Bamboo License Manager v2.7. Here are the issues I ran into:

Firstly, you will need to be connected to the internet to get the registration program to correctly activate the web part. Otherwise you will have to activate by e-mail or phone.

Secondly, the Calendar web part .dll is not located in the GAC so I had to go out and search for it. The .dll was located in <System Drive>:\Inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80\bin\Bamboo.CalendarViewExtended.dll. In my case my VirtualDirectory was 80 but for others this may be different. Also if you installed the web part into multiple web application you will also need to activate the product by located the .dll under the other VirtualDirectories folders.

Then after selecting the .ddl file in the License Manager I entered the product code. I accidently entered an incorrect product code. Then came the …

Get SPUser Information for the Document Creator

While working on creating a SharePoint 2007 event handler I needed to get the login name for the creator of the document I was trying to update. This is the code I snagged from a blog article which worked.

SPSite oSite = new SPSite("Your site URL"); SPList oList = oSite.OpenWeb().Lists["Your list name"]; SPListItem oItem = oList.GetItemById("Item ID"); string userValue = oItem["Created By"].ToString(); int index = userValue.Index Of(';'); int id = Int32.Parse(userValue.Substring(0, index)); SPUser itemCreator = oSite.OpenWeb().SiteUsers.GetByID(id);
After using that information I could then call:

itemCreator.LoginName.ToString()
Which produces the users login name in the following format "DOMAIN\User".

Grouping Articles By Month

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After creating a blog site I wanted to show a webpart that grouped the posts by month. To accomplish this I added a calculated field to my Posts list and used the following formula:

=TEXT(Published,"yyyy - ")&TEXT(Published,"mm")&TEXT(Published," (mmmm")&TEXT(Published," yyyy)")



























You can substitute Published for any other date field within your Posts list. When calculated it displays the date in the following format "2007 - 05 (May 2007)"

After completing the calculated field I added a new Posts webpart to the page. I then modified it to the show the "All Posts" view. Then I modified that view to group by the calculated field I created.

Note: It is important to change the view of the webpart to from "" to "All Items" after you add the webpart. Otherwise when you uncollapse the grouping the titles and other text will have the same formatting as the blog posts. This means your titles will show up…

Tool to embed HTML object directly into SharePoint content

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Check out this cool Rick Text Editor add-in that will allow you to embed html such as YouTube and Flash videos. Finally something on codeplex that works!

http://www.codeplex.com/erte

After installing the tool you will now have a new button on your rich text editor.






Click it and you will get a pop-up window into which you can enter your code.

Dynamics CRM Demonstration Tools (Data Generator)

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When creating demo environments for sales presenations I like to add a lot of test data to my systems and make it relevant to the custom to which I'm presenting. Microsoft released a tool called "Microsoft CRM Demonstration Tools" which you can download here.

This tool has several useful features:
-Data Generator
-Date Mover
-Dependent Picklist Creator
-Generate Emails
-Generate Entity Icons
-Site Map Editor
-String Replacer

The tool I use the most is the data generator. This allows me to create XML files which will automatically generate entity records in my demo system. I first go into the demonstration tools and generate an XML file with all the fields I want to populate and put in at least one test value for each field to ensure that I get my data formatted right.
Next I need to get some sample data. For some of it I look around the internet but for the basics I use a great OpenSource tool called GenerateData which you can install on any w…

No "Edit Page" link for standard aspx page in SharePoint

Many times user create aspx pages within SharePoint designer and then add web part zones to them so they can add data. There are several problems with this, the first being that you will never get a link for "Edit Page". This means you have to open the page in SharePoint designer every time you want to do a modification.

There is a way to get around this. Add the follow to the end of the url : ?PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2

Example: www.sharepoint.com/sites/Test/Documents/newdoc.aspx?PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2

You will now be able to see the Edit drop down on all the web parts although it may look a little wonky.

Fix Error "Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge is already running"

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When trying to do multiple mail merges I many time get a pop-up error stating "Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mail Merge is already running". Here is how to fix it.

Close out of Internet Explorer, Word, and Outlook. Yah I know it sounds easy but It took me a while to figure out since I kept Internet Explorer open to seach on how to fix the problem :)

You can also find out more information on how to troubleshoot common CRM 4.0 mail merge problems in this Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946273

--Rick

CRM 4.0 - System Jobs always stuck in "Waiting"

I had just re-isntalled CRM so that I could set it up as an IFD (Internet Facing Deployment) server. Also CRM is set up through an ISA firewall and using SSL. I had to update several fields in the MSCRM_CONFIG database just to get everything to work correctly. I will post another entry with how to get everything workign in IFD mode through ISA correctly.

Now here is what happened.... So one day I was running some test marketing campaign e-mails from CRM and I noticed they were not being sent out. I checkout out the system job page and noticed they were all stuck in the Waiting condition. I tried moving them to Resume but they would just go back into the Waiting condition.

I looked around the web and found out that apparently I had missed a database field update that was not included on the website I found that talked about IFD setup. It's "AsyncSdkRootDomain" and can be found under the DeploymentProperties table.

Here is how to fix it. I have pieced this together from se…

Set up CRM 4.0 Authentication in ISA Server

So you have CRM 4.0 and ISA server. You also want to use the IFD (Internet Facing Deployment) feature of CRM. Well here is what you need to know. This information helped me and I will update and add to it soon....

Taken from original posting: http://forums.microsoft.com/Dynamics/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2915997&SiteID=27

1. Enable just Basic HTTP Authentication on the Web Listener in ISA
2. In the Authentication tab of the Firewall Policy for the CRM, select "No authentication, but client may authenticate directly".
3. In the To tab of the Firewall Policy for the CRM, make sure "Foreward original host header" and "Requests appear to come from the original client" is selected.
4. In the Users tab of the Firewall Policy for the CRM, make sure it is "All Users" Instead of "All Authenticated Users" (CRUCUAL STEP)
5. Apply the settings in ISA.
6. Now go to "Internet Settings" on the client computer, and navigate to the security tab…

Blank Page With JavaScript Error 'Object Expected'

I had just installed reporting services and the reporting services connector. Suddenly my CRM web client is only showing me a blue screen and will not go to the main page. My office neighbor could see the screen but no images were being displayed.

There was a javascript error that said the following:

Error on page
Line: 194
Char: 1
Error: Object expected
Code: 0
URL: http://localhost:5555/orgname

Here is what I did to fix:

-Go into the IIS Manager and select properties for the CRM Website.

-Remove Anonymous access from the site.

-Apply the properties

-Go back in and turn Anonymous access back on and re-apply the change.

Now navigate back to your site. Voila! It worked for me.

cPanel - Backup

After having my e-mail accidentally removed and LunarPages.com charging me $75 dollars to have it restored I created a backup script to download the automated cPanel backups. I found a lot of other backups on the internet that used PHP and Perl to do this but since I was using cPanel proxy they would not work.

This script can be set up using windows scheduling service. I have it run one a week. Additionally using the /d switch and the 'backups' setting you can make it delete old backups. Eg. If you want to keep the 3 most recent backups then set the 'backups' equal to 3. Please let me know if you have any comment or suggestion for this script.

Click here to download

cPanel/Horde - Proxy

If you are like me and work in the corporate world you are restricted to ports 80 and 443. I found this great php program that will allow you to run cPanel and Horde on port 80.

Click here to go to the developer’s site and download the program

http://sourceforge.net/projects/cpanelproxy/

Expand a VHD drive and partition - "How To & Video"

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When creating a virtual hard drive in Microsoft Virtual PC the default drive size is 16GB. This seems like a lot of space but it quickly dwindles as you do development. Typically I set the drive size to something much larger if I'm creating the virtual machine from scratch. Unfortunately many times I use SYSPREP images to speed up the process and these images are set to the default 16GB. In order to expand these drives out there are two tools which you need. Tools The first tool you will need is VHD Resizer. This tool allows you to expand the size of the VHD file and also change it from fixed size to dynamic or vice versa. Download VHD Resizer (requires free registration) The second tool required is the Gparted LiveCD. This is an open source tool that can be used to increase the size of the partition on the drive after you have increased the VHD size. Download GParted LiveCD ISO ImageGParted HomepageDemonstration

Excel Services Compatibility Checker

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A while back I had a customer who wished to use Excel Services to do some project reporting dashboards. After initially uploading the Excel file and configuring Excel Services accordingly I tried opening it with the Excel Web Access web part. The follow error appeared on the screen. This and many other things within Excel that can cause similar errors including adding images or query tables. If you are using one excel sheet to populate several dashboard it can extremely frustrating when a simple change to your Excel file causes them all to display an error screen.After searching around for a while I came upon the Excel Services Compatibility Checker. This tool is available as a download and it allows you to determine what items within your Excel file will cause Excel Services to error out before you upload the file. Thus avoiding the annoyance of all your dashboards breaking because someone though it would be cool to add an image to the file.
Click here for the Excel Services Comp…

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) Development Tips

Here are some SSIS devlopment tips and tricks.

-Before debugging your solution re-save it or Visual Studio is more likely to crash.
-Editing package configuration documents in Visual Studio (Click Here)
-Making SSIS packages portable. (Click Here)
-more to come...

CRM 4.0 Development Tips

Here are a list of items to think about when developing.

Entities:
-Add an informaiton bar to the form form. (Click Here for Instructions)
-Update SiteMap Description field. These descriptions are displayed in the Outlook client.(

Workflows
-If you re-deploye a custom workflow activity dll you may need to delete and recreate those steps in the workflows which were using it.
-Web Services: When you are in the Execute method of a workflow you do not need to specify all the connection items to connect to the CRM web services. All that information is already there you just need to create a new instance of the service. (Example)

Other:
CRM Tools Blog: This site offers a collection of tools that I find very useful and time saving when developing in CRM.