SharePoint Sharpener

Obsessively Sharpening SharePoint

Archive for January 2009

SharePoint 2009 and SharePoint Conference 2009

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2009 looks to be a big year for Microsoft, release-wise. The very promising beta of Windows 7 has just been released and Office 14 should be out towards the end of the year.

This gives credit to the rumor that the next version of SharePoint is due to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. There is no official statement from Microsoft which confirms neither when the next release is due, nor what it will be called, but SharePoint 2009 is probably a good bet.


SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas!

Moreover, the next SharePoint conference is not held in March as usual; it’s been slated for Q4 as well! As you may know, the conference normally swaps between Europe and the US and since last year’s conference was held in Seattle one would assume that this year a return to Europe would be in order.

But one would be wrong in that assumption. A very good source has revealed that the conference will stay on American soil (i.e. Las Vegas). This ties in nicely with the coincidental release of SharePoint 2009. Microsoft obviously want to throw the release party (the conference) of their top products (Office, SharePoint) on their own turf


New Features in SharePoint 2009

Likely new features in SharePoint 2009 are:

In addition, I sincerely hope that Microsoft are rethinking the database architecture behind SharePoint. Most developers are acutely aware that biggest hurdle for SharePoint world domination is the way SharePoint handles relations and large quantities of data.


SharePoint 2007 Service Pack 2

Before version-next we’ll probably see another service pack for SharePoint 2007. Service Pack 2 will bring a number of improvements to the client-side Office applications as well as a few to the server:

  • Variations: Performance and manageability improvements including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages
  • Office Project Web Access: Improvements around processing status approvals from Office Project Web Access into Office Project Professional 2007
  • Content databases: Improvements to read-only content databases and index rebuild timer jobs in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

Not terribly exciting but more features may materialise before the update hits Microsoft’s download servers.


Developing Workflows Not Possible on 64-Bit SharePoint

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As most companies are moving to the 64-bit platform of Windows Server and MOSS, more SharePoint developers are adopting this as their main dev environment.

However, if you plan to develop SharePoint workflows in Visual Studio 2008 on your new 64-bit box, you’re going to be disappointed.

Upon creating a new workflow in VS, an “Object reference not set to an instance of an object”-error pops up:


Object reference not set to an instance of an object


You can still get to the next step in the process where you have to chose the site which will be used to debug the workflow. Here too, you will be faced with an error:


SharePoint site location entered is not valid. The SharePoint site at --- could not be found. Verify that you have typed the URL correctly. If the URL should be serving content, the system administrator may need to add a new request URL mapping to the intended location


The solution

Well, there isn’t any. Not right now anyway.

The only thing you can do is to continue developing in your old 32-bit environment and then move your WSP to the 64-bit box for installation.

All this is not a bug per se, rather, it’s down to Microsoft’s lack of resources in their dev team:



Written by Thomas Sondergaard

January 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Item.Update() vs. Item.SystemUpdate() – Post Service Pack 1

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Many of you have probably encountered the problem where a workflow triggers itself several times because the code carries out one or more Item.Update() commands. This can be extremely annoying because running extra workflows can be taxing on the server – even if you make sure that the extra workflows don’t make any changes to the element.

Then, you may have discovered Item.SystemUpdate() which in theory should rid the list of the all the extra instances of workflows because it doesn’t trigger an update event and thus flies under the radar of the workflow engine.

This seemed to work just fine for a while. Lately, however, it seems that SystemUpdate() has startet triggering events just like a normal Update().


Post Service Pack 1?

I found that many of my workflows now started behaving differently, i.e. they began triggering multiple instances of workflows.

It took me a while to realise that it probably was a “bug fix” in SharePoint SP1 that was causing the problem.

A glance at the documentation for SystemUpdate() reveals that events are indeed triggered:


There is no mention of SP1 but I assume that this was when the changes were made.



This is bad news for many developers but obviously a design decision at Microsoft so things probably won’t be changed back to the way they were.

From now on you have to make sure that your workflows only make changes to elements when needed. I.e. you need to only use Update() and SystemUpdate() when they are really needed and thereby minimise the number of redundant workflow cycles.

Alternatively, you could look into programming your own event handlers to obtain more granular control of when events are triggered. I may explore this subject in a future post.

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

January 8, 2009 at 8:53 am