January 27, 2009

Back intoSharePoint

A great addition to a SharePoint administrator's toolbox are Gary Lapointe's custom STSADM commands (comands, source code and Powershell vesions available at SharePoint Automation).

His commands are still dependent on the underlying Microsoft API's, however. And especially the ones concerning content publishing are somewhat prone to having bugs, and require paching and hotfixing.

For example, you need to apply the two hotfixes KB939592 and KB939654 to solve a versions problem for both the standard STSADM export/import command as well as for his custom exportlist/importlist commands.

August 23, 2007

MS CRM date formats

I have been working on various aspects of Microsoft CRM. Lately, I have been trying to wrap my mind around inserting and manipulating data in MS CRM using the provided web services.

What struck me, is the lack of easily accessible example code.

I have been wrestling today with (amongst other things) how to set date fields.

I found this example code:
CrossRef.msfinint_last_updated = new
CrossRef.msfinint_last_updated.Value =

Going to try it out tomorrow, I'll let know if it actually worked now.

(Found this code at Codeplex, in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector for Sage Line 50 ... not that we use Sage, but reading actual working code always helps me understand how to do things).

EDIT: Yes, this seems to be the right way to go about this. I got the code working just fine now.

June 22, 2007

Tegenlicht - Google : Behind the screen

A quite fascinating view on Google as a technology, as a company, and maybe even as a philosophy. It is slightly critical, or at least thought-provoking at times.

It's a Dutch program, but the interviews are in English (with Dutch subtitles), so I think it should be of some interest to non-Dutch speakers. Except the one interview in Italian, which talks about the way Google Earth helped in discovering the remains of a Roman villa.

EDIT: Found the subtitled version, so replaced the video with that. The original can be seen here.

June 21, 2007

Windows Live Writer

In an attempt to write blog posts here somewhat more regularly, I've decided to install Windows Live Writer as an offline tool to type and collect my thoughts before posting. The latest beta (which it apparently still is) for Windows Vista and XP can be downloaded at the download page.

It also connects to Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) weblogs (which is something we have available inside the firewall at the company I work for), so I will try it out against that platform as well.

(And, of course this post is written using Live Writer.)

June 11, 2007

Microsoft BI : new and improved

Microsoft made some significant Business Intelligence (BI) announcements at it's BI conference, held in Seattle, WA, USA from 9-11 May.

In his keynote speech, Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, declared “a new day for BI,” as he rattled off a string of announcements relating to new products, a small technology acquisition, and deepening alliances with implementation partners.

On the product front, Microsoft gave some details about the next version of its SQL Server database, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, formerly codenamed “Katmai”. SQL Server 2008 adds greater data scalability, developer functionality, and new policy-based management tools to enable more broad-scale deployment of BI across the enterprise, referred to as “pervasive BI.”

Significantly for BI, SQL Server 2008 tightens up integration between SQL Server’s back-end and Microsoft’s Office 2007 front-end tools like Excel 2007, Excel Services, SharePoint Server, and PerformancePoint Server 2007 platforms. The goal here is to enable SQL Server BI data to be pushed out to information workers via familiar and easy-to-use tools and applications on the desktop. For example, BI data can be accessed directly via Excel for a rich experience, or rendered “thinly” via Excel Services.

For developers, SQL Server 2008 also offers an integrated Visual Studio and .NET Framework development environment that Microsoft said will provide a higher level of abstraction to speed up applications builds. Tools are also provided to synch data from remotely connected devices to the central SQL Server data store.

Microsoft’s new Office-based PerformancePoint Server 2007 software is planned to be released in the second half of 2007, and is Microsoft’s first serious offering in the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) space, offering integrated planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and scorecarding capabilities. It builds on the previous Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, recently acquired ProClarity technologies and new innovations in business modeling and planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

PerformancePoint Server 2007 will be licensed following the same traditional single server and single Client Access License (CAL) model that it uses for Office – at US$195 a licence. The product is now in its second community technology preview.

Microsoft also announced the acquisition of SoftArtisans, a relatively small developer of a managed report authoring tool for Office environments. SoftArtisans’ OfficeWriter tool will now be combined into Microsoft Office 2007 and SQL Server’s Reporting Services software to help non-technical users author and consume reports in Office environments using simple drag-and-drop.

Microsoft also discussed its network of BI partnerships with systems integrators, announcing deepened alliances with Accenture, Capgemini, and Tata Consulting Services (TCS). All three have pledged to commit greater resources to developing on the Microsoft BI platform.

Microsoft and Accenture have already set up a joint IT consulting venture called Avanade that has 400 dedicated Microsoft BI professionals provided from both companies. The consultancy is currently developing a new sales planning application for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM suite. It is also working to align its existing budgeting, forecasting, planning, and scorecard applications more closely with PerformancePoint Server 2007.

Capgemini and Microsoft have jointly launched a global “Intelligence Enterprise” initiative to train 2,000 on Microsoft’s BI technologies. Around 500 of these will be trained in PerformancePoint Server 2007. Capgemini has also pledged to create five new development centres, with a strong focus on developing Microsoft-based BI applications for verticals like financial services, retail, telecoms, and utilities.

Microsoft Business Intelligence
Microsoft President Jeff Raikes Declares, “It’s a New Day for Business Intelligence”

May 11, 2007

The riddle of svchost

Yesterday, I chatted with my fellow author on this blog about some problems with a home PC, and this morning my desktop at home decided that starting up was fine, but doing anything sensible (except running IRC) was beyond it for the moment.

The common thing in both cases seemed to be that the process svchost.exe was taking a huge amount of processor power, as well as a large amount of memory.

I managed to kill the (apparently) runaway process, but that made me wonder.. what was it doing ? Googling for svchost turned up the following information:

Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services that run from
dynamic-link libraries (DLLs).

The Svchost.exe file is located in the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder. At startup, Svchost.exe checks the services part of the registry to construct a list of services that it must load. Multiple instances of Svchost.exe can run at the same time. Each Svchost.exe session can contain a grouping of services. Therefore, separate services can run, depending on how and where Svchost.exe is started. This grouping of services permits better control and easier debugging.

From A description of Svchost.exe in Windows XP Pro on the Microsoft site.

Using the actions and commands described in the knowledgebase article linked above, I could figure out what was running, and which subprocesses / services were hosted by the too-busy svchost process.

And now I know that .. what next ?

More when I find out myself !