SharePoint changes files during CU installation

You might think, I’m drunk, but I’m not.

SharePoint, as a document management system, should never ever modify files without any notice. However, it seems that we found a bug, where it does modify files.

What?

We have a lot of CSS files in SharePoint. They are used for some custom apps in SharePoint or were just uploaded to OneDrive for Business. All in a SharePoint 2013 OnPrem environment. The CSS files contain base64 encoded data URIs.

Sample:

.myClass {
    background-image: url(‘data:image/png;base64,MY_IMAGE_AS_A_BASE64_ENCODED_STRING’) !important;
}

Then we installed a Cumulative Update and ran PSCONFIG.

And then?

What happened then is a really strange thing. The CSS files seem to be the same as before. The “Last Modified” date has not changed. However the content of the CSS file changed a little bit:

.myClass {
    background-image: url(‘data:image/png;base64,MY_IMAGE_AS_A_…_HERE_NOW_SOME_OTHER_STRING’) !important;
}

The base64 string before was about 600 characters. After installing the CU it is now 234 characters and only the first about 100 are the same. The rest is some garbage. That leads to broken images and icon-fonts all over the place.
The worst thing here is: What else did the CU installation?
We reproduced the behavior with 2 different CU installations on different sites and it seems, that only the base64 string is modified. Everything else is untouched.

We’ve filed a case at Microsoft and I will update the post when we will have an official statement.

Lync Box for the team

In my last vacation, I built a Lync Box for me and my team at work with a Raspberry Pi Model 2 and 15 LEDs.

The idea came from Jon Gallant who already built the same thing for a single user. He called it beakn, the Lync Status Light and tried not only a Raspi but also some other hardware. I took the idea and made a thing for the whole team (5 people)

Hardware

First of all: How does it look like?

WP_20151020_17_07_20_Pro

It is very simple and the inside and the box is not very nice. Maybe I should build one with a 3D printer. However, it is working and we will install it in front of our space. To connect the LEDs I have used an old IDE cable which perfectly fits on the IO ports of the Raspi (after cutting one of the sides).

WP_20151020_17_07_39_Pro

Software

I’m not using Windows 10 on the Raspi because as I started the project, Windows 10 IoT had no Wifi. It is using the default Raspian Linux Image with Mono. I’m running a .NET console app on it which actually checks an Azure queue every few seconds for new messages. On the clients I’m using a plain old WinForms app without a window and the Lync SDK. It checks for Lync status changes and then sends a message to the Azure queue.

You can find the software on Github here.

SharePoint 2013: Profile synchronization does not delete user profiles

We have configured AD Import in SharePoint 2013 with an LDAP filter set. After some time we discovered, that accounts deleted from AD are not automatically deleted from SharePoint.

After a lot of debugging and testing I found the solution:

The LDAP filter is an "Include" filter so you have to define which accounts should be imported. The filter looked like:

(&(objectCategory=person)(objectClass=user)(!(title=*Service Account*))(|(company=MyCompany1)(company=MyCompany2)))

(Import all accounts which are not service accounts and belong to MyCompany1 or MyCompany2)

You see the issue? Deleted accounts are not included in the filter, so I had to change the filter to include "isDeleted":

(|(isDeleted=TRUE)(&(objectCategory=person)(objectClass=user)(!(title=*Service Account*))(|(company=MyCompany1)(company=MyCompany2))))

Now also deleted accounts are included and SharePoint will delete the profiles correctly.

Maybe Microsoft should mention this in the documentation. Currently there is only one sentence regarding the LDAP filter:

If you want to filter the objects that you import from the directory service, in the Filter in LDAP syntax for Active Directory Import box, type a standard LDAP query expression to define the filter.
Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219646.aspx

SPSync 0.9.8

Ok, here we go. The sync engine got a major refactoring. It is now a lot faster to get the changes from SharePoint and to iterate over the local files. That means it is now just a matter of seconds to “analyze” the changes even for more than 1000 files and 1 GB. It should therefore also be able to sync your libraries with thousands of files in a reasonable time.

The other big news is the complete new setup experience. Just click here to download and execute the setup. It takes just a few seconds and SPSync should start. That’s it. No “Next”, “Next”, “Finish”, nearly no time and no local admin rights required. Even better: Updates gets automatically installed in the background and on next restart of the app you are up-to-date.

Please report all bugs to support@spsync.net

SPSync 0.9.7 including CLI

SPSync is approaching version 1.0. Today I’m happy to announce that SPSync now works more stable and also includes a new command-line interface.

It should work now with all SharePoint 2013 on-prem and Office 365 sites without any issues during connecting or displaying the “select folder” dialog. As the “SharePoint Url” you can now use more formats and SPSync will try to figure out the site, the library and the authentication method automatically. For example, these formats are all fine:

  • https://YourOnPremisesSharePointOrYourOnlineTenant.com/sites/teamsite1/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx
  • https://YourOnPremisesSharePointOrYourOnlineTenant.com/sites/teamsite1/Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx

The most requested new feature is the command-line interface. You can find SPSyncCli.exe in the install folder.
It accepts two parameters. The local folder and a “preview” mode parameter.

You have to configure a sync connection like before with the GUI. After that, you can sync a folder with the following command:

SPSyncCli.exe “C:\Your\Sync\Folder”

If you just want to see, which files will be modified (but don’t want to do it now) you can sync in a “what if” or “preview” mode:

SPSyncCli.exe “C:\Your\Sync\Folder” true

The result looks like this:

image

SPSync now uses a different location for the metadata. It is now directly within the local folder under “\.spsync”. Therefore you might get a conflict message the first time you sync with the new version.

Download the new version here: http://spsync.net

Selective folder sync for SPSync

I’m happy to announce that the top requested feature on UserVoice is now available for testing.

Now you can select which folders in your document library you want to sync. Just click “Edit” on your configuration and then “Save & Select Folders”:

image image

Download version 0.9.6 here: http://spsync.net

SPSync - The OneDrive for Business alternative

I know, the last update is almost a year old... But yes, I’m trying to work on it when I find some free time. So this update brings some important changes.

What's new?

First of all, to add a new sync configuration, the dialog has only a few fields left. SPSync will try to find every other setting automatically for you. Here is the new dialog:

image

As you can see, the advanced configuration dialog can be opened via the link. The automatic detection will only work if you are using NTLM/Basic (On-Premises) authentication or Office 365. For ADFS you need to enter some more info on the advanced dialog.

Another new feature is that you can now configure, whether you want to sync in both directions or only one of them (Local->Remote or Remote->Local) which was a suggestion on UserVoice with a high vote. Also deleted files (local or remote) are now always send to the recycle bin and never get automatically deleted for ever.

With this new version I’ve decided to drop the support for SharePoint 2010 (and before), because of some missing features for the upload/download handling. This is to make the development much easier and better to maintain. That’s also why SPSync requires now .NET 4.5.1.

Last but not least, a lot of bugs are now hopefully fixed. If you find something, please send me an error report and attach the DebugLog.txt from C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\SPSync

Download the new version 0.9.5 here: http://spsync.net and leave a comment or drop me a line at: support (at) spsync(dot) net

PS: The next new feature will be to be able to sync sub-folders within a document library as it has already 20 votes on UserVoice.

New Microsoft certifications

As I’ve mentioned here, Microsoft recently had a promotion to get up to 5 free vouchers for some specific exams for Prometric because after 31th of December, Pearson Vue will be the only exam provider.
I decided to try three of them:

I’ve passed all of them, which is especially great for the Azure exam, because that one was really hard.
With the two Office 365 exams I’m now a ”Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate for Office 365” (MCSA: Office 365).

You can find the details how to access my transcript here.

SharePoint 2013: Timeout on ClientContext.ExecuteQuery

Ok, this one is a strange issue.

I have created a console app with Visual Studio 2013. Added the "App for SharePoint Web Toolkit" NuGet package to get the SharePoint.Client.dll
Then wrote just a few lines to test if it works:

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            ClientContext context = new ClientContext("https://sharepoint/sites/test1");
            var web = context.Web;
            context.Load(web);
            context.ExecuteQuery();
            Console.WriteLine("Title: " + web.Title);
        }

This is against an on premises installation with Kerberos authentication (NTLM and Basic are also enabled). On the line context.ExeucteQuery(); it just waits a long time and then gives me a timeout and 400 error.

The weird thing: If Fiddler is open during the execution, everything works as expected. No timeout, no error.

Solution

The solution is fairly simple:

Just attach a handler to the ExecutingWebRequest event and set the WebRequest.PreAuthenticate to true:

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            ClientContext context = new ClientContext("https://sharepoint/sites/test1");
            context.ExecutingWebRequest += context_ExecutingWebRequest;
            var web = context.Web;
            context.Load(web);
            context.ExecuteQuery();
            Console.WriteLine("Title: " + web.Title);
        }

        static void context_ExecutingWebRequest(object sender, WebRequestEventArgs e)
        {
            e.WebRequestExecutor.WebRequest.PreAuthenticate = true;
        }