[SP2013] Loading indicator images

Just for my own reference, here is a list of loading indicator images you can use from the _layouts folder. Why there are more than one and they all look different is a very good question by the way, Microsoft should really spend a little bit of time to ensure these become consistent once and for all…

icon Location
 gears_anv4 /_layouts/images/gears_anv4.gif
 progress /_layouts/images/progress.gif
 gears_an /_layouts/images/gears_an.gif
 loadingcirclests16 /_layouts/15/images/loadingcirclests16.gif?rev=40

Disclaimer: some of these might be removed in future version of the product, who knows. Just check before you use them I guess 🙂

[SP2013] Host named site collections

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft claims we need to rethink our architecture. Host named site collections are the way to go, and preferably all within the same web application. But what are host named site collections and what do we need to take into account when setting this up?

Update. Check out part 2, detailing how to set up host named site collections in combination with AD FS and SSL: http://blog.repsaj.nl/index.php/2014/07/sp2013-host-named-site-collections-adfs-claims-and-aam/

VirtualBox errors after installing Windows Phone SDK

For my work on SharePoint, I’m running VirtualBox on my Windows 8.1 laptop. Today, after installing the Windows Phone SDK for Visual Studio, those VM’s suddenly would not start any more. The error displayed:

"vt-x is not available (VERR_VMX_NO_VMX)"

Uhm ok. What happened?

Well, part of the SDK installation is Hyper-V. They use Hyper-v to run the Windows Phone emulator like a sort of VM. After installing Hyper-v, the hypervisor is launched upon boot, nestling itself in between the OS and the hardware for optimal virtualization capabilities. Problem with this is that the hypervisor is locking virtualization parts that VirtualBox needs to run, at least for 64-bit machines it does.

Solution? Disable the hypervisor by running the following command in an elevated command prompt:

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off

This introduces a new problem; since without the hypervisor launched…


I haven’t found a way around this. It appears to be one or the other. You could create a batchfile which sets the hypervisorlaunchtype and reboots your system and use those to boot into the proper mode, but running the two simultaneously just doesn’t seem possible.

So I’m now going to see wheter I can drop VirtualBox and use Hyper-V for my VM’s instead. That way there’s no need to switch.

Update: running the machine in Hyper-V was no problem at all. What you need to do is convert the harddisk file (when it is not yet VHD) to the Hyper-V VHD format. In Hyper-V, be sure to create a Generation 1 VM, because generation 2 needs a VHDX file and won’t work or convert your existing disk (did not go in to the trouble of finding out why). Then you can just boot your machine and leave the hypervisor enabled to use in combination with Windows Phone SDK.

Update 2: my system is dual boot between a corporate Windows 7 install and my own Windows 8.1 install. I had to run the VM in Windows 7 mode as well and can now verify that you can still use VirtualBox for that. So I now have VirtualBox running in Windows 7 and Hyper-V running in Windows 8, both using the same VHD file. I’m unsure whether this is supported and you will probably want to refrain from options as “save state” and alike.

SP2013: back-up failing with “Have tried to perform backup/restore operation twice on all in-sync members”

I ran into an error with back-up procedures on SP2013. The error in the log file was:

FaultException: Management called failed with System.InvalidOperationException: 'Job failed: Have tried to perform backup/restore operation twice on all in-sync members in cluster SPe6b9ae739be3.0, but none succeeded. Last failure message: Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.Seeding.SnapshotTransferException: Could not send chunk ms\%default\gen.0000000000000309.state: Localpath: [0-700> to target BackupDirectoryTarget[directory=\\backupshare\spbr0001\I.0.0,validateTransfers=False]
at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.Seeding.SnapshotSender.SendChunks(ISnapshot snapshot, ISeedSource source, ISeedTarget target, SeedStatus status, Func1 checkAborted, Int32 targetFragIndex)
at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.Seeding.SnapshotSender.FirstPhaseTransfer(ISeedSource source, ISeedTarget target, Action
1 updateProgress, Func1 shouldAbort)
at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.Seeding.BackupWorker.BackupWork.DoFirstPhaseWork()' at at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.IndexController.BackupService.ThrowOnFailure(JobStatus status)
at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.IndexController.BackupService.ProgressFirstPhase(String handle)
at Microsoft.Ceres.SearchCore.IndexController.IndexControllerManagementAgent.WrapCall[T](Func
2 original)

Searching for this, I found several explanations. They all have one thing in common: it is search related (pretty obvious) and means that search was unable to write to the back-up location.

I seems that search handles a part of the back-up procedure from within it’s own processes. That is, the search service running on SharePoint servers. This means:

– Your search servers need to be able to access the share which is being used for the back-up.
– The service account running search needs to have permissions to write to that share.
– And there should be enough space left, but that’s a no-brainer I hope.

In my case, the second bullet was where my problem was. I granted the service account for search permissions to the share (Full Control), which solved the error. Same is mentioned in this blogpost by Amol Meshe, but he wasn’t sure on the answer.

SP2013: SharePoint hosted app, getting to your lists

As described in my previous post, a SharePoint app gets its own Web instance in which it lives. For the SharePoint engine, that means getting rid of your app is easy: just delete the web and everything is gone. The web gives you the option to deploy regular SharePoint stuff like lists and columns. But now that you’ve got your solution setup with a list; how can you reach it to add items? (more…)

SP2013: The missing designer view in SPD

Today I came across this thead on the forums, started by Marc Anderson; a well known MVP for SharePoint. He mentions the fact that SharePoint Designer 2013 is missing the “design view” known from SPD 2010. As expected, this is getting a lot of people nervous because they’re using the design view on a regular basis, for instance to tweak webparts like the Data View WebPart (DVWP). When the designer disappears, those tasks will become much more difficult and who likes difficulties, right?

I’ve post my reaction to the thread, but wanted to elaborate here too. Not so much as to start a discussion (see the thread for that), but more to get things straight as far as my view on this goes.

To begin with: as seen in my previous posts; SharePoint 2013 is all about apps. It’s clear that Microsoft is betting on us developers to go on and enrich their platform with integratable apps. This has some pro’s and con’s:


  • Apps are simpler than old style solutions. A simple app consist of HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Nothing more, nothing less. You can host as an ASP.NET app as well, but there’s nothing new to developing ASP.NET if you’re used to baking solutions.
  • Apps can be distributed through the marketplace, so it’s quite easy to make money. Much more easy than getting your WSP out there and making sure it’s not pirated in any way.
  • Because all of the interaction with SharePoint itself is being done via the CSOM (client side object model), SharePoint administrators will be more happy than they ever were. No more weird solutions damaging your farm, no more weird jQuery scripts doing unexpected things and breaking pages. If the app is faulty, you simply disable it and that’s that. Apps are of much smaller risk to your farm then (full trust) solutions.


  • You need to learn the app model, that takes some time (but isn’t that hard at all)
  • You need to learn JavaScript if you didn’t know that already.
  • A power user is probably not able (or not willing) to create apps on their own.

That being said; I like the app model. I like the cleanness of it and the possibilities it gives us developers. I also understand that power users are being cut in their options of customizing SharePoint. But to be honest; I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. Of course, on every ten power users there are always a few people getting it absolutely right, extending SharePoint in a good way. But there are also folks who… how to put this nicely… mess up your carefully build environment with weird scripts they found somewhere on the Internet.

Yes, you can disable SharePoint Designer alltogether to prevent that, but that would mean you don’t have a designer view either, right? 🙂 And yes: you can put time and effort into training your power users on how to use Designer. That helps, but not always.

So should we eliminate the concept of the power user alltogether and let the developers solve every single thing? Most definitely not. But we should be careful in how much power a poweruser actually has.

And as I mentioned in my reaction on the topic; you don’t need to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 right away. Microsoft isn’t forcing you to go and use SharePoint Designer 2013 without the designer view. You’re perfectly fine when you stick to 2010 for a little while (how many of your customers are still operating 2007 for that matter?). And people are mentioning that SPD 2010 also works with SharePoint 2013, including the designer to build DVWP’s. So what’s the panic then?

I expect components for the app model will emerge soon, allowing you to get data into HTML tables without too much problems. There are already good ways to do stuff like client side databinding and what’s more configurable then plain HTML and JavaScript? It’s just a matter of acquiring the right libraries and knowledge.

Change. Some people like it, some people don’t. But getting to the future doesn’t go without it.


Disclaimer: I really hate dislike SharePoint Designer anyway. It’s unstable, dead slow, doesn’t do debugging and messes up my markup on a regular basis. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s dropped entirely and never returns again. But that’s coming from a Visual Studio enthousiast, just so you know. (Writing this, I realise this might change your view on this entire post… too bad 🙂 )

SP2013: App deployment within your organisation

In this previous post I talked a bit about the new SharePoint app model. I started playing around with the examples on MSDN and succeeeded in producing an actual working app. Great.

All of this is done within a special developer portal (which is well documented in the MSDN getting started articles). You open a project in Visual Studio, set the correct URL yo your site, press F5 and away you go.

But what happens when your app is finished? I starting looking around for a way to upload it. Logical place would be a an “app gallery” as there is a solution gallery for sandboxed solutions. Didn’t find one. But I noticed Visual Studio creates a WSP for these new solutions as well. So I tried uploading that to the normal solution gallery and activating. That succeeded, but changed little. I also found a feature for my app, so perhaps that needed to be activated? Still no listing in the “install an app” form.

So what do you DO need to do to get this working? Here we go:

– Open the admin part of your site. In the top navigation bar (the one with Office 365 Preview in it), click on “Admin” and choose “SharePoint”.

– Now in the admin section, choose “Apps”.

– It’ll ask you to connect to an existing gallery or create a new one; create a new one.

– Fill in the site details, this is just the same as creating a new SharePoint site.

– Wait a bit for the creation process to finish. You’ll now have a seperate site on which you can manage your apps. If you upload an app here; it’ll be available on all of your site collections within your subscription.

Of course, when you want to reach a broader audience; you can also upload your app into the global store, so it can be sold worldwide. Great opportunities there!

One thing I’m missing (perhaps it’s there but I didn’t find it), is the option to scope your apps to certain site collections. For instance, imagine you’ve got multiple departments, all with their own SharePoint site collection. Your HR appartment requests an app to be build and so you provide them with a custom made app. Now what you would like is to make that particular app available within the HR section only. As far as I can see, this is not a supported scenario. Once you upload your app, it’ll be available across all site collections. You can categorise the apps you upload, but that’s just for ease of use, not for scoping.

SP2013: Proxy problems with SharePoint 2013 apps

Ok, a bit sooner as I had expected; but here’s my first tech post on SharePoint 2013.

I was trying out some of the examples found on MSDN for creating SharePoint 2013 apps, such as this one: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/SharePoint-2013-Hello-0fd15fbf. I kept on running into several problems; beginning with the infamous “object reference not set to an instance of an object” nullreference exception. After some scooping around in the matching TokenHelper.cs file, I noticed it had something to do with setting up a connection to the access control service (ACS) at Microsoft.