Author Archives: Josey

About Josey

Josey is a Sr. SharePoint Developer with ICC in Columbus, OH. He has been working with Web technologies since 1998 and with SharePoint since 2010. He is an avid fisherman and loves all things technology.

Learn about SharePoint for the Web on May 15, 2014

As a SharePoint Internet developer, I was very excited about the release of  SharePoint 2013. Now that I’ve had the chance to work on it for more than a year – and have learned a lot of tools and tricks of the trade – I’m going to be sharing them at the upcoming Heartland SharePoint Conference 2014 that’s sponsored by my company.

This conference will not only feature tracks of interest to web developers, it will also provide information and advice related to other aspects of SharePoint 2013, with emphasis on:

  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Analytics
  • The Cloud

We’ve just announced that the keynote speaker for the event will be Steve Caravajal, Director of Digital Strategy and Architecture at Microsoft Corporation.  If you’re like me, you won’t want to miss Steve’s presentation.

Please remember that because this is a free event, limited attendance is available onto to qualified IT and business professionals. Those who join us will receive a complimentary breakfast and lunch.

I encourage all my blog readers to send in your request as soon as we post information on ICC’s web site.  Hope to see you there!

View Raw XML in IE8

I was tired of searching for this tidbit time and time again so I thought I’d store how to change your browser settings in Internet Explorer 8 to view raw XML instead of feed reading. This is helpful when developing against the REST api so you can see what XML is available to grab. 

Tools > Internet Options > Content tab > Feeds and Web Slices’ Settings button > uncheck “Turn on feed reading view”

Appendix B: Turning on Full Error Messages

When SharePoint throws an error, the message is often vague in its meaning and hides the true source of the problem. Although some would argue the error message should be specific by default, it is possible to change the settings to allow for a deeper error message to be displayed so proper debugging can commence. To do so, open the site from the server in Windows Explorer (you must be on the server to access the web.config file). Navigate to the path where your site is located and find the web.config file. It is often located in C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\.  Open the web.config file in a text editor such as Notepad or Notepad++.

Inside of the web.config, you have to make 3 changes. First Search the document for the word “callstack” and locate a line that looks like this:

<SafeMode MaxControls=”200” CallStack=”false” DirectFileDependencies=”10” TotalFileDependencies=”50” AllowPageLevelTrace=”false”>

Once you’ve found this line, change the “callstack” attribute from “false” to “true”. Also in this line, change the “AllowPageLevelTrace” attribute to “true”. After you’ve made these two changes, search again for a line that looks like this:

<customErrors mode=”On” />

For this line, change the mode to “Off”. This will keep SharePoint from displaying its vague, one-line error message and instead show a detailed error message. Save the web.config file and the next time you have an error, you will see actual data that can help to pinpoint and fix the problem.

Branding Terms and Definitions


Advanced Mode A mode in   SharePoint Designer that allows for full modification of code.
Aggregation The CSS concept that renders   styles on the same element regardless of where the style is declared.
ASP.NET A Web application framework that allows web programmers to develop   dynamic web sites, web applications, and web services.
Branding Developing an image for your SharePoint site that has common colors,   fonts, logos, and graphics that all support one another to provide a   consistent look and feel for a site that invokes a certain emotional response   in the viewer.
Cache A means to store data locally on a user’s machine to speed up   subsequent retrievals of that data.
Cascading Style   Sheets (CSS) A file that   styles elements in a rendered page, site, or other file type.
Central Administration The area where the leading group of people with the highest   permissions for a SharePoint farm access important controls that relate to   all site collections in that farm.
Checked-In To release the lock for editing and enable other users to view the   updated file or check out the file.
Check-Out To lock a file while editing it to prevent others from overwriting or   editing it inadvertently. Only the user who checks out a document can edit   the document.
Chrome The visual container that   wraps a web part. It can be hidden from view through the web part properties   dialog.
Columns A named selection of data in a list, library or content type, such as   Title or Due Date. Columns are displayed vertically in most views and are   displayed as fields in forms.
Column Template Each content type column has a column template for each field that   determines the default field control that is associated with it such as a   hyperlink, a picture, or a single line of text.
Content Types A reusable group of settings for a category of content. Use content   types to manage the metadata, templates, and behaviors of items and documents   consistently. Content types are defined at the site level and used on lists   and libraries.
Content Database A database where all the data for a given SharePoint site is stored.   In essence, it is one big list where items are stored as list items in a   relevant library. It populates the pages through field controls. It is   separate from the look and feel (branding) of a SharePoint site.
Current Navigation Refers to the left navigation   bar in a SharePoint site.
Document Library A container for documents in   SharePoint that allow for versioning and sorting of documents.
Field Control An area where content is rendered on a page. The data comes from the   content database. You can add these controls using an editor such as   SharePoint Designer 2010 or by manually adding the markup.
Firebug Firefox developer tool used   to inspect elements in a rendered web page.
eXtensible   Stylesheet Language (XSL) A family of   languages that is used to transform and render XML.
eXtensible   Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) Evolved XSL based language that is used to   transform XML.
Favicons Small custom images that appear in bookmark   menus and next to the URL in the browser.
Global Navigation Refers   to the top navigation bar in a SharePoint site.
Inheritance The CSS concept relating to elements that are   nested inside of other elements inheriting their parent’s styles.
Intranet A private network of sites used by a   company for dispersal of information within that organization.
Library A location on a SharePoint site where a collection of files is   managed. The library can display information, including user-defined   properties about each file.
List A Web site component that stores and displays information that users   can add to by using their browsers.
Major Version A numbered copy of a file that has changed significantly since the   previous major version. Each major version is identified by a whole number   (1, 2, 3 …) to indicate that it is published for a wider group in your   organization to view.



Master Pages ASP.Net files   that end with a .master extension that set the top level framework and   structure for a rendered page which is separate from the content.
Metadata Tags that surround a block of   data that describe what is in that data.
Microsoft Visio A diagramming application that creates diagrams using vector graphics.
Minor version A decimal-numbered copy (0.1, 0.2, 1.1 …) of a file that is in a stage   of revision or that has changed only slightly since the previous version.   Typically, a minor version is not published for a wider group in your   organization to view.
Out-Of-The-Box (OTTB) A term used to   describe the features that come standard with SharePoint.


Page Layout A page layout is a template that controls the look, feel, and content   placement of content on a page. It is used in conjunction with the master   page to set the content areas. Each page layout has a content type   association that determines what type of content can be displayed in a given   area.
Permission Level A set of permissions that can be granted to users or SharePoint groups   on an entity such as a site, library, list, folder, item or document.
Permissions Authorization to perform specific actions such as viewing pages,   opening items, and creating sub-sites.
Place Holders Sections in structure files   that can be either required or customized which notate where content will be   rendered.
Ribbon Dynamic menu of controls that a user can interact with that change   based on the type of document or data you’re working with.
Quick Launch A menu of links that allow a user to quickly navigate to various areas   in a site.
Quotas A value that limits the amount of storage or number of users for a web   site.
Safe Mode A mode in SharePoint Designer   that allows for limited modification of code. Code that is not edible in safe   mode appears with a yellow highlight.
Security Trimming The act of setting specific   buttons and functions to only be available to a specific set of users. If the   user is not allowed to use a function or button, it simply wouldn’t be   visible to them.
Selector The CSS data that is used to   select an element for styling.
Server Administrator The title of the highest entity in the SharePoint user hierarchy that   has full control over a server that hosts a single or a series of SharePoint   sites.
SharePoint Designer A Microsoft application that is used to design and develop SharePoint   sites. The most current version as of the publication of this guide is   SharePoint Designer 2010.
SharePoint Group A group of users that can be created on a SharePoint site to manage   permission to the site and to provide an e-mail distribution list for site   users. A group can be used by many sites in one site collection.
Site A group of related Web pages that is hosted by an HTTP server on the   World Wide Web or an Intranet. The pages in a Web site generally cover one or   more topics and are interconnected through hyperlinks.
Site Collection A set of Web sites on virtual servers that have the same owner and   share administration settings. Each site collection contains a top-level Web   site and can contain one or more sub-sites.
Site Collection Administrator A user who has administrative permissions for an entire SharePoint   site collection.
Site Column (Field) A reusable definition for a column that can used in multiple lists or   content type definitions that ensure the consistency of metadata across   sites, site collections, and lists.
Site Definition The sum of the parts of the package that gets deployed.
Site Map A list of pages   in a SharePoint site that is accessed by crawlers that details the structure   of that site.
Skewer Tool A tool in SharePoint Designer that allows a user to pinpoint an   element’s CSS path.
Sub-Site A complete Web site stored in a named subdirectory of the top-level   Web site. Each sub-site can have administration, authoring, and browsing   permissions that are independent from the top-level Web site and other   sub-sites.
System Master Page A type of master page that   establishes the structure for pages that are in “edit” mode, which are not   visible to anonymous users.
Themes A feature that distributes   preset colors and fonts throughout a SharePoint site.
Top-Level Sites (Root) A Web site at the top of the hierarchy in a site collection, from   which you can manage site collection features. A top-level site can have   multiple sub-sites.
Tree View An optional feature that,   when enabled, displays a nested and collapsible view of files in a site’s   hierarchy below or in place of the quick launch navigation.
Versioning The process of creating a numbered copy of a file or an item whenever   a revision is saved to the library or list.
View A set of columns on a Web page that displays items in a list or   document library. The view can display sorted and filtered items, a selection   of columns, or a custom layout.



Web.config The main   configuration and settings file for an ASP.NET web application (SharePoint is   a massive ASP.NET application).
Web Part A modular unit of information that consists of a title bar, a frame,   and content. Web Parts are the basic building blocks of a Web Part Page.
Web Part Page A special type of Web page that contains one or more Web Parts. A Web   Part Page consolidates data, such as lists and charts, and Web content, such   as text and images, into a dynamic information portal built around a common   task.
Web Part Zones Areas in a page layout that   allow for placement of Web Parts inside of them.
Workflows A process of formulating steps, procedures, and method cycle to   operate for a user to follow that automate tasks.

Appendix A: Adding Files to a Package

Appendix A: Adding Files to a Package

To add a file to a package, open Visual Studio and double check that you have the latest file. Also make sure you have the solution mapped locally. If you don’t have it mapped, do so. Once it’s mapped, click on the folder (not the expand arrow) until you see the “SolutionName.sln” file on the right. Double click this to open the solution.

In order to add a new file to a package, you have 3 things that need done to properly.

  1. Add the file: After the solution is open, right click the “Solution (1 project)” area in the Solution Explorer window and click “Add” ⇒ “Existing Item”. Find the file you want to add and click “Add”.
  2. Modify Elements.xml: Once you have the file added, you have to open the “Elements.xml” file in the module you want to add the file to. Once you’ve double-clicked the “Elements.xml” file, you should see the file you added dynamically populate data into the bottom of this file. The problem is that it populates it in the wrong format. To fix this, simply copy the previous <File> tag, and change the URL and the Path to be the correct path. Then delete the extra data that was generated.
  3. Change Path: Once you’ve finished in the “Elements.xml” file, click the file you’ve just uploaded in the “Solution Explorer” window. In the properties box that comes up, there is an arrow next to “Deployment Location” that needs clicked. Once it’s expanded, there is a section called “Path” that is not pointing to the correct location.  It should read to be whatever the current path is. For instance, if you are adding a new master page to the solution, the path needs to be changed to read: Files\_catalogs\masterpage\. Once you’ve finished, check in your pending changes.