SharePoint FAQ2

Why are properties important in WebPart development, and how have you exploited them in past development projects? What must each custom property have?
Properties are important because WebParts allow levels of personalization for each user. WebPart properties make it possible for a user to interact, adjust, and increase overall experience value with the programmatic assets that you develop without having the need to use an external editor or right any code. A very simple example of exploiting a property would be something like allowing the user to change the text on the WebPart design interface so that they can display whatever string of text they desire.
Each custom property that you have must have the appropriate get and set accessor methods.

What are ClassResources? How do you reference and deploy resources with an ASP.NET 2.0 WebPart?
ClassResources are used when inheriting from the SharePoint.WebPart.WebPartPages.WebPart base class, and are defined in the SharePoint solution file as things that should be stored in the wpresources directory on the server. It is a helpful directory to use in order to deploy custom images. In ASP.NET 2.0, typically things such as images are referenced by embedding them as resources within an assembly. The good part about ClassResources is they can help to eliminate recompiles to change small interface adjustments or alterations to external JavaScript files.

What is a SharePoint Solution File? How does it differ from WebPart .cab files in legacy development? What does it contain?
A SharePoint solution file is essentially a .cabinet file with all a developers ustom componets suffixed with a .wsp extension that aids in deployment. The big difference with SharePoint solution files is is that a solution:
allows deployment to all WFE’s in a farm
is highly manageable from the interface allowing deployment, retraction, and versioning
Can package all types of assets like site definitions, feature definitions (and associated components), Webparts, etc.
Can provide Code Access Security provisioning to avoid GAC deployments
And much more..

What is a .ddf file and what does it have to do with SharePoint Solution creation?
A .ddf file is a data directive file and is used when building the SharePoint solution bundle specifying the source files and their destination locations. The important thing for someone to understand is that the .ddf file will be passed as a parameter to the MAKECAB utility to orchestrate construction of the SharePoint solution file.

What file does a SharePoint solution package use to orchestrate (describe) its packaged contents?
The solution Manifest.XML file.

What deployment mechanism can you use to instigate Code Access Security attributes for your WebParts?
SharePoint solution files can add in order to handle code access security deployment issues. This is done in the element in the SharePoint solution manifest.XML, which makes it easier to get assemblies the appropriate permissions in order to operate in the bin directory of the web application.

What are event receivers?
Event receivers are classes that inherit from the SpItemEventReciever or SPListEventReciever base class (both of which derive out of the abstract base class SPEventRecieverBase), and provide the option of responding to events as they occur within SharePoint, such as adding an item or deleting an item.

When would you use an event receiver?
Since event receivers respond to events, you could use a receiver for something as simple as canceling an action, such as deleting a document library by using the Cancel property. This would essentially prevent users from deleting any documents if you wanted to maintain retention of stored data.

What base class do event receivers inherit from?
Event receivers either inherit from the SPListEventReciever base class or the SPItemEventReciever base class, both which derive from the abstract base class SPEventReceiverBase.

If I wanted to not allow people to delete documents from a document library, how would I go about it?
You would on the ItemDeleting event set: properties.Cancel= true.

What is the difference between an asynchronous and synchronous event receivers?
An asynchronous event occurs after an action has taken place, and a synchronous event occurs before an action has take place. For example, an asynchronous event is ItemAdded, and its sister synchronous event is ItemAdding

What does AllowUnsafeUpdates do ?

If your code modifies Windows SharePoint Services data in some way, you may need to allow unsafe updates on the Web site, without requiring a security validation. You can do by setting the

AllowUnsafeUpdates property. C#: using(SPSite mySite = new SPSite(“yourserver”))
using(SPWeb myWeb = mySite.OpenWeb())
myWeb.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true;
SPList interviewList = myWeb.Lists[“listtoinsert”];
SPListItem newItem = interviewList.Items.Add();
newItem[“interview”] = “interview”;

What does RunWithElevatedPrivileges do?

Assume that you have a Web Part in which you want to display information obtained through the Windows SharePoint Services object model, such as the name of the current site collection owner, usage statistics, or auditing information. These are examples of calls into the object model that require site-administration privileges. Your Web Part experiences an access-denied error if it attempts to obtain this information when the current user is not a site administrator. The request is initiated by a nonprivileged user. you can still successfully make these calls into the object model by calling the RunWithElevatedPrivileges method provided by the SPSecurity class. C#:

SPSite siteColl = SPContext.Current.Site;
SPWeb site = SPContext.Current.Web;
using (SPSite ElevatedsiteColl = new SPSite(siteColl.ID))
using (SPWeb ElevatedSite = ElevatedsiteColl.OpenWeb(site.ID))
string SiteCollectionOwner = ElevatedsiteColl.Owner.Name;
string Visits = ElevatedsiteColl.Usage.Visits.ToString();
string RootAuditEntries = ElevatedSite.RootFolder.Audit.GetEntries().Count.ToString();

– What is a SharePoint Feature? What files are used to define a feature?

A SharePoint Feature is a functional component that can be activated and deactivate at various scopes throughout a SharePoint instances:
Scopes include:
Farm, WebApplication, Site (site collection), Web (site)

Features have their own receiver architecture, which allow you to trap events such as when a feature is:
installing, uninstalling, activated, deactivated

The element types that can be defined by a feature include:
menu commands, link commands, page templates, page instances,list definitions,
list instances,event handlers,workflows

The two files that are used to define a feature are:
feature.xml, manifest file(elements.xml)

The feature XML file defines the actual feature and will make SharePoint aware of the installed feature. The manifest file contains details about the feature such as functionality.

Common stsadm commands associated with feature are

stsadm -o installfeature
stsadm -o uninstallfeature
stsadm -o activatefeature
stsadm -o deactivatefeature.

– What are content types ?

A content type is a flexible and reusable WSS type definition that defines the columns and behavior for an item in a list or a document in a document library.
For example,
-you can create a content type for a customer presentation document with a unique set of columns, an event handler, and its own document template.
-You can create a second content type for a customer proposal document with a different set of columns, a workflow, and a different document template.
Then you can attach both the contenttypes to a document library, which allows you to capture metadata based on the contenttype selected during creation of the document.
Content type can be created by the following
from the rootweb of a site collection, go to Site Action > Site Settings > Galleries > Site content types
using a feature

5. Workflow can be applied to what all elements of SharePoint ?

While workflow associations are often created directly on lists and document libraries, a workflow association can also be created on a content type that exists within the Content Type Gallery for the current site or content types defined within a list.
In short, it can be applied …
At the level of a list (or document library)
At the level of a content type defined at site scope
At the level of a site ( Sharepoint 2010 )

6. What are the ways to initiate the workflow ?

Automatic (on item added or item deleted)
Manual (standard WSS UI interface)
Manual (Custom UI Interface)
Programatically through custom code

7. What are the types of input forms that can be created for a workflow ?

You can create four different types of input forms including an association form, an initiation form, a modification form, and a task edit form. Note that these forms are optional when you create a workflow template.

8. What are ways to create input forms for workflow ?

Two different approaches can be used to develop custom input forms for a WSS workflow template.
You can create your forms by using custom application pages, which are standard .aspx pages deployed to run out of the _layouts directory. ( disadv: lot of code required when compared to Infopath approach)
using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 (disadv: picks up a dependenct on MOSS, i.e. it cannot run in a standalone WSS environment)

9. What is the difference between method activity and event activity in WF ?

A method activity is one that performs an action, such as creating or updating a task. An event activity is one that runs in response to an action occurring.

10. What does SPWeb.EnsureUser method do?

Checks whether the specified login name belongs to a valid user of the Web site, and if the login name does not already exist, adds it to the Web site. e.g SPUser usr = myWeb.EnsureUser(“mmangaldas”);

11. While creating a Webpart, which is the ideal location to Initialize my new controls ?

Override the CreateChildControls method to include your new controls. To make sure that the new controls are initialized.. call ‘EnsureChildControls’ in the webparts Render method. You can control the exact Rendering of your controls by calling the .Render method in the webparts Render method.

12. How to query from multiple lists ?

Use SPSiteDataQuery to fetch data from multiple lists. more details..

13.How Does SharePoint work?

The browser sends a DAV packet to IIS asking to perform a document check in. PKMDASL.DLL, an ISAPI DLL, parses the packet and sees that it has the proprietary INVOKE command. Because of the existence of this command, the packet is passed off to msdmserv.exe, who in turn processes the packet and uses EXOLEDB to access the WSS, perform the operation and send the results back to the user in the form of XML

14. What is the difference between Syncronous & Asyncronous events?

Syncronous calls ending with ‘ing’ E.g. ItemDeleting Event Handler code execute BEFORE action is committed WSS waits for code to return Option to cancel and return error code
Asyncronous calls ending with ‘ed’ E.g. ItemDeleted Event Handler code executes AFTER action is committed WSS does not wait for code to return Executed in its own Worker thread.

15. What is ServerUpdate() ?

Any changes in the list, i.e. new addition or modification of an item.. the operation is complete by calling the Update method.But if a List is set to maintain versions .. and you are editing an item, but don’t want to save it as a new version, then use the SystemUpdate method instead and pass in ‘false’ as the parameter.

16. What is query.ViewAttributes OR How can you force SPQuery to return results from all the folders of the list?

If you use SPQuery on any SPlist .. it will bring back results from the current folder only. If you want to get results from all the folders in the list.. then you need to specify the scope of the query by the use of ViewAttributes..
e.g. query.ViewAttributes = “Scope=\”Recursive\””;

– What are the two base classes a WebPart you are going to use within SharePoint 2007 can inherit from?

There are two base classes that a WebPart which is going to be consumed by SharePoint can inherit from, either the SharePoint WebPart Base class or the ASP.NET 2.0 WebPart base class. When inheriting from the SharePoint WebPart Base class your derived WebPart class will inherit from Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.WebPart. When inheriting from the ASP.NET 2.0 WebPart base class your derived WebPart class will inherit from System.Web.UI.WebControls.WebParts.WebPart. It is considered good practice to use the ASP.NET WebPart base class since the old base class is meant for backwards compatibility with previous version of SharePoint, however there are four exception when it is better to leverage functionality from the SharePoint WebPart base class:

Cross page connections
Connections between Web Parts that are outside of a Web Part zone
Client-side connections (Web Part Page Services Component)
Data caching infrastructure

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