Saturday, January 20, 2007

SharePoint 2007 and the .NET 2.0 Object Data Source

One of the smartest SharePoint gurus I know is Sean Skinner. Lucky for me, he was guillable enough to be fooled into coming to work for my company, so now I get to take advantage of all his know-how on a daily basis. Like, for example, when one of our SmartForms apps blew up all over the place, and we couldnt' figure out what in the world was going on, Sean kept at it until he had the answer. From his blog:

You cannot have an Object Data Source running on MOSS and it have a parameter (insert, update or otherwise) with a type of 'object'. This appears to be the type assigned for GUIDs (database fields of type 'unique identifier'). When you do, as soon as I would bind the formview I would get a generic MOSS error page. You know the one, 'A web part is causing a problem....'By changing the type on the parameter to 'string' everything started working...

(BTW, when he refers to ASP:Table elements junking up otherwise working code inside of SharePoint, what he really means to say is "Eric screwed up my perfectly functional code by filling it up with server-side elements that we didn't need". Now you know the rest of the story...)

There'll be a whole lot more where that came from when we get all of our blogs moved over to the new MOSS site so stay tuned - and if you don't read Sean's blog already, you're missing out. Add it to the 'ol blogroll, pronto!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tag, I'm It!

I was harboring secretive dreams that the recent spate of tagging would leave me unscathed but my hopes have been shattered. Friend and fellow powerblogger Heather Solomon got me at last. So what are five things that people don't know about me that aren't either a) embarrassing or b) still subject to a statute of limitations? How about these:

  • My primary intellectual hobby is ancient Egyptian history. I've read dozens of books on the subject, seen every documentary ever created, visited nearly every major museum with an Egyptian exhibit, and can even read and write some hieroglyphs. As an offshoot, I've also studied a tremendous amount of early Judaic and Christian history as well. If you value your sanity, don't ever get caught near the British Museum with me around or you'll end up losing an entire day of your life to my endless chattering about the proper pronunciation of Tutuanhkamun and why I think Zahi Hawass is an idiot. Unfortunately, I've never had an opportunity to visit Egypt in person but it's on my list of first things to do when I eventually take a vacation (yeah, right).
  • My favorite activity is training and hunting with my Labrador Retriever. If you're not an animal person, you just won't get this, but there is nothing more rewarding than the bond between human and dog when engaged in a singular activity. Cheyenne, my 100-pound black Lab, is an amazing creature - watching her do what she was bred to do is a wonder to my eyes. I spent two years learning about training hunting retrievers before I got her and I trained her myself from the time she was five weeks old. I took a chance and didn't buy her from a breeder (no reason to invest that kind of money if you're not sure of your own skills) but boy did I get lucky - she can hold her own against any of those pedigreed wondermutts you see on TV. One thing I've learned from her that has served me well is that a good dog doesn't need to be trained to work with a person - the person needs to be trained to work with the dog. The dog was born knowing what to do, it's us humans that get things all screwed up. Take that for what it's worth.
  • I'm part Scottish and part Native American (Mescalero Apache). My mother's family is Scottish down to their kilts. My uncle used to be one of the premier bagpipe instructors in the country and my cousin has played the pipes live for Rod Stewart on several occasions. Our line goes back to one of the oldest highland clans, the Atholl Murray's, and one of our ancestors came over on the Mayflower. My paternal grandmother is full-blooded Apache Indian. Unfortunately, all her birth records were lost in a fire years ago so we can't trace back our heritage on that side. And yes, I can drink me some whisky, in case you were wondering :-)
  • I play the harmonica. Or, rather, I did, then I gave it up, then I picked it up again, and now I can barely play the thing anymore. I keep threatening to take it up again but the rolled eyes around my house indicate that I may need some serious refresher courses before I'm allowed to blow any riffs around the 'ol campfire.
  • I used to sell floorcovering. At one point when I was living in California I got burned out on the technology business and went to work selling carpets, wood floors and tile. I did pretty well and actually had a good niche doing custom wood floors and high-end commercial projects. I even learned how to tear it up, install it, do finish work, everything. About as far from high-tech as you can get but at the time that was the whole point. It was fun but I don't think I was cut out for it - I kept finding excuses to play with company's computers and not rearrange my samples on the sales floor. Ah well, once a geek, always a geek!

So there you have it - more than you ever wanted to know about this humble SharePointer. Everyone on my list has already been tagged, so I guess I'm a 'dead end', so to speak. Hey, the chain had to end somewhere, didn't it???

UPDATE: Turns out there are a couple of people who have been flying under the tag radar and need a good one slapped on 'em:

Sean Skinner
Nick Swan

You're it!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

To all my readers around the world, I want to wish you a safe and prosperous New Year.

First, I'd like to thank everyone who reads and contributes to this blog. I started blogging in 2005 to share my thoughts with other SharePointers and I never dreamed that I'd be collaborating with people all over the world would. Last year more than 23,000 visitors read this blog and more than 60,000 pageviews were generated for readers in more than 20 countries. Sure, Bil and Jan and AC get more traffic but it's not bad for a country boy from Texas.

Second, my apologies to those very same readers for not posting more often in 2006. Business exploded this last year, leaving me with little time to sleep or eat, much less post regularly. I plan to correct that this year by setting (and sticking to) a regular blogging schedule.

Finally, the new year brings new changes. The eGroup started as a one-man SharePoint consultancy but has now grown by leaps and bounds, with some great new team members coming on board, new offices opening in the UK, and lots of other positive developments. To reflect these changes, we'll be changing our name and launching a new site soon (built on MOSS, of course). With more exposure comes more responsibility, so we'll be releasing more products, tools and utilities throughout the year and participating in events and conferencese throughout the US and Europe (I'll finally get a chance to meet many of you face to face for the first time - hoorah!).

As part of these changes, this blog will be moving to our MOSS web farm and off of Blogger. Not that Blogger hasn't done its job but with the new blog templates in MOSS there's just no reason not to switch. The good news is that all of our consultants and developers will be blogging on the new site so there will be lots of fresh new ideas and solutions. Links to all the new blogs and sites will be posted soon.

I look forward to a very exciting 2007.

Happy SharePointing!!!