Fabian Williams SharePoint Blog

Solving problems with SharePoint day and night

Why it pays to have Smart Friends to Encourage you

Why write this blog post?

Sure its late and YES I could be rotting my brain away on the Idiot Box, but what started off as a Taunt by Ram turned out to consume my life for 2 days straight but with useful results, challenges that were overcome, and a better appreciation for not just Cloud, but the integration of Cloud and On-Prem using Windows Azure.  Let me tell you what I did, and how easy it was… in the end, plus the real implications of it.

First a little history – Pre Taunt

So, as I prepare for my sessions at #SPLive in Orlando in 3 weeks, I wanted to knock out a few Demos and make sure that I could showcase just about anything anyone asked of me based on the Session Abstract/Topic. In furtherance of that, I decided to do the following, build out solutions employing

SharePoint Designer 2013

  • External Content Type using a Native SQL Data Connection
  • External Content Type using an On-Prem (i.e. Hosted on one of my Dev Rig VMs) Windows Communications Foundation [WCF] Data Connection – JSON enabled
  • External Content Type using a .NET Assembly (built on my Visual Studio 2012, Deployed as a Farm Solution to my On-Prem SP2013) Data Connection
  • Workflow using the same On-Prem WCF above in my On-Prem Farm

Visual Studio 2012

  • A Locally IIS hosted WCF Service Library that exposes Northwind data from a Local SQL Server 2012 Box
  • A Locally IIS hosted OData Service Endpoint that exposes Northwind data from a Local SQL Server 2012 Box
  • External Content Type built as a .NET Assembly to be deployed to my ON-Prem SharePoint 2013 Farm
  • External Content Type AND External List SharePoint 2013 App built as an OData Sourced Application deployed to my ON-Prem SharePoint 2013 Farm

For every Instance of the WCF and the App Model External Content Type, I also targeted my Office 365 Tennant to surface the Data as well. I was pretty satisfied with myself until my good friend sent this tweet, and I know it was in jest…


but… I took it as a challenge and, I rarely back down from a challenge 🙂 so, since I have a MSDN subscription, there was “really” nothing holding me back besides my inexperience creating Azure Web Roles, which is what you need to do in order to have the requisite Data Access Points (URI) to create External Content Types and potentially Workflows. 

What Next you say…

So, with a little research on Google scratch that, I mean Bing, I found a few MSDN, and TechNet blogs on how to create Web Roles, although not many of them “accurately” showed you how to use Visual Studio to DEPLOY your solution back to Azure. Anyway, it was surprisingly easy, although initially it was somewhat intimidating and i did get snagged on a GOTCHA which i will blog about later when doing a ASP.NET Web Role where it requires you to lower your version of the System.Data.Client assembly from 5.0 to 4.something in order for it work in Azure, i say that because it worked perfectly when I debugged it locally on my Visual Studio IIS. I also had to create an Azure SQL Instance and used a script I downloaded from CodePlex to restore a Northwind Database to my Azure SQL Instance and then I set up firewall rules to allow me to access it over the internet.

But with quick turn around and because i could just Refactor my original On-Prem code logic, I was able to create the following

Visual Studio 2012

  • Azure ASP.NET Web Role that published as a Cloud Service which used OData via ADO.NET Entity Framework to get a Cloud based URI that i can do CRUD operations on
  • Azure WCF Web Role that published as a Cloud Service which used WCF via ADO.NET Entity Framework to get a Cloud based URI that i can do CRUD operations on as well


Now I can really Mix and Match, I can

  1. Use Azure (Cloud) Hosted Data via an ON-Prem WCF or OData End Point and surface that information both on my ON-Prem SharePoint or my Office 365 Instance
  2. Use Azure (Cloud) Hosted Data via an Azure Cloud Service WCF or OData End Point and surface that information both on my ON-Prem SharePoint or my Office 365 Instance
  3. Plus everything I had when I started off

The takeaway here is that with very little investments in time and effort I extended my solution to a “MODERN” approach. I had Cloud in the sentence 🙂


Other Positive Implications

So, what made this so easy for me was I signed up for TFS Online here http://tfs.visualstudio.com/en-us/tfs-welcome.aspx and EVEN WITHOUT a MSDN Subscription you can sign up for FREE and get 5 accounts in one instance.


What I think is GOLD is…

  • You have a place to store all your CODE/ Work and before you ask, it supports different formats (see image below)
  • Your Code/Work is accessible from Anywhere you have an Internet Connection now
  • You can reliably share your Code/Work with anyone now, rather than Zipping it up and Email it
  • Need Help with some of you work… Invite people as smart or smarter than you to review our code, many hands make light load 🙂
  • Most beneficial of all is that you can configure Continual Integration. I know my good friend Jeremy Thake always talk about Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and you can employ some of those techniques from Azure through TFS Online and your Visual Studio with multiple Team Member… and guess what… FOR FREE

So that’s all I have to say, I guess we really Paid It Forward RAM, you encouraged me to do this, I in turn, documented my efforts and hope that someone else can take it from here.


Cheers all, have a great night. Oh yeah, VS 2013 is out now. GO get it.

October 17, 2013 Posted by | Azure, JSON, OData, REST, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Workflows, SharePoint Designer 2013, SharePoint Development, SQL Server, Visual Studio 2012, WCF | , , | Leave a comment

Part 2 of 3-Blog Update on SharePoint BCS with full CRUD

Consistently two of my most heavily viewed/visited post based on WordPress Metrics is the one highlighted below, see the image for the top 5 all

  1. How To: Create, Configure, Consume SharePoint 2010 Secure Store in Business Connectivity Services
  2. Creating a SharePoint 2010 External Content Type with CRUD Methods using LINQ and a SQL LOB System


Since I have already done this in SharePoint 2010 using Secure Store and a SQL Server Native Line of Business (LOB) System, as well as a Visual Studio 2010 .Net Assembly, I figured I can offer value by updating this post to include the following Scenarios

There are tons of examples (the #1 viewed blog above uses that as an example) on how to use SharePoint Designer to do a SQL Native Connection, so i wont bother beating that horse to death, and I would like to also point out to this excellent post by my good friend Chris Givens on how he extended the third bullet point example above to include Notification and Subscriptions Alert, so i will not be doing that either.


In this Part 2 of 3 Update I am targeting a second post cited above [Creating a SharePoint 2010 External Content Type with CRUD Methods using LINQ and a SQL LOB System]; again, I am specifically leaving out the precursor activities that are needed before you begin to create the External Content Type (ECT), I will just pick up at the point of Creating the ECT and as for cases where I introduce new methodologies, I will ofcourse showcase those aspects.

In this blog, specifically I will be showing the following:

  1. Point you to an old post by Scott Guthrie “The Gu” post on using Linq to SQL, I am going to skip that part in this post but demonstrate in my code how I use my DataContext that is created by the Linq to SQL addition to my Project Solution in Visual Studio 2012
  2. I will certainly show you how to Create your BDC Entity and the full CRUD StereoTyped Methods necessary to carry out those functions
  3. I will illustrate the chronological steps you NEED to take, otherwise you will spend Days Troubleshooting why your crap doesn’t work 🙂 and all the Gotchas that are hidden as well
  4. Deploy the Solution to the Farm & Create an External List from It

Lets Begin – Create a New Empty SharePoint 2013 Visual Studio Project

This is going to be a Farm based solution that will connect using “Linq to SQL” to our SQL Sever Database and create a DataContext class that we will use to communicate from our BCS entity to the underlying Database. 


this will be a Farm Solution


Once your project comes to life, you will need to establish a connection to your SQL Server or whatever Database you are using.  You do this by going to “Tools > Connect to Database > Fill out the Add Connection Fields similar to what i have below


and you should end up with a ORD Designer and in your “Server Explorer” you should expand that Database Connection that is now there and drag your Table/View etc to the Object Relational Designer (ORD). Now in my case I am using SQL Auth so I will get a warning, Im ok with that, this is Demoware


When I click YES, i get my Northwind Employee Entity in the context of the DataContext Class and my Project now looks like this below


Next we begin our work on the BCS piece. This does it for Data Access.

Create the BCS Data Model Entity

So, now you will need to add a new item to your project. you will add a BDCM as seen below Business Data Connectivity Model. Now, if you have read my part 1 you will know that I vehemently hate when Visual Studio gives me helper/sample implementations, well, this happens here after you name and add your item to your project.


as you can see below, you get a Entity1.cs and an Entity1Servcie.cs which ties to the GUI entity you see in the designer. We will get rid of these as we did previously in out WCF part 1 blog post and create our own entity based on the NorthWindEntity we got with the Linq To SQL DataContext we created earlier. so for now just select the two files and delete them, alternatively, you can delete the item out of the designer and “I think” it deletes the file along with it, perhaps it leaves the service file, but long and short, kill em all.


What you will after you delete those is, from the toolbar, drag a new entity onto the design surface like so and rename the entity in the Properties Window to something like “Employee” you will also notice that it creates a Serivce class for you as well, this one is called [EntityName]Service.cs


Next you will add an Identifier, by right clicking on the New Employee Identity, click Add, then click Identifier. When the Identifier appears, in the Properties Window again, change the name to EmployeeID and set the Type Name  to System.Int32


The next piece is Arguably the place MOST people will Run-A-Muck because they will either FORGET to change the TypeName of the Specific Finder to reflect the Employee Class created by the Data Context and leave it as the ‘Generic” that it is originally set to, or they will fail to set the Identifier property in this method. The reason folks mess this up is because THIS IS THE ONLY METHOD THAT REQUIRES THIS, every method thereafter inherits from this. The next things folks mess up on is the Update Method but I will go into that in detail in a few.


Add a Specific Finder Method (Read Item)

  1. Click on the Employee entity in the BDC Designer
  2. You should see in the pane at the bottom of the Visual Studio IDE a window called “BDC Method Details”, inside there click
  3. Add a Method from the dropdown list and select “Create a Specific Finder Method”
  4. A few things will be added for you by default but what I want you to concern yourself with is under “Type Descriptor” heading in the same window you will see “Employee”, click on that then click “Edit”

This should open up the BDC Explorer and a Hierarchical View should appear of the Model. The properties window should also be open as well,

  1. Locate TypeName in the Properties Window, click on it, then click “CURRENT PROJECT” tab, then select Employee which should be under the DataContext Class (it should only be 1 in there anyway)
  2. Inside the BDC Explorer, right click on Employee, and click “Add Type Descriptor” – Later on you will repeat this for every Field in the Entity(Data Store) that you want to surface paying attention to the data type of the field
  3. When the new TypeDescriptor is created, in the Properties window change the name to EmployeeID and set the TypeName to Int32, also
  4. Click the dropdown list next to Identifier and select EmployeeID

You will then repeat Step 2 for all the Fields in your Entity, refer back to my Image above that has the Employee Entity, remember to set the TypeName to the correct Field Type (Int32, String, DateTime, etc). Once that is complete, you can either (1) Double Click or (2) Right Click and select ‘View Code’’ on the ReadItem Method that is in the Design Area. This will take you inside EmployeeService.cs or whatever name gave your entity appended with Service.cs. It will be subbed out but I want you to replace what is there with

  1. public static Employee ReadItem(int employeeID)
  2.         {
  3.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  4.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  6.             Employee Employee =
  7.             (from employees in dataContext.Employees.AsEnumerable().Take(20)
  8.              where employees.EmployeeID == employeeID
  9.              select employees).Single();
  10.             return Employee;
  11.         }


Add a Finder Method (Read List)

  1. Click on the Employee entity in the BDC Designer
  2. You should see in the pane at the bottom of the Visual Studio IDE a window called “BDC Method Details”, inside there click
  3. Add a Method from the dropdown list and select “Create Finder Method”

Once that is complete, you can either (1) Double Click or (2) Right Click and select ‘View Code’’ on the ReadList Method that is in the Design Area. This will take you inside EmployeeService.cs or whatever name gave your entity appended with Service.cs. It will be subbed out but I want you to replace what is there with

  1. public static IEnumerable<Employee> ReadList()
  2.       {
  3.           NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  4.           ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  7.           IEnumerable<Employee> Employees =
  8.               from employees in dataContext.Employees
  9.               select employees;
  10.           return Employees;
  11.       }


Add a Creator Method

  1. Click on the Employee entity in the BDC Designer
  2. You should see in the pane at the bottom of the Visual Studio IDE a window called “BDC Method Details”, inside there click
  3. Add a Method from the dropdown list and select “Create Creator Method”

Once that is complete, you can either (1) Double Click or (2) Right Click and select ‘View Code’’ on the Create Method that is in the Design Area. This will take you inside EmployeeService.cs or whatever name gave your entity appended with Service.cs. It will be subbed out but I want you to replace what is there with

  1. public static Employee Create(Employee newEmployee)
  2.   {
  3.       NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  4.       ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  7.       Employee emp = new Employee();
  9.       emp.FirstName = newEmployee.FirstName;
  10.       emp.LastName = newEmployee.LastName;
  11.       emp.Title = newEmployee.Title;
  12.       emp.TitleOfCourtesy = newEmployee.TitleOfCourtesy;
  13.       emp.BirthDate = newEmployee.BirthDate;
  14.       emp.HireDate = newEmployee.HireDate;
  15.       emp.Address = newEmployee.Address;
  16.       emp.City = newEmployee.City;
  17.       emp.Region = newEmployee.Region;
  18.       emp.PostalCode = newEmployee.PostalCode;
  19.       emp.Country = newEmployee.Country;
  20.       emp.HomePhone = newEmployee.HomePhone;
  21.       emp.Extension = newEmployee.Extension;
  22.       emp.Notes = newEmployee.Notes;
  24.       dataContext.Employees.InsertOnSubmit(emp);
  25.       dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  26.       return emp;
  27.   }


Add a Updater Method

  1. Click on the Employee entity in the BDC Designer
  2. You should see in the pane at the bottom of the Visual Studio IDE a window called “BDC Method Details”, inside there click
  3. Add a Method from the dropdown list and select “Create Updater Method”


Now based on YOUR particular Data Source/Store you may have a Primary Key that either (1) AutoUpdates or (2) Doesnt – If it DOES NOT Auto Update you MUST click on the Employee Type Descriptor in the BDC Method Details Window and in the Properties Window you MUST set he “Pre-Updater Field” to True


If YOUR Primary Key actually DOES Auto Increment, then what “I” have found to work for me is to Add another Type Descriptor to the Updater Method (see Image below), name it appropriately and SET its Pre-Updater property to TRUE


This means that the Updater Method will take in two Parameters now, not one as most MSDN and TechNet articles will say, but I am only using my EmployeeID Input Parameter to locate the Specific Item needing to update and the employee parameter to set the Fields of what will be committed back to the Data Source. All attempts to do it otherwise GAVE AN ERROR about the EmployeeID being a Read Only Field and needed the PreUpdate Field set to True when using an External List to Update an Item.


Once that is complete, you can either (1) Double Click or (2) Right Click and select ‘View Code’’ on the Update Method that is in the Design Area. This will take you inside EmployeeService.cs or whatever name gave your entity appended with Service.cs. It will be subbed out but I want you to replace what is there with

  1. public static void Update(Employee employee, int parameter)
  2.     {
  3.         NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  4.         ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  6.         var employeeToUpdate = (from employees in dataContext.Employees
  7.                                where employees.EmployeeID == parameter
  8.                                select employees).Single();
  10.         employeeToUpdate.FirstName = employee.FirstName;
  11.         employeeToUpdate.LastName = employee.LastName;
  12.         employeeToUpdate.Title = employee.Title;
  13.         employeeToUpdate.TitleOfCourtesy = employee.TitleOfCourtesy;
  14.         employeeToUpdate.BirthDate = employee.BirthDate;
  15.         employeeToUpdate.HireDate = employee.HireDate;
  16.         employeeToUpdate.Address = employee.Address;
  17.         employeeToUpdate.City = employee.City;
  18.         employeeToUpdate.Region = employee.Region;
  19.         employeeToUpdate.PostalCode = employee.PostalCode;
  20.         employeeToUpdate.Country = employee.Country;
  21.         employeeToUpdate.HomePhone = employee.HomePhone;
  22.         employeeToUpdate.Extension = employee.Extension;
  23.         employeeToUpdate.Notes = employee.Notes;
  24.         dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  25.     }


Add a Deleter Method

  1. Click on the Employee entity in the BDC Designer
  2. You should see in the pane at the bottom of the Visual Studio IDE a window called “BDC Method Details”, inside there click
  3. Add a Method from the dropdown list and select “Create a Deleter Method”

Once that is complete, you can either (1) Double Click or (2) Right Click and select ‘View Code’’ on the Delete Method that is in the Design Area. This will take you inside EmployeeService.cs or whatever name gave your entity appended with Service.cs. It will be subbed out but I want you to replace what is there with


  2. public static void Delete(int employeeID)
  3. {
  4.     NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  5.     ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  7.     Employee Employee =
  8.     (from employees in dataContext.Employees.AsEnumerable().Take(20)
  9.      where employees.EmployeeID == employeeID
  10.      select employees).Single();
  13.     dataContext.Employees.DeleteOnSubmit(Employee);
  14.     dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  16. }


All in all the full code should look like below when you put it all together.


  1. using System;
  2. using System.Collections.Generic;
  3. using System.Linq;
  4. using System.Text;
  5. using NorthWindEmployees;
  7. namespace NorthWindEmployees.NWindFarmECTEmployees
  8. {
  9.     public partial class EmployeeService
  10.     {
  11.         public static Employee ReadItem(int employeeID)
  12.         {
  13.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  14.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  16.             Employee Employee =
  17.             (from employees in dataContext.Employees.AsEnumerable().Take(20)
  18.              where employees.EmployeeID == employeeID
  19.              select employees).Single();
  20.             return Employee;
  21.         }
  23.         public static IEnumerable<Employee> ReadList()
  24.         {
  25.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  26.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  29.             IEnumerable<Employee> Employees =
  30.                 from employees in dataContext.Employees
  31.                 select employees;
  32.             return Employees;
  33.         }
  35.         public static Employee Create(Employee newEmployee)
  36.         {
  37.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  38.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  41.             Employee emp = new Employee();
  43.             emp.FirstName = newEmployee.FirstName;
  44.             emp.LastName = newEmployee.LastName;
  45.             emp.Title = newEmployee.Title;
  46.             emp.TitleOfCourtesy = newEmployee.TitleOfCourtesy;
  47.             emp.BirthDate = newEmployee.BirthDate;
  48.             emp.HireDate = newEmployee.HireDate;
  49.             emp.Address = newEmployee.Address;
  50.             emp.City = newEmployee.City;
  51.             emp.Region = newEmployee.Region;
  52.             emp.PostalCode = newEmployee.PostalCode;
  53.             emp.Country = newEmployee.Country;
  54.             emp.HomePhone = newEmployee.HomePhone;
  55.             emp.Extension = newEmployee.Extension;
  56.             emp.Notes = newEmployee.Notes;
  58.             dataContext.Employees.InsertOnSubmit(emp);
  59.             dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  60.             return emp;
  61.         }
  63.         public static void Update(Employee employee, int parameter)
  64.         {
  65.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  66.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  68.             var employeeToUpdate = (from employees in dataContext.Employees
  69.                                    where employees.EmployeeID == parameter
  70.                                    select employees).Single();
  72.             employeeToUpdate.FirstName = employee.FirstName;
  73.             employeeToUpdate.LastName = employee.LastName;
  74.             employeeToUpdate.Title = employee.Title;
  75.             employeeToUpdate.TitleOfCourtesy = employee.TitleOfCourtesy;
  76.             employeeToUpdate.BirthDate = employee.BirthDate;
  77.             employeeToUpdate.HireDate = employee.HireDate;
  78.             employeeToUpdate.Address = employee.Address;
  79.             employeeToUpdate.City = employee.City;
  80.             employeeToUpdate.Region = employee.Region;
  81.             employeeToUpdate.PostalCode = employee.PostalCode;
  82.             employeeToUpdate.Country = employee.Country;
  83.             employeeToUpdate.HomePhone = employee.HomePhone;
  84.             employeeToUpdate.Extension = employee.Extension;
  85.             employeeToUpdate.Notes = employee.Notes;
  86.             dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  87.         }
  89.         public static void Delete(int employeeID)
  90.         {
  91.             NorthWindDataContext dataContext = new NorthWindDataContext
  92.             ("Data Source=Farm1Server1ADSQL;Initial Catalog=Northwind;uid=BCSUser1;pwd=P@ssword1");
  94.             Employee Employee =
  95.             (from employees in dataContext.Employees.AsEnumerable().Take(20)
  96.              where employees.EmployeeID == employeeID
  97.              select employees).Single();
  100.             dataContext.Employees.DeleteOnSubmit(Employee);
  101.             dataContext.SubmitChanges();
  103.         }
  104.     }
  105. }


In a nutshell you are done, and you can just “F5” to debug and test it, or just “Deploy” from here, BUT!!! you can also copy that BDCM file out. Its what was previously known as your Application Definition File or now your Model File and you can Import that INTO

  • SharePoint Designer or
  • Central Administration

Why would you do that? Maybe your SDLC calls for separation, and your coders need to and off here. This is just an XML file, i have a snippet below

  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  2. <Model xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/windows/2007/BusinessDataCatalog" Name="NWindFarmECTEmployees">
  3.   <LobSystems>
  4.     <LobSystem Name="NWindFarmECTEmployees" Type="DotNetAssembly">
  5.       <LobSystemInstances>
  6.         <LobSystemInstance Name="NWindFarmECTEmployees" />
  7.       </LobSystemInstances>
  8.       <Entities>
  9.         <Entity Name="Employee" Namespace="NorthWindEmployees.NWindFarmECTEmployees" Version="">
  10.           <Properties>
  11.             <Property Name="Class" Type="System.String">NorthWindEmployees.NWindFarmECTEmployees.EmployeeService, NWindFarmECTEmployees</Property>
  12.           </Properties>
  13.           <Identifiers>
  14.             <Identifier Name="EmployeeID" TypeName="System.Int32" />
  15.           </Identifiers>
  16.           <Methods>
  17.             <Method Name="ReadItem">
  18.               <Parameters>
  19.                 <Parameter Name="employee" Direction="Return">
  20.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="Employee" TypeName="NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees" IsCollection="false" PreUpdaterField="false">
  21.                     <TypeDescriptors>
  22.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" TypeName="System.Int32" IsCollection="false" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" />
  23.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="LastName" TypeName="System.String" />
  24.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="FirstName" TypeName="System.String" />
  25.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Title" TypeName="System.String" />
  26.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="TitleOfCourtesy" TypeName="System.String" />
  27.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="BirthDate" TypeName="System.DateTime" IsCollection="false" />
  28.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HireDate" TypeName="System.DateTime" IsCollection="false" />
  29.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Address" TypeName="System.String" />
  30.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="City" TypeName="System.String" />
  31.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Region" TypeName="System.String" />
  32.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="PostalCode" TypeName="System.String" />
  33.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Country" TypeName="System.String" />
  34.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HomePhone" TypeName="System.String" />
  35.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Extension" TypeName="System.String" />
  36.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Notes" TypeName="System.String" /></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></Parameter>
  37.                 <Parameter Name="employeeID" Direction="In">
  38.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" TypeName="System.Int32" IdentifierEntityName="Employee" IdentifierEntityNamespace="NorthWindEmployees.NWindFarmECTEmployees" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" PreUpdaterField="false" /></Parameter>
  39.               </Parameters>
  40.               <MethodInstances>
  41.                 <MethodInstance Name="ReadItem" Type="SpecificFinder" ReturnParameterName="employee" ReturnTypeDescriptorPath="Employee" />
  42.               </MethodInstances></Method>
  43.             <Method Name="ReadList">
  44.               <Parameters>
  45.                 <Parameter Name="employeeList" Direction="Return">
  46.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeList" TypeName="System.Collections.Generic.IEnumerable`1[[NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees]]" IsCollection="true">
  47.                     <TypeDescriptors>
  48.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Employee" IsCollection="false" TypeName="NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees">
  49.                         <TypeDescriptors>
  50.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.Int32" />
  51.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="LastName" TypeName="System.String" />
  52.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="FirstName" TypeName="System.String" />
  53.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Title" TypeName="System.String" />
  54.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="TitleOfCourtesy" TypeName="System.String" />
  55.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="BirthDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" />
  56.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="HireDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" />
  57.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Address" TypeName="System.String" />
  58.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="City" TypeName="System.String" />
  59.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Region" TypeName="System.String" />
  60.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="PostalCode" TypeName="System.String" />
  61.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Country" TypeName="System.String" />
  62.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="HomePhone" TypeName="System.String" />
  63.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Extension" TypeName="System.String" />
  64.                           <TypeDescriptor Name="Notes" TypeName="System.String" /></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></Parameter>
  65.               </Parameters>
  66.               <MethodInstances>
  67.                 <MethodInstance Name="ReadList" Type="Finder" ReturnParameterName="employeeList" ReturnTypeDescriptorPath="EmployeeList" />
  68.               </MethodInstances></Method>
  69.             <Method Name="Create">
  70.               <Parameters>
  71.                 <Parameter Name="returnEmployee" Direction="Return">
  72.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="ReturnEmployee" IsCollection="false" TypeName="NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees">
  73.                     <TypeDescriptors>
  74.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.Int32" />
  75.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="LastName" TypeName="System.String" />
  76.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="FirstName" TypeName="System.String" />
  77.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Title" TypeName="System.String" />
  78.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="TitleOfCourtesy" TypeName="System.String" />
  79.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="BirthDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" />
  80.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HireDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" />
  81.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Address" TypeName="System.String" />
  82.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="City" TypeName="System.String" />
  83.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Region" TypeName="System.String" />
  84.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="PostalCode" TypeName="System.String" />
  85.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Country" TypeName="System.String" />
  86.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HomePhone" TypeName="System.String" />
  87.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Extension" TypeName="System.String" />
  88.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Notes" TypeName="System.String" /></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></Parameter>
  89.                 <Parameter Name="newEmployee" Direction="In">
  90.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="NewEmployee" IsCollection="false" TypeName="NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees">
  91.                     <TypeDescriptors>
  92.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.Int32" CreatorField="true" />
  93.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="LastName" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  94.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="FirstName" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  95.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Title" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  96.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="TitleOfCourtesy" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  97.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="BirthDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" CreatorField="true" />
  98.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HireDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" CreatorField="true" />
  99.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Address" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  100.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="City" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  101.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Region" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  102.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="PostalCode" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  103.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Country" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  104.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HomePhone" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  105.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Extension" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" />
  106.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Notes" TypeName="System.String" CreatorField="true" /></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></Parameter>
  107.               </Parameters>
  108.               <MethodInstances>
  109.                 <MethodInstance Name="Create" Type="Creator" ReturnParameterName="returnEmployee" ReturnTypeDescriptorPath="ReturnEmployee" />
  110.               </MethodInstances></Method>
  111.             <Method Name="Update">
  112.               <Parameters>
  113.                 <Parameter Name="employee" Direction="In">
  114.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="Employee" IsCollection="false" TypeName="NorthWindEmployees.Employee, NWindFarmECTEmployees">
  115.                     <TypeDescriptors>
  116.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.Int32" UpdaterField="true" />
  117.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="LastName" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  118.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="FirstName" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  119.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Title" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  120.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="TitleOfCourtesy" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  121.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="BirthDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" UpdaterField="true" />
  122.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HireDate" IsCollection="false" TypeName="System.DateTime" UpdaterField="true" />
  123.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Address" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  124.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="City" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  125.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Region" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  126.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="PostalCode" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  127.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Country" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  128.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="HomePhone" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  129.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Extension" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" />
  130.                       <TypeDescriptor Name="Notes" TypeName="System.String" UpdaterField="true" /></TypeDescriptors></TypeDescriptor></Parameter>
  131.                 <Parameter Name="parameter" Direction="In">
  132.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" TypeName="System.Int32" IsCollection="false" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" PreUpdaterField="true" /></Parameter>
  133.               </Parameters>
  134.               <MethodInstances>
  135.                 <MethodInstance Name="Update" Type="Updater" />
  136.               </MethodInstances></Method>
  137.             <Method Name="Delete">
  138.               <Parameters>
  139.                 <Parameter Name="employeeID" Direction="In">
  140.                   <TypeDescriptor Name="EmployeeID" TypeName="System.Int32" IdentifierEntityName="Employee" IdentifierEntityNamespace="NorthWindEmployees.NWindFarmECTEmployees" IdentifierName="EmployeeID" /></Parameter>
  141.               </Parameters>
  142.               <MethodInstances>
  143.                 <MethodInstance Name="Delete" Type="Deleter" />
  144.               </MethodInstances></Method>
  145.           </Methods></Entity>
  146.       </Entities>
  147.     </LobSystem>
  148.   </LobSystems>
  149. </Model>


For US howevever we will just Deploy it. What we expect to see then in Central Admin under the BDC Service Application is the following

  • A brand new External Content Type
  • A new Model and
  • A new External System


As in my original post, make sure you also do the following as it relates to the ECT

  1. Set the Metadata Store Permissions
  2. Set at a Minimum the “Execute” Permissions on the ECT so that people can use it. You may consider giving the Search Account permissions if you intend to use this ECT as a Content Source in Search

The Finale

Now we create our External List and we should have FULL CRUD Capabilities. Here you can see the Methods exposed though their actions. To see and learn more come see my VS Live 360 Session that i spoke about on my blog here.


October 14, 2013 Posted by | Business Connectivity Services, Secure Store, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint Development, SharePoint How-To, Visual Studio 2012 | , , , , | 2 Comments

Come see my three session at SPLive360 in Orlando

What am I speaking on

I am honored to be accepted to speak at this auspicious event led by co-Chairs Andrew Connell and Dan Holme this November 18th through 22nd, at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal in Orlando, Florida. I will be delivering three sessions

  1. SPH14 Case Study: When Should I Use SharePoint 2013 Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and When Should I Use SharePoint 2013 Workflows to Interact with External
  2. SPW11 No-Code CRUD Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Solutions Using SharePoint Designer 2013
  3. SPW02 What’s New with SharePoint Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and OData Services

SAVE MORE when your REGISTER by using PromoCode: SPLSP21


What to expect?

if you have ever been to any of my sessions before, you will know it is highly interactive, and we remain in dialog for the entire time. My demos will incorporate your ideas and challenges, therefore we all walk away winners!

Indeed, there is a good mix for just about everybody over these three sessions; Im actually getting back to my BCS roots after spending the last few months, maybe a year now i think focusing in large part on Workflows and External Data. Infact, the Case Study session is all about how to make the decision of using a Workflow v/s using BCS.

Emphasis on External Data

All these sessions have a common theme…External Data… and in that vein, we will begin the sessions by discussing various types of External Data, their entry point to SharePoint and also how to manipulate them in the browser and Fiddler. I feel it is important for us to get/set our expectations of what our desired results should be before we get too far into the technical weeds of how SharePoint can expose/surface this data.

At this very moment of blog authorship [October, 10, 2013 1721 hrs] Im actually building out my Data Services, different flavors (Native SQL, oData, WCF) so we can have a few interaction points and see full CRUD-Q capacities between SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio.


As we work in a world consumed by data, we are often challenged to make sense out of it, i.e. get INFORMATION from DATA, and the speed to which you can accomplish that usually will determine your success over another. My job in these sessions is to demonstrate various techniques to that end (the HOW), and also in the case of the Case Study Session, engage you in conversation as to the WHY.


October 10, 2013 Posted by | Business Connectivity Services, Public Speaking, REST, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Workflows, SharePoint Designer 2013, SharePoint Development, SharePoint How-To, Visual Studio 2012, Where is Fabian, Workflows | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming soon: SharePointFabian Blog Mobile App

What’s my Motivation?

So, we can all agree that as each passing day goes by, our technology spigot comes to us via a mobile device [iDevice, Android Device, Microsoft Mobile Device, etc], so with that in mind I wanted to (1) start creating Mobile Apps (2) Learn how to do the first objective via creating my first Mobile App to showcase my Blog.

What was my approach

When taking on a new challenge, especially one where you are totally unmatched i.e. low to no prior knowledge on the specifics, then you use what you know to support what you don’t know. What do i mean by that? well in my case, I know C#, ASP.NET, MVC, so I try to use that as an approach to bridge getting a Mobile App created. Now, I will also say that recently I started to dive deep into HTML5, CSS and JavaScript as a way to also master SharePoint’s evolution into more Client Side Development, thank God, because that knowledge of JavaScript really panned out, I could whip out JS quite easily in my MVC code.

So, to wrap up this section, I talked to folks who have done this before from the SharePoint Community, and I bounced my App that I already built in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript off them and they all said the same thing, “…its functional, but its ugly…” or words to the same effect.  Bart @Bart_tubalinal Tubalinal suggested that just take my HTML5/CSS/JS files and use a tool called PhoneGap (now called Cordova) to make it a Native App that can be consumed by IOS, Android and WindowsPhone. Now, that sounded like a great Idea, until i realized that PhoneGap didn’t give me an easy way to make my solution look petty i.e. I still needed to “sexy it up” So I spoke to Chris @LoungeFlyz Johnson (CJ) and asked his advice, after all he has this awesome App “My Trips” that plugs into TripIt’s API and allows you to well… take a look here in the marketplace for more detail. Well he turned me on to Sencha Touch 2 (@sencha) which takes ‘functional’ developers like me and puts some nice themes, buttons, panels, etc, in front of my code, then use PhoneGap to wrap it.

NB: I will do a separate blog on that journey of how to take a HTML5/CSS/JS App port it into a Sencha Touch 2 App then port that to a PhoneGap Solution then package that to the Microsoft Marketplace

So, that is/was my approach

Where is the App Now?

So the App is in the Validation phase of the Microsoft Marketplace and it is set to Publish Automatically, as soon as it does, I will tweet it. Mind you this is my first attempt 🙂 and ITS FREE, so you are getting exactly what you pay for LOL, nah JK, its pretty good for a first attempt.

for now, here is it working in a short demo video: SharePointFabian Blog Mobile App

and in the browser its just plain old MVC with JavaScript


What’s Next

So what am I going to do with this new fountain of budding knowledge? Well, I am going to first begin by tackling some stuff in SharePoint that not only will satisfy “DemoWare” solutions but should have some meaningful impact as well, for instance

  1. Visually Navigate Easily (icons, line graphs, actions) Workflows from a SharePoint Library using CSOM, REST and OData to adjudicate them without going into SharePoint by using Push Notifications
  2. and more stuff, i cant just put all my ideas out there can i 🙂 ?

Outside of SharePoint I do have my @TunnelViz App that I will be refactoring next since its already developed in HTML5/CSS/JS and that will be out soon. But expect some SharePoint Saturdays and other Conference Talks on Mobile Apps for SharePoint, as far as I know there are very few people doing Mobile Apps targeting Windows Device, so either (1) the market place will determine that there is no need for anything like that [and based on my struggles trying to figure out how to use Sencha with PhoneGap, I’m beginning to think that may be true] and my sessions wont get picked up or (2) Ill have a few others out there that do SharePoint Mobile Talks like Jeremy @jthake Thake did at TechEd

Till, then.. cheers.

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Client Side Coding, MobileApps, PhoneGap, Sencha, SharePoint 2013, Visual Studio 2012 | 1 Comment

How To: Create SharePoint 2013 Workflow App-Site Columns to Fully Deployed App using Visual Studio 2012


*** Feel free to skip this section unless you want background information on the genesis of this blog post***

Good day all, to appreciate this blog let me set the stage of my day. Two days ago, I put together a PowerShell Script that laid down the SQL Bits, SharePoint Bits, Configured a slew of Service Application, Configured Central Admin, as well as 4 Web Apps for sites, and also deploy Workflow Manger 1.0 and Register my Site collections, needless to say I was very pleased. To put this NEW Dev Rig to the test, decided to live up to my promise of duplicating a previous post done in SharePoint Designer, whereby I demonstrated how to use SPD 2013 to do complex workflows that could only be done in Visual Studio in SharePoint 2010. My spin on it was to do it all as a SharePoint Hosted ALL in ONE App in SharePoint 2013.

So, lets go to the end then Ill work my way back.  I found out when I tested my solution in my On Prem environment that it wasn’t working as designed, by that I mean:

  • My Assets Deployed
    • It installed all my Site Columns
    • It installed my Content Type
    • It installed my List Instance
  • What It didnt do
    • I could only get to the App URL by using the Account I used in Visual Studio to create the Solution, even though the other account (my own named fabianwilliams account) which is also a Site Owner in the Site it was Deployed to.. returned “cannot display this page” error
    • Even when I created or uploaded a document to the Library under the Content Type, There was NO workflow to fire off… “it” said “no workflow was defined for that Library, Folder, Document, or my Content Type” or something to that effect

So, that struck me as Odd, I tried it a few more times by breaking up the Provisioning of Assets piece into its own solution, and the Workflow in another, didn’t make a difference. SO, I decided to COPY MY CODE VERBATIM to my SharePoint Online Developer Tennant Account and guess what… IT WORKED THERE.

So this blog will chronicle the start from an On Prem solution and eventually copying the code to a new Visual Studio Solution targeting my SharePoint Online Account where it worked as Designed.  Ill either try to figure out why it didn’t work, or since I have a PoSH script, just review the script, make changes, Kill my Farm and Redo it.

UPDATE: 5/26/2013 0953HRS – So after a few hours sleep and thinking about why it didnt work, I tried just doing a regular Workflow App in Visual Studio and It worked, so it may NOT BE my Workflow Manger, indeed, my SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflows also work. So perhaps its my App Model Service Application that is Busted!!!, Ill look into it.



This is going to be a LONG post, especially because as you now I am verbose in my blogs, and I take lots of screen shots. So you may need to do this in a few sittings lol, or maybe it will end up being like a great novel.

Solution Design

  1. Open Visual Studio and Create a Project using the “App for SharePoint” project template.
  2. Create Folders to House the following Artifacts I will be creating
    1. Site Columns
    2. Content Type
    3. List Definition
  3. Create a List/Document Library based on the Assets in #2 above
  4. Create a Workflow based on the Instance in #3 set to begin manually and on Item Created event
  5. Point the AppManifest file to the Library Instance

Get your Site Columns squared away

Whenever I deliver solutions for clients, I absolutely always, unless told otherwise, create my own Site Columns, Content Types if necessary, and List/Library Instance when I am using Visual Studio to build and deploying my solution as a WSP. I do that to ensure that my columns and other assets are UNIQUE in the environment firstly, and second, it makes my solution very portable. So, its not surprising that in my example here I will do the same.

So, open up Visual Studio and Begin a SharePoint Apps “App for SharePoint 2013” project


Change your project from Auto Hosted to "SharePoint Hosted” and just validate your Connection for warm fuzzy feeling.


When you are done you should get a brand new shiny project as you see below


Create your Site Columns

Next I will add a few site columns to aid the process, there are a few these, and what I am trying to illustrate in this blog is the different kinds of Site Columns you can create and what the defaults are, as well as a few customized options you can make.


By default when you add a Site Column it adds an Elements.xml file that will set for Text type with limited information, I added more and changed the type to person (User & UserMulti), number, Choice, for a few of them.

Here is an example of what the default added site column looks like


Here is an example of what a few Site Columns look like after I modified it for text entry. You will notice that I have additions for StaticName, Description and whether or not the Field is Sealed, meaning can you edit it in your Site Columns once the solution is deployed.


Here is one that is modified for choice column. You will notice there are options here to allow or dis-allow FillInChoice as well as the available choices and the default one if none is selected.


Here is for Number. Key takeaway here is the Minimum and Maximum values, Decimal option. You will notice here that the Required is set to TRUE in this one.



Here is one for People. People is a little different from the rest in that it affects display in many ways. the Type can be (1) User or (2)UserMulti depending if you want to allow for multiple user selection in a single field. This can be because you want to do Parallel or Serial Approval with a bunch of folks denoted in a single field. In addition, the ShowField option there will show Presence Information if Lync/OCS is present.


and in the end the field that the Workflow will update when i is approved or rejected is this one, another Choice Field that has some meaning for us in the end.


Create your Content Type

Next you will make a Content Type to house all these Site Columns.


Next choose the template that this content type will be based off


Now you get to define what this Content Type will look like, you add columns from which you previously created as well as define other parameters as you see below. By clicking on the “Content Type” tab, you can set the Name, Description and Group where the CT will be stored as well as a few more options.


Now an all important step here is how you can add “Additional” columns in to your Content Type in addition to what will be there by default based on the one you inherit from. Here is where you will select from the previously created Site Columns. The task simple, just begin typing and you will see it finding the ones you want.



Finally your finished product will look like below when you have located all the ones you want.



Now you may not see the significance of all the above work, and you discount it as not a ‘big deal’ but If you have EVER done this in previous version of SharePoint you will understand that you had to do this all by hand i.e. now UI Tooling, so the experience was to create all this by XML as you see below, which is still there for you behind the scenes, but now you get to do it in a tool


Create your List Definition and List Instance

Finally its time to add the last piece of our artifacts, the List Definition, see below, notice also the creation of our Site Columns and Content Types to the Right in the Project Solution


As with the Content Type there are a few configurations we need to do such as telling the Definition what kind of List/Library to inherit from. Normally I would usually do Document Set because usually I find that its NOT just one document asset they have that is a part of the Business Process Re-engineering effort but a slew of them. But for simplicity here i elect Document Library.


and what template to use. Now again, if you had a template that was already done that had all the information they need you can put it here. Normally, I take the “Paper Document” and make an Electronic version here OR I take the electronic version and either

(1) Strip out the Fields that I will elevate to a Site Column in the Content Type from the document or

(2) Use Word Parts such that when the Document Information Panel (DIP) asks for the Metadata information, it AUTO POPULATES the fields in the document as well. Up to you.


and we finally tell the list definition to use the content type we created earlier which of course has our site columns included. So this is quite easy right and you can see the logical flow here. By clicking on the Content Type button, you select the Content Type you earlier created and it will automatically put in the Fields that you selected.


We also need to clean up our List Name and description as well as note the name of the List Instance because that will be the start page for our App Manifest so we can be taken directly to the List to add and item so the workflow can work


Now we almost to the end, we need to add a Workflow to our project and name it accordingly.

Create our Workflow – Finally huh 🙂

Now we add our Workflow Item to our Project.


Next again, you will need to configure a few steps such as what kind of workflow. Obviously we want a List Workflow for our project because we just spent all that time creating Site Columns, Content Types, and a List Definition to do it.  So name your Workflow and be on your way.


what it will run on, that is the List instance we created earlier from our List Definition. Now the Project knows about our List Instance that we created, so we just select it from the drop down list and in this case we want NEW instances of a Workflow History List as well as its OWN new task List to use.


and how it will start. Now for testing purposes, I normally will have Manual as well as Item Created, but will clean that up before Production.


finally you get a solution where you get to design your workflow. I think there are enough call outs in the diagram so that you can get the picture 🙂


Next you get a few Workflow Activity items from the toolbox to design out your Workflow as below


We configure the task option either in the Project Properties window or you can click the configure link in he design surface and configure the options as you see me do below. Now in production you can certainly do business logic for alot of these options which as you see involve C# code that gets translated to XAML when you deploy your project


Here are a few more edits made to the project, things that you will see in the Outcome when testing. I am including the Logging as a mans to show you that there is nothing up my sleeves as well as it is good practice to document your workflow and give feedback to the End User/ Workflow Actor. The Logging below will show up in the Workflow History chronology.


A couple of things to call out here. You notice the “if” section and below it it has the “outcome_0 == 0” so basically, when you use a Task Activity the tooling will create for you a Variable called “outcome_0” and based on the disposition of the Task, it will be either Zero(0) or One(1) to denote the outcome. Zero means it is a Successful Approval.


Above again you will notice the UpdateItem Activity. I am saying here that if the Outcome is a successful Approval I want the Workflow to go ahead and Update the Field “FinalAdjudicationOutcome” to the choice field option you see above. I have the inverse of that applied on the Else side of the Conditional Check.


Below is just another logging to show you when the Workflow ends.




So when you are done, the resulting solution may look like the below


Now you remember when i said that you need to note the name of the List Instance, here is where you will use the name; you see, you want the App to begin on the List Instance you created and modify the Start Page setting



Once that is done, you go ahead and Deploy your solution to your site. The URL below shows the FQDN of the location where the App will be. This reflects the On Prem solution. As you know if you read the Precis, I think my App Model installation is busted which I found out in testing. So we are going to copy my solution to a Cloud SharePoint Instance I have.

A benefit to you the Reader

Now, this is indeed unexpected but it does show you that your Visual Studio Solution

A. Can be used on a Desktop WITHOUT SharePoint being installed AS LONG AS you are pointing to a Cloud Instance of SharePoint. Obviously, you are also not doing a Farm Solution

B. Your solution is Portable, you can move the same code between On Prem and in the Cloud as long again as it is NOT a farm solution

C. You can create a Development Environment in the Cloud, Azure Perhaps and kill it when you are done, no need to install VM’s to do SharePoint work anymore, with the same qualifiers as above

Now Deploy your solution and if you are successful you will see the below.



Testing in my On PREM environment

Once you examine the site by clicking on the URL, you can see the results of your Assets deployed inside your List Instance


Next create a Item and fill out the Metadata fields


Here is where Testing Failed and I copied my code into a NEW VISUAL STUDIO PROJECT targeted at an Office 365 SharePoint Online Tennant

My New Visual Studio Project targeting SharePoint Online

So, I added a new Project to my Visual Studio Solution, see the callouts below


Deploying it gave success as well, see below. This time the URL targets my Office 365 SharePoint Online Instance.



The testing below occurs in Office 365 SharePoint Online after re-deploying our App targeting this environment.


Testing our Visual Studio Solution in Office 365 SharePoint Online

Now we will test again, this time in Office 365 SharePoint Online. Again we fill out the necessary Metadata fields.


This time we have our Workflow Starting as we can see bwlow


and you can see in the Workflow Status that we are set to go and the Workflow is working


next we adjudicate the Task Assigned


and our result is


Trust but Verify

Now, indeed, I had a few other steps in my SharePoint Designer 2013 version of this, using Stages, and we can certainly duplicate this in Visual Studio, but this blog post was long enough, and the simple truth is that you basically repeat the steps I have above and the Designer is built to show the FLOW that the workflow will take, so its “monkey with a wrench” work, the examples in this blog post shows you how to do it once, you now take that knowledge and repeat it as much as you need for a holistic solution.

Back to our workflow at hand. If you recall, if the person approved the Item, the Workflow should Update the List Item by changing the field of the “FinalAdjudicationOutcome” to what you see below, which it did. Furthermore, the images in the Testing Section shows some of the Logging we did so you can infer the path that it is taking.




So in the end, we still have our solution, our blog, and WE both learned a few things in this process. Have fun y’all. Irie.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | Content Types, Office 365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Workflows, SharePoint How-To, SharePoint Online, Site Columns, Visual Studio 2012, Workflows | | 19 Comments