DataView Web Part ddwrt Date formatting

I was looking to find different date formatting options in a Data View Web Part for MOSS 2007. Luckily I found this blog which lists all the date formatting options available

To format a date in the Data View Web Part the ddwrt namespace is used

<xsl:value-of select=”ddwrt:FormatDate(string(@DailySalesDate),1033, 5) />


STSADM AddSolution and DeploySolution Object Reference not set to an Instance of the Object error

When deploying Solution packages to MOSS, the deployment must be made with an account that is a Farm Administrator. Otherwise you will get an error about Object Reference not set to an instance of the object. You can also run a CMD prompt window as the MOSS application pool account and run

Stsadm.exe –o addsolution <solutionLocation>


StsAdm.exe –o deploysolution –name <solutionname.wsp> -local –allowgacdeployment –force –url http://localhost

to deploy the solution

Here is a forum post that talks about this issue

Create Virtual Machine for VMWare Player

I downloaded VMWare Player from here and tried to create a new VM. Apparently only existing VMs can be opened with the player. I didn’t want to install VMWare Server on my laptop and found this great post on how to create a new VM without VMWare Server

Update: apparently there is a way to build VM images online at as found in this post

SharePoint Search Web Service Query Tool

The SharePoint Search web service query tool provides a great way to build your search queries and submit them to the MOSS/WSS Search web service

Download from CodePlex here

Toggle the server type to test against WSS/MOSS. Toggle the Query Type for keyword search or SQL Search. If you are trying to retrieve all Blog posts here is how your query would look

“select title,author,LastModifiedTime,Path,bodydescription from scope() where “scope”=’Blog Posts’ order by 3 desc”

Here we pull the different properties on a scope called “Blog Posts”

Here is a link about this tool


Top 10 Pitfalls for a SharePoint implementation Part 2

This is a continuation of my previous post. Click here to view Part 1


6. Our Front office admin can manage SharePoint – A lack of good training/governance/maintenance policy destroys the user’s confidence in the portal solution. There is nothing more frustrating for an end user than waiting for a consultant to provide support within “48 hours”.

 7. We need to design every site before rolling out the portal – The traditional waterfall methodology invariably breaks down during portal implementations. Users need collaboration now and not 6/8 months down the road. An agile approach works great where you can obtain quick design wins and improve the portal adoption organically throughout the enterprise. It is a great feeling when people realize the benefits of SharePoint from their peers than a 45 minute sales pitch.

 8. Can we have our old documents please? – Migration of existing content is often overlooked until the end of the Build phase of the implementation. When user acceptance testing begins, users don’t have access to their existing data and it makes it tough for them to provide feedback and compare apples to apples. Data migration could end up becoming more complex compared to the portal setup, since the old metadata needs to be mapped to the new strategy.

 9. Over-Engineered Security – SharePoint provides tools ranging from self service site creation to completely locked down access to sites. Arriving at a security model that satisfies the business without constraining the users is crucial for success. Over engineering the security puts additional burden on the IT staff for support. Inadequate security leads to unmanaged site growth in the portal. Striking the optimum balance and documenting it early on is the key to prevent issues at a later stage.

 10. All our ASP.NET code will now be Web Parts– This is probably one of the frequent issues that I have run into. There are some applications that thrive well under the web part model. There are certain applications that do not need the constraints “offered” by SharePoint. Picking the right tool for the right Line of Business application ensures that undue burden is not placed on the internal IT staff to standardize their development on MOSS.

If you think I missed something or if you have additional points to add please feel free to link here

Here are a some additional posts that talk about similar pitfalls

Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? – Part 1

Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? – Part 2

Why do SharePoint Projects Fail – Part 3

Why do SharePoint Projects Fail? Part 4

Why do SharePoint Project Fail? Part 5




Top 10 Pitfalls for a SharePoint implementation


Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS 2007) is a truly revolutionary collaboration tool. There are very few technologies that can sell by itself and MOSS is one of those. I have seen clients who have no idea why they need SharePoint, but they want it anyway. Microsoft has done an amazing job of showcasing what MOSS can do for the enterprise and based on initial feedback it is on track to becoming the WebOS for the 21st century. Just like any other Microsoft product, MOSS is relatively easy to install and setup and most businesses think they can get a portal up and running without any design process.

Based on my experience implementing MOSS at various enterprises, here are the top 10 reasons why a MOSS implementation might fail

  1. MOSS is a replacement for your network drive –
    It amazes me that even a lot of salespeople use this line as a pitch for MOSS. Most users end up trying to achieve document management/collaboration by storing all files in a document library. This makes MOSS a glorified network drive with a web front end. Using MOSS as a network drive replacement brings the same problems and users wonder why they don’t see an ROI for the implementation. Such an approach leads to
    1. Lack of visibility into relevant content same data islands exist on MOSS
    2. Lack of standardization across documents
    3. Proliferation of data islands with limited content ownership and contribution

    (I have seen users store SQL database backups on MOSS!)


  2. We know what we need, Just setup a default site – Microsoft has done a terrific job of showcasing MOSS 2007’s ease of use. This has resulted in a false sense of security about the product and most companies frown when you say you need to design the portal. An enterprise portal does not begin and end with the top level site. There are things like search, security, taxonomy and organization of sites, shared services etc. that can come back and haunt you if it is not well designed. Unless you truly want to leverage MOSS as a network drive, some amount of planning and design is needed to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your investment.


  3. Capacity Planning? – What is that? – Every MOSS implementation that I have been a part of has seen great user adoption. Capacity Planning becomes an important exercise if you want to ensure that your portal truly become the one-stop solution for your users. Excel Services, Business Data Catalog, Document conversion services are all resource intensive. Designing a farm that can scale with the business is of utmost importance to ensure a good experience for the users. Poor performance leads to poor user adoption which leads to a stale portal.


  4. Just setup a site, Joe User will love it – Improving information worker productivity is a central goal for MOSS and involving those workers in the planning phase ensures that there is adequate level of buy-in from all levels within the company. I am not recommending “design by committee” here. Key stakeholders should be introduced to the product during the early stage of the rollout to build their level of comfort with the tool and solicit feedback. It increases their sense of ownership and will lead to increased adoption. If the users don’t bother creating/maintaining content all you have is a stale portal that shows the local weather and displays the company stock price and you spent $200k for implementing it.


  5. Oh, while we are at it… – A good MOSS implementation forces businesses to look at their Line of Business applications and evaluate their integration within the portal. A lot of stakeholders use this opportunity to get carried away and want to
    1. Surface every Line of Business database on MOSS
    2. Integrate with every LOB into MOSS and setup 2-way synchronization
    3. Improve their Active Directory infrastructure and reorganize their domains
    4. Virtualize their entire server farm
    5. Upgrade SQL versions and their LOB applications during the portal implementation

    Now when one of these sub-implementations goes south, MOSS is blamed for the failure. It is important to have a phased rollout for the portal for organizations that have the above set of requirements. It is not rocket science to not perform a Peoplesoft upgrade while you are trying to surface the data on your HR portal.

    Click here for Part 2

Live Mesh needs UAC on Vista

On top all the annoyances with UAC (User Annoyance Control) , Live Mesh needs UAC enabled all the time. Come on MS, what about users who can take care of themselves


Here is a post from the Live Mesh team on why UAC is required


Did I just read COM(What year are we in?!!!)



Live Mesh does not install on Windows Server 2008

For those of us running Windows Server 2008 as a workstation , here is another shocking gaffe! Live Mesh requires XP or Vista (32/64 bit). No luck for us Windows Server 2008 users.

Hopefully someone has hacked the installer to let it run on Windows Server 2008

If this doesn’t work, VMware is the only option. Here is a request to VMWare. How about modifying Fusion to let Windows run seamlessly within Windows ? Then we can have XP installed on Win Server 2008 and share folders between the host and the VM

 Update: MsftGuy has a fix here


Fannie Mae losses mount and investors are excited!

Strange are the ways of emotional buyers/sellers. When the govt backed Fannie Mae declared unprecedented losses of $2.57 a share I was expecting the market to react to the arrival of the “Great Depression” ( which has been due from October according to the analysts). The stock’s gone up to $30 and looks like nobody cares anymore.

Apparently, big losses, dividend cuts , stock sale to raise capital do not factor into the strength of a company. I am not an investment guru, but why would someone invest in a company which is laden with debt backed by worthless collateral?

May be Vik Jain can provide some insight!

Live.Com New look and address change

Microsoft has once again updated their Live.Com page. It sports a cleaner look IMHO. The URL for the personalized page has been updated to

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