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A new beginning...
I am officially announcing that my blogging home is moving to - the decision to set up there instead of at Randomelements has not been taken lightly. Unfortunately, however, in today’s climate the web is leaving SharePoint far behind as a blogging client and while it is possible to customise it (I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself - Han Solo) the interactivity with various services across the web just isn’t there. WordPress will give me that connectivity.

The Randomelements :: Blog will not be taken down - there is far too much good stuff to just kill it but all new material will be posted here from now on. I may cross post and set up an optional page redirection as well. For anyone using the old RSS feed fear not, this will get automatically redirected to the new blog so you should not notice any break in service and start getting the new content automatically. I will re-post some of the best recent items over here to give it a solid base to build on so I apologise if you double up on items in your RSS reader - I hope you understand.

It is always going to be difficult to rebrand and relocate at the same time but I think I have already been moving that way (changing my name on was the first step) but I felt that it was required. I found it hard to develop a personal brand around the name randomelements - random doesn’t have good connotations.

As far as the content goes it will be pretty much business as usual; I have been trying to stick to my blogging strategy and hope that this has been reflected in the quality of posts that I have been writing since the start of the year.

A few layout improvements.

After looking at the blog for the past few days I thought that it need a few touches to help tidy things up a bit. I have therefore made a few changes which, although only small, I feel have made quite a difference.


Let's run through the list:

  1. extra spacing between posts to create a greater feeling of space on the page
  2. extra spacing between post title and body - reduces the cramped feeling
  3. adding a 1 pixel border to the left of the right hand pane - assists with the page separation
  4. copied the post edit link to the main page

Change 4 is purely for my own benefit but it saves having to go to the individual post page in order to update any given entry. I think that it is further evidence that SharePoint is not yet a grown up blogging platform; it seems obvious to have edit links readily available and the page layout is not ideally suited to a blog - the blog template is too akin to a standard SharePoint site. Saying that I'll keep plugging away at it and keep making improvements.

I hope the changes make things a bit better on the eye.

UPDATE: one more change for IE8 users. I have placed some javascript in the syndication section (top right) to check browser version and display a link to ad the Featured posts WebSlice to your Favorites bar.

  IE8 Syndication

Note: this will only show when IE is in IE8 standards mode and NOT when emulating IE7.

Related Posts
SharePoint as a blogging platform.

I received an email from Ken Crawbuck at Microsoft asking how I was finding SharePoint as a blogging platform so thought it would make the good basis for a post. If you don't already know, I am hosting this blog on Windows SharePoint Services v3 using the standard blog site template that comes out of the box.

Overall, it’s not too bad as a blogging solution but it is very apparent that the WSS blog template is intended for simple use within a corporate environment and is a version 1 release (maybe not even that).

As a public blog platform it does have some limitations which I have had to work around and, therefore, customised things for my own needs - I have blogged about these before and  SharePoint Designer really comes in to its own here.

A quick for and against list

I have ultimate control as I host it myself
Post and comment integration as you would expect
Built in RSS feeds
The ability to customise SharePoint to your own requirements

Difficult to customise certain aspects
You’re going nowhere without SharePoint Designer
Little thought to the extranet/internet
No easy data portability
RSS feed issues

Windows SharePoint Services and MOSS 2007 are designed to be usable over the web – hence the options to have different URLs to access it via the intranet/extranet but I would still consider there to be bugs in the implementation. One specific example is with the RSS feeds and how they handle images. Image links within blog posts are made relative when processed by the feed and this causes a number of feed readers (RSS in Outlook included) to not be able to display them due to broken links. Personally, I get round this by having all images addressed with the www prefix to force an absolute link rather than a relative one.

Another RSS issue is that items show in RSS feeds before they are approved - this is not desirable and usually means I have my comments feed turned off as I don't want it filled with the spam comments I haven't gotten round to deleting yet.

Comments in general are an area where SharePoint lacks over the internet. Obviously, all your readers are no going to have Active Directory accounts so they access the site anonymously; as such they are not identified and you are forced to add custom fields for visitors names/URLs etc. Not a problem you might think except that the default comments view will not allow you to customise it via the normal means in the UI. To get the custom fields displayed your are forced to edit the comments web parts manually in SharePoint Designer - not good.

It may sound like I’m being negative but I understand that I’m trying to use it for things that it wasn’t really designed to do, it’s then down to me to tweak things and get it running how I like. The very fact that I have been using one SharePoint product or other for the blog for over four years should say something, though. I’m generally very happy with it.

Avoid the hassles

Should you be looking to host your own blog on SharePoint but don't want to have the added hassle of customising various aspects just to get them to work as you would expect then you would be wise to go for the "Community Kit for SharePoint: Enhanced Blog Edition" - a custom site template which has a lot of what I have had to do built in with the added bonus of Akismet comment spam detection.

Adding extra information to the header of a WSS blog.
As SharePoint handles a lot of the page code via master pages you do not have direct access to the top of the document such as the tag.
You may need to insert different information in to the header such as extra tags for RSS feeds or tags - MyBlogLog. for example, uses a meta tag as one of the ways you can verify your site.
So, how do you do it?
Using SharePoint Designer open the page you wish to modify the header of and scroll to the top in Code view. Whilst you do not have access to the actual tag you can add extra items in the AdditionalPageHead Place holder. Look for the following:
Additional Page Head
The line is the default RSS feed link tag for your blog - don't remove it or IE7 won't be able to autodetect your feed.
Here I have added the meta tag required by MyBlogLog to verify my blog but you can add other tags that are valid in the section.
Correcting an oversight.
In January last year I added Digg and links to the foot of each post to make life easier when adding a post to either of these sites. In an oversight I
  1. never added icons, and more importantly
  2. didn't explain how it was done
I thought it was about time I corrected this so I have added icons to make the links more readily apparent
 Social icons
and here's how I originally implemented the links:
If you're adding something to Digg via the website then you first go to and fill in the URL. If on the other hand you're doing from a generated link then you bypass this first phase. Generated links should therefore be in the format
  "{the full post URL}&phase=2" does something similar but with slightly different info. Because of this it is an easy case of creating new calculated columns for the Posts list which builds the full URL based on the details of the given post. The formula for the calculated column for Digg therefore becomes:
and for
Once these are in place you then need to manually edit the Posts web part through SharePoint Designer firstly, to reference the new columns (but not display them where they are not wanted) and then to include them in the part code. Custom columns must be referenced so that you can include them later and, in order to prevent SharePoint from rendering them where it links you include Explicit="False" to the field declarations:
<FieldRef Name="delicious" Explicit="False"/><FieldRef Name="DiggThis" Explicit="False"/>
You can then use your new columns in the actual web part code and, including the site icons, the whole lot looks like this:
<a href=]]></HTML><Column Name="DiggThis"/><HTML><![CDATA[ target="_blank"><IMG align=absmiddle src=/diggicon.gif border=0> Digg This</a> | <a href="]]></HTML><Column Name="delicious"/><HTML><![CDATA[" target="_blank"><IMG align=absmiddle src=/delicious.gif border=0></a><
The same has then been done on Post.aspx which is the individual post page.
UPDATE: just noticed something weird - the first post on the page wouldn't add the post ID in to the URLs (the rest were ok) so I have have to manufacture them manually for now so that the links are correct for all posts on the page.
The blog has a new logo.
Thanks to Sal the blog now has a new logo. I was after something quite minimal but in the same blue colours as the blog and Sal came up trumps.
Here's the blog title before:
Title before
and after:
Title after
It took a bit of playing around with the stylesheet (core.css) to get this is place without any title text etc. but using the eLumenotion SharePoint Skinner it was quite easy to work out which parts needed adjusting.
The logo has been split between three sections at the top of the page:
and the site image ( and title text (.ms-sitetitle a) hidden by setting the display properties to none. With the title set to display:none the .ms-sitetitle padding has had to be increased so that everything lines up correctly, otherwise we end up missing a whole section of the image.
That just left a site title at the top of the page which was removed by setting the display property of .ms-sitemapdirectional to none as well. This in turn hid the in page breadcrumb navigation but this isn't really needed so I also hid .ms-pagebreadcrumb.
I think it looks good, don't you?
Update: things don't quite go to plan in Firefox (there's a gap) so I'll have to have a look at that.
Update 2: using a somewhat unelegant solution I've managed to get round the issue between IE and Firefox displaying the logo differently.
I have set the main CORE.CSS file to use the values required for Firefox and then, in HTML elsewhere on the page, added a conditional comment for IE to change the value:
Fixing Category filtering in Windows SharePoint Services.
Anyone using the Windows SharePoint Services blog template should tread carefully if trying to modify the view on Category.aspx - the page which views the posts from a specific category after clicking on one of the category links.
The view would seem to be coded differently to the way that the view settings work through the UI. If you try to change any setting in the view the filter will break as the UI will show the following:
 Category filter
As you can see, the filter criteria becomes blanked thus the view will not show any items.
The bad news is that you can't revert back to the default settings. So, how to fix it?
It's not straight forward but the only way I've found to get things working again is to create a new WSS site and populate it with a new site collection using the blog template.
Once the new blog has been created open Category.aspx from your original blog and the new one with SharePoint Designer. When looking at Category.aspx in your new blog ensure you are in Split view then select the Posts web part in the Design section
 Select web part
You will then need to copy everything between the tags
 Code 1
Code 2
Then replace the same code in Category.aspx in your original blog. After saving the page normal behaviour will be restored.
If you need to change the way the view looks then you will need to do it directly within SharePoint Designer. For example, if you want to change the number of items shown at one time then modify the code:
 <RowLimit Paged="TRUE">10</RowLimit>
Hope that helps someone.
Is this a bug with Windows SharePoint services? Surely you should be able to change the way the view behaves without breaking the category filter.
From the front line: unable to sync Outlook with a SharePoint calendar.

I have been looking at an issue with a user trying to connect a SharePoint calendar to Outlook but getting the error:

"The link could not be created. You cannot connect to a Windows SharePoint Services site with an Outlook 97-2002 personal folder file."

As the error suggests SharePoint is unable to use the old type of PST and requires a Unicode format PST in order to connect with Outlook.

When you choose "Connect to Outlook" from a SharePoint calendar it automatically tries to create a new PST to hold the SharePoint items but if the default PST type is set to the old 97-2002 format it will fail.

While Unicode PSTs are not disabled here at work a policy is set to make the 97-2002 format the default type and so fails to connect every time. The policy is set by the registry key:

HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\NewPSTFormat which is set to 1 (Default ANSI format)

Renaming/removing this key enables SharePoint to create a Unicode PST and everything works as expected. The only problem is that this is a company wide policy so I have escalated.

An update on the restore.
Everything is working except for the problems with search. I've completely run out of things to try except for another full remove/reinstall of WSS and a fresh restore - I'm not really sure I want to go through that again.
I would expect that a problem with the search service would generate errors in the event logs on the server but no, everything seems to go through correctly. The search database is populated correctly (checking the update times via SQL Server Management Studio) and the search service itself runs fine. The service and crawl accounts are set up in accordance with the recommendations given by WSS:
 Sear5ch accounts
and they are, of course,  permissioned correctly.
I've lost count of the number of reboots, service restarts and complete search database recreations I have been through and I still get exactly the same error:
  "Your search cannot be completed because of a service error"
My question now is do I live with it or do I go through the hassle of another full uninstall/re-install/restore cycle that may not actually work?
Does anyone actually use search on the blog? Is Tags the way to go? Do I stick on a Google or Live search box on instead?
Your search cannot be completed because of a service error.
Everything seems to be back to normal except for searching the blog, I get the error: "Your search cannot be completed because of a service error".
This seems to be a pretty common error but all the normal fixes have done not the trick.
I have tried changing the account used to launch the search service and changed the default content account. Permissions have been checked. I've made sure that the service account has local activation permissions in DCOM configuration within Component Services but the problem persists.
I'll wait to see what events I get logged with regards to crawling attempts etc and see if they reveal anything further.
If you're reading this...
...then I've managed to get everything working again (you'll know what I mean if you on Twitter).
You may have noticed that the blog has been missing for the past day or so - you might not have, but it has. Why? I installed Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 and everything went to pot. I mean EVERYTHING!
The blog would not longer work. SharePoint Central Administration would no longer work. I tried to repair things with the SharePoint Configuration Wizard and this would not connect to the content store. Tried again and it said that it was no longer connection to the server farm. SQL itself played up as well.
So, I had the backup and war was declared.
I uninstalled WSS and tried reinstalling - did not go well. Tried again, install worked but configuration would not complete.
How have I got it up and running? Well, I completely uninstalled WSS and SQL server but the uninstall of both failed to complete successfully. I ended up going through the registry and file system MANUALLY removing just about every file and entry I could find - it took hours!
WSS was then reinstalled and a restore finally achieved from backup - phew!
DCOM errors on your SharePoint box DO cause a loss of functionality.
Further to my earlier post about getting rid of those pesky DCOM errors listed in the event logs on some SharePoint servers Owen Richardson has confirmed that some functionality can in fact be lost if you don't sort them out. His comment reveals that they can prevent an SPWeb.GetListItem(url) from working, instead returning an incorrect function.
So, don't think it's nothing - make sure you resolve those errors.
Thanks Owen.
Exchange web broken after installing WSS patch - fixed.
I installed the patch kb934525 on my server but it seems to have hijacked the default website on the box as I now can't access any Exchange webs (OWA, OMA).
For some reason I also can't remote to the server at the moment so I won't be able to resolve this until I get home - which translates to: I'm not going to be able to see any mails until then.
I'll have to check that the default site in IIS hasn't been extended by mistake.
Problem solved, the default site HAD been accidentally extended so I just removed the SharePoint extensions and all is well.
New SharePoint tagging solution coming soon.
I don't normally agree with posting comments on blogs just to try to sell a product but a comment I received yesterday looked interesting.
As you know, I have been using the WSSSearch Tagging web parts for a while and the original version suits me fine so I haven't even upgraded to the latest from CodePlex. Yesterday a comment was added to my earlier post about a new tagging solution for SharePoint from KWizCom.
Their SharePoint Tagging Feature looks like it will be a nice solution with some good functionality:
  • supports MOSS 2007 / WSS 3.0
  • display site collection tags
  • limit the number of displayed tags
  • view all tags with sizing
  • tags email alert subscription
  • multilingual
This solution isn't available yet (it is due some time this month) an there is no price listed but, if you are looking for a commercial solution that goes a little bit further than the free alternative, this might be worth looking in to.
Check out the SharePoint Tagging feature here or have a look at their other products.
Get rid of DCOM errors in your logs on a SharePoint box.
I don't normally pay too much attention to the event logs on my server unless there is a problem. Whilst looking at the search issue on the blog I noticed numerous events being written to the System Log:
Event Source: DCOM
Event ID: 10016
The application-specific permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID {61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}
A related account is listed in the event.
The event helpfully states that the problem can be fixed using the Component Services Admintrative tool.
The only issue is finding which component has the CLSID of {61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}. The easy way to find this? Search the registry for the class ID and you'll find that it is the IIS WAMREG Admin Service.
With this info you can prevent the events from being logged by doing the following:
  • open the Components Services from Administrative Tools
  • expand Components Services/Computers/My Computer/DCOM Config
  • locate and right-click IIS WAMREG Admin Service - select properties
  • on the Security tab select Customise for "Launch and Activation Permissions" then click Edit
  • add the account referenced in the event and tick Allow for Local Activation
  • do an IISReset
The events should no longer be logged. Interestingly, there is no apparent loss of functionality despite the errors.
Blog search is back.
I have resolved the issues I was having with search on the blog and have re-added the search box to the top of the page.
I was getting event logs as below each time the crawler tried to kick in:
The start address address> cannot be crawled.
Context: Application 'Search index file on the search server', Catalog 'Search'

Details:   Access is denied
A bit of digging revealed that it was due to the way I had the directory security configured. The WSS Search service appears to need Integrated Windows Authentication enabled or the account used by the service is unable to crawl the database.
Removed site search due to problems.
It's probably not used anyway but I have removed but I have removed the site search box from the top of the page. I have been experiencing problems with the WSS Search service and the index was not populated so there seemed little point keeping a search box that would not find anything.
Identity crisis averted.
Why wait until you get home when you can remote desktop to your server with your phone.
This post should now be posted by me and not the system account.
A few issues with WSS.
You may have noticed that the last few posts are showing as being by "System Account". I have had some issues with Search and Usage Analaysis so made a couple of changes - one of those changes has obviously caused my normal account to show up as the system account.
I hope to resolve this tonight.
If you need to know how to change things like services accounts, crawl account and default content access account then a good place to start is this post from Eli Robillard.
WSS Tagging web parts now on CodePlex.
Thanks to Alicia who commented that the WSS Tagging web parts can now be downloaded from CodePlex rather than from the web site.
I had been contacted on a few occasions asking where the web parts could be download from as the link at wsssearch wasn't working. I had received no response from mailing wsssearch direct.
The Tag Cloud web parts on CodePlex are an update to the version that I am currently running and, according to the projects notes now contain some new functionality such as related tags.
To get you're hands on them visit CodePlex here: Tag Cloud 1.0
An issue with anonymous comments on a WSS 3 blog.
OK SharePoint people, I need some help here.
Wayne over at is setting up a WSS 3.0 blog to run alongside the main site and is having issues with the comments. Even though anonymous posting is enabled it is still prompting for authentication when trying to submit one.
In an email trail we have tried all sorts and his settings appear exactly the same as mine but, despite various troubleshooting steps and changes, we have been unable to get it working.
Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Removing the comments feed.
I am going to remove the comments RSS feed due to the amount of comment spam that gets posted. Even though I have moderation turned on SharePoint still includes comments in the feed even though they haven't been approved.
If anyone has any ideas about filtering out the spam or integrating CAPTCHA I'd appreciate a nod.
Content Editor Webpart error - "cannot retrieve properties at this time"
When trying to edit web parts I have been occasionally getting the error "cannot retrieve properties at this time" on trying to save changes. I have only been getting the error when using my PC at work so figured it was an issue with our "pilot" roll-out of IE7 (which I'm testing).
Now, it seems that this is actually a common error and there are a number of workarounds which Mart Muller has posted.
Let's hope one of them does the trick.
Thanks Mart.
Live Writer - feature suggestion.

As SharePoint is such a versatile platform it is likely that you may employ custom fields in your blog. Any column in a SharePoint list can be exposed to things like RSS so I would expect Live Writer to be able to detect the columns in your "Posts" list and make these available via the application.

A typical scenario would be the Tags that are applied to the posts on my blog. I use the WSSSearch Tag Cloud and not an alternative used on most other non-SharePoint blogs such as Technorati tags. The Tag Cloud web parts add a Tags column to your Posts list but, as it is a custom column, it is not accessible from within Live Writer.

I'm obviously not the only one who would like this as this comment from Dave illustrates.

Anyway, I have submitted this as a suggestion via Connect so we shall see if it gets a reaction.

Posting to SharePoint with Windows Live Writer.

As you've not doubt already seen, new betas of Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Writer are now available to testers. I'd never used Live Writer before as it did not support my blog but the new Beta supports the SharePoint 2007 blogging platform so I'm going to be giving it a really good crack as my blogging tool of choice. In fact, this post is being written in Live Writer and is coming from our hotel room :)

If you can read this then it's obviously worked ok.

Add a custom unsafe message to your webparts.
Maurice Prather was offline for a while (long vacation and a server outage) but he's now back blogging and has posted a great tip for SharePoint Admins.
SharePoint v3 lets you add add a custom message to each webpart that is displayed should you mark the web part as unsafe in the web.config file for your site.
Why would you want to mark a webpart as unsafe? As Maurice suggests, perhaps you are performing maintenance or want to migrate users from one webpart to another.
For the full details check Maurice's post here: Custom Unsafe Error Message.
More on the ASP.NET errors.
I had a brief look at the errors I was experiencing on the server. The events being recorded were Event ID: 1000, the description being
"Faulting application w3wp.exe, version 6.0.3790.1830, faulting module webengine.dll, version 2.0.50727.210"
According to the KB article the error occurs because a worker process in an application pool does not have sufficient permissions to access and write to the registry key
So, I've followed the steps in the article and I'll see if it stops the errors from appearing in the log.
UPDATE: that seems to have done the trick - the errors appear to have stopped.
Update on Usage Analysis.
The good news is that usage analysis processing ran correctly last night.
The bad news, however, is that there are still some errors in the Event Log which seem to be related to ASP.NET. I tried running aspnet_iisreg -i but this didn't do the trick so I'll have to look into this more when I have some time. That's for another day.
At least things seem to working okay at the moment.
Problems with SharePoint and Usage Analysis.
The usage analysis report has failed on both of it's last two daily runs so I had to investigate what could be behind it.
I noticed some errors with w3wp.exe in the application event log but could not find any info on them on the web so I thought I'd go back to checking all of the basics.
Central Administration showed a web application as being present which didn't actually exist or relate to anything in IIS and there were related jobs in the timer definition list. This was the first thing to go (taking the rogue jobs with it) - this was most likely a hang over from the upgrade from beta to final.
Next, I noticed that there were two Application Pools in IIS which didn't seem like they should be there any more. Based on the names I think these were from SharePoint v2. These have been disabled and have not caused any problems (I'll give it a day or two to ensure not lasting effects and then remove them)
Next, I disabled usage processing and restarted the server (if you've noticed any downtime this is why) before re-enabling usage analysis. I set it to run for a period this afternoon so that I could keep an eye on it - this time it succeeded.
So, I have now rescheduled usage analysis for the early hours as normal and will see if everything runs as expected. I'll let you know tomorrow.
If not, I'll see if I can post some more details of any errors that have been logged.
RSS redirection.
After my post the other day about the old RSS feeds getting a large number of hits I thought I'd have a look at possible methods of automatic redirection. Alas, I've not been able to do it.
The first thing I came across was an XML redirect as posted by Dave Winer back in 2002. This suggested placing the following in the old feed:

This doesn't want to work as the original feed was using Maurice Prather's Syndication Generator so added "?Channel=Randomelements%20::%20Blog" to URL in order to get the feed.
When replacing the current (manually created) default.aspx with the above XML and trying to subscribe to the feed above gives an error that there is no valid feed at that address. I'm not even definite that this method is supported by all feed readers, although it does pop up all over the place.
Another possibility was forcing a HTTP 301 response with a redirect as described here but SharePoint won't let you do this as you get the error "Code blocks are not allowed in this file" - understandably.
So, I'm stumped.
Does anyone have an idea how I could achieve for any reference to /blog/default.aspx including those with parameters passed in the URL?
UPDATE: okay, ignore me. I was being a being a bit silly and not seeing what was right infront of me. Instead of trying to do it from within SharePoint itself I just created a new virtual directory within the website in IIS and then placed a permanent redirect on both default.aspx and feeds.aspx in that location to the new feed address. Simple really!
New MS website but that's not all!
By now you'll have heard all about and seen the new home page with it's total redesign and AJAX menus:
But, perhaps what is more interesting is the stuff that we don't yet see as detailed on the "" link. It gives a bit of history behind the changes including some rationale behind the layout but, probably more importantly, states:
"what you see on the home page is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changes we’re making to our Web site. Some of the biggest changes are ones you don’t see. In the background we are beginning to migrate much of to a new platform based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Services 2007"
And, as is the 5th most visited site on the web and consists of hundreds of thousands of pages, says:
"Running our site on Office SharePoint Services goes a long way in demonstrating to customers worldwide that the product is reliable and provides an effective solution for managing vast amounts of content"
What better demonstration of the power of SharePoint could you possibly get?
Comments now have permalinks.
I suddenly thought earlier that there was no way to link to a specific comment so I decided to add permalinks to the Comments web part.
 Comment permalink
This was simply achieved by inserting an anchor whose href and name are both formed by referencing the list property Field Name="ID".
Now, I will be able to refer, and link, to specific comments in posts easily.
The Tag Cloud is back!
Thanks to Keith over at WSSSearch.
After mailing WSSSearch to see if the issue with the Tag Cloud requiring authentication was a bug, Keith got straight on to the issue and has sorted it.
A new version of the Tagging Web Parts and installer can be found here (along with the full installation instructions).
The web part is now back in the right pane here on the blog page.
Thanks again Keith :)
Mobile view help needed.
So, since the upgrade to the final build of WSS 3.0 the mobile version of the site hasn't worked correctly.
Currently, if you go to you get the following by default:
 Mobile view
Going to "Posts" from All Content shows a different view which is also not correct. The Categories and Comments views are fine.
I have tried recreating views, changing the default view etc. but all to no avail.
Anyone got any ideas?
Tag cloud removed for now.
I have had to remove the Tag Cloud webpart for the time being. I didn't realise it at the time but the webpart causes the blog to require authentication, remove the part and anonymous access is okay again.
I have dropped WSSSearch an email so hope to hear something soon.
Tag cloud web part.
Caught this via Mark Harrison's blog:
WSSSearch have created a "tag cloud" webpart which adds the kind of functionality to SharePoint that you see in other places such as the following from Technorati.
 Technorati Tags
The webpart shows tags weighted by their frequency. The installation adds a Tags field to the list of your choice allowing you to tag your items to your hearts content.
To download the webpart and get full instructions, check out the WSSSearch web site here: Adding Tagging Web Parts including Tag Cloud and Tag Browser into WSS and MOSS sites.
UPDATE: I need to have a few more tagged posts to get the full effect ;)
The mobile blog - update.
The problem appears to be with the mobile views not rendering correctly.
I have tried creating new views, changing the default mobile view etc. but still can't get the posts to display properly.
I'll have to look in to it a bit further but, in the meantime, has anyone got any ideas?
The mobile blog is not working correctly.
After checking things over I've seen that the mobile version of the blog isn't working correctly so I'll have to have a look at that tonight.
I doubt there's many people reading this on their phones but if you are please bear with me.
Blog upgraded to WSS v3 final.
You may have noticed some down time over night and this was due to me installing the final version of WSS 3.0.
There were a few hitches but I managed to get things back up and running :)
WSS 3.0 final available for download.
Angus has posted that WSS 3.0 RTM is now available for download but seems to have sneaked out without being noticed.
You can get the final build of WSS 3.0 here: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
If you want to get a peak at the final release of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (or MOSS for short) then you can download a 180 day trial here: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Trial Version.
I'll see if I can get WSS upgraded to final tonight.
Images in RSS feed - bug update
I have had a response with regards to the issue of images within the RSS feed not always showing in your feed reader of choice.
To recap, with a WSSv3 blog, if you use images in the standard Photos library the URL for the image is converted to a relative address rather than an absolute address so breaks if viewed from many readers as they cannot find /Lists/Photos/{filename.jpg} as there is no point of reference.
Well, the official response is that, as this "has a potentially large impact" it will be considered beyond the beta timeframe as the "Product team is not able to fix this issue for RTM".
MS will, however, "publish a KB article to document the limitation".
Test post to replicate a bug.
You can ignore this post - I am using it to prove the bug with images in RSS being translated to relative urls and failing to show externally.
 test image
UPDATE: This should now work in all feed readers.
SharePoint 2007 bug? Or "by design" feature?
The default view of a SharePoint comment is very limited and appears not to want to show any additional fields despite them being selected in the web part properties and being visible through SharePoint designer.
Other views are available but these just don't cut it and break up the flow of the page.
Mrtn asked me the other day why the comment form asked for name and URL details but "did nothing with them" - it does, but just doesn't seem to want to let you edit the default view to show them. At least not via the UI.
Whilst it means that the post.aspx page is no longer linked to the master page (the 2007 version of unghosting) I have resorted to manually editing the code of the Comments web part using SharePoint Designer in order to display my additional custom fields. Further tweaking is to come but, for the moment at least the name and URL details are now visible with your comments.
I am going to bug the view "issue" to see if this is, in fact, by design!
UPDATE: in making this change it appears that the formatting has gotten a bit screwed for FireFox so I'll have to have a look at that tonight. Apologies to all you non-IE types.
UPDATE 2: the issue in FireFox is now resolved.
SharePoint "More accessible mode".
One of the criticisms of SPS 2003 and WSS v2 was that core functionality like menus did not work in non-IE browsers as they used the notation to create them.
With the B2TR we have the introduction of of a "more accessible mode" (I'll call it MAM for short) which should help you use SharePoint in browsers other than IE.
  More accessible mode
With MAM turned off (so in normal behaviour) the menus function as expected:
  Menu with MAM off
However, when MAM is turned on the menu opens as plain text links in a new window:
  Menu with MAM on
The other most obvious change I have seen so far with MAM is with Rich Text Fields. With MAM off you have the nice, redesigned editing toolbar:
  RTF with MAM off
But with MAM turned on things are a little boring:
  RTF with MAM on
The "Skip to main content link" merely drops the page to the main content area of the page but on a blog template there is very little need to do so and may be a bit annoying as it scrolls the page to below the level of the Home tab.
These top links both have a class of "ms-skip" so, on the main blog page, I have updated my script which checks for external links to also hide the links with this class.
And we're back.
Following the steps posted previously about upgrading to the B2TR release of Windows SharePoint Services v3 and everything is back up and running and seems quite a bit quicker.
The admin site opens quicker and moving from one section to another is much faster. The B2TR build of SharePoint Designer also opens the site a lot quicker.
Looks good so far!
Steps to take BEFORE upgrading Sharepoint to B2TR.
Now this is VERY important.
With the imminent release of the Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh the SharePoint team advise us on their blog that you will not simply be able to run an EXE and expect everything to go through smoothly. This really is one of those instances when you MUST MUST MUST read the documentation prior to diving in.
There will be a number of manual tasks to perform before/during/after the process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Images in RSS feed - an update.
In an earlier post I explained why you are not seeing images in the RSS feed. Essentially, WSSv3 is changing all links to the Photos list to a relative address (/lists/photos/) rather than keeping them as an absolute address.
Well, I've figured out a quick and simple way round it: by adding the additional host header "" to the IIS site hosting the blog and then linking all images using the www prefix will force WSS to keep the link as an absolute link which can therefore be seen correctly externally from the site.
Needless to say, you will experience a number of duplicates today as I change all of the URLs in any posts with images. At least it will make things better.
UPDATE: this is now done so normal service will now be resumed. The main issue now is that the links back to the posts from the feed are generated incorrectly but I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything about this.
Never forget, it's a beta!
One of the joys (is that the right word) of living on the bleeding edge is that things don't always go quite according to plan and you have probably already noticed the two main issues I have just reported.
Integrated RSS generation in WSSv3 is awesome but the code generated falls down on a couple of points:
1 - the link for each post is in the format http://domain/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=xx&RootFolder=/Lists/Posts but this leads to an error page stating "Object reference not set to an instance of an object". The normal link to each item is http://domain/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=18. Take off the &RootFolder=/Lists/Posts part of the URL and the link works.
2 - inline images in a post are entered using an absolute URL but when the RSS feed is generated this is shortened to what appears to be /Lists/Photos/ which obviously isn't going to work externally from the site.
I hope these issues don't spoil your enjoyment of the site, but if it does cause too many issues I may see if Maurice's Syndication Generator functions well with WSSv3. I don't see why it wouldn't.