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Friday, September 25, 2009

Coping or moving your lookup

Lookups are very powerful and allow you to greatly enhance your workflow. They are also sometimes time consuming to configure (especially when using functions or embedded lookups).

As you already might have noticed it is impossible to copy anything from the rich textbox that allows you to configure the lookup. What can you do if you would like to use the same lookup somewhere else or move the lookup to another place?
This can be a really important feature when after defining some lookup you realize that you would need to do one more operation with the lookup (for example trim it or add "5" to a calculated value). What to do, apart from creating the lookup from scratch?

The solution for this problem are the "used lookups". As you might have noticed, when you create new lookup a small context menu appears, allowing you to create a lookup based on another lookup.

If you would like to copy an already created lookup, simply choose it's new location and select the lookup that should be copied from the list of used lookups. If you want to move the lookup, simply delete the source lookup AFTER creating the copied one. If you would like to insert a used lookup into a function do it the same way as you would move the lookup - create a new lookup in the function, based on the existing one and then delete the first one.

One more thing - new lookups do not modify the lookups that were used  to create them. The existing lookups act as templates for the lookups. You can modify the new one and be sure that the existing one will not be modified.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Automatic item permissions in SharePoint

NOTE: See important performance information in this post

We have been asked by one of our users

"Our business need is to allow users access to particular items only if they are listed in a 'points of contact' field in the item. This appears to be possible but not clean with MOSS.

Is this something your product can help with? If not, do you have a suggestion?"

Workbox allows you to create a solution for this problem in minutes.
We have created a short tutorial to show you how you can easily achieve this scenario by using Workbox workflow.

You can also download a definition of this workflow to try it our on your environment.

Generally you can use the "Set item permissions" activity to set the permissions of the current item. Users who shoudl receive permissions can be extracted from different sources - current user, author, last editor, user inputed in the item fields or by user when launching the action. There are many options and ways you can use this activity in. If you have some comments or ideas, please write them in comments to this post.

Second hotfix for 1.4 - updated

Today we have released a hotfix for version 1.4.

The hotfix fixes 2 things:
  • It will contain full French version, with all literals translated
  • It will fix the error causing the action conditions to ignore the functions (thus you cannot use any functions in the action conditions)
You can download the hotfix from here

Friday, September 11, 2009

Workbox technical videos

We have strated to publish our technical videos on the You Tube.

These videos will help you to understand how different Workbox functionalities work and how to use them.

Our You Tube channel is On the right side of the blog you can find the newest videos. We are planning to release the core of the technical videos by the end of next week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Permission reporting tool for SharePoint

Few days ago Microsoft has released the Fourth Release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit. It was announced on the SharePoint team blog.

A very interesting part of this toolkit is a permission reporting tool. I think that every administrator should have it on their MOSS/WSS environment as this helps with permission management on the farm. It is also really useful when working with Workbox - it can help you debug some problems with the permissions to the workflow and workflow items.

Generally the tool allows administrators to quickly check users' permissions. This is very useful, since due to multiple inheritances and big number of permission levels it is very easy to lose track who has which permissions.

The tool allows you to check on every level - site, list and even item - what permissions has chosen user. The tool displays what kind of permission levels given user has to a chosen object and how were they assigned (through group or directly). More about this functionality is here.

Reporting tool gives you also ability to quickly glance through permissions for all lists and sites in a given site. It also lets you to compare the permissions to parent permission and list which are different - who was added and who was removed. More on

What is strange - the tool does not tell you that a user is a farm admin.

The third cool thing is a broken inheritance report. This report gives you information what are the permissions for current object and its siblings. More info about these report is here. The reports are in form of an XML, but can be easily opened in Excel. By default reports are stored in SharePoint list. It takes some time to run the report.

You can download the tool from here.
Here are some tips about the setup:
  • you need to have SP2 with the April Cumulative Updates. I would recommend installing the June Updates, as the April ones are included in the June CU. All details how to setup the June CU are here. Make sure you install SP to all the language packs, as without them you will not be able to install the CU.
  • after you setup the Toolkit you will find the reporting tool in the folder where the toolkit was setup (by default C:\Program Files\Microsoft\SPAdministrationToolkit\PermissionReportingSolution). It's in the form of a WSP. You need to use the STADM and addsolution operation and to set it up on your farm. Here is an MSDN article on how to add solution, depoly it and activate the feature from the STSADM 
  • Next you need to deploy the solution from the central administration (operations -> global configuration -> solution management).
  • The last step is the feature activation - you activate it for the farm. You need the April CU to activate the future.
After that you are good to go. Enjoy!