Dev Diary: S01E04: Angular Services vs Factories & adding data to the underlying View Model from the View


In the last episode, Dev Diary S01E03, we added our first Angular page and hooked up the application landing page with a view. This view then displayed some data.

Now I wanted to add a new page which allows me to add an invoice to the list of invoices. Also I think we need some navigation so you can get easily Add an Invoice.


Adding Invoice Feature

Add Invoice Page

So I added a new page called /app/views/add-invoice.html to my VS Code project.

This look as below



The page is used to create new Invoices. There are a few things to point out on this page.

We are going to have to tell Angular how to bind the view model to the various input form controls. This will allow Angular to pick up the values that the user puts into text boxes, date picker controls and applying those values to the model.

So how does this work, well there is the Angular directive ng-model.  This will bind the value of the control to the value inside the ng-model directive.

For example, line 22 we have the html :



The <input> control has ng-model=”invoice.reference” this will bind the value of invoice.reference to the text box control and also update the view model as the textbox changes. We will see later where that value coming from but this will be taken from our $scope.invoice.reference object found in the view model.

The other directive to mention is ng-click which binds the button’s click event is bound to an action or function found in the view model. In this case it will be bound the controllers, $scope.saveInvoice() function.



Another lovely feature of Angular is the ng-repeat directive which is used in the next code snippet to populate a drop-down list.



This will populate the drop-down list with a list of options for the types of units.

Now that we have the view created, I had to create the data model service, controller to manage the view and then setup routing.

$injector, $provide and Provider, Factory and Services

Before we move on to creating the Data Model Service. We need to talk about $provide. I had to create my first instance of a service and started by creating a  factory.

I could not get it to work how I wanted with the factory method and then after some further reading, I read about providers and service functions. This led me into looking into the various different methods that the $provide object implementation.

The Angular documentation on $provide gives some good information on this, but after reading I was a little confused about what the difference was between a factory and a service in Angular.

I  found this wiki article, Understanding Dependency Injection,  within the Angular GitHub project. It really was good explaining the concepts, under the hood mechanics and reasoning behind the approach in more detail.

The $provide methods are helpfully made as part of the Angular module object and you have the following types:-

  • provider – registers a service provider for the Angular $injector object. This is used to create and initialise a service.
  • service – registers the service, which is created by the service provider function. When a service is created there is also an associated service provider created with the name of ‘servicename’ + ‘Provider. e.g. DataModelService will have a provider called DateModelServiceProvider.
  • factory – this registers a factory function, which is called by the service provider.
  • constant – these are created as constants which allows them to be available as object which cannot be changed and are available for the lifetime of the application. I have not used these yet, but will get to use them shortly.
  • value – constants and values are very similar. The only difference is that constants can be used in service provider functions as part of the $provide.provider() flow. This wiki article on Understanding Dependency Injection talks about this further.

Anyway so what is the difference between a factory and a service? They are very similar and under the hood call the same $provide.provider function when created. The difference as I see it, is that a service can be initialised by a provider under the hood to return a singleton object for the service.

Whereas a factory is initialised by data which you pass into it. So a factory is great when you know that you will have the data to initialise it but you may not know what that is or have reference to it. This makes sense for a factory as that is what the factory pattern  does, create me something based on an argument that I pass into it.

The service pattern  create me an instance of a service but I don’t need to know the ins and outs of how to create that service. The service is initialised by the service provider function.

I hope that helps clear it up, I am sure that I will need to explain that again to myself.

Anyway, now that we have an understanding of the difference, lets create the Data Model Service.


Data Model Service

Firstly, let’s explain what the Data Model Service is. I am looking to create invoices. So I thought it would be nice to have a place or a service which I can use to create the objects that my application needs. So that is what the Data Model Service does, it allows me to create instances of my Data Model. This will include being able to create instances of the Invoice entity object and an Invoice has multiple Invoice Lines so I will need to be able to create InvoiceLines to add to the Invoice.

So let’s get started!

The data model service is implemented as a new module via a new file created at /app/services/dataModelService.js.

A new module was created called the dataServiceModule. The module creates an object and we use that object to create the provider and the service. Here is the implementation of dataModelService.js



A service in Angular has two parts, the service and the provider service. The service represents all the operations that can be perfomed by the service. The provider service is used to initialize the service.

Currently, in my DataModelService I have two functions

  • Invoice()
  • InvoiceLine()

Next, we will go through how I can then implement this service and make it available in the “Add Invoice Controller” which we will create next.


The Invoice Controller

So now we have a way to create our Invoice objects which is centralised. Next we can create the controller for using in the add-invoice.html view.

So our controller starts by creating the controller in file, /app/controllers/invoicecontrollers.js

The controller “addInvoiceController”, looks like this:



The other thing we must do is make sure that Angular is aware of our new module, so we need to add a reference to the JS file in index.html. Also we need to update the app.js so that the module, ‘itspInvoiceFormApp’ requires the module ‘dataModelService’.



With out this configuration, I was seeing the following error in the Chrome developer tool when trying to go to the add-invoice.html page.



Adding a new Invoice Line

We need to be able to add a new line to our invoice, we will probably need to remove them too but one step at a time.

The approach to adding these, is that we will create a button which will add a new invoice line. The button will call a function on our controller’s $scope object called addInvoiceLine().

This function will grab the $scope.invoice object and then will get an instance of a new InvoiceLine from our DataModelService. This object is then added to $scope.invoice.invoiceLines.

One of the great things is that Angular will pick up this change and will immediately update the UI to reflect the underlying objects, that is pretty cool.


Saving the Invoice

Currently the add invoice controller, does not do anything to actually save the invoice but rather pretends that it has been successful and then redirects the user to the homepage.

This is achieved by the controllers, $scope.saveInvoice().

The redirection is performed by the $location object. Pages are referenced within Angular, using “#” which represents the start homepage for Angular.

So we call $location.path(‘#’);  to return back to the homepage.

We are now done with our Add Invoice Controller, next I had to provide a way for users to get to the new page!


Adding the route

To handle directing the user to the add invoice page, add-invoice.html when the user goes to /invoices/add.

The following was added to app.js so that I had the following:



Now we need to provide a way to add an invoice, time for some navigation.


Adding Navigation

So, it is about time we have some navigation in our application. This will be added to the index.html  page.

We will add to links, one for the add invoice link and another to take you back to the homepage.



Using an <a> link tag to get to another page, is achieved using the <a href> element and using the special character # which represents the Angular home page. To go to the add invoice page we used, ‘’#/invoices/add”.

This gives us the following updated index.html page.




You can find the code here, this commit represents the updates made to the repository for this post

Next Episode

So we now have a way of adding Invoices to the page. It is about time that we start actually calling into our WebAPI hosted in Azure.

So next episode, I will explain what I did to create the Azure Application and then start to organise how we authenticate via ADAL JS.

As always please let me know what you think and if you have any feedback, let me know via the comments.

Dev Diary S01E03: Building the first Angular page


In my previous post, Dev Diary S01E02, I explained the configuration of my environment for the client side. If you remember, I am building this application with Visual Studio Code and will also be building the server side component using Visual Studio 2015.

To be honest, I got impatient when developing this and decided that I would start to get to grips with the Angular part. I didn’t really understand things entirely but built my first page index.html.


Angular ng-app, ng-view and controllers

The Angular App Homepage (index.html)

So to get things running, I needed to reference the necessary components so that I could start to use them.

Angular is a JavaScript based Model View View Model based application framework which is used to build client side SPAs or Single Page Applications. We need a single page which is going to host the application. This is going to be our homepage, index.html.

Index.html had the following references added to load the Angular, jQuery, Bootstrap components. I added these under the closing tag as this allows the browser to load the page more quickly.


The other thing is that we need to tell Angular about the fact that this is an app and also tell it when to render the view.

Below is the index.html file


So you can see we have line #2 which an Angular directive, ng-app, which I will talk about a little later. This tells Angular that the application that will be loaded on this page is called itspInvoiceFormApp.

We have all the links to the scripts mentioned above and also the applications CSS for bootstrap.css and the application, invoiceformapp.css.

In the <body> tag, another Angular directive is added to a <div> tag. This is ng-view. This tells Angular where to render our view and provides the entry point for switching the content in our Single Page Application.

So now we have our index.html done lets move on to some JavaScript!


The Angular App Code (app.js)

Next, the Angular app was configured in /app/app.js. I had a look through the various examples on the Angular.js website and also out there via Bingle.

I added the following to app.js



So lets talk through this, the first line #1 is telling JavaScript to run in strict mode. This helps check for errors in the JavaScript, more information can be found here:

Line 3, creates a variable called invoiceFormApp using the angular.module() function. We pass in the name of the module, in this case ‘itspInvoiceFormApp’. The next parameter in the square brackets are the dependencies that the application relies on. This is important, Angular has this dependency injection engine, which we can take advantage of. In this case we are dependent on the Angular routing module, called ngRoute.

Next, I had to to configure the application, so create a function which provides the configuration of the app. From my limited experience, I know that this is going to change quite a bit as we start loading in more dependencies.

So the function currently has one parameter, this will increase as the number of dependencies get added to the application. The configurationProvider function has one parameter which maps to the invoiceFormApp.config() which is passing in the objects in the [‘$routeProvider’] into the function. So if we had the following [‘$routeProvider’, ‘myOtherThing’], then we would update the function assigned to configurationProvider to:

var configurationProvider=function($routeProvider,$myOtherThing).


Angular Routing

Anyway, I hope that helps clear that function up a bit, it took me a bit of time to get the hang of it. So within my app, I used the $routeProvider to create a route for ‘/invoices’. Now, when you setup a route you need to provide a couple of additional bits of information.

  • templateUrl: ‘[server relative url to the html file that is going to hold the view’
  • controller: ‘[name of the controller that will handle setting up the view]’

I setup the /invoice route to go to a view located at ‘/app/views/list-invoices.html’ and to use a controller named ‘listInvoicesController’. Notice the final call to .otherwise() on the $routeprovider variable this will cause the application to default to this route and page if there is no match found for the user’s input or the user is directed by the application to an invalid endpoint..

Now we have our routes setup, I had to give them something to point to.


Views and Controllers(View Model)

With the default route created,  next I had to create a view and a controller to implement the route.



Lets start with the view first, I created a view in VS Code called “list-invoices.html” in the /app/views folder.

Finally, we are getting to try out Angular. This page is being used just to view the data.

This is what I ended up putting together for list-invoices.html.



So basically I have a table wrapped up in some <divs> the outer <div> has the class name container, this is a bootstrap thing to demark the content that is to be styled by bootstrap, the inner div with the class name row creates a new row.

Now on to the actual Angular stuff. we have these various tags starting with “ng-“, these are called directives and allow you to do something with the data that you have bound to the page from your controller and data, or model.

The example that we can see is ng-show   (ine 5) this points to something in or model which evaluates to a boolean value and will display that <div> element when it evaluates to true.

I think this is pretty cool stuff, I was always amazed when I saw this kind of thing with Knockout.js

Anyway, so next we render our data, so we have a table which has been tagged with various bootstrap classes to make it responsive. At some point I am sure I will have to work out the responsive stuff works. The cool bit with the table, starts at row 16.

We have a line which reads <tr class=”clickable-row” ng-repeat=”invoice in invoices”>. So this Angular directive ng-repeat allows us to loop through an array of objects which are in an array called invoices.

This <tr> element block will get repeated for each invoice in invoices, within the <tr> we have a number of <td> elements which are being used to display the values in the properies found on the invoice  object. This is one way that Angular does its data-binding. So using {{invoice.invoiceDate}} we can display the contents within the invoice object.

The rest of the page is pretty uninteresting, I did also add a section to display errors which is quite neat and shows another thing that you can do with Angular directives which is actually add logic within the directive. So we have a <div> tag which has the ng-show  directive set to ng-show=”error!==’’”. So if there is an error in our data model then this div will show the error.

Anyway, so until I show you the controller, it does not really make sense as how do we know what data we are binding to the view?


Controller and Model

In order for the view to work we need to create a controller and also the model that the controller is going to pass into the view.

I created a file called invoiceControllers.js in the /app/controllers folder.

Within this file, I created a new module which created a module called InvoiceControllerModule. Then we registered a factory called invoiceController. I have to say that I now know that this was a mistake. But at the time I didn’t realise it. I will talk about the changes that I made in a later blog post.

Anyway, now that we have the factory we need to create a function which is called when the factory is initialised.



Note that the factory method takes a function and the parameters match the attributes defined in []. This controller is taking just a $scope variable.

Actually the $scope variable is very important and represents the view model which can be referenced within your (.html) view file.

We created a couple of properties of the $scope object to hold an error and also to hold a list of invoices.

Next, we need to add some invoices to the array, so that we have something to display.

To keep things easy I just created a load() method on the $scope object to load the data.

This now creates a controller which exposes a $scope variable, final file looks like this.


Now, that this is all put together it generates a page which looks a little like this.



Make sure that if you are loading some data n your controller with a load() function, that you call it. I spent a couple of minutes, wondering why I did not have any data loaded and the realised I hadn’t actually called the function.


When testing and debugging use http://localhost over

Something that I noticed with Google Chrome when testing the environment is that the css would not work correctly if I tested using so I ended up using http://localhost:8080 which caused the styling to render correctly.


Next Episode

I hope you found this useful, please let me know if there is something that needs more clarity.

I have moved this code into GitHub and it is currently available here:

In the next episode we are going to put together some add functionality and also configure the application navigation.

Dev Diary S01E02: Angular / WebAPI / Azure Document Db App – Client Environment Setup


In my previous post: Dev Diary Entry 1: Azure Web App with MVC WebAPI, Angular and Azure DocumentDb, I introduced the Invoice Management App that I am planning to build.

For complete transparency, the application that I am talking about building has been in development for a week or so now. So, as I write this I am playing catch up. I have been writing down all the problems that I have had and how I resolved them. My aim is that we will quickly get up to date so that I am coding and then I can quickly write about what I did.

Today, we are talking about setting up Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2015 to host my applications. Remember we are building two components, the Angular client application in Visual Studio Code and the MVC Web API component using Visual Studio.


Setting up the Environment

Visual Studio Code

Developing in Visual Studio Code is quite different to using Visual Studio, the team at Microsoft are doing a great job at improving the application but it does feel very unfamiliar to me who has been using Visual Studio for a rather long time.

Anyway, I downloaded VS Code from and installed it on my machine.

I am developing on a Surface Pro 4 with Windows 10 x64. So the instructions provided are for Windows but it is pretty similar for MAC OSX and Linux.


Developer Directories

I am developing in the c:\dev folder and have created a subfolder called ITSP and then a subfolder, VSTS. The final directory is c:\dev\itsp\vsts


Node and NPM

The next step, was setting up the environment, I had spoken to a few people and read a few posts and the way to go with VS Code was using Node.js tooling and the Node Package Manager, npm.

Node provides a few lightweight services which we can take advantage of when developing. The one that I make most of is the built in HTTP server, but more on that later.

NPM or Node Package Manager provides a fantastic way of downloading, installing and keeping your dependencies up to date. I guess the name came from Redhat’s Package Manager or RPM. To be fair it is also like NuGet which the .NET world have been using to keep their dependencies in check.

So I downloaded and installed Node from and choose the latest build which was v5.6.0, I see that version v6 is out as I write this. The download is an MSI so was a quick simple install.

Next is NPM, so actually NPM comes included with Node.js but I wanted to make sure that I had the latest version of NPM. This is the advice in the NPM Installation instrucitons found here:

So to do that I started the Node,js command prompt

  • npm install npm –g

The command calls npm telling it to install a package called npm with –g which means to install it so it is available globally.



The other tool that seems to be great at dependency management is Bower. Now, I had a hard time working out what the difference was between Bower and NPM. Why do I need both. Well Bower seems to be better at installing and configuring the client side components and NPM for the server side components.

One of the reasons that I have chosen Bower is to be honest a lot of tutorials use it. Now, this is something that I will look into a little later on the project but I want to get up and running. There do seem to be a lot of alternatives such as Browserify and Webpack.



So this is my first project using Angular, I hear people talking about it all the time! As I was researching into the product more it became embarrassing to see how long its been out before I have had a go at using it!

One of the chaps speaking about this stuff from the SharePoint world is Andrew Connell via his blog. He has a great amount of content which I found really useful.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reading up on Angular via their documentation pages. I also have been listening to Scott Allen’s AngularJS: Getting Started on Pluralsight.



As a developer, I need help with design so I have decided to use Twitter Bootstrap and fortunately this is quite easy to include in your project.

I am sure that you have used Bootstrap more than me!

However, Bootstrap is a framework which provides a grid based system for defining responsive designs based on having different css classes for different screen sizes.

I have to say I am always amazed what front-end developers can do with Bootstrap, I am sure in time that it will become second nature.



Yeoman is like File->New Project in Visual Studio. It is pretty cool actually and allows you to create or use pre existing templates to make the project scaffolding. I did look at this and various templates but I found them complex and they started to pull in a lot of stuff which I did not know about.

So to kept it simple, I haven’t used Yeoman as I wanted to learn how to build the project from scratch rather than have a tool do everything for me and I then don’t understand my dependencies.

I am sure that I will change my behaviour next time once I understand how everything fits together.


Now I know that I am going to be using Azure Active Directory as my authentication and authorisation mechanism.

ADAL is a library that has been created which provides a wrapper to manage authentication with Azure AD. The library is superb and really straight forward to use for the .NET stack. Fortunately, there is also a JavaScript implementation called Adal.js and even better there is a module created for Angular!

I have been following Adal for a while and the go to guy is Vittorio Bertocci, he has some great posts on all things ADAL.

Introducing ADAL JS v1

The article is great and talks about how to install the framework using Bower and then provides examples including one for authenticating your application with Angular!



Of course we need jQuery, I don’t think this framework needs any introduction.

This was installed from the node.js command line:

  •  using bower install jquery




Creating the Client Side Visual Studio Code Project

Ok so now I have talked about all the bits and pieces that I am using for the client side of the application, I will try and explain the steps that I took to create the project for Visual Studio Code.

Remember we have two components in this application:-

  • Angular Client side application being developed in Visual Studio Code
  • MVC WebAPI Server side application being developed in Visual Studio 2015

So,  to create the Visual Studio Code project you need to create a package.json file. This is the equivalent of a Visual Studio csproj file for Visual Studio C# Projects. It contains the version number, name of the project, description and also it has scripts section where you can define commands to perform actions when developing your application.

So to get started I did the following:-

  • started node.js command prompt
  • created a directory c:\dev\itsp\vsts\IT365.InvoiceApp.Client
  • from the directory just created I ran npm init
  • this wil start a wizard which then asks for various information about the project including its name, description and author details

Now that we have our package.json created we can fire up Visual Studio Code

  • code .

This will start Visual Studio Code in the current directory which will cause Visual Studio code to read the application information created so far.


Install Dependencies

Now we have the project created next it is time to bring in our dependencies.

We will use npm and bower to pull in the dependencies:-

  • bower install bower-angular
  • This will install the Angular component into our project into a folder called bower_components\angular
  • Angular Route
  • bower install bower-angular-route
  • This will allow us to define our routes in the application so that we can control where the user goes, what they see and which controller to use. More on this later
  • Angular Mocks
  • bower install bower-angular-mocks
  • This will allow us to do Test Driven Development when we start looking at Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
  • Angular Sanitizer
  • bower install bower-angular-sanitizer
  • This helps us to strip out dangerous characters from when parsing HTML


  • Bootstrap
  • bower install bootstrap
  • This will give us a better look and feel than I could do!

So, we have the Angular and Bootstrap stuff installed that I thought we needed.


Next we need to install the ADAL JS stuff

  • bower install angular-adal
  • This will allow us to manage the login / authentication, authorisation process in our application with Azure Active Directory

Then we have jQuery

  • bower install jquery


Finally, I want to be able to actually run the application locally and a really nice way of doing that is using the Node.js HTTP Web Server, http-server

  • Node http-server
  • npm http-server –g
  • This will install the http server globally so we can use it in our next applications


Create Application Structure

Next I created the application structure

So the following directories and files  were created from within Visual Studio Code

  • [app]
  • [controllers] – this will hold all our controllers
  • [services] – this will hold all our services
  • [entities] – this will hold our JavaScript objects relating to entities such as Invoices, Users etc
  • [views] – this will hold all our views
  • [css] – this will hold our CSS styles
  • [images] – this will hold our image
  • app.js
  • index.html

I am sure that I will be adding more folders etc but that gave me something to start with.


Trying out the Application quickly

So one of the tips that I picked up from the node.js documentation was how you can create tasks with NPM.

I was a little confused by this to be honest but after a bit of investigation I found out that I could modify the package.json to configure these tasks for NPM to be able to use.

  • Opening up package.json, i found the scripts section and added the following
  • When i first did this i added just the http server –a –p 8080
  • however, after more reading I realised I could run multiple commands using the && syntax
  • So we ended up with



Now this is pretty cool, from the node.js command prompt I can type

  • npm start

This will start a web server and fire up the browser taking me to the homepage!



Next Episode

So in the next episode, we will actually start develop something. I was pretty excited to try out Angular so I just started to build the application using client side data. So we will cover that.

I hope you can join me for the next episode.

SharePoint Development: Speed up development with Visual Studio CKSDEV Keyboard Shortcuts


Firstly if you are not using the CKSDEV Visual Studio extensions for SharePoint. Then please do yourself a favour and download them NOW!

Wes Hackett and the team have been doing an amazing job to save us time when developing SharePoint solutions.

You can download the Visual studio extension via Visual Studio’s gallery.

Keyboard Shortcuts

I have to say that I was a little late to the 1.2 release which I updated to in November even though it was out in August! Anyway this release is the best yet for SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2012. Finally it includes a SharePoint solution deployment profile to update/upgrade your solutions. Finally, I can throw away my version!

Anyway, I noticed that there were lots more keyboard shortcuts (I am pretty sure these have been there for a while) but I wanted to start making use of them as it really makes life much easier.

Fortunately the CKSDEV development team have a strategy for the shortcut conventions so remembering them is made a little easier.

To recycle a process then the two stage shortcut will always use Alt+R

To attach the debugger to a process then the two stage shortcut will always use Alt + A

So here are the shortcuts which I use the most:-

  • Recycle SharePoint Application Pools
    • Alt+R, A
  • Recycle SharePoint Timer Service
    • Alt R. T
  • Attach debugger to SharePoint Application Pools
    • Alt A, S
  • Attach debugger to SharePoint Timer Service
    • Alt A, T

    This makes life so much easier when you are in the code, debug, fix, code, debug, fix cycle!

Feature Upgrade Issue: Deleted SPWebs : An error occurred while enumerating through a collection


Recently I published a post about issues when upgrading Site Scope features in SharePoint. The issue was related to deleted Site Collections which were still in the recycle bin.

After resolving this issue I decided to do some testing with other deleted SharePoint objects. The next logical object type to delete was an SPWeb object.

Unfortunately further issues were found and the following section explains how they were found and the approach to resolve them.


How the Issue was Approached

The approach taken was the following:-

  • Build a Web Scoped Feature marked v1.0.0.0
  • Install the SharePoint Solution
  • Create a number of Webs and Activate the feature on those webs
  • Delete one of the Webs
  • Update the Web Scoped Feature to v2.0.0.0
  • Upgrade the SharePoint Solution to deploy the new version of the Web Scoped Feature
  • Use Install-SPFeature [FeatureName] –Force to upgrade the feature
  • Run a PowerShell command to execute the SPSite.QueryFeatures() function

The following PowerShell was run to query for Features that need to be upgraded.

 $site=Get-SPSite http://sharepoint; $site.QueryFeatures("Web", $true); 

The result of the script displayed the following:-

 $site.QueryFeatures("Web",$true);  An error occurred while enumerating through a collection: Unable to access web scoped feature (Id: f41cc668-37e5-4743-b4a8-74d1db3fd8a4) because it references  a non-existent or broken web (Id: 3bd828cf-b747-4111-b888-5953b0d9aaa3) on sit e 'http://dev.itsp.local'.  Exception: System.ArgumentException: Value does not  fall within the expected range.    at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPWebCollection.get_Item(Guid id)    at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPFeatureEnumeratorBase.GetCachedWeb(SPSite site, Gu id webId, Guid featureId). At line:1 char:20 + $site.QueryFeatures >> ("Web",$true)     + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (Microsoft.Share...esultCollec    tion:SPFeatureQueryResultCollection) [], RuntimeException     + FullyQualifiedErrorId : BadEnumeration 



The approach to solving this issue was not to write a workaround but to run a script which checks for deleted SPWeb objects in the site collection.

 $site = Get-SPSite http://sharepoint; $site.RecycleBin | ?{$_.ItemType -eq "Web"}; 

The script will display the SharePoint Web Objects that have been deleted and are still found in the site collections recycle bin.

The deleted SPWeb objects can be removed from the recycle bin using the following PowerShell command.

 $site = Get-SPSite http://sharepoint;  $deletedWebs = $site.RecycleBin | ?{$_.ItemType -eq "Web"}; $deletedWebs | % {$site.RecycleBin.Delete($_.Id)} 

This will delete the SPWeb objects from the recycle bin and the Feature Upgrade process can continue.

Please be careful when running this script! Only run it when you know that none of the SharePoint Web sites are not needed!


Anyway hope that helps!

Useful Visual Studio External Tools


I have been meaning to document this for a while. Every time I set up a new machine I have to check the configuration of my Visual Studio external tools.

External Tools? If you don’t know what I am talking about then take a look at the image below.


Currently I have the following External Tools:-

  • Create GUID – this allows me to quickly get a new GUID when creating all those SharePoint resources, including Content Types, List Schemas, Feature Receivers etc.
  • Get Public Key Token – this uses the .Net Framework Signing Tool (sn.exe) to get the Public Key token, although with the new SharePoint tools in Visual Studio this isn’t needed so much there are always those odd occasions.
  • Get Full Assembly Name – This is used lots particularly when having to hack together various SharePoint Xml files or Entity Framework resource connection strings. I can’t take credit for this one, Sahil Malek –, did all the hard work.
  • Get IIS Web Application Information – This saves me so much time when debugging code especially, feature receivers, application page, web part code. The tool will display a list of all the Web Applications and there Process ID (PID).

Setting up the Tools

Create GUID Tool

First of all locate the Guidgen Tool which should be found in your Windows SDK folder. The path will depend on the Windows Version you are running, this one is for Windows 2008 R2. “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\”

  • The GUID Generator application can be found in the bin subfolder
  • Full Path: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\guidgen.exe”
  • Now you have the path, fire up Visual Studio


  • Click Tools->External Tools
  • Click Add
  • Title: Generate GUID
  • Command: : “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\guidgen.exe”
  • Click Apply


When this tool is used then the following window will popup:-


Get Public Key Token Tool

This retrieves the public key token for the assembly that is associated to the file that is open in Visual Studio.

To setup the tool do the following:-

  • Get the Path to the SN.exe tool which is found in the .Microsoft SDK Path
  • “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\sn.exe”
  • From Visual Studio
  • Click Tools->External Tools
  • Click Add
  • Title: Get Public Key Token
  • Command: : “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\sn.exe”
  • Attributes: -Tp $(TargetPath)
  • Check “Use Output Window”
  • Click Apply


When the External Tool is used then the following output will appear in Visual Studio’s Output Window


Get Full Assembly Name Tool

This tool is excellent and saves me lots of time when you need the full Assembly Name for all the numerous SharePoint development tasks.

The setup of the tool comes from Sahil Malek (

  • Fire up Visual Studio
  • Click Tools->External Tools
  • Click Add
  • Title: Get Full Assembly Path
  • Command: PowerShell
  • Arguments: -command “[System.Reflection.AssemblyName]::GetAssemblyName(\”$(TargetPath)\”).FullName”
  • Check “Use Output Window”
  • Click Apply


The output for this tool is as follows:-


Get IIS Web Application Info

This tool is great for getting information on the Web Server Application Pools. This is great if you need to debug a particular Web Application Pool Process.

  • Fire up Visual Studio
  • Click Tools->External Tools
  • Click Add
  • Title: Get IIS WP Info
  • Command: “c:\windows\system32\inetsrv\appcmd.exe”
  • Arguments: list WP
  • Check “Use Output Window”
  • Click Apply


The Output for this tool is as follows:-



I hope you find some of those tools useful, I would love to hear about any that you use.

Introducing SPUrlExpressionBuilder to resolve SharePoint URL Tokens


One of the great things when developing with SharePoint is being able to use URL tokens such as:-

  • ~SiteCollection – this will resolve to the current site collection root
  • ~Site – this will resolve to the current web root

For an extensive list of SharePoint URL tokens, take a look at Namwar Rizvi’s SharePoint Insight blog post,

If you have done much with creating or modifying Master Pages or Page Layouts then these tokens become very useful to locate resources such as images, XSL or CSS files.

For example, to reference an image which is stored in a SharePoint Publishing web’s Site Collection Images folder you could use something like this:-


Recently, I have been working with multiple language user interfaces and wanted to be able to display a different image based on the language. One of the steps to do this was to work out how to process these URL Tokens.


This is where the SPUrlExpressionBuilder class comes to the rescue. This class is part of the Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.WebControls assembly.

To evaluate a string with a url token like ~SiteCollectionUrl/Images/MyImage.png you can use the following SPUrlExpressionBuilder class’s method EvaluateUrlExpression().

string imagePath = SPUrlExpressionBuilder.EvaluateUrlExpression("~SiteCollection/Images/myimage.png").ToString();