Apply Workflows to folders

In my last blog-post I described how to enable meta-data for folders. Even though you can configure workflows for your custom content-type (of type “folder”), there seems to be no way to actually start those workflows. There is no context-menu entry to start such workflows as for any other content-type.

But there is a way! If you happen to know the right URL to start workflows … just call /_layouts/Workflow.aspx?ID=[ItemID of the folder]&List=[GUID of the list]. Just insert the appropriate values and off you go.

Folders with Meta-Data in SharePoint

When working with document libraries you can use folders to structure your documents within the library. This is ok, but a better approach to structure documents would be by assigning meta-data to the documents and create the structure based on this meta-data.

But sometimes you actually do need to have folders. For example you have bunch of documents which belong together. You could ZIP them up and thus have just one item in the document library, but this will stop you from being able to edit those documents directly in SharePoint. With SharePoint 2010 you could use document-sets, but what to do when you’re stuck with SharePoint 2007? Well, in this case you have to use folders.

OK, so folders it is. But how can I add meta-data to folders? When adding new columns to a library these will be available for all documents added to the library but not for folders. Here’s a trick to work around this problem:

  1. instead of added columns to the document library, create websitecolumns.
  2. create a new content-type, which derives from “document” to hold the actual documents of the document library. Add the websitecolumn created in step 1 to the content-type.
  3. create a new content, which derives from the type of “folder”. This content-type is being uses to create folders with meta-data in the document library. Add the websitecolmn of step 1 to the content-type.
  4. in the document library activate the use of content-types and deactivate the usage of folders(!), since we want to use our own content-type to create folders.
  5. add the in step 2 & 3 created content-types to the list and alter the order of the content-types in such a way the “document” type is not at position one. The first content-type of the list is always the default content-type and thus cannot be deleted. Once you alter the ordering you can delete the “document” content-type and just have your two custom content-types.

So now you can add folders to the document-library which also have meta-data. Interesting enough is the fact, that you can create a new content-type based on a content-type folder and then add this newly created content-type to the document library, but you cannot add the “raw” folder content-type to the library. However.

Active-Directory Groups in SharePoint

When adding an Active-Directory group to SharePoint, for SharePoint this group is like any other (user) account. SharePoint doesn’t care whether the account added is a group or just a single user. Because of this “ignorance” of SharePoint not the group-members are being added to SharePoint, but the AD-group. This group can then be used just like any other SharePoint user.

But there are a couple of caveats:

  • let’s take a task-list for example. When a task is being assigned to a person in a task list, this person will get an email notification of the task assignment. When a task is being assigned to a SharePoint group (not an AD-group!), then every member of the group gets the email notification. Also when looking at the task-list every group-member will see the task, as long as no group member has assigned the task to himself. Every group member can assign the task to himself, and by this the task will only show up in the users task-list, not anymore in the view of the other group members.
    When a task is being assigned to an AD-group no one receives an email, because SharePoint want’s to send an email to the groups email-address (since SharePoint doesn’t know that an AD-group is a group which consists of members, and hence it believes it’s a single user). And because SharePoint believes the AD-group is a single user the task can not be assigned to a member of the group – and also the task is not shown to the members of the group.
  • When assigning an AD-group individual permissions on a site I usually can send an email to the user notifying them about the new permissions. with AD-groups this doesn’t work as well, since usually AD-groups don’t have an email-address and SharePoint is unable to iterate over all the members of the AD-group. The same is true for setting up notifications for lists and libraries, these cannot be set to an AD-group.

Changelists in Subversion

I recently had a discussion on how to deal with configuration-settings, which might be different for every developer, in regard to subversion. The main question was: “should these files also be commited to the repository?”

The answer is plain and simple – yes! But it doesn’t make sense to check-in my settings for all other developers, and it even makes less sense that every developer is updating his settings every time he commits and thus overwriting the settings from the previous check-in.

Better: a standard-configuration file is being checked into the repository. This file could contain some placeholders, which must be individually updated. Every developer get’s this standard file on initial checkout, but all further updates to this file are being ignored by subversion.

This behavior could be achieved “manually” in such a way, that on check-in you just have to make sure, that you don’t commit the configuration file to the repository.


This is obviously not really good. Most likely this will fail at some point in time and the individuall settings of a developer will get committed.

So we need a more sophisticated way to ignore certain files on commit. So there is the ignore-option of subversion, but that would also prevent us from initially checking in the standard-configuration. And maybe I would actually make a modification the the standard-configuration and update the file in the repository and make sure that every developrsconfiguration is being overwritten.

To achieve this subversion (or at least TortoiseSVN) offers a feature called change-list. To edit the change-list of a project you must open up the context-menu and “check for modifications”. In the context-menu of the shown files these can be assigned to a change-list. There is always on change-list already existend – “ignore-on-commit”.


An alternative is to start a commit and of all the file to commit these can also via the context-menu be assigned to a change-list.

After the configuration file has been assigned to the “ignore-on-commit” changelist, all updates to theses files will not be automatically commit (as the name might already imply).


If the changes should however be commit, this can be done by simply checking the file in the commit dialog.

Presentation Font Cache is running wild

I just noticed, that my current workstation is actually working. Not that I would not appreciate the effort – but actually this is more than I expected.

So I have a Core2Duo running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, and usually my CPU should be on an average of 10%. But recently this is up to 50%, one core is always running under full steam.

OK, so taking a look at the process explorer show, that the PresentationFontCache is actually causing all this. But why?

So someone on the MSDN Forums provided some help. First thing I noticed: I can’t stop the service, since it’s currently in startup-mode. And the service is also already set to manually startup.

Because I’m not an admin on my machine, I can’t just go to process-explorer and kill the task. Linux has this neet kill command, which Windows is missing.

OK, so I downloaded PsKill to do the job – but just to figure out, that a new process for the presentation-font-cache is spawning up. Oh-oh!

But I could delete the files, just as the forum-post suggested and this would actually stop the presentation-font-cache from restarting after another round of PsKill.