All posts in SharePoint 2013

Business Connectivity Services – It’s Not Dead… Yet

I had a great time recently presenting at CalSpoug’s SharePoint Saturday.  The first session I presented was on SharePoint Business Connectivity Service.  I have done this session quite a few times and I always have at least one attendee state they have never heard of BCS before.  This session was no different.  One of the things I cover is the importance of BCS in different environments.  Many will argue it is an old, unnecessary system.  I do not necessarily disagree with this.  However, I argue it isn’t dead yet.  If you are working with simple data in a SQL Database or even more complex but well-organized data in a database the ease of use within BCS is quickly seen.  In 5-10 minutes you can connect to your data and present it within SharePoint utilizing built-in forms (no custom form development).  Users will be able to read and update the data immediately (assuming permissions are configured already).  There’s more to it than just this and you can take a look at my slide deck to see.

Having said that, I do believe that I see an end to BCS.  PowerApps and Flows make accessing data just as easy and more configurable through the many, many connectors available.  As these connectors mature and the tools grow, the use cases for BCS will slowly disappear.  However, we aren’t there yet.  BCS is still there and still very easy to use.

 

Take a look at my slide deck and if you have questions, please reach out.

 

Thanks for reading!

Setting Item Level Security With SharePoint Designer Workflows

Something that I have come across a lot is solutions that require setting item level security after a particular occurrence on the list item (or in some workflow process).  Specifically what I wanted to look at was how to do it using SharePoint Groups as opposed to AD users, though I will probably cover that later.  This is going to be a two-part post as well because I am also going to do it with Microsoft Flow in my next blog.  Moving forward, whenever I do a SharePoint Designer Workflow blog I am going to try and do a corresponding one for Flow as well.

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Email an External User in a SharePoint 2013 Workflow

I am sure we can all agree that at some point or another we had a need to email a user that did not have an account within our domain via a SharePoint Designer (SPD) 2013 workflow.  And while attempting to set it up we were surprised to find out it wouldn’t work.  Not only did it NOT send the email, but to add insult to injury the attempt actually would suspend the workflow if forced to try.  If you have never had the need, well thanks for coming to my post anyways and let me tell you… it can’t be done.  An easy workaround is to build a SharePoint 2010 workflow, which doesn’t have this limitation, but then you lose the other fantastic benefits of a 2013 workflow.  Microsoft removed this ability as a security enhancement.  Today I am going to demonstrate how to email an external user in a SharePoint 2013 Workflow.

Quick note: Microsoft Flow does NOT have this limitation.  I am describing how to to it in SharePoint Designer because so many still use this tool

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Proper way to handle workflows that throw a Microsoft.Workflow.Client.ActivityValidationException

I had to build a fairly complex workflow not long ago.  The workflow was built in SharePoint Designer 2013 and had a lot of moving parts to it.  So many, that when I went to publish it I received the following error message: “Microsoft.Workflow.Client.ActivityValidationException: Workflow XAML failed validation due to the following errors: Activity “SomeXActivity” has 65 arguments, which exceeds the maximum number of arguments per activity (50).”  This error message is actually telling us that our workflow has too many variables within it.  Basically, this is happening because when the workflow is running the Workflow Manager has to manage more 58 (in my case) variables.  Workflow Manager only allows there to be 50 variables in the workflow… by default.

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SharePoint Site Architecture – Flat, Deep or Something In The Middle

Hi recently had the privilege to do another presentation with Joanne Klein.  This time we built a presentation off of a post that she had written around whether we should use flat or deep structures with our site collections and sub sites or if we should have something in between when designing a SharePoint site architecture.  It was a lot of fun and we probably could have done entire presentation on just a portion of it.  Either way, I promised our attendees that I would post our slide deck.  You can find the slide deck here.  Thank you very much to everyone who attended.

 

Thanks for reading!