Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Monday, 03 November 2008

Today’s frustration is brought to you by… SharePoint! WSS 3.0: when it absolutely DOESN’T have to be done overnight!

The other day I received a request to set up a blog in SharePoint to replace an old-school email newsletter that was distributed throughout one of the divisions at work. Sure it’s the beginning of SharePoint Sprawl, but this is a good reason to USE SharePoint and to get people used to spending more time in it.

WSS3.0 comes with a Blog site out of the box. It’s very, very basic though. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by using DasBlog for the last five years or so, but the WSS 3.0 blog only allows ONE category per post and it just looks so plain. There’s a free third-party add-in called Community Kit Enhanced Blog Edition available at CodePlex which allows multiple blogs, theme/skin-ability and more than one category per post but I didn’t feel the need to start experimenting with a new solution on the production site. It’ll do for now.

The good news is that Windows Live Writer works with the SharePoint Blog right out of the box (as it were, it’s a download).

More good news is that like every other thing in SharePoint, it generates an RSS Feed.

The BAD news is that Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS3.0) does NOT come with an RSS Viewer out of the box. What the shit? It comes as part of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, but not WSS3.0.

Back over to CodePlex, there’s a free third-party add-in called Feed Reader. I downloaded it and installed it to my test SharePoint site… and it doesn’t work 100%. There’s a broken image link for the icon, a broken image link for each bullet-point image and a broken “refresh feeds” link down at the bottom. Other than that, it works pretty well, but I’m not about to go and start messing around with the production server with something that’s only 90% working. It’s PURELY a visual problem, but it’s enough to generate calls to the helpdesk and minimizing those is of course, job #1.

Falling back to the things that come with SharePoint, there IS an XML web part. I thought I’d give that a try, because what is an RSS feed anyway? It’s an XML file! I even found an XSL example that would display it the way I wanted to that was as simple as copying and pasting. Just when you thought everything was going to work out, there it is. The Rub. The RSS feed generated by SharePoint is a a file called listview.aspx?List={Gigantic Guid} and not a .xml file. Because of that, SharePoint cannot resolve the listview.aspx GUID to an XML file and it fails, even though IE7 resolves it and displays it as a newsfeed properly. Le Sigh.

It HAS to work, other people are using it, and even some comments on the page with the XSL file said “it works great, thanks!" so I don’t know what my problem is, other than the obvious: I’m not 10% smarter than the program is.

Monday, 03 November 2008 15:21:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Microsoft | SharePoint#
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