John Peltonen was right.
I was wrong.
However, we both agree that Andrew Whitechapel sucks for standing us up.
Oh VSTO, how I've missed thee. I am being slightly sarcastic but it's true. In my new professional life of picking and choosing which contracts I want to take on, the first one I've taken on is a VSTO Word project. A huge and convoluted project that, if/when it works, will be very cool. We are using VSTO SE for automation and I spent a good couple of hours this morning banging my head against the wall. I hemmed and hawed and thought "MAN, I've been working with SharePoint so long, I've forgotten how to be a Word developer!" It wasn't until after I got so frustrated that I pinged a VSTO team member who replicated my problem and agreed it was screwey behaviour that I got my confidence back that maybe I know how to automate Office still. I'm still in the process of dusting off my VSTO gloves... and I'm diving deep into working with content controls.
I invite you to check out this blog post if you are looking for some cool demo code of how to create an authentication provider using a SharePoint list... cool idea!
I debated whether to make the title of this post "What Happened To Versioning With SharePoint 2007 Workflows?" but decided that was too crude. The next title of this post was "Shout Out To Wiggins (party at ILTA -- the first one I'll miss in 9 years)" but decided that was too cryptic so I went with the a boring but subject matter title. The truth is, there really isn't traditional versioning with SharePoint Visual Studio workflows (SharePoint Designer workflows take care of versioning and deployment for you). You cannot simply create a new version, expect the old workflow to pick up the correct assembly and new workflows to pick up the new one. Instead, the "best practice" method for versioning workflows is really to create a new version and therefore a new workflow.
I've seen a lot of companies dealing with this issue. They deploy Version 1 and a month later have Version 2. What most of them tend to do is simply make a static version number, deploy the assembly to the GAC and cross their fingers. Unfortunately what ends up happening is a series of unfortunate and oftentimes cryptic error messages or, worse, non-error messages. Oftentimes it takes the form of an In Progress workflow, a task edit and the workflow never moves on... a user continually tries to update their task and instead is met, each time, with the message that the task is locked by a workflow. A vicious cycle.
So, in short, the unfortunate circumstance is that you have to deploy the new version as if it were a completely new workflow. It must be reassociated to the lists and libraries as if it were new. You have to set the previous version to "No New Instances" (which will actually automatically happen when you deploy a new version) and, most irritatingly, you get the secondary workflow status column in your default view. For the record, I did double check with my sources to determine if I was missing something but, as far as I'm aware, you really do have to reassociate new workflow instances and treat them, essentially, as a new workflow. This is a huge oversight on the part of the SharePoint workflow team and, hopefully, one that is rectified in future releases.
More bad news comes when we talk about forms versioning. There is no really clear picture with regard to forms versioning. For my purposes, I have made sure that fields previously versioned workflows needed remained in the form even when I didn't need them for future versions and updated the form.
I found this interesting blog entry by Dan who talks about the versioning issues with SharePoint workflows. An interesting solution but just a workaround to a larger issue and most organizations would be hesitant to create custom code to deal with a shortcoming of the product.
So, readers, what do you do to "support" workflow versioning with SharePoint? I have a few interested parties with their eyes open to hear about it!
As a side note, I get a lot of emails asking me for specific support for specific error messages with SharePoint workflows. I am usually happy to try and help but please understand that I can't troubleshoot a black box. It is generally best to send me snippets of code, your workflow project, or pictures of error messages to work from. It is really hard to troubleshoot "My workflow won't start" emails.
I haven't been blogging recently as I have some big changes going on in my professional life. I sorta without direction at the moment (which is okay (for the moment)) and, as a result, I've been taking a short-lived break from cutting edge technology (although I plan to take some time today to install ORCAS and use VSTO workflow functionality to see what's there) while I figure out exactly what it is I want to be when I grow up. In my hiatus I was reading through the news which I never get to do and came across this MSN article about female bloggers being targeted with vicious and threatening comments. One of the author's statements is that being a woman, especially a well-respected, driven woman, in technology can open the door for this kind of hatred.
I've never seen it. Believe me, I'm quite sure there are some choice comments about my female attributes, my female personality or whatever which are made while I'm not in the room. In fact, one time, at a conference, I had been talking to three men, they walked out of the room, unaware that I followed shortly after and I overhead them making a comment about me. I decided to just embarrass them instead of ignore it and called them out on it... I saw some beet red faces in that moment.
But I've never felt or heard any disdain, doubt or really anything I would consider discrimination from the men in this field. Maybe it's the Office Development community that is more enlightened, less threatened (afterall, we've all dealt with the fact that we weren't "real programmers" until recent times)... or, maybe, I'm just too indifferent to notice (this is the case with other things in life, I simply don't pay attention and so it goes unnoticed, like one time at a female gathering I apparently didn't notice that I somehow pissed all the other women off). Often at conferences I see the "Women & Technology" forum, roundtable or lunch session... I've never attended one. I've never felt the need or reason to find the few other women in this industry and "bond" or "talk" about what it is like to be a woman in technology because, well, I guess I rarely feel like a woman in technology or, rather, that there is any distinction.
I wonder if my paycheck is less than yours? :)
Fresh technical blogging about:
- Installing Orcas
- Installing VSTO on Orcas
- VSTO Orcas features
- Sharepoint Architecture & Design (which I've decided I truly, truly love... I don't want to be a programmer anymore... I want to do design... I have been working on a large design for the past two months and I really love the process)
- Sharepoint Workflow Versioning (well, lack of versioning if you ask me)
First, contrary to popular belief, yes, that is my daughter in the blog banner up there. She was being funny.... and I originally did a cool blog banner of me in some wierd pretzle yoga pose. Someone told me it might not be so professional to have myself in some wierd contortion on my blog ("sorta like yoga, just less flexible" tag line or not) so I switched to the funny picture of my daughter. She, by the way, LOVES that she is on the cover of my blog. She feels quite famous.
I have lost my entire 2 year old computer to Windows Vista. WOW is right. I attempted to install it... yes, I turned off the RAID drives... and I'm still met with the nice, pretty, 80s Blue Screen of Death that reports Unmountable Boot Volume and, even when I get around that, an O/S that reports missing hard drives and a host of other error messages when I turn upside down, spin this way and that and try to repair it. I've now ordered a new pre-configured with Vista Dell. A horrendous waste of money but if time is money, probably a decent value.
My son is 9. He is in 3rd grade and this week they have their final 3rd grade project which is a book report. The book report has to be on someone famous. My son, in his father's shadow, is doing his book report on Tony Hawk. I noted on the list of reports that someone in his class is doing Mr. Bill Gates. I thought this was great. I asked my son tonight what he knew about Bill Gates and he said only that when I got up to "his office" I bring back a toy (hahahahaha -- that would be called SWAG). The kids have to do a "wax museum" implementation of their book report meaning that they have to BE the character. I can't wait to see who Bill Gates is.... I have many questions.