Archive for January, 2008

LINQ to SharePoint and PopFly

I was thinking about how painful it is to create SharePoint queries using CAML and then realized that Linq would be an excellent tool to handle this. I found the LINQ to SharePoint project on Codeplex and realized someone had already built this capability. It looks like this product vastly helps reduce the complexity of doing a CAML query. Coupled with the ADO.NET Entity framework I think the possibilities for managing the SharePoint data access layer are getting easier and easier. One question to ask would be where within an n-tier infrastructure would LINQ queries be best placed. Obviously LINQ queries can function a lot like database queries but they can also act like a middle-tier business rules layer. If LINQ is coupled with a tradition O/R abstraction layer, LINQ can co-exist with O/R or even make it more efficient.
Another thing I thought of recently was whether PopFly can handle LINQ queries. Although mashups can be effectively chained together it would be very interesting if the results from one mashup could be queries through a LINQ query. If time permits I will be trying to use LINQ within a PopFly project developed in Visual Studio to see if a block can interrogate another block’s data using LINQ.

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Striving for MOSS ROI

Lately I have been working on a SharePoint workflow project and have been finding some good opportunities for optimizing the time-to-market and return-on-investment of SharePoint workflows. For anyone who has worked with this technology extensively, it can be difficult to transition between workflow form types such as task forms and modification forms. One goal I will be taking up in the next few days will be to build a small framework for reducing the cost involved to switch between these types of workflow form types. The primary challenge I have found is that the way that saving data to a list versus saving data in serialized form to a database is remarkably different. So to accomplish the challenge, the question would be whether to build a more loosely-coupled or tightly-coupled implementation. I will provide more details on my approach to solve this development challenge this week.


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BizTalk & SCOM Presentation

I just got back from my presentation on using SCOM/MOM for managing the supporting infrastructure of BizTalk. I presented today at the Midwest Connected Systems User Group (formerly Midwest BizTalk Users Group) in Downers Grove, IL (near Chicago). The website for the usergroup is Here is a summary of the presentation:
BizTalk Server 2006 includes many features for handling server diagnostics, issue resolution and message management. Did you know that BizTalk also provides a specialized management pack for use with Microsoft Operations Manager or Systems Center Operations Manager? This management packs provides additional features for tracking exceptions for BizTalk artifacts such as ports or orchestrations. Ben Cline will describe these capabilities and present how they may be leveraged for managing a BizTalk environment.

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