My Walk in the Clouds

Provisioning a VPC with CloudFormation in AWS

This post is about a detailed examination of a CloudFormation template for provisioning a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in Amazon AWS. It is the first of what will be a series of posts that talk about Infrastructure as Code, revolving around trying to accomplish some particular thing. In particular, I’m moving my blog (this blog) to AWS from a shared hosting provider, and my experiences doing that is what this series will be about.

I have some specific goals in moving my blog, like my current service is a bit slower than I would like, and also less reliable (only 2 nines of availability), so I was looking to upgrade either way. Looking at the next step up in shared hosting, it would cost about twice as much as I’m currently spending (around $400/year), so I would ideally like to come up with something on AWS that isn’t much more than that, but with improved reliability and maybe speed. I have no idea starting out if I can actually meet any of these goals.

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Getting All SharePoint Group Membership for a User Using JavaScript

As everyone knows by now, Microsoft is pushing all development out to the client-side. But most of the time, I find customers who desire customization want a user experience that is somewhat tailored to the current user. Like managers should see one thing when they log in, but regular users should see something else. That means that on the client-side, I need to be able to distinguish managers from other users. That’s normally done by assigning the users to groups. But in large organizations, that usually means Active Directory groups, which are then added to SharePoint groups. This leads to a problem, because from the client-side, there is no way to determine if the user has membership in a SharePoint group to which they’ve been added indirectly (i.e. through membership in an Active Directory group).

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Why Don’t My CSS Files Work on SharePoint 2019?

For those of you who may not know, I have an open source project for SharePoint called SPEasyForms. But this post is not about that, it’s about a general problem you might encounter in SharePoint 2019, which is that none of your CSS files in document libraries work. It just so happens that I first heard about this issue this week, when somebody reported SPEasyForms doesn’t work on SharePoint 2019. I had tested it in 2019 Preview, and it had worked just fine, but the preview license had expired, so I had to spend a few days standing up a 2019 RTM farm. As soon as I did that, I saw the same results as had been reported (i.e. SPEasyForms looked like crap). So I’m just using SPEasyForms to demonstrate the problem, and I’ll go on to talk about how to fix it.

Understand that this problem will affect all CSS files that are loaded out of document libraries. That includes OOB style sheets loaded out of the master page gallery. It does not affect all SharePoint 2019 installations. Like I said, my preview didn’t display this behavior, and that’s not because this only affects the RTM release. Others had already reported this issue with the Preview release. And Microsoft is aware of the problem, but nobody has explained what alignment of the stars will cause this issue, just some people have it and others don’t.

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Using a Polyfill Service with SharePoint

If you’ve read many of my previous posts, you have probably seen me use polyfills (i.e. CRUD Operations for SharePoint Docs Using Fetch and REST), to patch older browsers with modern functionality like fetch. I generally download the polyfill, upload it to SharePoint, and load it on the page as a user custom action. But there is another way to load polyfills, which is generally called a polyfill service. The idea is that you load the polyfill from some external service, which detects your current browser, and loads just enough polyfill to patch your current browser up to some level of specification compatibility (usually like ES5, but you can also generally ask for specific functionality, like fetch and/or Promise). There are some unique problems with loading this kind of polyfill in SharePoint, mostly due to limitations in user custom actions. In this post I’m going to talk about how to load such a polyfill in SharePoint, but first lets talk a little more about polyfill services in general.

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Open post

An Entity Editor Display Template, Advanced Client Side Rendering

Ever had a list in SharePoint with a choice field that allowed multiple selections (i.e. checkboxes)? And with many things to choose from? See the picture below. In this particular case, you’d need to scroll down a page or two to see all of the choices. I’ve seen a lot of people try to solve this problem by making the choices wrap around inline instead of one per line, which is a fine solution if your choices are relatively small strings and there is a small enough number of them. But what if there are over 100 choices, and some of them are pretty big strings? That’s the problem I’m trying to solve with this Entity Editor Display Template.

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Star Ratings Display Template, Advanced Client Side Rendering

In this post, I’m going to do a CSR field rendering template for a star ratings field. It’s just what it sounds like, give the user an opportunity to rate something with 0 to 5 stars, by clicking into an image of 5 stars. Under the hood it will just be a numeric field, but as much as possible I’d like the user to never see the number. Anywhere the field appears, they should see an image with the appropriate number of gold stars.

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$select and $expand in SharePoint REST requests

I have used OData operators like $select, $filter and $expand in previous posts (REST in SharePoint) without any real explanation. This post is the first in a series that will rectify that by giving detailed descriptions of how to use OData operators in SharePoint REST requests. In this post, I’m going to explain the purpose and usage of two OData operators, $select and $expand.

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