Monday, April 14, 2008

SharePoint Alerts—Activesync Synchronization Issues?

I got a new toy about three weeks AT&T Tilt. A.K.A. the HTC 8925, the Tilt runs Windows Mobile 6 and is my first portable device on which I will receive email. Okay, so I'm a bit late jumping into the whole mobile email thing. I've never thought of email (or me) as being important enough to have to have in front of me 24x7. So now I have it. I'll let you know later if that's good…or bad.

Learning curve engaged. I had to figure out this Activesync thing. You know, like Active X and Active desktop and Active Directory and Active bladder…but I digress (too many of those commercials on TV). Back to Activesync. Got the Activesync thing figured out pretty easily. My biggest problem was entering my "secure" password on the keyboard to set up my OWA Exchange account correctly. Things were rockin' and rollin' and mail was downloadin' until…

…about a week into it. Suddenly, my device stopped syncing. Well, partially, anyway. Seemed like it developed a distaste for my email. However, it was still syncing my contacts, calendar and tasks without a problem. Kinda' like Powerpoint, it started sucking the life right out of me as I began my troubleshooting journey. I did all the standard Windows Mobile things…delete the account and start over, soft reset, hard reset and finally, upgrading the ROM (I originally thought the upgrade had fixed the problem).

I found several articles that talked about a problem with corrupt emails causing Activesync to stop synchronizing emails. The question for me was how to determine which of my gazillion emails might be causing the problem. I removed all my emails from my Inbox (it needed a good housecleaning, anyway). I even tried moving entire folders into my PST to no avail. Still, no sync. It was all very interesting, as the error I had originally received suddenly went away and I was left with an errorless, non-syncing mailbox.

Well, someone else in the company (thanks, Eric) started having problems and determined quickly that it might be caused by a SharePoint alert! Must be a better Googler than I. Okay, now THAT makes sense. I've seen those SharePoint alerts in the past that won't open correctly in Outlook, so I thought it sounded plausible. Sure enough, I deleted my daily alerts from my Inbox and volia, I was syncing again.

I went back and tested the scenario by forcing a SharePoint immediate alert. Sure enough, as soon as I got the alert in my Inbox, my email stopped syncing with Activesync. Follow-up provided me with article 937788 from Microsoft which seems to shed more light on the issue. I've requested the hotfix to see if it really fixes the issue.

We all love SharePoint alerts, but they appear to have some undesirable side effects. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has had (or is having) this issue. I've seen other posts with similar issues. I found out quickly that losing your portable email can lead to withdrawl!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

When Good Web Parts Go Bad

Here's a quick tip for a Saturday morning.

At some point it's bound to happen. You'll mess up a perfectly good SharePoint page by incorrectly configuring a web part. You may add some incorrect custom HTML, JavaScript, or style sheet code to a Content Editor Web Part, and then not be able to edit or close the web part. Or you may add a page viewer web part to frame an external web page and the webmaster controlling that external page writes some code to break it out of frames.

When this happens, you need some way to close the offending web part. To do this, go to the Edit Properties page for the page that contains the bad web part. If you scroll to the bottom of Edit Properties page, you will see a link to Open WebPart Page in maintenance view. Click on this link.

From the Web Part Page Maintenance page, you can select the web part you messed up and then either Close it, Reset it, or Delete it.

Ah! You're back in business!