Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wrestling SharePoint to the ground

I am doing a little programming project at work this week, and it involves the convoluted SharePoint APIs. (CAML? Why, oh why?) Instead of messing with an actual live server at work, I decided to set up a staging site.

My first choice was a test hosting account with Apptix. They sell full hosting for $40/month, with a trial month free. I dropped by, set up a site, and tried to program against it.

Oops. I tried to talk to the site via Web service in VB.NET, but I don't have the permissions to reach the site programmatically. So I decided to set up SharePoint at home. (I have a server at home that runs Windows Server 2003 and is attached to the Internets.)

Sounds easy, but I spent a day fighting SharePoint to the death, finally emerging victorious. For whatever reason, every roadblock that could've appeared did appear, and very little of it has been clearly documented online. Maybe some of this information will help future generations.

First off, I made sure that WS2K3 was patched and updated. I also put the .NET Framework 3.0 on it, as a prerequisite of running SharePoint 3.0.

Next, I downloaded and installed Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. The installation choked. It had a problem accessing a database called MSSQL$Microsoft##SSEE. Great. I went into Add/Remove Programs and tried a second time, and this time it completed successfully. I still had to run the configuration wizard to get things set up.

Uh oh. Same problem. The wizard went part of the way through and said something about the MSSQL$Microsoft##SSEE database again. It told me to disable the FrontPage server extensions. Why would they interfere with a database though?

I went into the ISAPI extensions and disabled FrontPage extensions. I tried the wizard again, and again I got the same problem. Maybe it was missing a DLL? I uninstalled 3.0, and installed Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. Then I immediately installed 3.0 as an upgrade instead of as a fresh install. No dice. Same problems.

I rolled back 3.0, and got back to 2.0. I repaired its installation just to be sure. Everything went fine. But then I clicked the administration link, and it went to fpadmdll.dll - and gave me a 404. The DLL was obviously where it should've been. But why was SharePoint still calling a FrontPage DLL after I'd disabled the extensions?

It took me a minute to find out where the actual installation point was for the FrontPage server extensions. They're hidden like a coin in a King Cake. You have to go to Control Panel. Then into Add/Remove Programs. Then to Add/Remove Windows Components to get to the Windows Components Wizard. Then you have to choose Application Server and click Details. THEN you have to choose IIS and click Details again. Finally, the list of IIS components appears, one of them being FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions, 14.1 MB. I uninstalled it and got out of Control Panel. Suddenly, everything worked. THIS is why you listen to the weak error messages, people.

I thought I was finished, anyway. I clicked on a link in the administration screen, and I got a message "There is not enough space on the disk." Every administrative task I tried gave me the same message. I had 22.4 GB on the drive!

This one was easier to nail down. I went to File Explorer, right-clicked on the C: drive, and checked Quotas. Sure enough, they were turned on. I turned them off (for now), and the last error messages went away.

So I did it. I wrestled SharePoint to the ground. I haven't upgraded back to 3.0 yet, but 2.0 is running great, under 384 KB of memory. And I finally have a test server I can program against, as well as a message board for the whole family. Life is good - or at least better than it is for the smoking monkey.

1 comment:

Chris said...

thanks for the tips
looking to begin installing/exploring sharepoint 3.0, and sure this will help

nice monkey too