July 25, 2019

SharePoint Online Integration with Workday through SFTP

Sometimes, we need to deal with third party tools/applications from SharePoint Online. To deal with third party tools/applications, we may need a medium like SFTP server to pass data from SharePoint Online to third party tools/applications. In this blog, we are going to showcase - how to create xml/text file on SFTP server from SharePoint Online.

First, let's understand what's SFTP server and how it can be used to transfer data from SharePoint Online.

What is SFTP server?

SFTP - Secure File Transfer Protocol server, is popular method of transferring files between two remote systems over a secure connection. In this blog, we will see how to transfer data from one application - SharePoint Online to another remote server application (e.g. Workday).

Create file on SFTP server using Rest API & Web Service in SharePoint Online:

We can follow below steps to create file on SFTP server:

Step 1: Create a page in SharePoint Online and add custom button using HTML and JavaScript file. On Custom button click event, JavaScript file would call web service to create file on SFTP server.

Step 2: Create a web service (c#) using Visual studio.
  • Install “SSH.NET” package to deal with the SFTP server.
  • Find below code to connect SFTP server.

var client = new SftpClient("Server URL", "User Name", "Password");
  • Then, stores incoming data into memory.

byte[] bArray = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(dataURL);
var memory = new MemoryStream(bArray);
    • Now, Upload/Create a file on SFTP server.

    client.UploadFile(memory, "/Folder path /File Name", null);
    • At the end, close the connection with SFTP server.

      • The complete code for SFTP server integration is as below:

      [ScriptMethod(ResponseFormat = ResponseFormat.Json)]   
      public string UploadFileToFTP(string data)
           var client = new SftpClient("Server URL", "User Name", "Password");
           byte[] bArray = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(dataURL);
           var memory = new MemoryStream(bArray);
           client.UploadFile(memory, "/Folder path /File Name", null);

      Step 3: Publish this web service on Microsoft Azure platform.

      Step 4: Add following code to JavaScript reference file in SharePoint Online. In this step, we would get data from SharePoint Online list and pass data to web service to create file on SFTP server.

      function MoveFileToSFTP()
           var DataURL = "'ServerURL'/FTPFileUpload.asmx/UploadFileToFTP";
           var request = new XMLHttpRequest();
           var Data = JSON.stringify(data);
           var params = "data="+Data+"";
           request.open('POST', DataURL, true);
           request.onreadystatechange = function() {
              var responsetext = request.responseText;
       if (request.readyState==4)
          alert("File has been created successfully on SFTP server.");
           request.setRequestHeader("Content-type", "application/x-www-  form-urlencoded");
           request.setRequestHeader("Content-length", params.length);
           request.setRequestHeader("Connection", "close");
      This way, we can upload files to SFTP from SharePoint Online programmatically.

      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

      Power BI - Implement JSON Theme for Report Development

      We have seen many times, there are numbers of reports to be developed with identical color schemes and themes. For this type of report development, it is preferable to use JSON theme for more ease and to save time.

      So, here we have created a similar JSON Theme which has all the visuals formatted and with attached background image within the JSON Theme file which gives a custom look and feel to the Power BI Report.

      It is dual-color saturating themes which are Dark and Light themes.

      This is how the Dark Theme looks like:

      And the Light Theme looks like this:

      Note: Theme will not be applied to Custom Visuals or third-party visuals. Here, we are providing both these Dark & Light Theme JSON files to download and use for your reports as required:

      The downloaded Power BI Themes can be used in any Power BI Report (in Power BI Desktop) following steps mentioned below:

      Step 1: Download the attached JSON file.

      Step 2: Open Power BI Desktop and click on “Switch Theme” in the Home Ribbon.

      Step 3: Click on “Import theme” in the Switch Theme menu.

      Step 4: Navigate through and select the downloaded JSON theme.

      Step 5: Once it is imported then click “Close”.

      With this, we will have all styling from JSON Theme applied to Power BI visuals. And we can reuse the same JSON Theme for multiple Power BI Reports as required to save time defining the styling for each visual individually in each and every report. Happy Reporting!!

      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

      July 8, 2019

      This web site has been configured to disallow editing with SharePoint Designer. [Resolved]

      Problem Statement:
      While opening a SharePoint Site in SharePoint Designer, I was getting an error like "This web site has been configured to disallow editing with SharePoint Designer. Contact your web site administrator for more information".

      To open specific site in SharePoint Designer, we need to verify the configuration at 3 levels:
      1. Web Application
      2. Site Collection
      3. Site 

      Let's verify the configuration at all 3 levels and update the configuration to allow specific site to be opened from SharePoint Designer.

      1. Web Application Level:
      • Open Central Administration.
      • Navigate to Application Management -> Manage web applications.
      • Select specific web application for which this issue is appearing.
      • Click General Settings -> SharePoint Designer.

      • "Enable SharePoint Designer" option must be selected in newly opened window. If this is unchecked, please check this option and click "OK".

      2. Site Collection Level:
      • Open SharePoint Site in browser for which this issue is appearing. If you are getting this issue for any sub-site, please open root level site in the browser.
      • Navigate to "Site Settings".
      • Click "SharePoint Designer Settings" under "Site Collection Administration" section. (User performing this action must have "Site Collection Administrator" rights).
      • "Enable SharePoint Designer" option must be selected. If this is unchecked, please check this option and click "OK".

      3. Site Level:
      • Login to SharePoint Server and open SharePoint Management Shell with Farm Administrator access rights.
      • Execute following PowerShell:
         $web = Get-SPWeb <http://name.domain.com/sites/sitename/sub-site>    

      • You will notice that the vti_disablewebdesignfeatures2 contains a value of wdfopensite.
      • To resolve the issue, enter the following command in the same PowerShell window:

      This way, we can verify if specific site is allowed to open in SharePoint Designer. If site is not allowed to open in SharePoint Designer, we can also update the configuration with steps mentioned above for Web Application Level, Site Collection Level as well as Site Level.

      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

      June 17, 2019

      Combine data from multiple SharePoint Lists using Power Query in MS Excel - Part 1

      Have you ever received a requirement to get data from SharePoint list and you wanted to modify it, but, you have trouble with the same?

      Well, Microsoft Excel has been evolving on a regular basis, making it a powerful tool. But are we aware of the powerful things, that we don't use on a daily basis? Here, is one such function i.e. Power Query.

      What is Power Query?
      Power Query is an add-in for business intelligence available in Microsoft Excel and now in Power BI. Similar to SQL query, it gives you the functionality to modify or create new model of the data by combining various data sources like relational databases, Excel, text and XML files, OData feeds, web pages, SharePoint, Hadoop file (HDFS), Exchange, SAP HANA, etc. and utilize it for further processes. 

      Here, in this example, we would be getting the data of 2 SharePoint lists, and combining those, to make a new model for our use. 

      Please Note: This blog provides information on the basics like using the Power Query, creating functions, and using those functions to model data for further use.

      In this example, we have 2 SharePoint Lists - Subject Name and Students. 
      • Subject Name list is the master list of the subjects. 
      • Students list contains the data of students of different grades and Subject Name they excel at. 
      We need to get list of students those who are Primary school i.e. Grades <=7, and High School i.e. Grades > 7 in Excel.

      Implementation : Connecting SharePoint List with Excel and transforming data.

      So, we begin with connecting SharePoint online data with Excel:
      • In the Data Tab, from the ribbon > Get Data. In this you would find various data connectors, and we would be going for SharePoint Online List. So, under the "Get Data menu > From Online Services > From SharePoint Online List.
      • Now, in the open SharePoint List dialog box, we would enter the Site Collection/Subsite URL of List1.
      • This would ask us to authenticate the details, and ask us for the credentials.
      • On Clicking Sign In, this would open Office 365 login page pop-up dialog box. Enter the account details. On authentication, it would show that you have signed in and Click on Connect. 
      • On Clicking Sign In button, this would open Office 365 login page pop-up dialog box. Enter the account details.
      • On authentication, it would show that you have signed in and Click on Connect. This would open up the total list and libraries in the site. 
      • Here, select the List1 from which the data is to be fetched. In our case, we would be using Subject Names list. On selection, on the right, you would see the preview of the data in a table. 

      Please note, that while fetching the data, it brings all the data in the list, including the hidden and back-end columns, not generally used and is recommended not to be used.
      • Now, there are 2 options, Load and Edit.
        1. Load: This would fetch the information as it is. Then, the changes would be made in the Excel file, but every-time, the data would fetch all the information. This would being unwanted data, and specially, when the data volume is very high, this is not recommended.
        2. Edit: The recommended approach, if the data is too large, to have a cleanup performed. This would open up our table, where we can make changes in the model  
      • So, we would be click on Edit to edit the fields, to change the model and get limited data only. This would open up Power Query Editor window. 
      • We will remove the unwanted columns, by selecting the columns and then right-clicking the column to remove the columns. 
      • We have removed the unwanted columns and our List 1 is ready. Now, we have just the Subject Name and Description. This would look like something as below.
      • Now, we would be adding another list here, in the same Power Query Editor window. We can add our 2nd list, by clicking New Source > Online Services < SharePoint Online List. Alternatively, we can right-click in the Queries section and select New Query > Online Services > SharePoint Online List. This would open the same dialog box to enter the SharePoint Site URL.
      • We will add Students which contains the Student Names, their grades and the subject name (lookup of the Subject Name). We will clean it by removing unwanted columns, and we would be having just Student Name, Grades and Subject Name. Now, as this is a lookup, we would be seeing "Record". So, we would be expanding it and selecting the Title column i.e. - Subject Name. To expand, we will click the expand button besides the column Subject Name and select Title column.
      • So, in this part, we have added the data source list, and modified the data as per our requirement.
      In the next part, we would creating function in Power Query Editor, to get the students per the grade, and and use those for different purpose. 

      Use SharePoint data in Microsoft Excel using Power Query - Part 2

      #PowerQuery #MSExcel #Excel #Query #SharePoint #Office365 #SharePointOnline #SharePointList #PowerBI #MicrosoftSharePoint

      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

      June 7, 2019

      Column formatting in SharePoint Modern List View

      While working with one of SharePoint Modern UI project, there was requirement to display Reminder Date with red background color in  default List View, if it is due within next 7 days from today.

      JS link is the one way to meet the requirement. But in OOTB Modern List view, there isn't any option to reference JS link in Miscellaneous section which is available in Classic view.

      Using Column Formatting option, we've achieved the desired results. You can find this option while editing the column as shown in below screenshot.

      Here, we need to write JSON code to format the field value. Here is code snippet to display "Reminder Date" field with red background and text color in white.

        "$schema": "http://columnformatting.sharepointpnp.com/columnFormattingSchema.json",
        "elmType": "div",
        "debugMode": true,
        "txtContent": "@currentField",
        "style": {
             "color":  "=if([$Reminder_x0020_Date] <= @now+604800000, if([$Reminder_x0020_Date]                            >= @now,'#ffffff',''), '')",
      "background-color":"=if([$Reminder_x0020_Date]<= @now+604800000,if([$Reminder_x0020_Date] >= @now,'#ff0000',''), '')" }

      Note: 604800000 is in millisecond, equals to 7 days.

      Output: Date column will be rendered in default list view as per below screenshot.

      • It will not work with SharePoint Online Classic View.
      • If formatting of the column is based on value of another column from the list, than that column must be available in List View.
      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.

      February 7, 2019

      Multithreading in PowerShell & Exchange Online (Office 365)

      The details of a few (around 300) users' mailbox in Exchange Online were to be fetched, and the approach is via PowerShell. Now, the total users were over 3800, and to filter from those, consumed a lot of time. As a result, going the conventional way of getting those one-by-one took us 39 seconds per user which was around 3.5 hours for the whole script execution.  

      We had to find another way to get this done. So, we chose the approach of getting multiple records simultaneously, using background processes. 

      And, multi-threading came to the rescue!!

      We created the connection to Exchange Online via PowerShell:
      $Credentials = Get-Credential
      $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri  https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $Credentials -Authentication  Basic -AllowRedirection
      Import-PSSession $Session 

      Then, we read the user display names from the file, and stored them in an array. 
      $accounts = Import-CSV C:\Temp\File.csv

      Now, instead of specifying the number of jobs, we would want the jobs to be automatically created.

      So, we would be specifying, the batch size of each job. In our case, we chose 50 users per batch.

      $accountsperBatch = 50

      Then, we iterated the loop for all the accounts to be split into batches as jobs, and then started the job using Start-Job for creating the job. 

      This Start-Job  needs:

      1. ScriptBlock in order to job to know, what it has to do.
      2. ArgumentList in order to job to know, the items using which the job is to be performed.    

      On specifying this, PowerShell would begin the creation of jobs, and as the job is created, the code within the ScriptBlock is executed.  
      $accountsperBatch = 50
      $i = 0
      $j = $accountsperBatch - 1
      $batch = 1
      $csvContents = @() 
      while ($i -lt $accounts.Count)
       $accountBatch = $accounts[$i..$j]
       $jobName = "Batch$batch"
       $fileName = "c:\Temp\Details$jobName"
       Start-Job  -Name $jobName `
             -ScriptBlock {
               param([string[]] $accounts)
        foreach($account in $accounts)
         $mailBoxDetail = Get-Mailbox  -Identity  $account | Select  DisplayName, UserPrincipalName 
         $row =  New-Object System.Object
         $row | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name "DisplayName" -Value  $mailBoxDetail.DisplayName
         $row | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name "UserPrincipalName" -Value  $mailBoxDetail.UserPrincipalName
         $csvContents += $row  
                      $csvContents | Export-CSV $fileName
            -ArgumentList (,$accountBatch)
       $batch += 1
       $i = $j + 1
       $j += $accountsperBatch
       if($i -gt $accounts.Count) {$i = $accounts.Count}
       if($j -gt $accounts.Count) {$j = $accounts.Count}

      Then, as per the best practices, we would remove the jobs completed by using Remove-Job  and the PS Session using Remove-PSSession $Session. 

      This script helped us to generate the details of the user accounts simultaneously and the results improved drastically and the results were available under 1.5 hours.

      Note: If we open too many connections with Office 365, it would suspend the connections, as the security mechanism at Office 365 would consider this as a DDoS attack, thus, giving us an error like remote host not found or the connection was closed. 

      If you have any questions you can reach out our SharePoint Consulting team here.