Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Publish Microsoft Sharepoint Services with ISA Server 2006 ?

First, we have to install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or higher on the Server where we want to install Sharepoint services. You can download the .NET Framework from the Microsoft website. The link is provided at the end of this article.
Installing the .NET Framework is very easy. Simply follow the Wizard installation instructions

Figure 1: .NET Framework 3.0 installation

After the .NET Framework has been installed, start the installation of Microsoft Sharepoint Services 3.0. You can download the Sharepoint services for free from the Microsoft website. The link is provided at the end of this article.
For this example we will choose the Standalone installation option. The typical installation option installs the Sharepoint services with a local MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine) – Windows Internal Database. For advanced options choose the other setup option.

Figure 2: Standalone Setup option

After installing Sharepoint services 3.0 it should be possible to open the default Sharepoint Team site. It is now up to you to create custom Sharepoint sites which you want to use internally or with ISA Server publishing over the Internet.

Figure 3: .Default Sharepoint Services website

In this example I created a new Sharepoint website with the Blog template to publish a Blog about ISA Server.
Figure 4: New Team site

Specify the Title and the URL location for the Sharepoint Team Blog website.


Figure 5: Creating the Sharepoint Blog site

After successfully creating the Sharepoint Blog site, you can open the website by specifying the correct URL

Figure 6: The new Sharepoint Blog site

Each Web application has a set of internal URLs which are used for accessing the internal website. A public URL is what users type to get to the SharePoint site, and that URL is what appears in the links on the pages. If you try to open the published Sharepoint site from outside the Internal network, you have to activate the Alternate access mapping feature for the Sharepoint website you want to publish through ISA Server.

Figure 7: Alternate access mapping

Specify the external website URL in the Internet section on the Public Zone URLs.

Figure 8: Edit Public Zone URLs

After that, the Sharepoint part is done and we have to configure ISA Server 2006.

The next step is to create a Webserver certificate for the ISA Server Sharepoint Listener. The Common Name (CN) of the certificate must match the FQDN you use on the Internet to access the website. For normal use you should use certificates from your internal CA or a commercial certificate. For this article we will be using self signed certificates with the help of the SELFSSL tool from the IIS 6 Resource Kit. You can download the IIS 6 Resource Kit for free from the Microsoft website. The link is provided at the end of this article.

Figure 9: Installing IIS 6 Resource Kit

SELF SSL is a command line tool used to create a certificate.

Figure 10: Using SELFSSL

SELFSSL has several options for creating certificates. Executing SELFSSL with /? will show you the available options.

Pay special attention to the /V: parameter. The /V: parameter specifies the lifetime of the certificate in days!

After creating the certificate, you have two ways to bring the certificate to the other ISA Server node which is already a member in an ISA NLB cluster:

0.Export the certificate with a private key from the first node.
1.Create a new certificate with the same settings on the second node.

Figure 11: Certificate MMC

For the example in this article we export the certificate from the first node, move it to the second node and import it into the local computer certificate store.

Figure 12: Import the PFX file into the local computer certificate store

Because we are using a self signed certificate, we have to import the self signed certificate into the Trusted Root Authority store on both ISA server nodes.

  • Open the ISA MMC and create a new Sharepoint publishing rule with the help of the wizard.  
  • Name the rule.  
  • Select Publish a single Web site or Load balancer.

 Figure 13: Publish a single website or Load Balancer

In this example we are not using SSL from the ISA Server to the Sharpoint services Server.


Figure 14: Use a non secured connection to connect to the SPS Server

If you want to use a secured connection from the ISA Server Enterprise array to the published Sharepoint Server, you must request a certificate for the Sharepoint Server and ISA Server must have the trusted Root CA certificate from the issuing CA.
Next, specify the name of the internal site. The name you typed here, must match the common name of the certificate when you use HTTPS Bridging from ISA Server to the published Sharepoint Server.

Figure 15: Specify the internal site name

In the Public Name Details accept requests only for the domain name sps.it-training-grote.de.

Figure 16: Public Name details

Create a new Weblistener, name the Weblistener and select Require SSL secured connections with clients.

Figure 17: Use SSL for accessing the ISA Server from the client

The Weblistener is the EXTERNAL network. If you have more than one IP address bound to the external network interface on ISA Server, select the IP address for the Sharepoint publishing manually to avoid problems with other Publishing rules.

Figure 18: Specify the External Weblistener

In the Listener SSL Certificates section, select the issued certificate.

Figure 19: Listener SSL certificate

As the Authentication option, select HTML Form Authentication and Windows (Active Directory) as the Authentication provider.

Figure 20: Select the Authentication method

Do not enable SSO. For this article we select NTLM as the Authentication model.

Figure 21: Specify Authentication method

Because we activated the Alternate access mapping feature on the Microsoft Sharepoint 3.0 services before we start the ISA publishing wizard, we doesn’t have to activate this feature and we can select SharePoint AAM is already configured on the SharePoint server.

Figure 22: Alternate Access Mapping configuration

ISA Server 2006 can limit who can access the published server. It is possible to limit access to specific users or user groups. For this article we select the predefined All Authenticated Users set.

Figure 23: Specify User Sets

After ISA Server publishing has finished, you can try to access the published website, and if everything is configured correctly, you should see a website like this in the following picture.

 Figure 24: The published website through ISA Server

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Search does not work for me since I splitted the indexer and the query server

I came across a rather interesting problem yesterday,
I came to know that we were not able to search the portal site since we decided to have a dedicated Search server in the farm.

The environment was
1 Application server 32 BIT Windows Server 2008 also running search query service
1 Search server 32 BIT Windows Server 2008 running Search Indexing Service
1 Database server which was SQL 2005
Interesting catch was that everything was running under FQDN

The search started getting rude to us since we added a search server to the farm and gave it an Indexer role. also the search was set crawl all the Dedicated WFE (which might not be a good idea)

First thing you have to check is the Crawl logs, which might give you a better direction, mine gave me error as - could not access the url
The site was browse able on the client and the application server
we RDP'd to the Index server and tried browsing the site & it did not show up
Tried pinging, tracert, nslookup; no response- by this time we were sure that it was a network problem

What's the catch ?

The Domain Controller was running on Windows Server 2003, which means IPv4 we saw that Sharepoint was running on Server 2008 which is IPv6.
when you give role to a server as Indexer it writes entries to the host file with the url of the sites and from there we saw that it was IPv6
we disabled the IPV6 networking layer on Sharepoint and the sites were now browseable and searchable
checkout the following links to support that :


Golden Point to remember:

Incase you have separate Query and Index server in the farm make sure that the site should be up and browse able on the Indexer server

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Create a Windows Project in VS2008

Create a new project from File | New | Project. Provide a name instead of the default name (WindowsApplicaiton1). This is changed to ReportDesign for this tutorial as shown in the next figure. VS 2008 supports multi-version targeting. In the top right of the New Project window you can see that this report is targeted for the NET 2.0 Framework Version and can be published to a Net 2.0 web site.
Slightly enlarge the Form1. Drag and drop the Microsoft Report Viewer control shown in the next figure on to the form from the Toolbox
This has the same functionality as the ReportViewer control in VS 2005 as shown in the next figure.
The control will be housed on the form as shown in the next figure. You can display the tasks needed to configure the Report Viewer by clicking on the Smart Task as shown in the same figure. The report will have all the functionalities like print, save to different formats, navigating through pages, etc.
Working with the Report Wizard

Now click on the Design a new report task. The opens the Report Wizard window as shown in the figure.

Read the instructions on this page carefully. Click on the Next Button. This displays the Data Source Configuration Wizard shown in the next figure.

Choosing a Data Source

The application can obtain data from these different resources. Click on the Database icon and then click on the Next button.
This displays the window where you need to select a connection to the data source. If there are existing connections you should be able to see them in the drop-down list box

Making a Connection to Get Data

Click on the New Connection button. This brings up the Add Connection window showing a default connection to a Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5.NET Framework Data Provider. It also shows the location to be My Computer

This source can be changed by clicking on the Change... button. This will bring up the Change Data Source window where you can choose.
As found in this version you have the following options.

Microsoft SQL Server option lets you connect to SQL 2000 or 2005 using the .NET Framework Data Provider for SQL Server.

Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5 lets you connect to a database file.

Microsoft SQL Server Database File lets you connect to a Local Microsoft SQL Server Instance including a SQL Express. Although it is not explicitly stated what these versions are.

For this tutorial the Compact 3.5 will be used (also uses a .NET Framework Data Provider of Compact 3.5).
Click on the OK button in the Change Data Source window.
VS 2008 installation also installs a database file on the computer for the SQL Server Compact 3.5.

Click on Browse button (you could also create one if you like, herein it will be browsed). This brings up the Select SQL Server Compact 3.5 Database File window with the default location where the database file is parked as shown in the next figure

Click on the Northwind icon in the window and click on the Open button. This updates the Add Connection window with this information as shown in the next figure.

You may test the connection by hitting the Test Connection button which should display a successful outcome as shown in the next figure. There is no need for a password as you are the owner.

Click OK twice and this will take you back to the Data Source Configuration Wizard updating the connection information which you may review as shown in the next figure.
Click on the Next button. This brings up the Microsoft Visual Studio message window giving you the option to bring this data source to your project.
Click on the Yes button. This adds the Data Source to your project and it will now appear in the ReportDesign project folder as Northwind.sdf. The Save the Connection String to the Application Configuration File section of the wizard also pops-up as shown.
Accept the default and click on the Next button. The window retrieves the database objects as shown in the next figure where the Tables object is shown expanded.

To keep matters simple the Customers table data will be used in fashioning this report. Place a check mark for the Customers and expand the Customers table node as shown. Also choose the columns that should appear in the report by choosing them with check marks as shown
Designing the Report

When you click on the Finish button you will add a NorthwindDataSet to the Project. Click on the Finish button. This adds a NorthwindDataSet.xsd file to the Project and a new wizard, Report Wizard pops-up requiring you to select the data source. It will display the columns you selected in the earlier step.

You get a chance to add another data source at this point should you choose to do so. Here only the data chosen earlier will be used. Click on the Next button

Choosing a Report Type
This opens the window where you may choose the type of report. Tabular is appropriate for the selected data.
Grouping the Data
Click on the Next button. In the window that opens you may choose to group the data in any fashion you think appropriate. In this tutorial it will be grouped under 'City' field. For designing meaningful reports it will be necessary to know the data well. The grouping is as shown in the next figure although this may not be the best.

Choosing Layout of Data

Click on the Next button to display the window where you may choose a table layout. A stepped layout is chosen as shown.

Choosing a Report Style

Click on the Next button to display the style for the report one may choose. Here the 'Corporate' style is chosen as shown.

Clicking on the Next button brings up the summary page for the report as shown.

Click on the Finish button. After a while the the report design shows up as Report1.rdlc[Design] as shown in the next figure.

The Report title is Report1 which can be changed by clicking in this field and typing it over (in the last figure you see this has been changed). It may also be suitably positioned and formatted. The Page level is shown by =Fileds!Customer ID.Value and the grouping by city by =Fields!City.Value under each page.
Now the Project should contain the items shown in the next figure.

Further design changes can be made to the report as needed.

Displaying the Report
Build the project, ReportDesign and you can see the report by clicking on the green arrow in the toolbar menu. Presently you will see an empty report. The design of the report and the Data Source were independently designed although it appeared like a continuous process. You still need to add a data source to the report.
Adding the Data Source to the Report
Click on the ReportViewer's Smart task and choose the default displayed.

Click on Choose Data Sources which displays the next window shown.

Click the OK button on this screen. Now build the project and run the form with the green arrow menu item.

This brings up the form and after a little processing the report gets displayed.


This tutorial described designing a simple report using the VS 2008 IDE. The reader will benefit from reading the earlier referenced articles. Compared to VS2005, the options for data source connectivity appears to be limited. The publishing of the report to a web server will be described in a future article.

For Reference: