Building a Non-SharePoint Site for a Change

It’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon…Oh, wait, that’s not my tagline.  But I have been quiet lately, busy with a number of things.  One of those things has been building a Web site for my wife’s business.  It’s been fun to work outside of SharePoint for a while.  I’ve learned a few things in this process, and I thought I’d share some of them.

If you’d like to take a look, go to  It’s not public yet, so if you poke around, consider yourself an alpha tester.  Do let me know if you see anything out of whack.  We’ve tested with IE7/8, Firefox, and Safari, but it’s hard to hit all the variations.  A lot of the images are just placeholders, quite a bit of the text isn’t finalized, etc.

HostingDiscountASP.NET - ASP.NET, SQL, ASP hosting for less

I decided to go with  Hosting is absolutely a commodity these days, but each time I look to host something, I look around to see what’s new out there.  I was impressed with DiscountASP’s support of the latest and greatest from Microsoft’s 2008 platforms, IIS 7, etc.  So far, so good.  Setup was a breeze, and their customer service (a couple of questions about FTP access) has been extremely fast and accurate.  More importantly, I didn’t get the attitude that I’ve frequently seen from other providers.

Image Manipulation

GIMP Plugin Registry

A former colleague of mine, Alan Kelleher at Vitale, Caturano, had pointed me to Gimp last fall, and I hadn’t really had much occasion to use it.  I’ve found it to be extremely feature rich and as easy to use as any of the high-end graphics programs can be, given what they allow you to accomplish.   If you need to do some image work and can’t fork over the bucks for one of the name brands (or don’t do enough to justify it, like me), Gimp is the way to go.


I haven’t had to do much with forms outside SharePoint in a long time!  I found this MSDN article, Validating ASP.NET Server Controls by Bill Evjen (as old as it is) to be of great help for the validation piece.  I’m not doing anything fancy, just a couple of simple “contact us” type forms, but this article helped me to brush aside the cobwebs.  A little validation code, some VB Script, and away we go.


For the money (none!), you just can’t beat Google Analytics.  With a few minutes of setup, and by dropping some JavaScript into your pages (I’m using a Dynamic Web Template in SharePoint Designer, so one page), you’re wired up and in business.  I haven’t seen anything as complete and full featured except in the enterprise class (read: $$$) tools out there.

I think these are the big bits.  More in another post if I think of anything else…

Error When Trying to Delete a Master Page: “Server error: This item cannot be deleted because it is still referenced by other pages.”

I’ve had this happen often and I’ve usually just left the unused master pages, since they aren’t really hurting anything.  Today I finally decided to try to see if I could get rid of a pile of old copies of master pages I had lying around, and I found this Microsoft article which explains a workaround.  Turns out it’s a “known issue”.  Once you’ve gone through these steps, you ought to be able to delete the master page.  However, I’ve found that this workaround doesn’t always work in Site Collections with variations enabled.

When you try to delete a master page file from the Master Page and Page Layout Gallery on the Site Settings page in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you receive the following error message:

This item cannot be deleted because it is still referenced by other pages.

This error message occurs even when the master page file is not associated with a SharePoint Server 2007 site.To work around this problem, mark the master file as hidden so that the master file does not appear as a selection when you create a new site. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Use an account that has administrative permissions to log on to the Web application that is hosted on the SharePoint Server 2007 server.
  2. Click Site Actions, click Site Settings, and then click Modify All Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Master Page and Page Layout Gallery.
  4. Click the list next to the master file that you want to hide, and then click Edit Properties.
  5. On the list next to Content Type, click Page Layout.
  6. Click to select the check box next to Hidden Page, and then click OK.
  7. Click the list next to the master file, and then click Check In.
  8. On the Check In page, select the options that you want, and then click OK.
  9. Click the list next to the master file, and then click Publish a Major Version.
  10. On the Publish a Major Version page, enter a comment, and then click OK.
  11. Click the list next to the master file, and then click Approve/reject.
  12. Next to Approval Status, click Approved, and then click OK to approve the changes.

Possible Bug in Aggregate Data Sources in DVWPs?

I think I’ve found a bug in using aggregate data sources in DVWPs with SQL Stored Procedures.  I’m trying to use the results of a Stored Procedure combined with the content of a list in SharePoint.  I’ve isolated the issue to the Stored Procedure. The first asp:SqlDataSource statement below is what I want the data source to be; the second is a simple select from a SQL table. The former does not work, while the latter does. I’ve tested it in a totally stripped down page where there is nothing but the DVWP.

The Stored Procedure works fine by itself; the issue arises when I try to use it in an aggregate data source with any other type of data source.

I’m guessing it is a bug, and I think we’ll try exposing the Stored Procedure as a Web Service, which should get around the issue.


“Failed to load the workflow” Message in SharePoint Designer with Vista

Here’s an update to an earlier post of mine about the “Failed to load the workflow” error in SharePoint Designer.  This time when the error popped up, I was working on my Vista laptop.  In Vista, the user settings are in a different place, and I had a little trouble finding them.

Go to C:\users\[your_username]\appdata\roaming\microsoft\sharepoint designer\proxyassemblycache and delete all of the 12 folders (after closing SharePoint Designer).  Who knew that I was roaming?  I was sitting still at the time.