SharePoint, AJAX UpdatePanel and SPWebPartManager woes

26 01 2010

If you are having trouble getting your AJAX UpdatePanel to update properly in a SharePoint page or Web Part then you have come to the right place. You may already be aware that to get an UpdatePanel working in SharePoint you need to add a an additional function to your code that alters the _spFormOnSubmitWrapper and the _spSuppressFormOnSubmitWrapper. See here for an example –

However!! If you are using a custom Master Page then watch out because there is another gotcha!

It seems that if the SPWebPartManager tag appears before the Form tag in your master page then your updatepanel will not update properly and most likely won’t display any content. This should be changed so the SPWebPartManager tag appears underneath the form tag, see below for an example –


<WebPartPages:SPWebPartManager ID="SPWebPartManager1" runat="server"/>   
<form id="Form1" runat="server" onsubmit="return _spFormOnSubmitWrapper();">


<form id="Form1" runat="server" onsubmit="return _spFormOnSubmitWrapper();">
<WebPartPages:SPWebPartManager ID="SPWebPartManager1" runat="server"/>

Hope this helps! 🙂

Creating Custom SharePoint Web Part Connections

25 01 2010

I created my first web part connection the other day and was surprised at how easy and effective it was. I thought I would walk through the process that is required to connect two custom web parts together.

In this brief tutorial I am not going to cover how to create a web part or how to deploy one. I will assume that you (the reader) already knows how to do this. All code in this tutorial will be written in C#.

1. To begin create yourself two web parts – one of these will be the ‘Provider’ and the other the ‘Consumer’. You can create these however you like either using the VseWSS extensions or perhaps in an empty class library project.

2. Create an interface similar to the one below –

 public interface IExampleProvider
        String TestParam { get; }

Inside this interface you should define any parameters that you wish to send to your ‘Consumer’ web part.

3. In your Provider web part ensure that it implements the interface you have just created –

 public class ProviderWebPart: WebPart, IGovernanceProvider

4. Next create a property that returns the interface and decorate it with the  ConnectionProvider attribute. The parameters of  are the display name and the real name (ID) of the connection.

 [ConnectionProvider(&quot;Test Parameter&quot;,&quot;ExampleID&quot;, AllowsMultipleConnections=true)]
 public IExampleProvider GetExampleProvider()
    return this;

5. Finally for the Provider web part you need to ensure that the parameter property from your interface is implemented –

protected string _TestParam = &quot;&quot;; 
public string TestParam 
 get { return _TestParam; } 

6. Now its time to setup the Consumer web part, in your consumer web part class define a method that will accept the interface as a parameter and decorate it with the ConnectionConsumer attribute.

private IExampleProvider exampleProvider;
[ConnectionConsumer(&quot;Site URL&quot;)]
public void RegisterProvider(IExampleProvider provider)
   this.exampleProvider = provider;

7. You can now retrieve the value/values that have been sent to the consumer web part by calling the properties of the exampleProvider. Note you should check if a connection has been made first by seeing if the exampleProvider is null.

string myParam = this.exampleProvider.TestParam;

8. Deploy your two web parts by whatever method you wish, when you add the web parts to the page and click the ‘edit’ dropdown you should see a new menu option called ‘Connections’. The menu will appear on both the provider and consumer web parts but you only need to configure one.

Consumer Web Part:


Provider Web Part:


9. You are finished!

I hope you enjoyed this brief tutorial into web part connections, if you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment!

Hope this helps 🙂

Enabling .NET 3.5 support in your SharePoint environment – ‘The easy way’

19 01 2010

I used enable this support manually i.e. opening up the web.config file and making the necessary changes. I felt that this was a safer way to ensure that nothing went wrong. Recently though I have found a much better way to do this – Jan Tielens has a blog post on how to enable .NET 3.5 in SharePoint by using Visual Studio to modify the web.config for you, it works very well and is really quick to do.

You can find his blog post here –

Thanks Jan!  (@jantielens on Twitter)

I have my first MCTS!

12 01 2010

Just a quick post to say that I passed my first SharePoint exam last week (70-631 TS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring). For those of you that haven’t taken it yet, its a very simple exam for those with a few years of Decent SharePoint/WSS experience.

I am planning on taking my next exam (70-541 TS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development C#) at the end of January so fingers crossed! For this exam I am brushing up my skills by reading the ‘Inside Windows SharePoint Services 3.0’ book by Ted Pattison.

Applying SharePoint theme ‘Write error on file “/_themes/yourtheme” error

6 01 2010

I recently went to apply a custom SharePoint theme and was presented with the unhelpful error message above.

It turns out that the reason for this error is that SharePoint has encountered an unknown file that it cannot read from in the themes’ directory.

Navigation to your custom theme directory  – [Systemdrive]\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\THEMES\yourtheme and delete the rogue file.

In my case it was the windows generated ‘thumbs.db’ thumbnail database in the folder that was causing the problem. If you have used an editor to edit any of your theme files then you may possibly have some temp files in the directory which need deleting.

If like me it was the ‘thumbs.db’ file then be sure to disable thumbnail caching for the folder. To do this click Tools in windows explorer then select Folder Options > View, look for the checkbox entitled ‘Do not cache thumbnails’ and click it.

Hope this helps 🙂