EU SharePoint Best Practices Wrap-Up

bpcbannerIts been a busy four days since I got home from the EU SharePoint Best Practices Conference and a short holiday in London with my wife last week. I’ve been spending the last 4 days getting caught up so I can spend the next three weeks at the 8th MCM Rotation that starts on Monday.  Needless to say its been a really busy spring.

The conference was EXCELLENT! After missing it last year due to the Icelandic volcano eruptions I was really looking forward to going.  I can’t say enough about how Steve Smith and Zoe Watson take care of the speakers at their conferences.  In addition to the wonderful arraignments there were lots of great sessions to hear, attendees to talk to, and friends to visit with. I’m hoping to go back again next year.

For any of those who attended, I’ve attached the slide decks from my talks below.

Users, Profiles, and MySites: Managing a Changing SharePoint User Population: Presentation Slides.

How to teach an old dog ‘IT Team’ New Tricks Presentation Slides.

BP Conference: Giving away an MSDN Subscription

 BP Conference2010 If you haven’t decided to come to this year’s SharePoint Best Practices Conference then maybe this will help convince you to come.  One lucky attendee who attends at least one of my sessions will receiver a FREE one year subscription to Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN subscription*

MSDNUltimate Microsoft was kind enough to provide me with 3 of these subscriptions to give away when I was renewed as an MVP in July. I’ll be giving away the other two at future events.  So stay tuned to this Blog if you want to be in on future give-aways.  That’s an $11,899 value if you ordered it online from Microsoft yourself.  Better yet it includes everything you need to go home from the conference and build your own test environment to try out everything you’ve learned at the conference. Here’s how it works.  Attend one, two, or all three of my sessions at the conference August 24-27.  here are my session dates, times and topics:

SharePoint Designer 2010: Using it Safely in an Enterprise Environment

Aug. 25th


Internet Facing SharePoint Sites: Best Practices for a Secure Design

Aug. 26th


SharePoint’s Branding Continuum: Customizing your Look and Feel

Aug. 26th


    After you fill out an evaluation drop your business card in one of the receptacles marked MSDN subscription.  After my final session on Thursday from 3:00-4:15 PM I’ll head over to the ShareSquared booth (#24) in the exhibit hall.  At 4:55 PM I’ll draw a winner for the MSDN Subscription.  You don’t need to be present to win, but if you are at the booth I will be able to give you your prize right away.  Otherwise I’ll contact you and arrange for delivery.

So if you hadn’t planned to come to the BP Conference now’s the time to make your plans.  Register today.  If you are already planning to come then I hope to see you at my sessions.

*The subscription is a not-for-resale version with some benefit restrictions such as no technical support benefits or MSDN magazine subscription and all product licenses are for development and test only. The subscription must be activated before the end of 2010.

My Third Year as an MVP

I just got my email that I’ve been awarded an MVP award again this year for SharePoint server.  This is my third year and I am still as EXCITED and HONORED as I was my first year.  Being an MVP this past year while SharePoint 2010 was being completed and released has been incredible.  I often wonder how I learned as much as I did before I gained access to the resources and contacts available to me as an MVP.

But the bottom line is still that I wouldn’t be an MVP if it weren’t for all of you out there in the community.  My thanks to all those who have asked me questions this past year and to those who came to listen to me at conferences.  Without you I wouldn’t have received this award.  I hope to continue to live up to the honor and hope that I never get complacent about what its really about: Helping to support the SharePoint community.

June SharePoint Q&A with MVP Experts

MVP_FullColor_ForScreenDo you have tough technical questions regarding SharePoint for which you’re seeking answers? Do you want to tap into the deep knowledge of the talented Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals? Then join me and other SharePoint MVPs for answers to your questions in a live forum. So please join us and bring on the questions! These chats will cover WSS, MOSS and SharePoint 2010. Topics include setup and administration, design, development and general questions. This month there is only one time slot for the chat.  I’ll be there so bring your questions to the chat on Wednesday June 23rd.  Other MVPs who will also be attending include:

    • Amanda Perran (Canada)
    • Ben Curry
    • Bryan Phillips
    • Dan Attis
    • Daniel Larson
    • Jason Medero
    • Mike Oryszak
    • Muhanad Omar (Jordan)
    • Paul Schaeflein
    • Randy Drisgill
    • Rob Foster
    • Saifullah Shafiq Ahmed (Pakistan)
    • Serge Tremblay (Canada)
    • Shane Perran (Canada)
    • Spencer Harbar (UK)
    • Woody Windischman

Wed, June 23rd, 2010

Noon EDT (9am PDT)

Join the chat room on the day of the chat:


Twitter hastag:  #spmvpchat

Facebook Event:!/event.php?eid=125885194117000

SharePoint Team Blog post:

Using Managed Metadata in a Blank Site

A question came up in last night’s MVP Experts chat about a problem using the Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings in a Blank site.  We suggested various solutions like not having a Managed Metadata service application configured or the fact that the Enterprise Keywords column is not available for Metadata based navigation.  But the questioner said that his problem was that the link didn’t appear in his document library settings page like it should. For a while that had all of the MVPs stumped because none of us had seen a site that didn’t contain the setting.  I quickly created a new site based on the Blank Site template in my test image and as I expected the link was there.  So I told the questioner that we were all stumped on what might be causing the his problem. 

The Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings link contains two checkboxes.  The first adds a Managed Metadata column called Enterprise Keywords to the document library.  The second adds Enterprise Keywords and other Managed Metadata to your My Site profile.  You can see the two links in the screenshot below.


The questioner came back later to say that he had found a solution to his problem by activating a hidden Feature that he found in some Blog posts.  The Feature ID he used was “73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C”.  I was happy that he found his solution, but decided that some further investigation was warranted to figure out what was happening and why?

It turns out that the Feature he was activating is Site scoped Feature called TaxonomyFieldAdded.  The Feature adds two links called Term store management and Content type publishing to the Site Settings page.  It also adds the Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings link to the Library Settings page.  There is also a Feature receiver assembly defined to handle events when the feature is installed, activated, deactivated, or uninstalled.  This Feature adds support for Managed metadata field support to an entire site collection.  But since the feature is hidden it leaves us with several questions:

  1. What normally activates this feature?
  2. Why was it active in the Blank site I created but not the one the questioner created?
  3. Is it safe to activate the feature manually?
  4. Why isn’t the feature activated in a Blank Site?


So I decided to take some time last night after the chat to track down answers to these questions and share them on my blog this morning.

What normally activates the TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature?

The answer to this is pretty straightforward.  There is another feature called TaxonomyFeatureStapler that “staples” the TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature to most of the site definitions used in SharePoint, including the Global site definition.  You can see the Elements file from the feature below.  The one glaring omission from the list is “STS#1”, which is of course the site definition for a Blank Site. 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 

<!-- Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. -->
<Elements xmlns="">
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="GLOBAL" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="STS#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="STS#2" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="MPS#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="MPS#1" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="MPS#2" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="MPS#3" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="MPS#4" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="WIKI#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="BLOG#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SGS#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="BDR#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="OFFILE#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="OFFILE#1" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPS#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSPERS#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSMSITE#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSNEWS#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSNHOME#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSSITES#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSREPORTCENTER#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SPSPORTAL#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="SRCHCEN#0" />
<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="PROFILES#0" />

<FeatureSiteTemplateAssociation Id="73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C" TemplateName="CMSPUBLISHING#0" />


Why was it active in my Blank site but not the questioner’s?

After looking at the contents of the TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature itself and the Feature that staples it to most site definitions the answer to this question is pretty clear.  As a Site scoped feature this feature is only activated when creating a top level site for a new site collection.  The questioner had created his Blank site as the root of a new site collection while I had created mine as a sub site in a site collection with a Team site as the root.  So in my site collection the TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature was activated when I built the root Team site while the questioner never got the Feature by building their root site as a Blank site.

Is it safe to activate theTaxonomyFieldAdded Feature manually?

This question is a little harder to answer, but it would appear that the answer is yes its safe.  There are several points that lead me to believe that it is safe to activate manually:

  • The TaxonomyFeatureStapler Feature adds it to most of the other site definitions, including the Global template that everything else inherits from.  Its therefore likely that the Feature doesn’t depend on a particular site definition’s capabilities. 
  • The TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature itself is self contained and doesn’t have any additional Feature dependencies.
  • The Feature works normally in a sub-site created from the Blank Site template if the root site was created with one of the other “stapled” templates.

So it would appear to be safe to activate this hidden feature on any site collection, including those built with a Blank site at the root.  You can use the command line below to activate the feature using STSADM:

STSADM -o activatefeature -n TaxonomyFieldAdded -url <URL of Root Site>


Why isn’t the feature activated in a Blank Site based Site Collection?

I can’t give you a definitive answer for this one since I’m not on the SharePoint product team that developed the definitions.  But I think the answer can be found in the purpose of the Blank Site template.  This template is designed to be a completely blank slate to which you can add whatever you want.  Very few but the most basic Features are automatically activated when creating a Blank Site.  Even the Basic Standard and Enterprise Site Features are left deactivated.  So I think the TaxonomyFieldAdded Feature is left out for the same reason, to keep the Blank Site as bare as possible.

I hope this little exercise clears up the mystery and helps teach all of us a bit more about Features in SharePoint 2010.