Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to: Creating a SharePoint 2007 feature

In this tutorial,I will show, how to develop a feature for SharePoint 2007 from the scratch. In our case, I will use item event handler and calendar list. What I will be showing is that SharePoint users can add, modify their entries but if they delete an calendar item then they could not delete.


1) Download WSPBUILDER, get it here
2) Download SharePoint Utility, get it here


1) Create the class library.

>> Open Visual Studio 2008 >> create new class library

Project Name: CalendarEventHandler and click OK.

>> Add Reference to SharePoint services assembly.

>> Locate Sharepoint.dll and click OK.

>> Rename Class1.cs to CalendarEventHandler.cs

2) Writing the event handler code

>> Code the event handler.

We be using WSS API and in CalendarAction.cs file, we inherit from SPItemEventReceiver.

Now, we are creating ItemDeleting method and override the our own custom code. In fact, we are creating a very simple event handler but we can really enhance the event handler and manipulate one list with update another lists. I would be writing a blog about more enhance ItemEventReceiver in few days time.

The ItemDeleting method can be called and the properties parameter contains detailed information about fired that event.

>> When in user deletes an item, then ItemDeleting event is fired asynchroneously i.e. before an item is deleted.

3) Sign the assembly

>> Once when done with the coding, we need to compile and sign the assembly.
>> Follow these steps:
>> Solutions Explorer >> Properties >> Signing >> New.

>> Create a new strong name.

>> Now, we use WSPBuilder to "Copy to GAC".
Right click on Solutions Explorer >> WSPBuilder >> Copy to GAC.

>> We double check if the assembly is successfully installed.


4) Creating the resource files

>> SharePoint feature besides compiled dll, requires some other files on the server too. The folder structure (called as "12" hive) and just add into this folder structure.

>> Right click on Solutions Explorer >> Add this folder structure.

>> There 2 xml files in the folder structure.
>> feature.xml and code is as follows:

Create GUID can be obtained from Tools >> Create GUID

>> elements.xml

This file will attach the event handler (CalendarAction.cs code) to a particular list ("Calendar List")

This is the code:

Some important points to be noted:

i) ListTemplateId="106". 106 corresponds to "calendar event". Complete list ListTemplateId could be found here.

ii) In our case we have added just one Receiver i.e. ItemDeleting. But in real buisness solutions we may need more than one receiver like ItemAdding, ItemAdded ItemUpdating, ItemUpdating etc for e.g.

iii) There is one more SharePoint Utility package. Its for ItemDeleting code with corresponding lists. In our case its Calendar list.

5) Building wsp and deploying to server

Once xml files have been done, we need to building wsp (What is WSP?? A solution is a deployable, reusable package that can contain a set of Features,web parts site definitions, and assemblies that apply to sites, and that you can enable or disable individually.It allows the SharePoint administrators to easily deploy the customizations, even scheduled deployments and multi front-end-webserver deployments are supported.)

>> Right click on Solutions Explorer >> WSPBuilder >> Build WSP

>> When WSP has been done, we just need to deploy to server
>> Right click on Solutions Explorer >> WSPBuilder >> Deploy

>> Now, check in Central Administration if WSP has been successfully installed.

>> We go to SharePoint site, and activate the feature.

6) Testing the feature.

>> we can add a new Calendar item and try to delete the same to test our new feature.

CONGRATS!! we have developed a simple Calendar event handler successfully.

These are some other tips for event handlers.

>> If you want to add more one more item event handler like ItemAdding, ItemAdded, ItemUpdating, ItemUpdated to existing Calendar event handler (like we did on this walk through), then we have to follow steps steps:

i) Uninstall CalendarEventHandler.dll (c:\WINDOWS\assembly)
ii) In Central Administration, Retract the CalendarEventHandler.wsp and Delete the solution.
iii) In CalanderAction.cs file, code new event handlers (new methods) like ItemAdding, ItemAdded, ItemUpdating etc.

iv) compile it and copy to GAC using WSPBuilder.
v) Build WSP and deploy to server.


Happy programming!

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