Microsoft Cloud, Office 365, Office 365 Grid, SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies, SharePoint Online

How to fix SharePoint Online (403) Forbidden Error while downloading files using Client Object Model

Recently I was working on a project that requires to programmatically access and download files from SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) document library. Currently remote authentication (SP Managed Client OM / SP Web Services) is bit challenging to deal with as discussed here but a decent workaround (for now?) is available on MSDN. The first thing you will notice is that authentication is more powerful and more complex because SharePoint Online (so as SharePoint Foundation 2010 | SharePoint Server 2010) embrace Claims Based Authentication. The MSDN sample code seems to work fine so I went ahead and use it as a starting point.

**I used Word 2010 to create and publish this post and somehow images quality gets deteriorated during publishing process. If you want to read this post with high quality images its available as pdf here


Everything went smooth (authentication + accessing list items) till I actually try to download a file from a document library. I was using File.OpenBinraryDirect method (see code snippet below) and got The remote server returned an error: (403) Forbidden exception.

As I investigate this issue by looking into the exception details I found out that basically it’s complaining about the fact that before opening files in this location I must select the option to login automatically.

This gives me the clue that there is something missing at a basic level. I went ahead and open up a browser and browse to the SharePoint online site from which I am trying to download the file. I use a tool to monitor the request from the browser and eureka I see User-Agent header with a valid value (as expected) which was never set in the code.

The code from the MSDN does not set the UserAgent property of the WebRequest so it remains null. Normally when you are using browser it’s automatically set up for you but in this case you have to do it yourself though code. So you fix this part and you are good to go.



Locate the method GetAuthenticatedContext (inside class ClaimsClientContext within ClaimsAuth project). And add following line of code before you initialize cookie container. You are setting up UserAgent property for the WebRequest to a valid user agent. I have used following value for user agent but you can try different but valid value and it may work too (but I didn’t tried it yet).

e.WebRequestExecutor.WebRequest.UserAgent = “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/5.0)”;



That’s it! You should now able to download the files without any issues.

**On a side note although above solutions works I have a feeling that there is more to it because X-MSDAVEST_Error: 917656 is an Authentication level error and related to WebDav protocol more info here. I may investigate it further when time permits and share my finding in this blog post.

Microsoft Cloud, Office 365, Office 365 Grid, SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies, SharePoint Online

Exploring Asset Library in SharePoint 2010 (Online & On-Premise)

SharePoint 2010 (both Online & On-Premise) is equipped with new type of Library called Asset Library. Asset library provides place to store your and manage your digital assets and provide enrich interface to view them, another powerful feature is to perform navigation and filtering based on meta data This post demonstrates how to create an asset library, inspect ways how it represents digital items visually, and then how to enable navigation and filtering based on meta data. In order to perform following steps, you must have access to SharePoint 2010 along with at least single SharePoint site collection available to you. One of the easiest ways to start working on SharePoint 2010 is to download Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Virtual Machine (RTM) (beware of download size which is couple of GB’s)

  1. Navigate to SharePoint site and click Site Actions à View All Site Content. On the All Site Content Page click Create

  2. Select Asset Library, from the Installed Template and name it My Assets. Click Create.

    This is shown in figure below. Note that, if you don’t have Silverlight 3.0 installed on your machine you will see a different page to create various Lists and Libraries, from there you can select Asset Library.



  3. Click Add new item link and select, on the Upload Document dialog click Upload Multiple Files link as show in figure below and upload three images. You can simply drag and drop files. It’s preferred that you choose images with small sizes for example less than 1 MB.


  4. Once the upload process is complete you should see similar view as shown in following figure. Off course your images will be different. Now hover your mouse over an image and you will see that image in a larger dialog box, with more details, this is shown in figure below.

  5. If you want to see the image in a full window, just click View Item link, the image will be open in full view but use the same browser window. To void this and open the image in new tab press CTRL key and then click View Item link, this will make IE 7 or above open the item in separate tab. This is shown in figure below.


  6. Using the same steps as mentioned in step 3 add at least single video and audio file to My Assets Library. The Asset Library supports WMV, WMA and MP3 format for video and audio. If you try to upload other formats you will receive warning as shown in figure below and file(s) will not be uploaded.



  7. Notice that for audio and video thumbnails shows different icons , as shown in figure below.

  8. Hover you mouse on a video or an audio file and you will see the dialog similar to one that appears for image. Following figure shows the dialog for a video file. Notice you have link with title Play.


  9. Click on the Play link, you will see a video player as shown in figure below. The video will start playing automatically. This video player uses Silverlight and it must be installed locally on your machine.



    Modifying The Default View


  10. If you notice, the information dialog you get when you hover on any file in step 4 and 7 the dialog lacks two key attributes, file type and file size. This is especially important as media files are usually available is various formats and you may want to know the size and type of the file before downloading it.


  11. To modify the view, click on the Library Tab and select Modify View from Manage View groups. This is shown in figure below.




  12. On the Edit View Page, select the Display checkbox for File Size and File Type (File extension) columns as shown below. Click OK to save your changes.


  13. From the Asset Library, hover on any file and you will see File Size and File Type information inside the dialog, following figure shows this for a video and image file.

Meta Data Driven navigation

Let’s take look into another interesting feature of doing navigation on your digital assets based on Meta data. Imagine your Asset Library with several hundred items or even more, finding anything even when you put them into folders will be daunting tasks. With SharePoint 2010 Meta data driven navigation, the filtering will be done based on Meta data tags, but as Meta data can be hierarchical the navigation is natural and provide users most intuitive way seek the items. However this should never be considered as a replacement of doing categorization by using folders. Also note that meta data driven navigation can be applied to other type of libraries and lists too, event to custom lists!


  1. Let’s enable the meta data driven navigation on My Assets library that you created earlier. From the Library Tab, select Library Settings located in Settings group , as shown in figure below



  2. On Document Library Settings page, select Meta data navigation settings link located under the General Settings section as shown in figure below.    


  3. From Configure
    Navigation Hierarchies section, select Content Type from Available Hierarchy Fields list box as shown in figure below.



  4. Click Add > button, this will move the Content Type field to Select Hierarchy Fields list box, as shown in figure below.



  5. On the Configure Key Filters section, select Content Type and Date Picture Taken fields from the Available Key Filter Fields as shown in figure below (If you want you can choose other fields but for this tip these two will be sufficient)

  6. Click the Add> button, both of these fields will be moved to Selected key Filter Fields, as shown in figure below. Finally click OK to save your changes.



  7. Browse to the My Asset library, notice a hierarchical menu on the quick launch as shown in figure below, this enables you to perform navigation on items based on fields in the content type.


  8. Expand the Content Type node by clicking on the small arrow as sown below.

  9. Now click on any of the value, for example Image. Notice when you make this selection, the view on the right is filtered based on this value, following two figures shows the view when selection is done for the values of Image and Video respectively.

  10. Finally lets quickly take a look at Key filtering option present just underneath the navigation we seen earlier, this is shown in figure below.

  11. From the Content Type drop down select Image and from Date Picture
    Taken calendar select date when one of the images were originally take (note that your uploaded date and picture taken date will differ). Both of these selections are shown in figure below. Finally click on Apply button. The library view will filter any images that are not taken on the date you had specified.



    To sum up Asset Library is an excellent way to store your digit assets including images, audio and videos. Combine with other powerful collaboration and content management features of SharePoint 2010 you can now use SharePoint in your organization in much more productive ways than ever before.



SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies

SharePoint 2010: Redirecting User to a Custom Page from Event Receiver

Event receivers in SharePoint allow great flexibility to meet various user requirements, and with each version of SharePoint there are improvements to enhance their usability. One of these added abilities is to redirect user to a custom page (essentially a SharePoint Application Page) while cancelling the event from an event receiver. Let’s consider this scenario: an HR department wants to place a new policy which requires all the users to only upload documents into a document library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Moreover, as this is a new policy, there should be a page that displays the details of the new policy, whenever a user upload is cancelled. The following diagram shows the flow.

Now, a “Item Adding” event receiver will take care of the first part of the requirement, but for the second part there is no OTB support to achieve this in SharePoint 2007. However, SharePoint 2010 provides an excellent way to do this with little bit of an effort. The following steps show the detail of how to achieve this.

First, create a new Visual Studio 2010 Solution and expand “SharePoint 2010” from “Installed Template” and select project type “Event Receiver.” Give a desired name to the solution and project. My previous article covers the event receiver project creation and some required configuration in detail, if you need more help on this topic please refer to it. Also make sure that your project’s target platform is “x64” and target framework is “.NET Framework 3.5” this is a requirement for all SharePoint 2010 projects.

“SharePoint Customization Wizard” will appear. In “type of Event Receiver” select “List Item Events.” From “event source” drop down select “Document Library”. Also select the checkbox for “An item is being added” from the list of available events. See the figure below.

After the project is created, create a page that will be displayed when a document upload is declined. For this, add a layouts folder to the project. You can do it by right clicking on the project and select “SharePoint “Layouts Mapped Folder;” see the figure below.

This will create a layouts folder, actually a subfolder with the same name as project. This layout folder basically corresponds to SharePoint 2010 “Layouts” folder inside the “14” hive (e.g. <DRIVE _LETTER>:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14, where DRIVE_LETTER represents a system drive where SharePoint 2010 is installed and in most cases it’s a C drive)

Right click this subfolder inside the “Layouts” folder, and select “Add, New Item.” This will open a new dialog, select “Application Page,” and use “HRDocumentUplaodMessage.aspx” as a name.

Click “Add.” This will add this application page to the layouts folder. Add the following markup to it as shown below.

In order to add the logic to cancel the document upload, and to display the custom page, add the following code fragment to the “Item Added” event handler.

Replace “[SubfolderName]” with the actual name of the folder created inside “layouts” directory in the previous step by Visual Studio. This is by default set to the same name as of the project.

The code inside the “Item Added” event receiver first make a check that current hour is between 9 am and 5 pm by using “DateTime.Now.Hour” which is in 24 hours format. The value “17” in 24 hour format equates to 5 p.m.

Next, the property “Status” is used. It’s actually of type SPEventRecieverStatus, which in this case sets to “CancelWithRedirectUrl. ” This ensures that event will be canceled and the user will be redirected to a specific URL. The URL is defined and set by another property “RedirectUrl” which takes a relative path to a page which must resides inside “layouts” folder within 14 hive.

Once all of this is done, press F5. This will build and deploy the solution and open up a new browser window with a SharePoint 2010 site.

In order to perform a actual test, make sure that current time on development machine is between 9am to 5pm (you may want to temporary change the current time of your development machine for this test and then revert back to original time later), otherwise logic in the event handler to display custom page will be not executed due to the time interval check .Finally browse to site (if it’s not already opened), and then open any document library and try to upload a document, the custom page should be displayed as shown below. Close the dialog page, and view the document library, notice that the document was not added to the document library. Alternatively when you perform the same upload procedure between 5:01 PM to 8:59 AM your document will be upload successfully.


Microsoft Server Faimly & More ....., SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies, SharePoint User Group

New York City SharePoint Developers UG Post Session Resources

Last Wednesday I delivered a session on “SharePoint 2010 Branding & Customization for Public Facing Sites” at NYC SharePoint Developers User Group at MSFT. As promised following are the links to the session content and related downloads.

Presentation: Watch Online | Download (pptx, ppt, pdf ,xps)

Demo: Master Page + Page Layout + HTML Layout (CSS + Images) | Watch Online | Download Video

Take a look at quick walk through on how to run a demo (for high definition video download it from link above). Make sure you have anonymous user enabled on your web application and site collection otherwise last part where I logged in as anonymous user will not work.

PS: I tried to use Camtasia to record the complete session but it turns out to be a pain as it seems to get stuck for updates and once finally start recording it has some issues with audio (doesn’t sync properly), if I manage to get it working I will upload it as well.

SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies

Programmatically saving SharePoint Server 2010 barcode Images and values to a File System

While working with Barcodes in SharePoint Server 2010, customer wants to utilize them bit more than just use them as part of list item. Initially they are looking for barcodes (from some 3rd parties) to do the job but when implemented via SharePoint using OTB barcodes policy it was nearly a perfect solution for them, except that they also want the barcodes to be saved (in form of a image) along with barcode number/value (which is essentially also acts as a file name) on a file system. Also they want this to be done externally from SharePoint Interface (although still on the server side) more of like a batch or console app. As it turns out it’s more straightforward than I initially thought it would be, as following code reveals. Basically end result was a console app which runs on demand and gets all the barcode from the specific list and simply save the barcode as image (jpg in this case but it can be in other formats) and give it same name as barcode number/value. Following fragment is actually the core of it.

SaveBarcodes(SPWeb web, string listName, System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat imgFormat)


SPList list = web.Lists.TryGetList(listName);

SPQuery query = new SPQuery();

Image img;

     //Just read the fields we need for this task

query.ViewFields = string.Concat(

“<FieldRef Name=’_dlc_BarcodePreview’ />”, “<FieldRef Name=’_dlc_BarcodeImage’ />”, “<FieldRef Name=’_dlc_BarcodeValue’ />”);

query.ViewFieldsOnly = true;

SPListItemCollection listCol = list.GetItems(query);

foreach (SPListItem item in listCol)


img = Barcode.GetBarcodeImage(item);

 img.Save(string.Format(“{0}.{1}”, Barcode.GetBarcodeValue(item), imgFormat.ToString()), imgFormat);



Please note that you have to add references to “Microsoft.Office.Policy” and “System.Drawing” assemblies to compile the code. Also add namespaces “Microsoft.Office.RecordsManagement.PolicyFeatures” and “System.Drawing.Image” as they will be required.

Following is the final outcome, see the barcodes saved as images and name of the files are same as that of barcode number/value.

Microsoft Server Faimly & More ....., SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies

How to Use Custom Colors in SharePoint 2010 Status Bar using CSS

The new Status bar in SharePoint 2010 is helpful in putting important information to the user in a more prominent way. By default there are total of four different status colors showing four different priorities as shown in figure below.

For most scenarios these colors and priorities will be enough. But there are scenarios where you will be required to change the colors as per business requirements. In this post you learn how to use custom colors to replace the original colors in status bar using CSS classes.–

Changing Status Background Color using CSS

The background colors for the status are coming from four classes residing inside core4.css files. Following figure shows these classes.

If you dig even deeper you will fill find out the that SharePoint uses class scheme like “s4-status-sN” where N is the status number corresponds to “1: Red, 2:Yellow , 3: Green and 4: Blue”. For example SharePoint will use “s4-status-s2” class for displaying status with Yellow background representing important status.

This can easily be pointed out as shown in figure below where IE8 developer tool bar is used to capture this.

Looking at the above scheming of the classes you might think about adding your own classes with incremental value for “N” that is greater than number four. For example “s4-status-s5to include your custom color, unfortunately this approach will not work. This is mainly because the default JavaScript that changes the status bar color can only use the four default classes. So the quickest way is to change the CSS and update these classes with desired color. Keep in mind that this approach will work but you still limited to total of four colors of status. But this is mainly a no code approach so may work faster and in most cases fulfill the need.

Following is the complete walk through of how to change the status colors using custom CSS, the Visual Studio 2010 project is created to demonstrate end to end scenario and test your work. But this is by no means a requirement, you can skip this and just use the CSS shown in step 9 and it should work. For those of you who want to try complete example following are the steps.

  1. Open a Visual Studio 2010 and create a new SharePoint 2010 Project, select “Empty SharePoint Project” as project type and give it a name “MyCustomStatusColors”. Click “OK” to create the project. See the figure below.



  2. On the “SharePoint Customization Wizard” type the URL of the SharePoint site which you want to use for deployment & debugging. Select “Deploy as farm solution”, see the figure below. Finally click “Finish”.



  3. Right Click the project and select “Addà SharePoint “Layouts” Mapped Folder” this will create a new mapped folder named “MyCustomStatusColor” as shown below.



  4. Right Click “MyCustomStatusColor” folder and select “AddàNew Item”.


  5. On the “Add New Item” dialog box select “Web” the installed template and then select “Style Sheet”. Name it “CustomStatusColors.css”, and click “Add”. This is shown in figure below.





  1. Open the “core4.css” file located inside “<Drive-Letter>:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14TEMPLATELAYOUTS1033STYLES”. Where “<Drive-Letter>” is the drive where SharePoint is installed (for example “C”).


  2. Locate and copy the following classes from “core4.css” file.



  3. Paste these classes into CSS file “MyCustomStatusColors.css” that you created in Step 5.


  4. Change the background, border-color, and color attributes for all the classes as shown in figure below. You can always choose colors of your choice.



  5. Your work related to CSS customization is done, next you build a very simple SharePoint Application Page with a single HTML button and a drop down which corresponds to status number. On clicking the button a new status message will be added to status bar using SharePoint ECMAScript. It’s a simple way to see the changes in action. We will later use this page in second part for some more advance JavaScript based customizations.


  6. Click on “MyCustomStatusColors” folder and select “Add New Item”. On the “Add New Item” dialog select “Application Page”. Name it “CustomStatusColors.aspx”, and click “Add”. This is shown in figure below.




  1. First add a link to the custom “CustomStatusColors.css”, this way classes inside it will override the “core4.css” classes. This is shown in figure below. Make sure you add it under content area with ID “PageHead”



  2. Before we add the SharePoint ECMA Script code to add new status with desired color note that as we only changed colors through CSS the ECMA Script function does not have knowledge of these custom colors, so in standard SharePoint ECMAScript methods you still need to pass original color names namely “red,yellow,blue,green”, this is just a way it behaves. However as we have changed the colors inside CSS classes these custom colors will correctly appear for the status messages instead of the original colors. For your convenience following table shows this mapping including original color and new colors.



Original Color

New Color














  1. Add following script into the “PageHead” content area as shown in figure below.


  1. Finally add the following markup into the “Main” content.



  2. That’s it, press F5 from the Visual Studio to build and deploy the project, this will also open the site in a new browser window so you can test your work.


    Note: You must build the project targeting x64 platform. This is the requirement for all SharePoint 2010 projects.


  3. On the SharePoint site, type the following URL, replace “SiteURL” with the actual URL of your SharePoint site. This is the site URL that you have used while creating the SharePoint project in Step 2.




  4. On the “CustomStatusColor” page use the drop down to select any status and then click “change status color” button. You will notice a new status message is added each time you click the button and color of the status message is coming from custom CSS. You may want to contrast these colors with the table shown in step 13. Following is the screen shot of all the four status messages with custom color.











Although you have applied color of your choice you are still limited to total of four colors at a time, this can be overcome by using java script. Perhaps I will do a write up on that too in a later post.

Microsoft Server Faimly & More ....., SharePoint 2010 Products & Technologies, SharePoint User Group

My Session “Working with SharePoint 2010 RESTful Data Service Interfaces” @ NYC SharePoint User Group

I will be presenting at New York City SharePoint User Group on 6th October 2010. Check the session details below.

Title: Working with SharePoint 2010 RESTful Data Service Interfaces.

Details: This session will provide details on SharePoint 2010 REST API and how to use it to work with SharePoint lists and libraries. It also provides an overview of architecture and how REST fits with SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft’s approach for it.The demos will show how to build applications using the RESTful interface right from VS 2010. You will also see how to use non-Microsoft tools to perform CURD operations on SharePoint 2010 lists & libraries.

View Session Presentation Online here 


Presentation pptx | ppt | pdf | xps  

Demos    Demos Code| Site & List Templates | All in One (Demos + Site & List Templates)