Cascade Skyline - with Microsoft Logo and Project Support header - author Brian Smith

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    So where did all these GUIDs come from?

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    Project Server 2007 makes much more use of GUIDs to identify different entities than the previous version so I thought I'd do a quick post to explain what they are, why we use them and how you should use them.  GUIDs were originally a priestly class in ancient Celtic societies.  No sorry, that was Druids.  GUIDs are Globally Unique Identifiers and are 128 bit numbers usually represented in the database and ULS logs as a sequence of hexadecimal digits.  They are not guaranteed to be unique - but with 2122 or 5.3×1036 to choose from you shouldn't see duplicates (or if you do it might be the right day to buy that lottery ticket!).

    One future benefit the move to GUIDs could give us is the potential for consolidation of servers - or the use of replication between servers - where we can be sure that all the entities are unique.  With Project Server 2003 there would always be a project 101 in every server, so difficult to combine data from two servers.  GUIDs lead the way to federated servers.

    One place where you may need to use GUIDs is as an identifier for new users you add through the FormsAuthUpgrade tool.  A recent support case had a customer sure that his GUIDs in his users.xml file were correct but still got an error:

    Error: An error occurred creating user janedoe in membership provider. Error: Guid should contain 32 digits with 4 dashes

    Closer examination showed the GUIDs had the character "g" and they should only contain hexadecimal digits (So 0-9 and a-f).  In my testing I have been known to start with one GUID and just change the last numbers for other users so I can see how this can happen (pseudo GUIDs - as my colleagues call them).  Better to use a tool to give you a new unique one.  Visual Studio can do this through Tools, Create GUID - or you can do it in code. 

    If you have ever had to search logs or the database looking for a particular GUID then you will also appreciate that you don't want too many that look the same - and better still to have the first few characters different.  In most cases if you look at the first 4 or 5 digits you would be unlucky to find duplicates in even a large dataset.  To find out even more see the entry on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID.

    One useful relationship you should be aware of is that the Correlation Id you see in the queue and in the logs will actually be the Project GUID for any project-related queue job.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    In case you missed it - Improving cube build performance

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    I know a lot of you already read Chris's Project Programmability blog - but in case you haven't seen this posting from last week it has a great tip for using the SQL Server 2005 capability of guiding a query to be executed in a specific way without touching the query itself.  This uses sp_create_plan_guide.  See http://blogs.msdn.com/project_programmability/archive/2007/09/07/improve-the-performance-of-building-the-project-server-data-analysis-cube.aspx for full details.  For this particular customer scenario this made the difference between the query taking 17 hours and just minutes!

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    What do the Language Packs give you? Part 2: Office Clients

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    So we have seen in my previous post what server language packs do for Project Web Access, so now what happens on the client?  The language packs and language settings work for all of Office, but I will be concentrating on Project.  To change the settings once a language pack has been added you go to Microsoft Office Language Settings 2007, which is under the Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Tools start menu.  If you have not added any client language packs then you will see just two tabs - the right hand two in this first screen shot.  Once you have another language available then you will also see the Display Options tab.

    image

    In this example I have a US English initial installation and have added Korean, Japanese and French language packs.  So I can choose my display language and help language to be any from the set.  It is possible to have some languages appear in the list that have not been loaded for all products - hence the option for preferences.  SO if I have French as my preference but have only loaded it for Project then I will see the next available language when I use Excel or any other Office product.

    So if I select Office menus as French and Help as Japanese I see the following when opening Project and viewing Help.  The dual language can be helpful when a corporation has a common language they wish to work in - but individuals may find help in their native language to be more useful.

    image

    To show the full support for extended characters I can open a project saved from a Greek language version of Project, which also has some Japanese and Korean characters in the task names.  The date format follows your Windows settings - so if you want a format such as Day/Month/Year you will need to set this as well as the language for Office.

    image

    So for both client and server the language support for Project goes beyond what was offered for 2003 - no more issues with codepages!

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    LDAP Forms Authentication revisited

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    I've had a few comments on the configuration of Forms Authentication using LDAP and thought it worth raising some of these points in a new posting.

     

    1.  LDAP forms authentication is only supported by Office Servers and not WSS

    The architecture for forms authentication is based on WSS 3.0 but the specific implementation described in mine (and others) posting for use of Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) and LDAP authentication is based on the Microsoft.Office.Server.Security.LDAPMembershipProvider and so is a component that shipped with Office Servers (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Office Project Server, Microsoft Office Forms Server...).  So if you just have WSS 3.0 then you will not find this component.  One possible option might be to use the ASPNET Active Directory Provider and configure this for the LDAP port ADAM is running on (see http://blogs.msdn.com/harsh/archive/2007/01/10/forms-based-authentication-in-moss.aspx for some guidance) .  Or you could write your own authentication provider for LDAP... On-demand webcast here - http://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032346257&CountryCode=US

    2.  New ADAM users are disabled by default

    If you are using ADAM hopefully you have already discovered that by default any new user is disabled.  To enable you need to set the msDS-UserAccountDisabled attribute of the user to false.

    3.  Need to give ANONYMOUS LOGON read access to directory

    I haven't needed to do this and certainly would not recommend it in a production environment.  I am guessing it relates to the account used for some application pool is set such that it appears to the directory as ANONYMOUS.  Much better to have an explicit user and give an explicit permission. 

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    What do the Language Packs give you? Part 1: Project Server 2007

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    With this posting I am trying out some of the features of Windows Live Writer that I haven't used yet - so we have pictures!

    You can install language packs on Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 which will allow users to view the PWA pages, and also create Project Workspaces in selected languages.  This is similar to the Multi-Lingual User Interface in Project Server 2003 but because we are now using Unicode there are not the limitations with different code pages that we faced in the previous version.  As an example I have the following PWA site provisioned in English.  An you can see in the list of workspaces I have a workspace with a name in Japanese (in fact the Japanese word for "Japanese").

    PWA_en_US 

    A Japanese user could modify their IE settings (Internet Options, then the Languages button on the front page) to make Japanese the preferred language. 

    Language Preference

    Refreshing the page above would then give the following page, with the majority of the text in Japanese.  Certain elements stay in the language it was provisioned in - such as the tab title of Home, the web part names and the links to Shared Documents.  Also in this example I have a modified link to Timesheets which reads Timecard - so does not have a translation.

     PWA_jp

    Once a language pack has been installed then a new PWA instance can be provisioned in the language of that pack - and the choice of languages is made on the Create PWA page.

    PWA Provision

    Likewise you can select the language for any Project Workspaces by updating the language on the Project Server Workspace Provisioning page.  The following is set for Arabic, but viewed in French.

    Workspace Settings

    Once a Project Workspace is provisioned it is only available in the language it is provisioned in - so for example the following is the Japanese workspace seen in the list on the first image.

    PWA Ja Workspace

    So as a final taster of the support for right to left languages here is a PWA site provisioned and viewed with the IE setting for Hebrew.

    PWA_He

    For part 2 of this series I will take a look at the client language packs for Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007.

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