jQuery Promise syntax to wrap SharePoint SP.SOD


jQuery has a special function $.Deferred - which lets you create an Deferred object to build Promise(s).

We use this to simplify everything we do in SharePoint and other JavaScript libraries.


Wrapping SP.ClientContext

function GetCurrentUserName() {

var deferred = $.Deferred();
var ctx = SP.ClientContext.get_current();
var web = ctx.get_web();
var currentUser = web.get_currentUser();
ctx.executeQueryAsync( function(sender, args) {
}, function() {

var promise = deferred.promise();
promise.done( function() {
    var title = currentUser.get_title();

return promise;

Wrapping SP.SOD

function SPLoaded() {

var deferred = $.Deferred();
SP.SOD.executeOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded( function() { deferred.resolve(); }, "sp.js");

return deferred.promise();


Resolving multiple promises

var promise1 = ...
var promise2 = ...
var promise3 = ...

$.when(promise1, promise2, promise3).done(function(){

// do something



Concatenating Arrays of promises


var promises = [];

// use this syntax when you don't know how many promises are there - may be calling REST in a loop.

return $.when.apply($, promises);


Combining Array of Promises and SP.SOD


function Ready() {

var promises = [];

var deferred1 = $.Deferred();
SP.SOD.executeOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(deferred1.resolve, "sp.js");

var deferred2 = $.Deferred();
SP.SOD.executeOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(deferred2.resolve, "sp.core.js");


return $.when.apply($, promises);



Combining promises



    var vm = new ViewModel();  // not included in above script
    var promise = vm.Ready();
    promise.done( function() {




(Updated) And the grand finale


function Ready() {

var promises = [];

// using the special javascript argument "arguments"

$.each(arguments, function(index, arg) {
    var deferred = $.Deferred();
    SP.SOD.executeOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(deferred.resolve, arg);

return $.when.apply($, promises);




    var vm = new ViewModel();  // not included in above script
    var promise = vm.Ready("sp.js", "sp.core.js");
    promise.done( function() {




Nintex Workflow Inline Function to check if SPFile is locked




Nintex Workflow has a fairly useful function "IsDocumentWritable" that checks if the current item that the workflow is running on is writable.

There is a small problem, it only checks if the file is Checked Out (SPFile.CheckedOutType) and not if the file was locked, say by a Desktop Client Application.


Add Nintex Workflow Inline Function

We can add a simple Nintex Workflow inline function to get the behaviour we wanted:

I followed Vadim's excellent blog entry: http://www.vadimtabakman.com/nintex-workflow-developing-a-custom-inline-function.aspx


* & 'C:\Program Files\Nintex\Nintex Workflow 2010\NWAdmin.exe' -o AddInlineFunction -functionalias "fn-IsFileLocked" -assembly "MY_DLL, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=9f7c41d4a6ea1fb3" -namespace "MYNamespace" -typename "MYInlineFunctions" -method "IsFileLocked" -description "Checks if file is locked." -usage "fn-IsFileLocked(itemPath)"

public static bool IsFileLocked(string itemPath)
    bool result = false;
        SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges(() =>

            using (SPSite site = new SPSite(itemPath))
                using (SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb())
                    SPFile file = web.GetFile(itemPath);
                    if (!file.Exists)

                    // true if checked out

                    result = file.LockType != SPFile.SPLockType.None;
    catch (Exception ex)
    return result;


You can call this method from within Nintex Workflow Designer.



Reading InfoPath template's default values in code


String xml = "";
FormTemplate template = this.Template;
using (Stream s = template.OpenFileFromPackage("template.xml"))
    XPathDocument reader = new XPathDocument(s);
    XPathNavigator nav = reader.CreateNavigator();
    XPathNavigator repeat = nav.SelectSingleNode("/my:myFields/my:Repeats/my:Repeat[1]", this.NamespaceManager);
    if (repeat == null)
    xml = tender.OuterXml;
if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(xml))
    XPathNavigator destination = this.CreateNavigator().SelectSingleNode("/my:myFields/my:Repeats", this.NamespaceManager);


The top part of the code is particularly useful if you want to use the Default Values for repeating sections in InfoPath.  Your code will read the xml for the default values and insert them into the repeating section.  I've previously hardcoded these XML segments for insert, but that's extremely error prone when you inevitably update your XML template with new and more exciting child elements and attributes.


Wrap up: SharePoint Saturday Adelaide and Brisbane


There is always an relevant tweet.

Tomás Lázaro@tomzalt May 22 The book Javascript Ninja has a Samurai on the cover. That happens because JS is not strongly typed.

This is a Post-Event update post.


In Adelaide, I went at a good pace and gone through the TypeScript example, demos but had very little time remaining for discussions or questions.

The main feedback I got was perhaps there was too much time (still!) given to JavaScript and we can all spend more time in TypeScript and the demos.  Also, there was questions regarding deployment.



In Brisbane, I trimmed the JavaScript discussion but added a silly demo that got people laughing.  But possibly still ate my time.  I was not able to go through the sections on adding TypeScript to your existing JavaScript.  But I was able to cover the deployment scenarios for SharePoint 2010 and 2007.


Working with SP 2007

  • Editing:
    • Use Content Editor webpart and point to a HTML file, which then references a JavaScript file generated from TypeScript.
    • Use VS.NET 2012/2013 with WebDAV
  • Deploying:
    • Package as farm solution web part
    • Include map file to debug in IE12 / Chrome.

Working with SP 2010

  • Editing
    • You can use Content Editor as above
    • You can build VS.NET farm or sandbox solutions and use TypeScript directly
  • Deploying
    • Use Sandbox solution to deploy a sandbox webpart
    • Reference a JavaScript file generated from TypeScript
    • Package as sandbox solution

Deployment – SP 2013 / Office 365

  • Using App for SharePoint to deploy an App Part
  • Do not create code behind. Reference JavaScript file generated from TypeScript
  • Configure App permissions
  • Package as SharePoint “App”
  • When deploying – grant permissions to App


Download Links:


If you are using TypeScript in your environment, let me know and tell me how it is going for you.


SP2010 Forcing previously deployed file to update to latest version in site definition


I’m a big fan of quickly making changes to my SharePoint JavaScript file in SharePoint Designer and then test whether they work correctly in the browser.  Quick browser refresh and I’m testing.

But I don’t recommend this on your test or production environments.  For those cases, you should package your JavaScript files into a solution and deploy them.

SharePoint 2013 ReplaceContent Attribute

SP2013 introduced a new attribute ReplaceContent=”True” http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ms459213(v=office.15).aspx when this attribute is set to True, when your feature is activated it will replace existing files on SharePoint with the contents of the files from the package.  This attribute is excellent for deploying JavaScript files.


SharePoint 2010 IgnoreIfAlreadyExists Attribute

In SP2010, you aren’t as lucky.  The IgnoreIfAlreadyExist attribute needs to be set to true.  Otherwise your feature will most likely fail to activate if a file already exists.  This is troublesome because with the ignore flag on, your JavaScript files won’t update to the latest new version.

There are a few approaches that people take.  Some chooses to delete all the assets when deactivating the feature.  Then on reactivation, the assets are recreated brand new with the latest bits.  This works fine for CSS, JavaScript files, but will not work for MasterPage or PageLayout files that are in use.


Add Reset to Site Definition

I propose this fantastic method:



This forces the SPFile to revert back to the site definition.  Essentially this is what SharePoint Designer does when you click on



When I deploy to production, but I know I need to bump 2 of my JavaScript files to the latest site definition, I run this powershell.

PS D:\> $web = Get-SPWeb http://server
PS D:\> $file = $web.GetFile("Style Library/app/John/john1.js")
PS D:\> $file.CustomizedPageStatus
PS D:\> $file.RevertContentStream()
PS D:\> $file = $web.GetFile("Style Library/app/John/john2.js")
PS D:\> $file.CustomizedPageStatus
PS D:\> $file.RevertContentStream()


This works whether the file is Uncustomized (deployed via a previous package) or Customized (deployed manually or updated by a user).  After the method is run, the file content will be the latest version that was in the deployed WSP package.

Try it out.  Quite useful for fixing 1 JavaScript file in a package.


SharePoint Saturdays in Australia

I wanted write about two things.  I still wanted to do a summary of SharePoint Saturday Adelaide 2014, but I will have to do that later, perhaps combine my thoughts after Brisbane.  Right now, I wanted to talk about the upcoming SharePoint Saturday Brisbane 2014, as well as SharePoint events in general in Australia.


SharePoint Brisbane is May 31st

Will be upon us very soon in two weeks.  There’s a strong call for additional local speakers.  If you are in Brisbane – you really should consider presenting a topic.  It can be a simple topic.  If you feel you don’t have enough content, prepare for 30-40 minutes, and let your audience ask questions.  You’ll be surprised how quick a session is.


Attending a SharePoint Saturday

There are several great reasons to attend a SharePoint Saturday event:

  • SharePoint Saturday events are free.  We will bribe you with food.  Additionally, there’s usually good sponsor prizes.
  • You get to hear from your local knowledgeable SharePoint people, on a variety of topics that you can choose.  Sure, you can see them in the monthly user groups, but you don’t always get to choose the topic that’s presented at the user group.  SharePoint Saturday offers that choice.
  • You get to network with your local SharePoint people.
  • We understand and are thankful that you are sacrificing one day of your precious weekend to attend a training event.  Please don’t feel bad at all if you need to leave early, or can only visit for an hour after lunch.  It is still great to see you, so nice of you to make the trip.


Presenting at a SharePoint Saturday

Because there is a larger set of available spots in a SharePoint Saturday event.  There is a lot more room for local speakers to present. 

  • Have you done a particularly cool project and want to talk about it? 
  • Have you did a presentation in your company that you want to test with a wider audience? 
  • Sure, not everyone will agree with your particular approach.  But that’s the best thing about SharePoint – there’s always more than one way to do things.  You way is superior already because you get the stage to explain it to your audience!
  • The perfect springboard to learn what you preach.  It is true.  The best way you learn is if you can teach someone else.  I personally learned so much from talking about what I’m doing.  I stop and write this blog, because it helps me document and digest what I’m doing.  I write an event summary, because it wraps up my thoughts, preparation and the aftermath.
  • The person that benefits the most from a SharePoint Saturday event, is the presenter.


Whether attending or presenting, I hope to see you at SharePoint Saturday in Brisbane, or in a SharePoint Saturday event in your city soon!


IE11 (+Win8.1.1) F12 Developer Tools for the SharePoint Dev


This blog post is about all the new nifty features I'm finding in the latest IE11 F12 developer tools.  I updated my Windows to 8.1 update 1, and IE11 was updated.  I started seeing a few cool new features, and went on Twitter to find the official documentation.


Was supplied by @AdamTReineke



Rather than bore you with a list of features, which is on MSDN.  I want to just quickly share how I'm using some of them.

Disclaimer - I had just watched LEGO movie.  So EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!


DOM Explorer


1. CSS Changes


  • When you "touch up" CSS in SharePoint to get the exact look you want.  You often forget which rule you had applied.
  • The DOM Explorer's "Changes" tab tracks all the individual changes, and you can revert an individual rule, or copy them all and paste to your CSS file.
  • Copy All.  Awesome!



2. Pseudo Rules


  • You know those pesky :hover and :visited CSS rules in SharePoint that can never find to eliminate? 
  • Now you can apply :hover or :visited and see the effect rule without actually trying to catch your mouse hovering.  Haha.  Awesome!



The super cool updated Console object


3. Console info, warning, error

  • My "warnings" are currently filtered. 
  • use console.info() console.warn() and console.error() to write to these.



  • No ribbon button but you can right-click to filter Log messages too.  For those really spammy libraries, which is pretty awesome!


4. Console handles objects, multiple objects and HTML


  • Chrome and Firefox both were able to log objects and inspect them.  IE11 used to just log the [object].tostring which was pretty useless.
  • The update now fixes that, and allow multiple arguments to be logged at the same time.




5. Console always available for dev. 




  • So you can have all your logs happening without trying to start the debugger before you load the page
  • Remember your end users won't have this on, so TEST before you deploy code.


6. Console can switch target to an iFrame. 


  • Note, I couldn't get this to work in IE8-Compat mode (which my SP2010 runs on).  This works fine for IE9, IE10, Edge.
  • This is awesome for debugging objects in the SP.UI.Dialog





7. Debugger can be attached without reloading the page


  • Not sure if we need a picture to describe how awesome this is.  I imagine the picture will involve unicorns, rainbows and kittens.  AWESOME!


8. Just My code



  • Debugger only stops on my code.
  • Note, some libraries can throw error when you call it wrong - so sometimes not so awesome.


9. Pretty Print


  • Oh crap.  Something in sp.runtime.js don't know how to read this...


  • Not anymore in 2014!
  • Hit pretty-print - the sp.runtime.js becomes actually readable, and you can set line-based debugging too!


  • I didn't switch to sp.runtime.debug.js - this is awesome!


10. Source Maps


  • Now finally we have source map support.  Here is me debugging Typescript in IE11






  • The developer story on IE11 (after this update) is awesome!

3 sessions in //BUILD on TypeScript


Quick blog.  I'm keeping an eye on TypeScript sessions in //BUILD

TypeScript by Anders Hejlsberg.  Is probably the introductory session at Day 1, 4-5pm

Building a Large Scale JavaScript Application in TypeScript by Erich Gamma, who discuss using TypeScript in a serious production environment.  This is a follow-on session at Day 1, 5:30-6:30pm


Internet Explorer 11’s Developer Tools, F12, Just Got Nicer (Again) by Andy Sterland, mentions that IE11 can do Sourcemap debugging for TypeScript.  This is an ability that's been available in Chrome for a while.  I'm glad this is happening.  This is a session on Day 3.


The Microsoft MVP Community Camp is happening next Saturday March 22. What is it?


Microsoft APAC is hosting a simultaneous event in multiple cities around Asia and Oceania. 

It is named the Microsoft MVP Community Camp.



There are two parts to this event.  All the events are free.  But you need to register.

Firstly it is a week of streaming sessions from March 17~21


The various sessions are in different languages targeting the different markets in Asia Pacific.  There's usually one English session in every time slot.

Different regions have a specific 'theme' to the streaming sessions, in Australia (and New Zealand), the focus is on

Running Small and Mid-Business with Microsoft technologies

This includes lots of discussions on SharePoint, Office 365, One Drive (for Business) and Azure. 

Some sessions are very timely.  A number of sessions in Japan focuses on Azure - since they got their Azure datacenter earlier this month.


Concluding on a Saturday of local "in person" sessions on March 22


Now this one is important.  Because even though this is free, you need to register.  Also, there's not much time left.  So you really need to register now.

For Sydney, our schedule and registration link is here.

For other cities in Australia


There are several sessions on Azure, Web Development, OneDrive as well as other related technologies such as Dynamics CRM.

Links for other cities - not just the ones in Australia, but also around Asia are available from the main event link at the top of this post.


I am not presenting at the event, but I'll be attending and attempting to field any SharePoint or Office 365 related questions.

I hope to see you guys there.


Building a 2013 No Code webpart for XKCD.com/now

Last week, XKCD (of nerd comic fame) produced this most excellent comic http://xkcd.com/now/



This complex looking image describes essentially an outer ring and an inner ring.  The outer ring is the current time on your machine.  The inner ring is the regions of the world.  The chart tells you quickly what time it is for someone living in another part of the world.

Being the SharePoint lover that I am, you know what I'm thinking.

Time for a fun toy Web Part

Step 0.  Environment.
Step 1.  Create a SharePoint Sandbox Solution, add Client Web Part (Host Web)
Step 2.  Create the assets (images, HTML and CSS)
Step 3.  Plug in the javascript code.
Step 4.  Permissions.
Step 5.  Create a test page.  Add the App Part to play.  Change web.regional settings - see webpart change.


Step 0.  Environment

My Environment setup is very simple:

  • Office 365 with Developer site, at: https://sharepointgurus365.sharepoint.com/sites/Developer/
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • Running on Windows 8.1
  • I do not have SharePoint installed on this client PC
  • I have a paint program Paint.NET which is an excellent developer's tool when you don't have Photoshop


Step 1. Create a SharePoint Sandbox Solution, add Client Web Part (Host Web)


Select SharePoint-Hosted.  This App Part will be hosted by Office 365.




Step 2.  Create the images.



I split the image into two layers.  Because I want to rotate them separately.  I also change the text labels for the time 6PM, Midnight and 6AM on the Time-Ring.  Since when it's upside down it still needs to be readable.

I add these to the Project, under Images


I also modify the App Part html


I added CSS for the two rings.  Position:fixed so that they overlap. 

        .timezone-ring {
            background: url(../Images/xkcd-now-land.png) no-repeat top left;
        .time-ring {
            background: url(../Images/xkcd-now-time.png) no-repeat top left;
            width: 706px;
            height: 705px;
            top: 0px;
            left: 0px;
    <div style="position:relative;">
        <div class="timezone-ring">

        <div class="time-ring">


<ClientWebPart Name="xkcd-clock" Title="xkcd-clock" Description="Clock based on xkcd.com/now the outer ring rotates to current machine time.  The inner ring rotates to web region." DefaultWidth="720" DefaultHeight="720">

  • Note: tidy up the ClientWebPart definition.  Set the default width and height.


Step 3.  Plug in the javascript code.


There is very little JavaScript,  So I wrote them inline.  In practice, this made the debugging a lot more difficult.  I recommend always writing your Javascript in a separate file.


<script type="text/javascript">
    //'use strict';  // have to turn off 'use strict' because I use eval() later :-P

    // Set the style of the client web part page to be consistent with the host web.
    (function () {
        var hostUrl = '';
        if (document.URL.indexOf('?') != -1) {
            var params = document.URL.split('?')[1].split('&');
            for (var i = 0; i < params.length; i++) {
                var p = decodeURIComponent(params[i]);
                if (/^SPHostUrl=/i.test(p)) {
                    hostUrl = p.split('=')[1];
                    document.write('<link rel="stylesheet" href="' + hostUrl + '/_layouts/15/defaultcss.ashx" />');
        if (hostUrl == '') {
            document.write('<link rel="stylesheet" href="/_layouts/15/1033/styles/themable/corev15.css" />');

/*** John's code starts here ***/

        function turn() {
            var hour = (new Date()).getHours() + 12; // clock faces up so need 12hr offset
            var degrees = -((hour % 24) * 15); // turn anti-clockwise so negative
            var rotate = "rotate(" + degrees + "deg)";

            $(".time-ring").css("transform", rotate);

            setTimeout(turn, 1000 * 60 * 15); // 15mins

        var ctx = SP.ClientContext.get_current();
        var hostCtx = new SP.AppContextSite(ctx, hostUrl);
        var timezone = hostCtx.get_web().get_regionalSettings().get_timeZone();
        ctx.executeQueryAsync(function () {
            // has current timezone

            var description = timezone.get_description();
            var m = /UTC(.*\d+):/.exec(description);
            if (m) {
                var offset = eval(m[1]) -2;
                // map is aligned with Egypt (UTC+2) so need a 2hr offset.

                var degrees = -(offset * 15); // turn anti-clockwise so negative
                var rotate = "rotate(" + degrees + "deg)";

                $(".timezone-ring").css("transform", rotate);

            turn();  // call turn

        }, function () {
            // failed.




Few quick notes here:

  • turn() function calculates the rotation degree for the outer ring, based on the current machine time.  See comments for all the offsets.
  • the clientContext query needs to get the App Host Web settting.  Otherwise it will return you the regional setting for the App Web which would be pretty pointless.
  • finally, once we have the timezone information from the regional setting, it looks like (UTC+10: Sydney).  I take the +10 and do more offset for the inner ring.
  • I only request region information once on page load.  But I put turn() on a timeout call every 15minutes.  So if you leave the webpart on a screen it'll keep checking and turn every 15mins.


Step 4.  Permissions.



By default, the App has no permissions to read from the Host Web.  We need to set up the permission to Read from the Host Web.


When deployed via VS.NET you'll see this pop up in the browser.  You'll also get this when you activate the App.


Step 5.  Create a test page.  Add the App Part to play. 







I'm in Australia (AEST UTC+10).  Which is pointing up.  My current time is 11:40pm


Change the Host Web's region to (Pacific Time UTC-8).


Web Part still shows 11.45PM - that's my current time.  But the map has rotated to point to the West Coast.



I did not test this on any other machine but it should work.  Let me know if it works for you.

And if you really enjoy using this in your company, please buy something from the XKCD gift shop.