Thursday, September 04, 2008

SharePoint Search Hammers and Crowbars

Search can get stuck in some funky ways. Who knows why - disturbances in SQL connectivity, disturbances in the force? 

I recently had a rather nasty bout with some stickiness. One of the query servers was not communicating properly for some reason. Even after a restart, our full crawl would stop almost immediately (when it tried to propagate). The last message it would show was "the query server xxxxxx is not responding." xxxxxx was one of my web front ends and which also is a query server. As I said, the restart (small hammer) of that server did not help.

The BIG hammer I used to pound this out was to go into Central Admin and remove the search query service from this server and then re-add it. Ultimately, this got us past this bump.

Along the way, I was finding the full crawl stuck, and it would not respond to a stop command. The crowbar I used to get this done was to restart the Office Search service on the indexing server. 

It pains me to do these things!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

SharePoint Reminder - Tickler System

OK, I know you really smart SharePoint people won't even have to think about this one. But I thought about my user's application needs for a good 10-15 minutes before I came up with this one. So for the really smart ones, this is no use, but for anybody not feeling quite that sharp, maybe you can save half that think time (you still had to google "sharepoint reminder" and find this post!).

So this is really simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Have a reminder date (not necessarily the due date). This can be a calculated field, based on due date (like =[Expiration Date]-30).
  2. Create a reminder view that filters based on the reminder date (is less than or equal to today).
  3. Use an alert or an RSS feed (now that was easy).

This thing does not need to be any particular kind of list or library. I know it's a brain dead simple solution, but if you were having a mental block, maybe this will help.