SharePoint WCM pages on mobile devices

An ever present possible requirement is for Web Content pages to be accessible via mobile device. SharePoint introduces some nice features for mobile devices. Each library & list can be configured to allow a mobile view. This way your mobile device can access those lists easilly.
Secondly you can use the variation system to create a variation for a mobile view. Creating a master page designed specifically for mobile devices can make your WCM pages available. A nice overview of the possibilities is given by Jamie McAllister.
But what when you need to create a mobile view for a variated site? Furthermore, based on the experience I've got with variations I'm not that eager to start creating variations. This made me think about an other approach to mobile views.
Based on an article about changing the masterpage for application pages using a HttpModule we constructed the following solutioin.
  1. Extend your WCM application to an other url, specifically for use with mobile devices e.g.
  2. Create your mobile masterpage/CSS/... and store it in the original site collection
  3. Create an HttpModule that replaces the default masterpage with your new mobile masterpage (make sure to read this post about Publishing Pages!)
  4. Register the HttpModule in your web.config.
  5. Grab your device and see the magic happening!
On codeplex there is a project that provides an HttpModule that can be configured in the web.config file. It might be usefull to take a look at that before writing your own HttpModule.

SQL Server - SharePoint Configuration Wizard

Wizards are nice as long as nothing goes wrong. Behind the scene the carry out a lot of work and all you have to do is click on a button, wait...and pray to every God of every world religion that all goes well! Because if it doesn't....that's where the hair pulling starts!
Last week I got a call from a collegue of mine to take a look at a service pack installation problem on a MOSS 2007 server. All installations were carried out successfully, but when the configuration wizard kicked in, they received an error about a connection failure using Named instances. Because we disabled named instances & only allowed connections using TCP we were supprised by the error message.
Digging deeper into the system gave some insight into how SQL Server 2005 works and what causes the error:
In the early days SQL Server only allowed one instance per server which listened to port 1433 for incomming connections. As SQL Server 2000 introduced support for multiple instances a new service (SSRP) needed to provide a way of determining which instance needed to be connected to. This service was later replaced by SQL Server Browser service. Essentially this listener service responds to client requests with the names of the installed instances, and the ports or named pipes used by the instance.
When the SharePoint Configuration Wizard kicks in, it requests information from the SQL Server Browser service about the instance to connect to. A failure contacting the listener will result in the "connection failure using named instances". Even though you disabled named instances and only allow TCP connections.
In our case the Service was running, but due to a SQL Server 2000 also running on the server it somehow got mashed up. Removing the old SQL Server 2000 instances & restarting the service solved the problem.
Lessons to be learned:
  • Make sure the SQL Server Browser service is up and running on the SQL Server
  • Make sure that no firewall is blocking the SQL Server communication (open up 1433 for TCP & 1434 for UDP)
If you do not want to open port 1434 or don't want to start the SQL Server Browser Service you can still run the configuration wizard by using the command line. This way you can provide all parameters manually to connect to the instance directly.
Psconfig –cmd configdb –create –server "dbserver\instance,1433" –database SharePoint_Config –user adomain\username –password ***** –admincontentdatabase SharePoint_Admin
More information on SQL Server Browser Service: