Francois says goodbye

Lawrence Cawood originally started T3chnicalLead and as a result of my love for writing I joined him to use the platform to share my thoughts on predominantly technology.


As time has gone on I found myself more and more wanting to write and blog about other topics, but feel that the T3chnicalLead channel is limited with its strong focus on technology.

For this reason, I’ve decided to started a blog about me, my interests, opinions and experiences.  The blog will cover technology, travel, food, cycling (mountain biking junky) and perhaps a bit of sport here and there.


Lawrence continues to blaze a trail with his booming start up – (the best friggen SharePoint web parts on the web) and I’m sure T3chnicalLead will soon get a new brand OR continue in some shape way or form.

Thanks for your support and comments through the years and if you’re keen to continue reading, please follow me @fhpienaar and


Stay classy San Diego…

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SharePoint User Profile Service not working after Windows 8 upgrade

So I upgraded to Windows 8 the other day (which I’m really loving so far) but the upgrade broke SharePoint’s user profile service application. I have SharePoint 2010 installed locally on my Windows-7-now-Windows-8-PC for development purposes.

The Problem

There were a variety of symptoms that I won’t list in detail here but basically I couldn’t get into my user profile service application in central admin. ‘An unexpected error occurred’ it told me.

The ULS logs were full of the typical generic user profile service errors (e.g. ‘No User Profile Application available to service the request’) and the event viewer was complaining so fast I couldn’t keep up.

The main errors being reported in the event log were:

The service ‘/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc’ cannot be activated due to an exception during compilation. (event ID 3)


An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: The requested service, ‘http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc/actas’ could not be activated. (event id 8306)

So it seemed to be a problem with the Security Token Service. Navigating to the URL listed in the error message above (http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc) showed me an error page.

The Solution

Like any SharePoint administrator worth his salt, I immediately hit Google.

Many opened tabs later I stumbled across this post, which offered a solution that worked: re-provision all the SharePoint Web Services. The author says that this is, “one of the safest ways” to get the Security Token Service working.

Near the bottom of the post is a list of commands to enter into SharePoint PowerShell, which I did:

$h = Get-SPServiceHostconfig


$services = Get-SPServiceApplication

foreach ($service in $services) { $service.provision();
write-host $}

Once the commands were run I did an IISRESET then tried to access my user profile service application. Success!

Thanks Syed and Abhishek :)


List of Companies That Sell SharePoint Web Parts

I recently updated my list of SharePoint web part providers on Quora and thought I’d repost that list here in case you’re looking for some new web parts or add-ons:

Or you can find numerous web parts or web part providers on these sites:


Solved: SharePoint Returning a Blank Page

After installing SharePoint Server 2010 on my fresh copy of Windows 7 I was seeing a completely blank page when hitting the site. Central admin was showing an empty page too. The blank page showed up almost immediately after navigating to the url, so it appeared to not even be trying to load.

After much digging and prodding I stumbled across the answer: I had forgotten to tick the Windows Authentication box when installing the IIS7 features.

So I enabled it like this: Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off >Internet Information Services > World Wide Web Services > Security >tick ‘Windows Authentication’, did an iisreset for good measure, and smiled as SharePoint loaded up.

There are probably many other reasons why one might get a blank page when hitting their SharePoint site, but if you run into this one, remember to check if all the relevant IIS features are installed. You never know.

SPSecurityTrimmedControl and Full Control Permissions

In doing some recent updates to the Vinewave Staff Directory Web Part, I needed to hide a link called ‘Manage people’, which directed users to SharePoint’s built-in User Information List (the Staff Directory reads from this list).

I had to hide this link for users that did not have Full Control permissions on the site, because they were getting an access denied error when clicking on the link; the User Information list is only available to administrators.

SPSecurityTrimmedControl was the man for the job, but I couldn’t figure out what setting to use for the PermissionsString property to get it to only show content for users with Full Control permissions.

After some clever investigation on my part Googling, I eventually figured out that the property to use for this is ’FullMask’.

So, the following snippet shows how to display content only to users with Full Control permissions on the site:

<Sharepoint:SPSecurityTrimmedControl runat="server" PermissionsString="FullMask">
    Content goes here…

How to delete a SharePoint site that is being naughty

For some reason I was unable to delete a site in my SharePoint 2010 environment. This time, I wasn’t really interested in figuring out why, I just wanted the site to go away.

Side note: I admit that I didn’t like this site. Let’s call it “SharePoint_DevEnv_01-Oct-2011_000004″ for brevity sake. It had done nothing wrong to me, it hadn’t insulted my family, but it just rubbed me the wrong way and had to go. You know how sometimes an SPWeb just gives you the willys? Well this one did, and I’m glad it got the axe.

The site had no sub-sites, no custom features or code – it was basically an empty team site with one or two documents in it.

Attempting to delete it by going Site Settings > Delete this site failed, as did trying to remove it via the Sites and workspaces list.

What did work however was PowerShell (cue Superman theme). I’m not sure why PowerShell managed to delete the site when SharePoint’s front-end wouldn’t allow me to, but I was happy with the result nonetheless. This being a dev environment, I wasn’t really concerned if a larger issue was at play – the environment gets reinstalled every so often anyway.

To delete a site via PowerShell, simply go Remove-SPWeb “http://server/sitename&#8221;, then press Y to confirm.


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