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Using SharePoint Web Services to Explore Document Libraries

, 8 Jul 2007 CPOL
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Using SharePoint Web Services to explore document libraries.

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SharePoint is a recognized technology standard for company infrastructure organizations. It has wide functionality, and allows to store different information in one single place. However, sometimes this information needs to be accessed from an application. In this article, I will discuss the possibility to retrieve data from SharePoint using its WebServices. I will concentrate on the document libraries.


SharePoint Server structures information by WebSites. Each WebSite has many Lists. Lists are used to store concrete data using ListItems: links to files, contacts, appointments, etc. ListItems have fields with necessary values. The user is able to customize these fields to store data. In the following section, I will show a general mechanism for retrieving data.

First of all, it is necessary to add a reference to SharePoint Services. They are accessible from the following URL: http://server-name/Site-Name/_vti_bin/service-name.asmx. For our purposes, we will use two of them: webs.asmx and lists.asmx.

Another important feature is that SharePoint Services are scope dependent, so if you want to retrieve a List from site S1, you should use the following WebSite: http://server-name/S1/_vti_bin/lists.asmx, and so on.

Retrieving WebSites

// Get Web Sites
private static void GetSites(string url, string login, string password)
    Webs service = new Webs();
    service.PreAuthenticate = true;
    service.Credentials = new System.Net.NetworkCredential(login, password);
    service.Url = url + @"/_vti_bin/webs.asmx";

    XmlNode sites = null;

        sites = service.GetWebCollection();

    foreach (System.Xml.XmlNode site in sites.ChildNodes)

        GetLists(site.Attributes["Url"].Value, login, password);
        GetSites(site.Attributes["Url"].Value, login, password);

Retrieving a WebSite List

//Get Web Site Lists  
private static void GetLists(string url, string login, string password)
    //List WebService 
    Lists ls = new Lists();
    ls.PreAuthenticate = true;
    ls.Credentials = new NetworkCredential(login, password);
    ls.Url = url + @"/_vti_bin/lists.asmx";

    foreach (XmlNode list in ls.GetListCollection().ChildNodes)
        //Check whether list is document library
        if (Convert.ToInt32(list.Attributes["ServerTemplate"].Value) != 0x65)

        string title = list.Attributes["Title"].Value;
        string listUrl = list.Attributes["DefaultViewUrl"].Value.Replace(
                                         "/Forms/AllItems.aspx", string.Empty);

        char[] separator = new char[] { '/' };
        string listPath = url.Substring(0, url.LastIndexOf('/'));

        Console.WriteLine(listPath + listUrl + "/" + title);
        AddListsItems(url, title, login, password);

Points of Interest

Sorry for being so concise. I'm quite new to SharePoint, but this task gave me some trouble. So I decided to post my solution.

The article will be further updated to show how to retrieve list items basing on SharePoint XML Queries.


  • 12 June 2007: Added example application.
  • 7 June 2007: First version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Petro Protsyk
Netherlands Netherlands
Please visit my website for more articles

I'm software developer & Ph.D. student

Comments and Discussions

BugThe code in Document Libraries with two levels fails Pinmemberfcojavilg23-Feb-12 4:45 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pinmembersparrow8821-Dec-11 3:06 
GeneralAppreciate PinmemberSolarCell14-Apr-11 0:28 
GeneralRe: Appreciate Pinmembersparrow8821-Dec-11 3:08 
QuestionAllways returns parent site Lists instead of subsites. PinmemberMember 9650879-Nov-09 13:58 
GeneralAccessing sharepoint from an excel workbook in a local machine PinmemberMember 63670353-Jul-09 9:13 
GeneralConnecting to server machine failed Pinmemberafilho17-Jun-09 4:31 
Generaldispaly images from sharepoint to website PinmemberT.Ashraf8-Jun-08 14:41 
GeneralRe: dispaly images from sharepoint to website PinmemberT.Ashraf12-Jun-08 11:24 
QuestionRe: dispaly images from sharepoint to website Pinmembermangia25-Nov-08 13:48 
AnswerRe: dispaly images from sharepoint to website PinmemberT.Ashraf25-Nov-08 13:52 
GeneralRe: dispaly images from sharepoint to website [modified] Pinmembermangia26-Nov-08 7:56 
GeneralRe: dispaly images from sharepoint to website PinmemberT.Ashraf27-Nov-08 3:30 
GeneralThanks - This really kickstarted my work! PinmemberChris Doherty30-Mar-08 15:43 
GeneralWSS version PinmemberT. Smaavik5-Sep-07 4:59 
GeneralRe: WSS version PinmemberExtrim5-Sep-07 5:18 
GeneralA suggestion... PinmemberHyperX10-Jun-07 5:05 
GeneralRe: A suggestion... PinmemberExtrim10-Jun-07 21:15 
Thank you for your interest.

I will publish Win solution
this week as soon it will be good enough Smile | :)

All the best,

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