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Pushing data into a SharePoint server

, 25 Jan 2004
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Describes a way to push data into a Windows 2003 SharePoint server, from a web form.

Introduction

Windows 2003 comes standard with something called Windows SharePoint™ Services, found here. This provides some pretty impressive Intranet functionality right out of the box (well, with one additional download).

Once set up, it provides a database driven website with content that is controlled by the users. Users can add various types of content, using predesigned "web parts", which are basically ASP.NET web controls. In addition, it provides a Web Service API which developers can use to push data right onto the website.

This article shows how to implement a simple user feedback web form, with results that display on an intranet site. We'll use part of the API to do that. (Development of custom "web parts" is also worthy of an article, but I'll leave that to someone else).

Preparation

Before you can use the sample code, you need to have a Windows 2003 server set up with SharePoint Services. You can find the download at the URL mentioned previously. Once installed, you will need to create a website, using the provided admin tools. On the website, you will need to set up a "List", which will contain the feedback in a format that the intranet users will like. You can and should customize the fields of your list, as follows:

  • Name (rename title)
  • Comment (rename description)
  • Email address (new field)

I won't go into how to set up SharePoint Services. If you have problems, post a question below, and I will answer as best I can.

Using the code

First, we create a simple ASP.NET form, containing fields for Name, Comment and Email address. Add validation controls if you need. Add a web reference to the Lists web service, found at http://YourSharepointServerName/_vti_bin/Lists.asmx.

The web service provides an UpdateListItems method, which takes some XML as a parameter. The XML is of a format:

<Batch><Method><Field>FieldValue</Field></Method></Batch>

Error handling is primitive, so you should be sure to use the correct case for everything (XML is case-sensitive), and the correct names for all of your fields.

The following snippet of code can be added behind your form's submit button:

private void btnSubmit_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
    Lists listService = new Lists();
    listService.Credentials = GetCredentials();
    //we need to login as a user of sharepoint

    Page.Validate();    //force the validation, for non-IE browsers
    if (Page.IsValid)
    {
        XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();
        XmlElement updates = doc.CreateElement("Batch");
    
        updates.InnerXml = string.Format(
            "<Method id=1 Cmd="New">" +
            "<Field Name='ID'>New</Field>" +
            "<Field Name='Title'>{0}</Field>" +
            "<Field Name='Body'>{1}</Field>" +
            "<Field Name='Email'>{2}</Field>" +
            "</Method>", 
            txtName.Text, 
            txtComment.Text, 
            txtEmail.Text);

        XmlNode node = null;
        try
        {
            node = listService.UpdateListItems(
             System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["listName"], 
             updates);

            //TODO: Really, we should parse the returned 
            //XmlNode object to check for success code.
            Response.Redirect("thanks.aspx");
        } 
        catch (WebException err)
        {
            if (err.Message.StartsWith("The underlying connection was closed"))
                lblError.Text = "The feedback service is currently" +
                                " unavailable.  Please try again later";
            else
                lblError.Text = err.Message;
        }
        catch (Exception err)
        {
            lblError.Text = err.Message;
        }
    } 
    else
    {
        //do nothing.  The validation controls 
        //will kick in on the postback.
    }
}

Notice that, when setting updates.innerXML, we specify the original list field names for those that we renamed. SharePoint remembers the original name separately. You can see the actual field name when editing the field in SharePoint, as part of the URL (something like &Field=Title near the end).

For this code to work, you need to add an appsetting for listName to your web.config file. The setting should contain the name that you gave to your particular list.

The SharePoint Lists Web Service requires that you authenticate. You can do this using a Windows username and password that has access to the SharePoint website. I stored these credentials inside of the web.config file, and then created the following code to return the credentials:

private NetworkCredential GetCredentials()
{
    try
    {
        return new NetworkCredential(
            System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["userName"], 
            System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["password"], 
            System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["domain"]);
    } 
    catch (Exception err)
    {
        throw new ApplicationException(
            "Service failed to login to the network.", 
            err);
    }
}

And that's about all there is to it. I hope this article helps in getting started with SharePoint services.

Points of Interest

When using the sample code, be sure to edit the web.config file first, to contain appropriate settings for your environment.

License

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

About the Author

Steven Campbell
Web Developer
United States United States
Steve is a software developer working in Minneapolis, MN.

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionI cannot see the items in the list of SharePoint Pinmembermixons2-Dec-09 8:01 
GeneralGood Post Pinmemberbanchana6-Feb-09 17:11 
This post is really good for someone like me who is basically new to the sharepoint and is using the 2003 version. When I downloaded the sourcefiles, there are few more files than just the feedback.aspx. Did you create the feedback.aspx as part of a c# project in visual studio. When you first start, do you create an asp.net site or a webcontrol library for this? Also is the global.asax the same as in the sharepoint _vti_bin folder? Do we add the line in the same file in sharepoint server? Appreciate any help on this.
 
Thanks!
QuestionHow to add a HyperLink/Picture PinmemberJorge Da Silva23-May-07 6:02 
GeneralI cannot find Lists.asmx url PinmemberC.R.Parameshwaran30-Apr-07 12:01 
GeneralRe: I cannot find Lists.asmx url Pinmemberbanchana6-Feb-09 17:06 
GeneralUnauthorized error Pinmemberjeremy_dbrown6-Jul-06 0:16 
GeneralRe: Unauthorized error PinmemberTechzorcism11-Aug-06 6:06 
GeneralCute kid. PinmemberKen Hadden28-May-06 19:36 
GeneralView GUID Pinmemberarash_6-Feb-06 23:24 
GeneralError - List does not exist Pinmembernzdunic14-Sep-05 22:54 
Questionlogging information on Lists.asmx file on SharePoint PinmemberVandanap2-Sep-05 8:28 
GeneralDoubt in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 PinmemberMounikab20-May-05 1:27 
GeneralRe: Doubt in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 PinmemberSteven Campbell20-May-05 1:55 
Generalre: How to post form and edit web service parameters Pinsussossentoo8-Jun-04 7:12 
GeneralRe: re: How to post form and edit web service parameters Pinsussossentoo9-Jun-04 19:56 
GeneralRe: re: How to post form and edit web service parameters Pinsussossentoo10-Jun-04 3:33 

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