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Speaking at SharePoint Saturday San Juan

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I am pleased to announce I will be speaking at SharePoint Saturday San Juan on November 3rd.

Register today at http://www.spsevents.org/city/sanjuan/sanjuan2018

The Microsoft Office 365 and Cloud community invites you to the second 365 & SharePoint office on Saturday to be held in San Juan.

It is a totally free event in which you will find technical and development sessions focused on Microsoft Collaboration tools such as SharePoint, Office 365, Integration with Azure, Power Apps, Flow, Project, Planner, OneDrive, Delve, SharePoint Framework, Power BI, Dynamics CRM, Blockchain among others. We will have the company of MVPs and specialized technical leaders in each of the different types of talks.

I will be presenting Using Azure Runbooks and Microsoft Flow to Automate SharePoint Tasks

Session Abstract

Runbooks are a feature of Azure Automation that allow you to execute workflows from within Azure or remotely to automate processes. Microsoft Flow allows you to attach to certain activities in SharePoint and across other platforms, to perform a task when a certain condition is met. In this session, you will learn how to link SharePoint Online, Microsoft Flow, and Azure Runbooks in order to execute scripts automatically against your SharePoint tenant, or really, perform or automate any task.

Hope to see you there!

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Disable Minimal Download Strategy Across All Sites and Site Collections via PowerShell

Minimal Download Strategy… the bane of pretty much everyone’s existence… well, at least in SharePoint. Especially if you’re using JavaScript (who would do that?!).  It’s useless. And while it was created for a good purpose, I have yet to come across a client that actually needed it over the pains it generally causes.

I recently had a client ask me to remove it from everything (hear that large cheering section in the stadium?)… so I threw together a script that will disable it from every site in a web application. Here she is!

# Load the SharePoint PowerShell Module… if not running this in the SharePoint Console…
Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell –ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
 
# URL to our web application
$WebApp = "https://sharepoint.sharepont.sharepoint.com"
 
# Get all webs within a web application
$Webs = Get-SPWebApplication $WebApp | Get-SPSite -Limit All | Get-SPWeb -Limit All

# Loop through said webs
foreach ($Web in $Webs)
{
    # Is MDS enabled?
    $MDSEnabled = Get-SPFeature -web $Web.URL  | Where-object {$_.DisplayName -eq "MDSFeature"}
  
    # If it is… disable it!
    if ($MDSEnabled -ne $null)
    {
        Disable-SPFeature –identity "MDSFeature" -URL $Web.URL -confirm:$false
    }
}

Getting the Job ID of an Executing Azure Runbook

If you’re calling an Azure runbook, it is sometimes useful to be able to get the Job ID, say, to report back and update the source that initiated the call to a runbook. This is a quick post on how to access that ID in PowerShell.

You can access it via the following:

$PSPrivateMetadata.JobId.Guid

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And the output:

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Getting the Plain Text Value of an Azure Key Vault Secret with PowerShell

Related imageAzure’s Key Vault is a great way to store certificates, usernames, passwords, for use in your Azure applications, infrastructure operations, and more.

This is just a quick post to tell you how you can get at the value of a stored Secret in the Key Vault with PowerShell and the Azure module.

You can see, I have a Key Vault named gvkeyvault, and a secret named geoffv

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Now, to get it, we can use the Get-AzureKeyVaultSecret cmdlet. By giving it our VaultName and our key Name, we can see the key. However, that does not get us the value of our Secret.

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To do that, we need to get the SecretValueText property of the Key Vault Secret.

(Get-AzureKeyVaultSecret –VaultName “gvkeyvault” –Name “geoffv”).SecretValueText

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You can see we get the value out of “12345”…

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Now I need to go change the combination of my luggage.

Delete All Versions of a SharePoint File Using PowerShell

There may be instances where you need to remove all previous versions of a file. Well, this is the PowerShell script to do it. This will only work for SharePoint on-premises however.

param(
[string] $UrlToFile
)

$Site = New-Object -Type Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite -ArgumentList $UrlToFile
$Web = $Site.OpenWeb()
$SPFile = $Web.GetFile($UrlToFile)

Write-Host “Deleting all versions for file $($UrlToFile)…”

# Remove all versions for file…
$SPFile.Versions.DeleteAll()

# Dispose of the web object
$Web.Dispose()

# Dispose of the site object
$Site.Dispose()

Save this off as something rememberable, such as Remove-FileVersions.ps1, and pass it the full URL to the file you wish to remove all versions from, for example:

.\Remove-FileVersions.ps1 “http://mysharepoint.com/sites/foo/Documents/Document_1.docx”

Enjoy!

PowerShell Script to Get HTTP Headers

Quick script to grab HTTP headers from a given URL.

I named the script Get-HTTPHeaders.ps1, you can save it as whatever you’d like, or, incorporate it into your script as a function, or not even read this post… whatever you want to do. I just find it handy, and wanted to share it.

param(
    [Parameter(ValueFromPipeline=$true)]
    [string] $Url
)

$request = [System.Net.WebRequest]::Create( $Url )
$headers = $request.GetResponse().Headers
$headers.AllKeys |
     Select-Object @{ Name = "Key"; Expression = { $_ }},
     @{ Name = "Value"; Expression = { $headers.GetValues( $_ ) } }

All you have to do is pass it a URL as a parameter. See the example below:

image

Creating Runbooks in Azure and Calling Them from SharePoint Using Webhooks and Flow

AzureFlowSharePointAutomationRunbooks are a feature of Azure Automation that allow you to execute workflows from within Azure or remotely to automate processes.

To give an example, lets say you have a script that monitors an Azure service every 5 minutes to see if it is running or not. The script, will test and see the status of an Azure App Service. If it tests the site, and does not get the HTTP 200/OK message, then it triggers an alert, creates a ticket, and now someone has to go recycle the Azure App Service. If this can happen frequently, then it is something you would look to automate.

In comes the Azure Automation Runbook. You create a PowerShell script that is hosted in Azure (a Runbook), and when your script detects that the service is not responding, it makes a call out to a URL, and the URL runs the Runbook, which restarts the Azure App Service. The monitoring script then runs again, sees that the service is back up, and the appropriate steps are taken.

This might seem like a lot of extra work, but, if you are, say, connecting in through a VPN to manage an Azure environment, it can be quite time consuming just to restart a service.

However, we are not using that as our working example in this article. That was just to give you an idea of the kinds of things that can be done using Runbooks. In this article, we will be showing you how to create a Runbook, and call it from SharePoint, using Microsoft Flow. It will not be a real exciting example either, but, it will show you how to do all this, so you can do more on your own!

Prerequisites

This article assumes the following:

  • You have an Azure subscription. If you do not, you can get one here for free to play around
  • You have SharePoint Online

Creating an Azure Automation Account

Before we can create our Runbook, we need to create an Azure Automation Account. Login into the Azure Portal, click on New > Monitoring + Management > Automation

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Configure the following settings for your Automation Account:

  • Name: What are you going to call it?
  • Subscription: Select the subscription to use
  • Resource Group: Either create a new one, or, use an existing.
  • Location: Which Azure region should this run in? I am using East US 2… since I’m in the East US.
  • Create Azure Run As account: This is not needed for our test, but, if you’re doing anything in Azure with your runbooks, you will want to configure this. For more information, visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/automation/automation-offering-get-started#authentication-planning

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Then press Create.

It’ll take a moment while this deploys…

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Once done… access it either by the Automation Accounts blade on the left side, or, via the Notifications link Go to resource once its done deploying.

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And you will be brought to the landing page for your Automation Account, AutomationTest

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Creating an Azure Automation Runbook

Now that we have our Automation Account, we need to create our runbook. From within the Automation Account, click on Runbooks under Process Automation on the left hand side.

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Then click Add a runbook at the top of the runbooks dashboard

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Click on Quick Create / Create a new runbook

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Fill in the details

  • Name: Check-Website
    Give your runbook a name
  • Type: PowerShell
    You can also choose Python 2, Graphical, PowerShell Workflow, and Graphical PowerShell Workflow
  • Description: Check the status of a website
    Enter in a description for the runbook

Then click on Create

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And viola! Your runbook has been created!

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It doesn’t do anything yet, so, we will need to add code. Click on Edit at the top of the dashboard.

Here is where we will type out, or paste in our PowerShell code for the runbook.

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NOTE: Do not use Write-Host, there is no “host” per-say to write to. Instead, ensure all output is written using Write-Output

Let’s add the following code to test if Google is up and running…

Function OutputStatus($type,$status) {
    Write-Output "$type | $status";
}

Function Get-HTTPSStatus($url,$type) {
    $HTTPSStatus = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method Get –UseBasicParsing
    if ($HTTPSStatus.StatusCode -eq "200") {
        return OutputStatus -type $type -status "Success"
    } else {
        return OutputStatus -type $type -status "Error"
    }
}

Get-HTTPSStatus "http://www.google.com" "Google Website"

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Click on Save

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Now lets test it…click on Test pane

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Click on Start

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You will see a message that it is being submitted

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You can then see that it gets queued

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And finally, we see the status and the output displayed

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Pretty neat!

Now, lets say we want to add some parameters to our script, so we can specify the input… and not have it statically set as just “http://www.google.com” as the site, and “Google Website” as the description. Let’s update the code with some parameters…

To get back to your code, click on Edit PowerShell Runbook in the breadcrumb navigation at the top

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Update our code with the parameters $Site and $Description, and then Save, and then go back on over to the Test pane

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You can now see we have two fields for Site and Description under Parameters. Fill those out…

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And run the script again…

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Looks good! Now… we can do this all day from within Azure… but remember way back to the start of this article, I mentioned calling this from Microsoft Flow from within SharePoint? To do that… we’re going to need to make a change to our script, as well as create a webhook.

First, lets change our script. You know how we just added parameters? Well, when calling a webhook, we’re going to be making a REST call to a URL. We cannot pass in parameters like we just did to the script. That is good for running within Azure itself… in order to pass parameters to our runbook via a webhook… we need to change the parameters. We will be passing in an object called WebhookData (or whatever else you want to call it). Which will be the JSON data sent along with the REST call. So, let’s update our code to this:

image

We will then parse out the Site and Description name/value pairs from that and pass it into our script from the $WebhookData object.

The code for the above is here:

Param (
    [object]$WebhookData
)

Function OutputStatus($type,$status) {
    Write-Output "$type | $status";
}

function Get-HTTPStatus($url,$type) {
    $HTTPStatus = Invoke-WebRequest $url -Method Get –UseBasicParsing
    if ($HTTPStatus.StatusCode -eq "200") {
        return OutputStatus -type $type -status "Success"
    } else {
        return OutputStatus -type $type -status "Error"
    }
}

if ($WebhookData -ne $null) {
    Get-HTTPStatus $WebhookData.RequestHeader.Site $WebhookData.RequestHeader.Description
} else {
    Write-Error "No data received in webhook call."
}

We need to Publish it first before creating the webhook. Go back to the code view, and click on Publish

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It will prompt you to confirm, click Yes, and it’ll be published.

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Now that we’ve got that straightened out… let’s move on to creating our webhook.

Creating a Runbook Webhook

From our runbook Dashboard, click on Webhook at the top of the dashboard

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Click on Webhook – Create a new webhook

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Then give it a name, and an expiration date, and if it should be enabled or not…

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Now… notice the big warning sign at the top of this screen…

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See? Now… copy and paste that URL at the bottom, and save it somewhere. There is no way to get this URL once the webhook has been created.

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Once you have done that, click OK

Then click on Parameters and run settings and then click OK there

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Then click Create at the bottom of the form. Until you do that, you can still get the webhook URL…

Ok… now what? Let’s call it from PowerShell, since we need to do a POST to access it.

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We can see in the Content section of the output, we are given a JobId of 4164eb1f-57ba-41c3-a7cb-2f556652e9ad

In our runbook, if we go to Jobs under Resources

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We can see that a job successfully ran

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Click on it, and we can see the status, and you will see the JobId matches what we got from the call from Invoke-WebRequest

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You will see there were errors… because we didn’t actually send any data along with it. We just called it directly. But now that we have it… we can move on to SharePoint and Flow.

Creating a Flow to Call our Webhook from SharePoint

Now that we’ve gone through the meat an potatoes of this project… let’s look at linking at all together with SharePoint and Flow.

Log into your SharePoint Online tenant… and lets create a new list.

I’ve got a basic custom list called Flowtest

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Now… once created, in the Modern interface… click on Flow > Create a flow

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Click on See your flows at the bottom, because we’re going to create a brandy-new one…

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Click on + Create from blank at the top of the page

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Click on Search at the bottom of the next screen, and search for SharePoint created… we want to add a trigger for when a new item is created in our list.

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Select SharePoint – When an item is created

Select your SharePoint Online site from the list, or, enter in the URL, then select the list… in this case, we’re using Flowtest

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Then click + New step > Add an action

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Click on HTTP under Connectors

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Choose HTTP – HTTP

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Then fill out the details…

  • Method: POST
  • Uri: The URL we copied when we created our webhook
  • Headers
    Site:
    http://www.google.com
    Description: Google’s Website (FROM SHAREPOINT!)

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And then click on Save Flow

Also… don’t forget to give your flow a name Smile

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You should now see your Flow

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Now… open a new window, and go back to your list, and create a new item…

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And if you check back on your flows…

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You will see one succeeded!

Clicking on it will give you the breakdown of the flow run (which is one of the more awesome features of Flow… over IFTTT IMHO FWIW YK?)

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Now… let’s go check Azure…

If we look at the jobs for our Runbook… we’ll see a new one in there…

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Click on it, and then click on the output

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It worked!

Now… let’s make this a bit more functional. Go back to your list settings in SharePoint

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I’ve changed the Title field to URL, and added a field called Description as a single line of text.

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Now, let’s go back to our Flow…

And edit the HTTP step

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Edit the values for Site and Description, and then select the corresponding Site and Description values from the Dynamic Content list that pops up to the right. See what we’re doing here?

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Let’s run our Flow… create a new list item, passing in a URL and Description…

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and check the status…

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It worked! It’s a day of miracles people! While this is not a really exciting example, it shows how to use Azure Runbooks and Webhooks, and how they can be accessed remotely to do a specific task.

What sort of cool things are you doing or have you done with Flow and Runbooks, if anything?

Resources and References

Connecting to SharePoint Online using the PnP PowerShell Library and NOT Having to Log In Every. Single. Time…

imageBefore you can do anything with the SharePoint Patterns & Practices PowerShell library, you need to first connect to SharePoint Online. Sounds pretty basic, right? You need to establish who you are, and maintain your access during your session with the site you are working with.

Now, the Documentation does show you how to do this:

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Connect-PnPOnline –Url https://geoff365.sharepoint.com –Credentials (Get-Credential)

When you do this… you are prompted for credentials… Every. Single. Time.

image

This is good for production, however, if you are developing a script, you may run this tens or hundreds of times… and, it gets old pretty fast. So, here is what I do. In my script, I set variables for the username and password (alternatively, you could pass these as parameters, and pass them along using a batch file).

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Then, I convert the password into a secure string, and create a PSCredential object with the username and secure password.

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I can then connect to SharePoint Online using the Connect-PnPOnline command (as shown above), wrapped in a try/catch block, and not be prompted for credentials!

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Here’s the full script:

#region Imports
Import-Module SharePointPnPPowerShellOnline -WarningAction SilentlyContinue
#endregion Imports

#region Variables
$Username = "admin@geoff365.onmicrosoft.com"
$Password = "ThisIsNotMyRealPassword!"
$SiteCollection = "https://geoff365.sharepoint.com/sites/powershellplayground"
#endregion Variables

#region Credentials
[SecureString]$SecurePass = ConvertTo-SecureString $Password -AsPlainText -Force
[System.Management.Automation.PSCredential]$PSCredentials = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential($Username, $SecurePass)
#endregion Credentials

#region ConnectPnPOnline
try {
    Connect-PnPOnline -Url $SiteCollection -Credentials $PSCredentials
    if (-not (Get-PnPContext)) {
        Write-Host "Error connecting to SharePoint Online, unable to establish context" -foregroundcolor black -backgroundcolor Red
        return
    }
} catch {
    Write-Host "Error connecting to SharePoint Online: $_.Exception.Message" -foregroundcolor black -backgroundcolor Red
    return
}
#endregion ConnectPnPOnline

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