Category Archives: Tips

Creating PDF files dynamically with PowerShell

So how does one go about creating PDF files dynamically? You need a pinch of the open source PdfSharp library and 10 lines of PowerShell.

Add-Type -Path .\PdfSharp.dll
$doc = New-Object PdfSharp.Pdf.PdfDocument
$doc.Info.Title = "Created dynamically"
$page = $doc.AddPage()
$gfx = [PdfSharp.Drawing.XGraphics]::FromPdfPage($page)
$font = New-Object PdfSharp.Drawing.XFont("Verdana", 20, [PdfSharp.Drawing.XFontStyle]::BoldItalic)
$msg = "Hello World"
$rect = New-Object PdfSharp.Drawing.XRect(0,0,$page.Width, $page.Height)
$gfx.DrawString($msg, $font, [PdfSharp.Drawing.XBrushes]::Black, $rect, [PdfSharp.Drawing.XStringFormats]::Center)

Creating jUnit/xUnit compatible xml test tesults in PowerShell

I originally wrote this function when I needed to create jUnit/xUnit compatible test results. The resulting xml file was then fed into the jUnit plugin in Jenkins to show the results PowerShell/PSUnit based tests.

Function Write-JunitXml([System.Collections.ArrayList] $Results, [System.Collections.HashTable] $HeaderData, [System.Collections.HashTable] $Statistics, $ResultFilePath)
$template = @'
<testsuite name="" file="">
<testcase classname="" name="" time="">
    <failure type=""></failure>

    $guid = [System.Guid]::NewGuid().ToString("N")
    $templatePath = [System.IO.Path]::Combine([System.IO.Path]::GetTempPath(), $guid + ".txt");

    $template | Out-File $templatePath -encoding UTF8
    # load template into XML object
    $xml = New-Object xml
    # grab template user
    $newTestCaseTemplate = (@($xml.testsuite.testcase)[0]).Clone()  

    $className = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($HeaderData.TestFileName)
    $ = $className
    $xml.testsuite.file = $HeaderData.TestFileName

    foreach($result in $Results) 
        $newTestCase = $newTestCaseTemplate.clone()
        $newTestCase.classname = $className
        $ = $result.Test.ToString()
        $newTestCase.time = $result.Time.ToString()
        if($result.Result -eq "PASS")
        {   #Remove the failure node
            $newTestCase.RemoveChild($newTestCase.ChildNodes[0]) | Out-Null
            $newTestCase.failure.InnerText = Format-ErrorRecord $result.Reason
        $xml.testsuite.AppendChild($newTestCase) > $null

    # remove users with undefined name (remove template)
    $xml.testsuite.testcase | Where-Object { $_.Name -eq "" } | ForEach-Object  { [void]$xml.testsuite.RemoveChild($_) }
    # save xml to file
    Write-Host "Path" $ResultFilePath


    Remove-Item $templatePath #clean up

Debugging Javascript

What’s the easiest way to break into the debugger in JavaScript especially when you have heaps of js files being loaded by a page (SharePoint 2013 & display templates, I’m looking at you)
Apparently this is a very old trick (pre 2006). Just add the debugger command (and enable script debugging if your using IE).



XPathTool is a really great online XPath utility. It’s free, doesn’t need to be installed and has more features than a lot of the utilities that you find on CodePlex.

Configure the Belkin Play Max router for SLT ADSL Broadband

I’m on vacation back home in Sri Lanka and became the tech support guy for the in-laws. They were using an old D-Link router which supported just 802.11b and a draft version of g. In short ancient. The house has two stories and a terrace but the wifi wouldn’t even work on all the rooms on the same floor.

So I went to Unity plaza and checked out all the routers that are available. Unfortunately there’s not much in terms of choice. All of the available routers were the low end versions by D-Link, a few have a low-end Linksys router and some Belkin routers. You also get a handful of Asian brands of which the Unity Plaza sales guys tout the TP-Link as being the best brand, far superior to D-Link, Linksys etc.

I finally settled on the Belkin Play Max N300+300 which sells here for Rs. 16,500/-

I got home plugged it in but couldn’t get it to connect to the SLT ADSL. I spent a few hours trying various settings, calling SLT to verify the username/password all to no avail. I finally updated the router from v1.00.45 to v1.00.46 and viola it worked.

The connectivity is really good and I don’t have any dead spots in the house.

Here are a few screenshots of the config page for SLT’s settings.

Limit SQL Server memory usage on your workstation, laptop or VM

Here’s a neat tip I learnt over the weekend.

All SQL Server instances are by default set up to use all the memory available on your workstation.

This is ideal when you have SQL Server running on it’s own dedicated server, not so ideal when you have SQL Server installed on your laptop, workstation or even on a SharePoint VM.

Here’s what MSDN says

if SQL Server is one of several server applications running on a single computer, the system administrators may need to control the amount of memory allocated to SQL Server. In these cases, you can use the min server memory and max server memory options to control how much memory SQL Server can use.

In the Server Memory Options page they go on to say:

When you are running multiple instances of the Database Engine, there are three approaches you can use to manage memory

  • Use max server memory to control memory usage.
  • Use min server memory to control memory usage.
  • Do nothing (not recommended).

Which brings us to how we can set the maximum limit. Quite easy. Just connect to each SQL Server instance and set the maximum memory to a more palatable value.

Here’s a visual walk through to limit the maximum memory usage to 512MB for your SharePoint 2010 instance (if you installed it on Windows 7).

1. Start SQL Server Management Studio (or SSMS Express) and connect to your SQL Server instance (SharePoint in this case): localhost\SharePoint

2. Right-click on the instance node and select Properties.

3. Click on the Memory node you’ll notice that the Maximum Server Memory is set to 2,147,483,647MB change it to a lower limit like 256 or 512MB. Click OK and your all set.

If you prefer SQL the same can be done with the following commands.

Enable advanced options:

USE master

EXEC sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1


Set the maximum amount of memory to 512 MB:

USE master

EXEC sp_configure 'max server memory (MB)', 512


Display the newly set configuration:

USE master

EXEC sp_configure 'max server memory (MB)'

Set ‘show advanced options’ back to default:

USE master

EXEC sp_configure 'show advanced options', 0


Visual Studio 2010 Installation Issue – Setup Failed with HRESULT -2147467259

If you Visual Studio 2010 setup keeps failing when it tries to install the Visual C++ runtime, here’s a quick fix for you.

Try installing one of the Visual Studio 2010 Express Editions (I did the Web Edition: and then run the VS2010 installation.

I think it has something to do with mounting the ISO as a drive.

Icons & Illustrations for SharePoint Architecture Diagrams

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Like me if you spend a lot of time writing up functional specs and architecture diagrams and are looking for ways to convey your ideas through illustrations, here are a few pointers.

Search the Hive

The 12 (now 14) hive has a wealth of icons. The images in the png formats are the slightly larger, higher resolution ones. You can find them at 14\TEMPLATE\IMAGES. Here are a few samples.

14 Hive Icons


Visio 2010 SharePoint Workflows

These are new ones, the icons in this stencil are vector based and can be resized without blurring.

SharePoint Workflow Actions


Google / Bing Image Search

Set the filter type to icon and clipart and you do come across some good gems. Remember to check the copyright on the images before using them.


SmartArt in PowerPoint 2007 & 2010

The SmartArts are a powerful tool to illustrate your ideas and need to be used wisely.


Play around with the various styles to get the look you want. Here’s one I built for a functional spec recently.

SmartArt Picture


Here’s a diagram I built today to document a web part. The icons came from Google, the Hive and good old Visio.

Filter Web Part


Snipping Tool

My favourite tool to get screen grabs, and save them to files if necessary, is the Snipping tool. This has been built into Windows since XP SP2 and is a really handy utility. To get to it just type snip in the Start menu and you should see the Snipping Tool.

One of the first things I do on a new installation is to disable the Red outline from the Option menu. FYI: All of the images above were snipped and saved to disk using the Snipping Tool before being inserted into Live Writer.