SQL Server: how create a linked server to Oracle

The steps to create a new linked server to access Oracle data from SQL Server are:

  1. install the Oracle client drivers on the SQL Server machine;
  2. install the Oracle client ODAC (Oracle Data Access Components);
  3. in the linked server providers, configure the OraOLEDB.Oracle provider to allow Inprocess.

Now you can choose:

Finally: you have to configure the security, i.e. the login used to access the Oracle server.

About the two final steps: you can use the SQL Server Management Studio (as described in the first link) or via stored procedures (as in the second link).

Gmail: reduce non-compliant standard annoyances

Gmail is a rather good email service: it's free, it gives you a lot of space, it's fast, its antispam system is very good.

Here the good points finish; all the problems follow, because, very shortly, some arrogant person in Google chose to alter the Internet standard for his moods.

You can choose to use it (if you are not a very precise person), to avoid (if you want to pay a really good email service) or to tolerate it (like it did). If you are in last category, here are a few tricks for your best setup (but I have to remember you that best in this case is not yet sufficient):

  • first of all, your email is your Gmail login, and you can't change it. So, to avoid all the problems that would rise with the creation of a new login, please do a favor to yourself and choose immediatly your final email address;
  • in Gmail settings, change the language settings to the same of your email client, else you'll have duplicate folders when you connect a client like Outlook;
  • in your email client, choose not to save sent mails, as Gmail will do it already for you and is not enough clever to understand that duplicate mails could be created by this behaviour;
  • in your email client, choose to delete emails moving them in the Trash folder explicitly;
  • incredibly, if you move mails from the Gmail account to your personal mails (for example, in Outlook, a private pst file), mails aren't deleted (i.e.: moved to the Trash folder) but are simply removed the Inbox label. So after you move a mail from Gmail to your private pst file, you need to explicitly delete it from the All Mails folder (and in this case, I use to do it from the web to avoid other synchronization problems that could arise);
  • finally, if you use the iPhone/iPad, after the email account creation, disable the Archive setting, so that when you delete an email, you really delete them moving it in the Trash folder and not simply removing the Inbox tag.

In conclusion, Gmail is a rather good mail system, with some important problems. It's up to you choose to use it; I use it, but sopporting its limits and all the problems it creates with its particular behaviours.

SharePoint 2010: remove "I Like It" and "Tags & Notes" buttons

In SharePoint 2010, you can remove the "I like it" and "Tags and Notes" buttons in various ways, as suggested in the blog post Hide Like it, Tags and Notes in Sharepoint 2010:

Anyway, it seems to me that there isn't a clean and quick way to disable these features for all users of a specific web application of a SharePoint farm.

SharePoint: turn off AutoActivation on farm and web application features

In SharePoint, if you deploy a wps even in a specific web application, its feature are visible to all web applications.

This is not nice, not logical, but above all, if you have auto-activation web application features, they are activated in all web applications. And this is a really big problem.

I haven't found a solution to this problem, the only one is to turn off auto-activation of farm and web application features and activate them by hand or via powershell, as described in:

How create a site collection template in SharePoint 2010

In SharePoint 2010 you can save a site as template from the _layouts/savetmpl.aspx utility page. It creates a wsp file than you can download, and deploy in other SharePoint farm to create new sites based on the same template.

But what if you need to create a site collection template? You could need this, for example, in the you want the restored site is the first site of the first site collection of a new web application.

In the blog post How to Build a Site Collection Template from A Web Template in SharePoint 2010 I've found the solution, based on importing the wsp in Visual Studio and changing a few settings (feature scopes and template definition)

SharePoint: configuring the FBA (Form Based Authentication) with the LdapMembershipProvider

After having seen how configure the FBA with the SqlMembershipProvider, here I describe how setup the FBA with the LdapMembershipProvider, allowing Active Directory authentication (this could be useful, for example, for extranets).

The trick is simply to create the web application with Claims Based Autentication, give names to the membership manager and to the role manager, and modify the web.config files of:

  • Central Administration
  • Security Token Service
  • web application

configuring in this way:

I've found a useful guide in this article: Configure forms-based authentication for a claims-based Web application (SharePoint Server 2010).

SharePoint: configuring the FBA (Form Based Authentication) with the SqlMembershipProvider

Here is a guide to configure the FBA using the SqlMembershipProvider:

  1. create the membership database executing C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regsql.exe, then add the user executing the application pool as db_owner of the database;
  2. from the Central Administration, create the web application setting Claims Based Authentication and then enable the Form Based Authentication, giving SqlMembershipProvider as membership provider and SqlRoleProvider as role provider;
  3. modify the web.config of the Central Administration:
  4. add tags to the PeoplePickerWizard;
  5. add the RoleManager tag;
  6. add the Membership tag;
  7. add the connection string to the FBA database;
  8. add the users to the FBA database via IIS manager;
  9. modify the web.config the Security Token Service, found under %programfiles%\common files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\14\WebServices\SecurityToken, like for step 3;
  10. modify the web.config of the web application, like for step 3. 

And here are the links I've used to compile this guide:

  1. How To Configure Claim Based Authentication for SharePoint, Project Server 2010: clean guide with a lot of helpful images
  2. Configure Forms Based Authentication (FBA) with SharePoint 2010
  3. HOW TO:Forms Based Authentication (FBA) on SharePoint 2010
  4. Configuring Forms Based Authentication for SharePoint 2010 using IIS7
  5. Configuring FBA in SharePoint Server 2010