SharePoint 2013 conflicts with custom site definition

I was updating one of our custom Site Definitions from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 recently and everything was going good until I tried to create a site from the updated definition.  I kept getting the error:

Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: The template you have 
chosen is invalid or cannot be found.

Searching on the internet told me the most common cause of this error was a conflicting ID for the template.  I was pretty sure this couldn’t be the case since we followed the instructions here: which stated:

Change the ID attribute of the Template element to a 
value of 10000 or more. This ensures that your ID will 
not conflict with future site definitions produced by 
Microsoft. If there are other custom site definitions 
on your target farm, make sure that each one has a 
unique ID.

and we had given our template an ID of 10000.  I had previously updated another custom site definition of ours with an ID of 10001 without any issues.

So I decided to give a quick search in the SharePointRoot\template\1033\XML folder for anything that contains ID=”10000″.  Sure enough I found two site definitions, mine and a new one that comes with SharePoint 2013 called the Academic Library.

I found this article: which discusses the new site definitions that come with SharePoint 2013.  You can see it listed there as:

ID Name Title
10000 DOCMARKETPLACESITE#0 Academic Library
The Academic Library template provides a rich view and consumption experience for published content and management. Authors populate metadata and apply rules at the time of publishing, such as description, licensing, and optional rights management.(IRM). Visitors of the site can search or browse published titles and add authorized selections to their collection to consume, subject to the rights and rules applied by the author. The site provides an IRM-capable document library, a publishing mechanism for authors to publish documents, detailed views for each document, a check-out mechanism, and related search capabilities.

So it would seem that if you followed the recommendations for SharePoint 2010 and used an ID of 10000 for your custom site definition, then when you try to go to SharePoint 2013, your site definition won’t work.

This is an issue because there is not a way to change the template ID of a site after it’s been created through the API.  Fortunately, I have found 2 ways to get around this.  One of them I haven’t fully run to ground and verified that it works but the concept seems valid and the other isn’t supported by Microsoft.

Option 1:

This option I got the idea from this blog:  The basic idea is you export your site without using compression, change some xml configuration files so they use your new ID, and then import it back into your SharePoint environment.  You might not even have to change any xml files since that post was for SP 2007.  If someone tries this method, please comment below, otherwise if I find time to give it a try, i’ll update with my findings here.

Option 2:

This involved editing data directly in the SharePoint content database.  This is unsupported by Microsoft but worked for me during my testing.  Go to the AllWebs table in the content database for the site in question.  You should be able to find your site listed by scanning the FullUrl column.  Once found, write a SQL update statement which updates the WebTemplate column to the new site definition ID.  This was an instant fix for me as I was able to immediately start the upgrade to SharePoint 2013 for that site collection.

It sucks that Microsoft told us they would never use Site Definitions ID of 10000 or more and then they go back on their word with SharePoint 2013.  Anyways, I hope this helps someone else out trying to complete their migration to SharePoint 2013.  If anyone finds a better way to fix the issue, please post in the comments below.  Thanks.

Warning: SetCookie changes implementation in SharePoint 2013

I was recently working on verifying some of my custom code worked in SharePoint 2013.  I had some older code where I needed to set cookies and use them to remember user preferences.  I was debugging my code and I noticed that all of my cookies were coming back either true or false instead of the value I put into them.  I had been using a SharePoint JavaScript method called SetCookie.  Below is the implementation that has existed in SharePoint for the previous 3 versions (2003, 2007, and 2010).

function SetCookie(name, value, path)

But for some reason Microsoft decided to change the implementation of this method in SharePoint 2013 to the following:

function SetCookie(sName, value) {
    SetCookieEx(sName, value, false, window);
function SetCookieEx(sName, value, isGlobal, wnd) {
    var c = sName + (value ? "=true" : "=false");
    var p = isGlobal ? ";path=/" : "";

    wnd.document.cookie = c + p;

Notice this new method tries to evaluate the value into a boolean and then forcefully sets the cookie to true or false.  So if you were storing anything other than boolean values in your cookies and used this method in previous versions of SharePoint, you will now need to update your code.  For this you have two options:

Option 1:  I found there is another method in SharePoint 2013 which still implements the SetCookie the same was as previous versions of SharePoint.

function SetMtgCookie(cookieName, value, path) {
    document.cookie = cookieName + "=" + value + ";path=" + path;


So you can easily do a search and replace for SetCookie to be replaced with SetMtgCookie and you’ll be good to go.

Option 2:  This is the option I opted for.  I decided that as tempting as doing a quick search and replace like I suggested in option 1 sounded, I wanted to remove my dependency on SharePoint’s implementation in case it changes again in the future.  Since the older SetCookie is only one line, I just replaced my method call to that line:


It was a pretty simple change, only slightly more time taken than option 1 and I removed a dependency.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone else out when troubleshooting code migration to SharePoint 2013.

Repopulating the Newsfeed Cache after a Server Restart

In SharePoint 2013, the Newsfeed relies on data cached in the distributed cache service which behind the scenes is using the appfabric cluster service. Newsfeed data is lost when you restart a server in your farm running this service without doing a graceful shutdown (

Stop-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance -Graceful

Sometimes you have to restart all servers in the farm and then your newsfeed will be empty.  There is a timer job that runs every 5 minutes called “Feed Cache Repopulation Job” which according to this website is supposed to autopopulate the newsfeed cache from the content stored in SharePoint.  Our SharePoint 2013 farm is on the March 2013 PU and this job did not seem to be repopulating the cache.

The article seemed to imply you could run some powershell scripts as well to accomplish the same thing.  I tried these:


The parameter for the first one was easy, just pass in your UPA proxy.  The second one also needed this proxy but it could also include an account name or a site url (  The wording states that when using the account name use the “user account name for the user profile service application”.  I took this to mean the UPA service account.  I tried that and even after waiting several hours, there still wasn’t any repopulation.  So I tried the site url option passing in the mysite host url.  Still nothing.

I finally figured out after using reflector on the source code that the account name it was expecting was an account of a user to repopulate THAT user’s information.  I updated my script to the code below to run the Update-SPRepopulateMicroblogFeedCache for EACH user in the UPA and my newfeed cache started coming back to life!

$proxy  = Get-SPServiceApplicationProxy | ? {$_.Name -eq "MySite User Profile Service"}
Update-SPRepopulateMicroblogLMTCache -ProfileServiceApplicationProxy $proxy


$url = ""
$contextWeb = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($url);
$ServerContext = [Microsoft.Office.Server.ServerContext]::GetContext($contextWeb);

$UserProfileManager = New-Object Microsoft.Office.Server.UserProfiles.UserProfileManager($ServerContext);

$Profiles = $UserProfileManager.GetEnumerator();

foreach ($oUser in $Profiles ) {
	if ($oUser.item("SPS-PersonalSiteCapabilities").Value -eq 14 ){
		$personalurl = $url + $oUser.item("personalspace").Value
		Write-Host $oUser.item("AccountName").Value
		Update-SPRepopulateMicroblogFeedCache -ProfileServiceApplicationProxy $proxy -accountname $oUser.item("AccountName").Value 
		#-siteurl $personalurl


The first time through I got a couple of errors so I added the if statement to check for the personalsitecapabilities being equal to 14.  After that I got less errors but there still were a few.  That’s when I tried going the site url route.  I was thinking if I send in the url of a user’s personal site, that it might work better.  I didn’t get any errors but it also didn’t repopulate the newsfeed for the users.  Oh well…

I now believe that the siteurl parameter is to repopulate the newsfeed cache for any sites that have the newsfeed on the homepage like the new SP 2013 team site template.  I know our environment doesn’t have any of these so I skipped this part.  I was thinking at some point I will need to figure this out though.  Hopefully it won’t involve looping through all sites in my farm but my gut says it will.  If someone else has figured out a good solution, please post the powershell code in the comments.  Thanks.

Update 3/29/2014:  

This issue has been resolved in Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Getting Active Directory UserId from Windows Claim in SharePoint 2013

We’ve always used NTLM for our SharePoint authentication but in SharePoint 2013, claims is the preferred authentication method.  Fortunately, SharePoint 2013 ships with something called Windows Claims.  This seems to work the same as the NTLM auth from before but that windows auth is converted into a claim that SharePoint can use.

This change means that your userid would look something like this:


instead of this:


Sometimes when calling other services, you need the windows userid and not the claim userid.  So for these instances, I’ve created a few helper methods.

//Regex needs more testing
public const string CLAIMS_REGEX = @"(?<IdentityClaim>[ic])?:?0(?<ClaimType>[#\.5\!\+\-%?\\])(?<ClaimValueType>[\.\+])(?<AuthMode>[wstmrfc])(\|(?<OriginalIssuer>[^\|]*))?(\|(?<ClaimValue>.*))";
public static string GetAdUserIdForClaim(string login)
    string userName = login;
    foreach (Match m in Regex.Matches(login, CLAIMS_REGEX, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase))
			if (m.Groups["AuthMode"].Captures[0].Value.ToLower() == "w")
				userName = m.Groups["ClaimValue"].Captures[0].Value;
		catch { }
    return userName;
public static string GetClaimForAdUserId(string login)
    string userName = login;
    SPClaimProviderManager mgr = SPClaimProviderManager.Local;
    if (mgr == null) return userName;
    SPClaim claim = new SPClaim(SPClaimTypes.UserLogonName, login, "", SPOriginalIssuers.Format(SPOriginalIssuerType.Windows));
    userName = mgr.EncodeClaim(claim);
    return userName;
public static bool IsLoginClaims(string login)
    Regex re = new Regex(CLAIMS_REGEX, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase);
    return re.IsMatch(login);

First I made a regular expression to identify the different pieces of a claim (see  This allows me to effectively parse the claim for the windows login name (see GetAdUserIdForClaim).  This also allows me to validate whether a string is a claim or not (see IsLoginClaims).

Gotcha’s using Custom Web Parts and the Minimal Download Strategy

I’ve been playing around with some of my custom code in SharePoint 2013.  One of the issues I’ve been noticing is when I add any of my custom web parts to a page, the minimal download strategy (MDS) would failover to the normal webforms page.  You can tell the difference by looking at the url.  A url that looks like this:


is using MDS.  Notice the actual page is start.aspx and then the page it is ajax loading (MDS) is /sitepages/home.aspx (the part after the hash(#)).  Whereas a normal webforms page url would look like this:


They both look the same but when using MDS you get an added benefit of less being downloaded on each click and also smoother and snappier page changes.

Gotcha #1 – Decorate your assembly or class with MDSCompliant(true).  If your MDS isn’t working and you see this message in your ULS:

MDSLog: MDSFailover: A control was discovered which does not comply with MDS

then you will need to add the attribute (  Here is an example of adding it to the class:

public class MyWebPart : WebPart

And here is an example of adding it to an assembly (assemblyinfo.cs):

[assembly: MdsCompliant(true)]

Every control that is loaded on the page needs this attribute.  So if you are loading other controls in your web part, you’ll need to make sure they also have this attribute.

Gotcha #2 – Declarative user controls typically used for delegate controls need a codebehind and the attribute set as well.  I use a lot of delegate controls and then use features to swap out user controls in the delegate controls to add / remove functionality on the site.  Typically my user controls didn’t have a codebehind and would just add webparts, html or other controls in the markup.  The issue is if you want these controls to be able to be swapped out using MDS, then you will need to add a codebehind to the user control and decorate it with the MdsCompliant attribute.

So a normal user control like this:

<%@ Control Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true"  %>
<%@ Register TagPrefix="MyWebParts" Namespace="MyWebParts"%>

<MyWebParts:WebPart runat="server" Title="WebPart"></MyWebParts:WebPart>

would need to be converted to this:

<%@ Assembly Name="$SharePoint.Project.AssemblyFullName$" %>
<%@ Control Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeBehind="MyControl.ascx.cs" Inherits="MyControl" %>
<%@ Register TagPrefix="MyWebParts" Namespace="MyWebParts"%>

<MyWebParts:WebPart runat="server" Title="WebPart"></MyWebParts:WebPart>

and with the following codebehind:

public partial class MyControl : UserControl
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)

I couldn’t figure out a way to decorate the usercontrol without using a code behind.  If anyone else knows how to do this, please comment or contact me with the info.  Thanks!

Gotcha #3 – Inline scripts are not allowed and will need to be added using the SPPageContentManager.  If you receive any of the following messages in your ULS logs you will need to look at your content.

MDSFailover: document.write
MDSFailover: document.writeln
MDSFailover: Unexpected tag in head
MDSFailover: script in markup

The first two are obvious; you can’t have any document.write or document.writeln’s in your html.  The third is a little less obvious.  According to a MS source, in the head these tags are not allowed:

  • Meta refresh tag
  • link tag for a stylesheet (text/css)
  • script tag
  • style tag
  • title tag
  • base tag

The fourth was a big kicker for me.  I had made the decision a few years ago to switch almost all of my webparts over to being XSLT rendered.  That means I had a lot of inline javascript and css in my xslt.  Luckily, I had previously also created a special webpart which could ajax load other webparts using an update panel and had solved the inline script issue before.  When I was writing my special ajax loading webpart before I found this page which showed how to extend the ootb update panel to automatically find inline scripts and register them to work correctly using ajax. I was able to slightly modify this code to work for my XSLT rendered webparts.

public bool IsAnAjaxDeltaRequest
		return false == String.IsNullOrEmpty(Context.Request.QueryString["AjaxDelta"]);

protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter output)
	string html = GetHtml();
	if (IsAnAjaxDeltaRequest)
		html = RegisterAndRemoveInlineClientScripts(this, this.GetType(), html);

public static readonly Regex REGEX_CLIENTSCRIPTS = new Regex(
RegexOptions.Singleline | RegexOptions.IgnoreCase | RegexOptions.Compiled |

public static string RegisterAndRemoveInlineClientScripts(Control control, Type type, string htmlsource)
	if (htmlsource.IndexOf("<script", StringComparison.CurrentCultureIgnoreCase) > -1)
		MatchCollection matches = REGEX_CLIENTSCRIPTS.Matches(htmlsource);
		if (matches.Count > 0)
			for (int i = 0; i < matches.Count; i++)
				string script = matches[i].Groups["script"].Value;
				string scriptID = script.GetHashCode().ToString();
				string scriptSrc = "";

				CaptureCollection aname = matches[i].Groups["aname"].Captures;
				CaptureCollection avalue = matches[i].Groups["avalue"].Captures;
				for (int u = 0; u < aname.Count; u++)
					if (aname[u].Value.IndexOf("src",
						StringComparison.CurrentCultureIgnoreCase) == 0)
						scriptSrc = avalue[u].Value;

				if (scriptSrc.Length > 0)
						type, scriptID, scriptSrc);
					SPPageContentManager.RegisterClientScriptBlock(control, type,
						scriptID, script);

				htmlsource = htmlsource.Replace(matches[i].Value, "");

	return htmlsource;

Since this code will automatically register any script references it finds, make sure that the paths to your scripts are correct, otherwise MDS will silently failover without any ULS messages.

Update 5/3/2013:

I have found another potential MDS error message in ULS:

MDSLog: Master page version mismatch occurred in MDS

or in the ajax response if using fiddler:


I was able to resolve this by browsing to another site and then back to the original site with the issue.  Weird one, if anyone knows more about this error, please contact me or comment below.