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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: March 28th 2005.

 

Microsoft Frequently Asked Questions

Stefan and Steve's FAQ is the absolute best place to look for help with common questions on MCMS. Please check it out before posting queries to the newsgroups. Below are links to the HTML and Windows Help versions (be sure to check these locations often as the FAQ is updated periodically):

There is also a couple of other MCMS FAQs published by Microsoft:

 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions not addressed in the above documents. Click the question to reveal the answer.

Q: No integrated search engine, what kind of CMS do you call that?

A: An intelligent one. Pretty much any third party search software can be used, allowing you the choice, rather than having a solution forced upon you. MCMS provides a flexible and highly extensible platform for content management. Your search engine choice will be primarily driven by the type of MCMS functionality you have implemented and the intended audience of your site. Options include:

  • Mondosoft MondoSearch
    Best of breed solution recommended by MCMSfaq.com and the MSIB partner solution
  • Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003
    which is excellent for Intranet sites
  • Verity
    which is highly expensive!
  • DTSearch
    which is well priced, and simple
If you are on a limited budget you also have the option of using Microsoft Indexing Services, part of Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server Full Text Search, however these options also require additional bespokde development.

Q: Why is the installation of MCMS 2002 SP1 such a 'mare, is there anything I can do to make it less frustrating?

A: MCMS is certainly not Microsoft's finest installation hour, especially with regard to the two versions of the .NET framework and Visual Studio.NET. However most of the pain goes away if you get your hands on the SP1a integrated cdrom, either when you purchase the product or from MSDN subscriber downloads. Also, make sure you review the readme, which covers most of questions which come up regarding installation.

Q: Where can I get documentation on the MCMS database schema, can I modify the schema or access the databse directly?

A: The schema is not publicly documented. It is intended that all access tho the MCMS repository is via the tools provided or the Publishing API (PAPI). If you modify the schema, Microsoft won't support your MCMS deployment. This is actually a good thing! If you have custom code accessing the database and Microsoft change the schema between versions or service packs, and it may break your code! Just say no to direct access to the MCMS database. For those interested, some of the aspects of the schema are detailed in the MCMS Complete Guide book from Addison Wesley.

Q: Can I use SQL Server Replication for moving MCMS databases around?

A: You can but chances are your sites will be broken due to the node cache being invalidated. The Microsoft Knowledge Base states that SQL Replication is not supported, and advises SQL backups are the best option. If you are looking for a solution to provide failover, SQL Log Shipping is supported, as detailed here.

Q: How can I deploy the Web Author client components in a corporate environment where desktops may be tied down.

A: You can use Group Policy Assigned Applications, SMS or a Logon Script to install these components for which the source resides in the nrdhtml.cab file within the \Program Files\Microsoft Content Management Server\Serve\IIS_CMS\WebAuthor\ Client\PlaceholderControlSupport\ folder on your MCMS server machine. There are two .dll files in the CAB which need registered on the client using regsvr32.

Q: Can I include HTML forms for feedback and user data entry in MCMS 2002 ASP.NET templates?

A: Out of the box, this is not possible. MCMS templates make use of the ASP.NET Web Forms model, and therefore already include a FORM element. However, you can implement a custom placeholder control to provide this kind of functionality.
A cool example of such a control which is designed to be used with the WoodgroveNet C# sample site, including full documentation can be found here. If you are developing enterprise solutions, then check out Business Web Software who have great MCMS integration.

Q: When displaying Template or Resource Galleries as a Tree View in the Web Author, nothing is displayed. Why does this happen?

A: This can occur if users don't have access rights to all galleries on the site. If this is the case you should use the list view for galleries.

Q: Why doesn't ASP.NET Smart Navigation work with MCMS?

A: This is becuase of one of the MCMS ISAPI filters which performs, amongst other things, URL rewriting.

Q: Can I use an external LDAP based directory service for authentication and authorisation with MCMS?

A: With the release of MCMS 2002, Microsoft dropped LDAP as a natively supported authentication mechanism (MCMS 2001 supported LDAP services such as Site Server). However it is possible to utilise an external LDAP service to provide authentication by implementing Custom Authentication, which is basically an extension of ASP.NET Forms Authentication.
This approach does have a downside though, as it only allows for the use of an external service for authentication, not authorisation. For MCMS authorisation you will need to 'map' the external users to either a tactical deployment of Active Directory supporting MCMS, or local Windows accounts. These 'mapped' accounts can then be used to acquire a MCMS user 'ticket' giving you a context for the purposes of managing MCMS actions.
MCMS Custom Authentication is not particulary well documented in the product help files. Below is an example of Custom Authentication for the WoodgroveNet C# sample site which uses Active Directory in Application Mode as it's external LDAP service:


private void ManualLoginSubmit_ServerClick(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
  // ADAM server
  string sLDAPServer = "LDAP://localhost:389/";
  // DN we wish to read
  string sLDAPobj = "CN=MCMSUsers,CN=MCMS,DC=Woodgrove,DC=COM";
  // name attribute to check
  string sDECheck = "MCMSUsers";
  // prepend UID for Windows AuthN
  string sWindowsUser = "WinNT://MCMSDEV/" + TxtNTUser.Value;
  // build user DN for LDAP AuthN
  string sBindName = "CN=" + TxtNTUser.Value + ",CN=MCMS,DC=Woodgrove,DC=COM";
  // supplied password
  string sPassword = TxtNTPassword.Value;
  bool persist = CheckPersistent.Checked;

  try
  {
    // Connect to ADAM using LDAP AuthN..
    DirectoryEntry ent = new DirectoryEntry(sLDAPServer + sLDAPobj, 
                                            sBindName, sPassword, 
                                            AuthenticationTypes.None);
    // Retrieve attribute (which actually binds) and check the value...
    if ((string)ent.Properties["name"].Value == sDECheck)
    {
      // LDAP AuthN succeeded, so perform Windows 
      // AuthN to setup a MCMS context...
      CmsAuthenticationTicket ticket = 
                   CmsFormsAuthentication.AuthenticateAsUser(sWindowsUser, sPassword);
      if( ticket != null )
      {
        // Windows AuthN succeeded so continue...
        CmsFormsAuthentication.RedirectFromLoginPage(ticket,
                                                     true,
                                                     CheckPersistent.Checked); 
      }
    }
    // Windows AuthN failed...
    OutMessage.InnerHtml = LTInvalidUserMessage;
  }
  catch(Exception)
  {
    // LDAP AuthN failed...
    OutMessage.InnerHtml = LTGeneralExceptionMessage;
  }
}
Note: this example requires that the user passwords are identical in ADAM and the Local Windows Security Account Manager (SAM) database.
Shortly, I will post the entire sample with instructions for configuring ADAM. The Integration Techniques and Strategies for Content Management Server 2002 online book also includes a sample for integrating MCMS with a external authentication service.

Q: How can I get rid of the 'connect to server' dialog in Site Manager?

fter installing SP1a, the Site Manager prompts you to select a server to connect to. This can be useful in a multi-MCMS server environment but irritating if you only have one, or are working on a local development box. You can prevent this dialog by modifying the Site Manager shortcut target property, which despite the dialog text isn't in the MCMS help. This example shows how to set the Site Manager to connect to the local default instance of MCMS: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Content Management Server\Client\NRClient.exe" http://localhost/NR/System/ClientUI/login.asp

Q: How can I deploying the Web Author client components.

In many corporate environments the installation of the Web Author client components using IE is disabled due to security policy settings. You can use Group Policy Assigned Applications, SMS or a Logon Script to install these components for which the source resides in the nrdhtml.cab file within the \Program Files\Microsoft Content Management Server\Serve\IIS_CMS\WebAuthor\ Client\PlaceholderControlSupport\ folder on your MCMS server machine. There are two .dll files in the CAB which need registered on the client using regsvr32.


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