Console Apps for SharePoint Lists

I recently had a requirement to update a SharePoint list based on a Date and Time field. The list contained two important fields: the Date and Time field called ‘Hire Date’ and a field called ‘Active’. The goal was to update the list item when the ‘Hire Date’ field was equal to today’s date and change the ‘Active’ field to false.

This is simple in a workflow, however, the item was NOT getting updated when ‘Hire Date’ was equal to today so there was no way to trigger the workflow. A simple alternative is a .NET console app that runs every day using Windows Task Scheduler.

The app itself is simple, it uses CSOM to get the values of the item and updates the Active column when appropriate.

There are several advantages to using a console app and  running it on a schedule:

  • It’s easy to parse the values of a list and preform an update
  • I don’t need to do something as unnecessary as pause a workflow on Item Creation to the ‘Hire Date’ and leave it paused for potentially weeks
  • And most importantly, I’m not using a Custom Timer Job. SharePoint Timer Jobs, particularly custom ones, can be resource intensive strains on your SharePoint server. If your SharePoint server is already strained for resources, like ours, console apps are a quick and efficient way to check for and make updates to SharePoint Lists.
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Workflows still won’t publish

I’ve made two posts about this in the past: one about running previous versions of workflows and another about workflows not publishing.

In the first post, I discovered that when running workflows in the 2010 platform previous versions may need to be deleted; in the second, I found that the activity cache on your local machine can prevent new versions of your workflow from being published.

This post is related. If a workflow fails to run with the error: something went wrong to try again reload the page and the start the workflow, you may need to restart two services. To do so check the server SharePoint is on and look for the two services:

  • Service Bus Gateway
  • Service Bus Manager Broker

If either of these services is stopped, restart them and try to rerun your workflow.