U2U Blog

for developers and other creative minds


U2U CAML Query Builder Feature Second Version is Released

It has taken me a long time to get the second version ready because I have been doing a lot of other SharePoint development stuff. But the last weeks I have been working very hard on it.

You can download this new version here. The format is a bit different then for the first version. It is a self-extracting .exe file that you only have to double click to start the installation wizard, thanks to the SharePoint Solution Installer of Lars Fastrup. Thanks Lars for this wonderful tool! For all those that have been working with the first version, choose to upgrade the solution. For the newbies a fresh installation will be started.

The major ameliorations can be found in the Filter On section of the CAML query build page. The value control changes in function of the data type of the field you choose. The windows version of the tool already had that capability but now it is also integrated in the feature version.

For example, if you choose to build a Where clause based on a choice field or a lookup field you will get a populated drop down list from which you can choose a value.


In the example below the selected field is of type User. In that case a standard SharePoint people picker is displayed to let you choose a user. For a yes/no field a checkbox is displayed. Leave it unchecked for false value,, check if for a true value.

PeoplePicker and YesNo

If you take a good look at the picture, you'll notice another difference: there is a new section named Preview result. This section will be filled and expanded after you have clicked the Preview button. The section contains a text field that shows you the query you are building and the result grid will contain eventual results. Click the Preview button each time you want to test your query and see the changes to it.

I also want to draw your attention on DateTime fields which are a real pain in the ass for SharePoint developers. When selecting a column of type DateTime in the Filter On section, you can choose between Today and fixed date. 


If you choose fixed date, a calendar control will appear.


You can also opt to add or subtract a certain number of days from the selected date. In case of a fixed date, the new date will be calculated and the query will look as follows:


In case you choose Today,


an offset of days will be added to the query:


Also fields based on business data can be queried now.

But pay attention with custom field types. You can build queries using custom field types in the where clause, for those who derive from simple data types like text, number, yes/no etc. Those who derive from SPFieldMultiColumnValue still are an issue that need to be solved.

One of the major differences to notice is that the resulting queries are not save into a document library anymore but into a list. Old queries will be moved from the document library to the list so that you don't loose your work. The query field is split into two different fields: Query and ViewFields so that you can use them separately. For those who hated the double quotes in the Query field, there is good news: they are gone :).

Caml Query List

You can download the tool here.

Hope you enjoy the new version! If you have suggestions, don't hesitate to drop them in the comments of this post.

More help on formulas

Some time ago I've posted some articles on formulas and some link to online resources. Recently I clicked on the SharePoint help button which you find on the right top side of your SharePoint page.


This will pop up a dialog box where you can navigate to an overview of all the available functions:


Navigate to by clicking on: Business intelligence/Business Data in sites, lists and libraries and than on Formulas and functions.


Arrived in Ushuaia

Yesterday I have started my last trip of the year 2007. And hell it is going to be quite an exciting one. I flew from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires to meet up with Fitz and we arrived today in this cosy place called Ushuaia. All went very well during the trip. No surprises and no real delays. The trip we are making is organized by Quark Expeditions and it will take us to the Antartic Penninsula.

Our stop today is Ushuaia and it seems like a very nice place. I have just arrived but I'll definitely check out the area around our hotel this afternoon (4 hours difference with Brussels). We are staying in hotel Albatros close near the harbour. Tomorrow we have a trip planned in the national park here. Really looking forward to that one. Flying in into Ushuaia is very spectacular. Ground-level will surely be evenly exciting.

In the late afternoon we are boarding our vessil (the Orlova) for mission Antartica. But right now I have to chill-out a bit. Enough flying for now :)

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Photos from the Antartic Trip

I am back into the real world after a wonderful trip to the Antartic. This was definitely one of the most exciting experiences in my life and I am certain to redo it within the coming years. There is way to much I want to write down here and maybe I'll do so in the coming days but for now I'll give you some impressions about what Fitz and I went through the previous 15 days. This is also of course the opportunity to wish you all the best for the next year. For me 2007 was a great year with many trips and many new friends who I've met. Thanks all and hopefully we'll see each other for a couple of beers in 2008!

Antartica 062

It was awesome to see the first icebergs after a rough journey over the Drake Passage. Those sea-sickness pills definitely were needed the first two days.

Antartica 032

Pinguins everywhere. Lovely creatures and very funny!

Antartica 088a

He was definitely the proudest of all.

Antartica 325

Resting on the final continent.

Antartica 331

And I guess it was the first time a Microsoft flag was raised on the Antartic :)


Our boat, the Orlova, was our home for about 10 days.


Whale spotting...


And wonderful Zodiac cruises...

U2U Email Snippets

Tired if writing emails over and over again? Well at U2U we released a cool new Outlook add-in which allows you to store ready-made email messages in a SharePoint list. Afterwards you only need to insert the snippets in your email messages.


If you want to read more or download it: click here

Help on new user interface in office

Before I give office demo's I ask the people what they think about the new user interface (ribbon, tabs, ...). Everybody likes it, but it is sometimes hard to find some stuff back again, specially in the beginning.

If I don't find a feature directly, I use the interactive guide of Microsoft.

With this guide you can select the feature in 2003 and it will show where you can find it in office 2007. FYI, it is a Flash application, probably the next version will be Silverlight, or that is what I hope :-).


1. Start the Interactive guide:


2. Go to the functionality that you want to look for in office 2007:


3. The following screen will show where you can find it in 2007


You can even download a tool for excel, powerpoint ...


Exciting BIWUG Agenda for Next Week

While I'll be out in the cold in Denmark next week, the Belgian Information Worker User Group is organizing another evening event. And it is going to be an interesting one. So don't miss it. Wouter, the Open XML guru in the world, will be there. A great guy with loads of experience in the field regarding this subject.


Nov 29th: BIWUG organizes yet another interesting session about MOSS & Open XML.

18:00 - 18:30 Registration and welcome

18:30 - 19:30 How to do branding in MOSS 2007 with master pages and themes by Joost Feyen

Join this session to get a walkthrough of the different customization and branding options in
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
What effort does it take to brand SharePoint? What about accessibility? When to use SharePoint Designer?  This is an interactive session where you can discuss best practices and guidelines.

19:30 - 19:45 TechEd Experiences by Marc Pollentier

19:45 - 20:00 Break

20:00 - 21:00 The Open XML File Format Explained by Wouter Van Vugt

Wouter Van Vugt is a well-known Open XML expert and MVP XML who wrote the book "Open XML - The Markup Explained". He will deliver a high-level session which will show you where you can actually use Open XML in your projects. This session is especially interesting for project managers, technical sales and architects who want to know what Open XML is all about.

Event location: Ordina, Boomsesteenweg 28, B-2627 Schelle (Antwerpen)

Register for this event