Second Life of a Hungarian SharePoint Geek

March 23, 2018

Changing SharePoint Search Preferences from Code

Filed under: PowerShell, Reflection, Search, SP 2013 — Tags: , , , — Peter Holpar @ 22:22

In my recent post I’ve illustrated with C# and PowerShell examples, how to read search preferences info from code, both for the current user as well as for other users. In this post we will see, how to change that preference from code.

We will use the same object, the Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.UserPreference class. Unlike its static GetUserPreference method, the either static SetUserPreference method has no overload that accepts the SharePoint context (SPContext) as parameter. The single overload of this method accepts a UserPreference instance. That makes our life not easier when it comes later to changing the preferences for another user. Don’t lose the hope, it is not impossible. Bur first things first.

Once we received a UserPreference instance via the GetUserPreference method, you should change certain preference properties, like OpenDocumentsInClient. How to do it? There are two methods, EnableSettings and DisableSetting (both having a parameter of  the nested enumeration type Settings) defined in the UserPreference class. If you would like to activate a setting, you should call the EnableSettings method, if you need to deactivate it, call the DisableSetting method, then finally invoke the SetUserPreference method to persist the changes. For example:

  1. var userPref = UserPreference.GetUserPreference();
  2. // if you would like to open documents in Office client, like Word or Excel
  3. userPref.UpdateSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient, true);
  4. // if you would like to open documents in Browser (Office Web Apps)
  5. userPref.UpdateSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient, false);
  6. UserPreference.SetUserPreference(userPref);

Note: This code works only if  you try it within a SharePoint context, like on an application page or in web part. In a console application you will receive an exception when you invoke the overload of the GetUserPreference method without the SPContext parameter:

ArgumentNullException
The value must not be null.
Parameter name: SPContext.Current

As we’ve already seen, there is an overload of the GetUserPreference method that accepts a SPContext parameter, so you could use that to get the preferences, but as there is no such overload for the SetUserPreference method, at least at this points will be the same type of exception thrown again. We will revisit the question shortly, how to set your own preferences from a console application, but we make a quick detour first.

To tell the truth, I don’t like the above pattern at all. Instead of these two methods I created an extension method with a Boolean parameter that encapsulates the functionality:

  1. public static void UpdateSetting(this UserPreference userPreference, UserPreference.Settings setting, bool value)
  2. {
  3.     if (value)
  4.     {
  5.         userPreference.EnableSetting(setting);
  6.     }
  7.     else
  8.     {
  9.         userPreference.DisableSetting(setting);
  10.     }
  11. }

Using this new method one can enable / disable preference settings like:

  1. var userPref = UserPreference.GetUserPreference();
  2. // if you would like to open documents in Office client, like Word or Excel
  3. userPref.EnableSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient);
  4. // if you would like to open documents in Browser (Office Web Apps)
  5. userPref.DisableSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient);
  6. UserPreference.SetUserPreference(userPref);

Back to the question, how to set your own preferences when the code runs without SharePoint context, like from a console application?

The “trivial” way is to fake a SharePoint context, using the method described here:

  1. using (SPSite site = new SPSite(url))
  2. {
  3.     using (SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb())
  4.     {
  5.         HttpRequest request = new HttpRequest(string.Empty, url, string.Empty);
  6.  
  7.         HttpResponse response = new HttpResponse(new System.IO.StreamWriter(new System.IO.MemoryStream()));
  8.  
  9.         HttpContext ctx = new HttpContext(request, response);
  10.         ctx.Items["HttpHandlerSPWeb"] = web;
  11.         HttpContext.Current = ctx;
  12.  
  13.         Console.WriteLine(SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.LoginName);
  14.  
  15.         var userPref = UserPreference.GetUserPreference();
  16.         userPref.UpdateSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient, true);
  17.         UserPreference.SetUserPreference(userPref);
  18.  
  19.         //set back the original context (e.g. null)
  20.         HttpContext.Current = null;
  21.     }
  22. }

Another option is, to try to understand, how the SetUserPreference method internally works. It turns out, that it call the internal static UpdatePreference method:

UpdatePreference(preference, false, SPContext.Current);

So I’ve created just another extension method that wraps invoking the UpdatePreference method using Reflection:

  1. public static void Update(this UserPreference userPreference, bool fClearClickHistory, SPContext context)
  2. {
  3.     Type[] paramTypes = { typeof(UserPreference), typeof(bool), typeof(SPContext) };
  4.     MethodInfo updatePreference = userPreference.GetType().GetMethod("UpdatePreference", BindingFlags.Static | BindingFlags.NonPublic, null, paramTypes, null);
  5.     object[] parameters = { userPreference, fClearClickHistory, context };
  6.     updatePreference.Invoke(null, parameters);
  7. }

And a further helper method that accepts a SPContext object as parameter, writes out, preferences of which user we are to change and performs the change itself via the methods we have already:

  1. private void UpdatePreference(SPContext ctx)
  2. {
  3.     var user = ctx.Web.CurrentUser;
  4.     Console.WriteLine("Setting preferences for '{0}'", user.LoginName);
  5.  
  6.     var userPref = UserPreference.GetUserPreference(false, ctx);
  7.     userPref.UpdateSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient, false);
  8.     userPref.Update(false, ctx);
  9. }

I think the code we achieved using this extension method is much more readable as the former one with the dummy context:

  1. using (SPSite site = new SPSite(url))
  2. {
  3.     using (SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb())
  4.     {
  5.         var ctx = SPContext.GetContext(web);
  6.         UpdatePreference(ctx);
  7.     }
  8. }

The code snippets until this point have effect only on the current user. How to change the settings for other user? That is possible either, as soon we combine the methods we already have with impersonation.

First, the version that uses the dummy context:

  1. using (SPSite site = new SPSite(url))
  2. {
  3.     using (SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb())
  4.     {
  5.         var user = web.EnsureUser(@"i:0#.w|domain\user");
  6.  
  7.         SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges(
  8.           () =>
  9.           {
  10.               using (SPSite impSite = new SPSite(url, user.UserToken))
  11.               using (SPWeb impWeb = impSite.OpenWeb())
  12.               {
  13.                   HttpRequest request = new HttpRequest(string.Empty, url, string.Empty);
  14.  
  15.                   HttpResponse response = new HttpResponse(new System.IO.StreamWriter(new System.IO.MemoryStream()));
  16.  
  17.                   HttpContext impersonatedContext = new HttpContext(request, response);
  18.  
  19.                   impersonatedContext.Items["HttpHandlerSPWeb"] = impWeb;
  20.  
  21.                   HttpContext.Current = impersonatedContext;
  22.  
  23.                   Console.WriteLine(SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.LoginName);
  24.  
  25.                   var userPref = UserPreference.GetUserPreference();
  26.                   userPref.UpdateSetting(UserPreference.Settings.OpenDocumentsInClient, true);
  27.                   UserPreference.SetUserPreference(userPref);
  28.  
  29.                   //set back the original context (e.g. null)
  30.                   HttpContext.Current = null;
  31.               }
  32.           });
  33.     }
  34. }

Next, the other version using Reflection:

  1. using (SPSite site = new SPSite(url))
  2. {
  3.     using (SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb())
  4.     {
  5.         var user = web.EnsureUser(@"i:0#.w|domain\user");
  6.  
  7.         SPSecurity.RunWithElevatedPrivileges(
  8.           () =>
  9.           {
  10.               using (SPSite impSite = new SPSite(url, user.UserToken))
  11.               using (SPWeb impWeb = impSite.OpenWeb())
  12.               {
  13.                   var impCtx = SPContext.GetContext(impWeb);
  14.                   UpdatePreference(impCtx);
  15.               }
  16.           });
  17.     }
  18. }

Mission completed.

For those of you who would like to have the same functionality from PowerShell (of course, there are no SharePoint context inherited from the process at all), I include the equivalent methods below.

These are the helper methods we rely on:

  1. function UpdateSetting($userPreference, $setting, $value) {
  2.     If ($value)
  3.     {
  4.         $userPreference.EnableSetting($setting)
  5.     }
  6.     Else
  7.     {
  8.         $userPreference.DisableSetting($setting)
  9.     }
  10. }
  11.  
  12. function Update($userPreference, $fClearClickHistory, $context) {
  13.     $paramTypes = ($up, [bool], [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext])
  14.     $updatePreference = $up.GetMethod("UpdatePreference", [System.Reflection.BindingFlags]"Static, NonPublic" , $null, $paramTypes, $null)
  15.     $parameters = ($userPreference, $fClearClickHistory, $context)
  16.     $updatePreference.Invoke($null, $parameters)
  17. }

Furthermore, we declared the following shortcuts:

  1. # shortcut for UserPreference
  2. $up = [Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.UserPreference]
  3. # shortcut for the nested class Settings in UserPreference
  4. $ups = [Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.UserPreference+Settings]

Set preferences for the current user via Reflection:

  1. $web = Get-SPWeb $url
  2. $ctx = [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext]::GetContext($web)
  3.  
  4. $pref = $up::GetUserPreference($false, $ctx)
  5. UpdateSetting $pref $ups::OpenDocumentsInClient $true
  6. Update $pref $false $ctx

Set preferences for another user via Reflection:

  1. $userName = 'i:0#.w|domain\user'
  2.  
  3. $web = Get-SPWeb $url
  4. $user = $web.EnsureUser($userName)
  5. $userToken = $user.UserToken
  6.  
  7. $impersonatedSite = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($url, $userToken)
  8. $ctx = [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext]::GetContext($impersonatedSite.RootWeb)
  9.  
  10. $pref = $up::GetUserPreference($false, $ctx)
  11. UpdateSetting $pref $ups::OpenDocumentsInClient $true
  12. Update $pref $false $ctx

Set preferences for the current user using a dummy context (see this post about injecting a fake SharePoint context into PowerShell):

  1. $web = Get-SPWeb $url
  2. $ctx = [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext]::GetContext($web)
  3.  
  4. $sw = New-Object System.IO.StringWriter
  5. $request = New-Object System.Web.HttpRequest "", $url, ""
  6. $response = New-Object System.Web.HttpResponse $sw
  7. $dummyContext = New-Object System.Web.HttpContext $request, $response
  8. [System.Web.HttpContext]::Current = $dummyContext
  9. $dummyContext.Items["HttpHandlerSPWeb"] = $ctx.Web;
  10.  
  11. $pref = $up::GetUserPreference($false, $ctx)
  12. #$pref.EnableSetting($ups::OpenDocumentsInClient)
  13. #or
  14. #$pref.DisableSetting($ups::OpenDocumentsInClient)
  15. UpdateSetting $pref $ups::OpenDocumentsInClient $true
  16. $up::SetUserPreference($pref)
  17.  
  18. [System.Web.HttpContext]::Current = $null

Set preferences for another user using a dummy context:

  1. $userName = 'i:0#.w|domain\user'
  2.  
  3. $web = Get-SPWeb $url
  4. $user = $web.EnsureUser($userName)
  5. $userToken = $user.UserToken
  6.  
  7. $impersonatedSite = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($url, $userToken)
  8. $ctx = [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext]::GetContext($impersonatedSite.RootWeb)
  9.  
  10. $sw = New-Object System.IO.StringWriter
  11. $request = New-Object System.Web.HttpRequest "", $url, ""
  12. $response = New-Object System.Web.HttpResponse $sw
  13. $dummyContext = New-Object System.Web.HttpContext $request, $response
  14. [System.Web.HttpContext]::Current = $dummyContext
  15. $dummyContext.Items["HttpHandlerSPWeb"] = $ctx.Web;
  16.  
  17. $pref = $up::GetUserPreference($false, $ctx)
  18. #$pref.EnableSetting($ups::OpenDocumentsInClient)
  19. #or
  20. #$pref.DisableSetting($ups::OpenDocumentsInClient)
  21. UpdateSetting $pref $ups::OpenDocumentsInClient $true
  22. $up::SetUserPreference($pref)
  23.  
  24. [System.Web.HttpContext]::Current = $null

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