Working with SharePoint 2010 User Activity NewsFeed

I was recently tasked with creating an application that once used will add an entree to the user’s activity feed.

The activity feed is a fun and social feature (one of many) of SharePoint 2010, and its purpose is to present a feed of actions that the user or his colleagues performed on the site.

You can see how the activity feed looks on the following screen shot, taken from my local SharePoint development environment:

Now hopefully that got you excited enough to read on 😉

We are going to build a simple web part that will add an entree to the user activity feed. The web part will contain a single text box and a button that once pressed will add the entree to the user’s feed.

1) Open Visual Studio 2010, create a new Empty SharePoint Project with the name “ActivityFeedInteraction” and choose to deploy it as farm solution.

2) Right click on the solution name, choose “Add” and then “New Item”. Click on “Web Part” and name it “ActivityWebpart”

3) Right click on “References” and choose “Add Reference”. Add the following 3 dlls to your solution:

  • Microsoft.Office.Server
  • Microsoft.Office.Server.UserProfiles
  • System.Web

4) The activity feed is based upon activities our user chooses to follow on his “Newsfeed Settings” screen:

As we can see there are plenty of default activities that the user follows, and if we wish to tap in the user’s news feed we have to build a new activity for him to follow first. In our solution we will create that activity once the feature that installs the web part is activated.

In visual studio, expend the Features node, right click on “Feature1” and choose “Add Event Receiver” as seen on the following screen shot:

5) Open Feature1.EventReceiver.cs and uncomment the FeatureActivated method.

6) Add the following code to the method:

UserProfileManager pm = new UserProfileManager(SPServiceContext.Current);
UserProfile
currentUserProfile = pm.GetUserProfile(SPContext.Current.Site.OpenWeb().CurrentUser.LoginName);
ActivityManager actMgr = new ActivityManager(currentUserProfile);
ActivityType customActivityType = null;
ActivityApplication actApplication = null;
ActivityTemplate
customActTemplate = null;

Let’s explain what we did here: First we created a UserProfileManager object and passed the current SPService context to it, then we created a UserProfile object of the currently logged in user, then we created an ActivityManager object for the current user and finally we created an empty ActivityType, ActivityApplication and ActivityTemplate objects. We will use all of these later.

7) Add the following code right below the code you previously pasted:


if (actMgr.PrepareToAllowSchemaChanges())

{

}

else
{

SPDiagnosticsService
.Local.WriteTrace(0, new SPDiagnosticsCategory(“Custom Activity Creator”, TraceSeverity.High, EventSeverity.Error),
        TraceSeverity.High, string.Format(“The user {0} does not have the administrator rights on the User Profile service”,   
SPContext
.Current.Site.OpenWeb().CurrentUser.LoginName), “”);

throw new Exception(“The user dosent have the required permissions for this action”);
}

Before we go on with the creation of the activity we need to check if the user who install the feature have the required rights to create it. If he does – we go on with the creation, if not we write a message to SharePoint’s log and quit.

8) Now it’s time to add the code for creating the activity. First we create the activity application using the following code (paste it inside the if statement):

if (actMgr.ActivityApplications[“CustomActivity”] == null)

{
actApplication = actMgr.ActivityApplications.Create(“CustomActivity”);

actApplication.Commit();

actApplication.Refresh(false);

}

else

{

actApplication = actMgr.ActivityApplications[“CustomActivity”];

}

First we check if an activity application named CustomActivity exsist, if it doesn’t – we create it, if it does – we initialize our actApplication object to it.

9) Now that we have our ActivityApplication object ready, it’s time to move on to the ActivityType. Paste the following code right below the previous code blocks:

customActivityType = actApplication.ActivityTypes[“MyCustomActivity”];

if (customActivityType == null)
{

customActivityType = actApplication.ActivityTypes.Create(“MyCustomActivity”);

    customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringResourceFile = “CustomActivityResource”;
customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringName = “ActivityName”;

    customActivityType.IsPublished = true;
customActivityType.IsConsolidated = true;

customActivityType.AllowRollup = true;

customActivityType.Commit();

customActivityType.Refresh(false);

}

Like before, we first try to get our activity type from the ActivityApplication activity types collection, if it comes back null that means it doesn’t exists and we move on to creating it.
There are 2 lines of code in this block that we need to draw attention to:

customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringResourceFile = “CustomActivityResource”;

customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringName = “ActivityName”;

The first lines set the activity type resource file name and the second set the name inside the resource file for the activity name.

You might be wondering what is this resource file we are talking about, so fear not! We are going to create it next.

10) Right click on the solution name and choose “Add” and then “SharePoint Mapped Folders”. You should see the following dialog box:

Click on “Resources” and then OK.

11) Right click on the newly created “Resources” node in our solution and choose “Add” -> “New Item”. Find “Resource File” in the list of available templates and name it CustomActivityResource (this is how we set ActivityTypeNameLocStringResourceFile in the previous step).

12) Once the file is created, you will automatically be brought to the file editing screen. Replace “String1” with “ActivityName” (You’ve probably guessed that’s the same name as ActivityTypeNameLocStringName setting from the previous step) and give it a value of “My New Sweet Custom Activity!” This is the name that will be shown on the newsfeed settings screen we saw in step 4. You can add additional resource files in different languages and depending on the user’s language settings SharePoint will use the appropriate resource file for the user’s language.

13) We are now done with the ActivityType object and we are moving on to creating the last object in our activity – the template. Paste the following code right below the closing bracket for the last if statement:

customActTemplate = customActivityType.ActivityTemplates[ActivityTemplatesCollection.CreateKey(false)];

if (customActTemplate == null)
{

customActTemplate = customActivityType.ActivityTemplates.Create(false);

customActTemplate.TitleFormatLocStringResourceFile = “CustomActivityResource”;

customActTemplate.TitleFormatLocStringName = “Activity_Created”;
customActTemplate.Commit();
customActTemplate.Refresh(false);

}

Just like before, we check if the template we need already exists, if it doesn’t we create it. We then need to provide a resource file that holds a string that will act as a template for the user’s news feed. (In our code this template is called Activity_Created).

14) Open the resource file we previously created (CustomActivityResource) and add a new row with the following info:

Name:
Activity_Created
Value: {Publisher} wrote {Value} on the wall using a custom activity!

Think of the value text as the template for the activity. This template is how the activity will show on the user’s newsfeed. The template can use template variables like {Publisher} and {Value} that will be replaced by data we provide to the activity at run time. Other variables like {Link} or {Size} can also be used if needed.

15) That’s it! We are done with creating the activity! At this point, your method should look like this:

public override void FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)
{

UserProfileManager
pm = new UserProfileManager(SPServiceContext.Current);
    UserProfile currentUserProfile = pm.GetUserProfile(SPContext.Current.Site.OpenWeb().CurrentUser.LoginName);
ActivityManager
actMgr = new ActivityManager(currentUserProfile);
ActivityType customActivityType = null;
ActivityApplication
actApplication = null;

ActivityTemplate
customActTemplate = null;

if(actMgr.PrepareToAllowSchemaChanges())
{
if
(actMgr.ActivityApplications[“CustomActivity”] == null)
{
actApplication = actMgr.ActivityApplications.Create(“CustomActivity”);
actApplication.Commit();
actApplication.Refresh(false);
}
else

{
actApplication = actMgr.ActivityApplications[“CustomActivity”];
}

        customActivityType = actApplication.ActivityTypes[“MyCustomActivity”];


if (customActivityType == null)

{

customActivityType = actApplication.ActivityTypes.Create(“MyCustomActivity”);

customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringName = “ActivityName”;

customActivityType.ActivityTypeNameLocStringResourceFile = “CustomActivityResource”;

customActivityType.IsPublished = true;

customActivityType.IsConsolidated = true;

customActivityType.AllowRollup = true;

customActivityType.Commit();

customActivityType.Refresh(false);

}

customActTemplate = customActivityType.ActivityTemplates[ActivityTemplatesCollection.CreateKey(false)];

if(customActTemplate == null)
{
customActTemplate = customActivityType.ActivityTemplates.Create(false);
customActTemplate.TitleFormatLocStringResourceFile = “CustomActivityResource”;
customActTemplate.TitleFormatLocStringName = “Activity_Created”;
customActTemplate.Commit();
customActTemplate.Refresh(false);
}
}
else

{
SPDiagnosticsService
.Local.WriteTrace(0, new SPDiagnosticsCategory(“Custom Activity Creator”, TraceSeverity.High, EventSeverity.Error),            
TraceSeverity
.High, string.Format(“The user {0} does not have the administrator rights on the User Profile service”,
SPContext.Current.Site.OpenWeb().CurrentUser.LoginName), “”);

        throw new Exception(“The user dosent have the required permissions for this action”);
}
}

16) Now that we have an activity let’s make use of it! Open “ActivityWebPart” node and double click “ActivityWebpart.cs”.

17) Add the following private variables:

private TextBox _tbActivity;

private Label _lblActivity,_lblInfo;
private Button _btnActivity;

 18) Add the following code to the CreateChildControl method:

_lblActivity = new Label() { Text = “Activity Text “ };

this.Controls.Add(_lblActivity);
_tbActivity = new TextBox();

this
.Controls.Add(_tbActivity);

this
.Controls.Add(new Literal() { Text = “<br/>” });

_btnActivity = new Button();

_btnActivity.Text = “Send Activity”;
_btnActivity.Click += new EventHandler(_btnActivity_Click);
this
.Controls.Add(_btnActivity);

this
.Controls.Add(new Literal() { Text = “<br/>” });

_lblInfo = new Label() { Visible=false };

this
.Controls.Add(_lblInfo);

19) Add the following method below CreateChildControl:

void _btnActivity_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)

{
UserProfileManager
pm = new UserProfileManager(SPServiceContext.GetContext(SPContext.Current.Site));

UserProfile
currentUserProfile = pm.GetUserProfile(SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.LoginName);

ActivityManager
actMgr = new ActivityManager(currentUserProfile);

try
{

long
aId = actMgr.ActivityApplications[“CustomActivity”].ActivityTypes[“MyCustomActivity”].ActivityTypeId;

        if (aId != 0)
{

            CreateEvent(_tbActivity.Text, aId, currentUserProfile, actMgr);
_lblInfo.Text = “Activity created successfully!”;

}

else

_lblInfo.Text = “No Activity Found!”;

_lblInfo.Visible = true;

    }
    catch (Exception ex)
{

SPDiagnosticsService
.Local.WriteTrace(0, new SPDiagnosticsCategory(“Custom Activity Creator”, TraceSeverity.High, EventSeverity.Error), TraceSeverity.High, ex.Message,ex.StackTrace);

    }

}

Once the button is clicked the method gets the current user profile from the UserProfileManager object, and then gets the activity id from the activity we have created in the feature activated method. If we get an id we move on to the CreateEvent method which we will build in the next step, but if no id is returned the method changes the text on the info label to “No Activity Found” and quits.

20) Now let’s add the final peace of the puzzle: the CreateEvent method. Add the following code right below the closing bracket for _btnActivity_Click method

private void CreateEvent(string text, long aId, UserProfile currentUserProfile, ActivityManager actMgr)

{
Entity
publisher = new MinimalPerson(currentUserProfile).CreateEntity(actMgr);

ActivityEvent
activityEvent = ActivityEvent.CreateActivityEvent(actMgr, aId, publisher, publisher);

activityEvent.Name = “MyCustomActivity”;

activityEvent.ItemPrivacy = (int)Privacy.Public;

activityEvent.Owner = publisher;

activityEvent.Publisher = publisher;

activityEvent.Value = text;

activityEvent.Commit();

}

This method sets the publisher for the method (the person who initiated it), then creates an ActivityEvent object which will hold all the information about the event, setting its privacy, owner and publisher (in our example the owner and publisher are the same user, but if you want to publish events to other users, such as the current user colleagues – you will set different users in these properties) and finally we set the value property (which is what the {Value} template placeholder will use for rendering). Once we execute the Commit method, the event will show in the newsfeed!

21) Time to test our solution. Click on the solution name and in the properties window change “Active Deployment” to “No Activation”. Right click on the solution name and click Deploy.

22) Go to the site you deployed the solution to; click “Site Actions” and “Site Settings”. Click on “Site Collection Features” and activate “ActivityFeedInteraction Feature1”

23) Go to your “My Site” and click “Newsfeed Settings”. You should see our new activity is there and waiting for action!

24) Go back to your site, and add the “ActivityWebPart” web part to a page of your choice.

25) Type something in the text box and click “Send Activity”.

26) If all went well, you should see on your “My Profile” page a new entree for your activity which was based on the template we supplied earlier! The following screenshot shows an example:

That’s it! We have created a new custom activity and a web part that accompany it in order to add events to a user’s newsfeed.

I hope this post helped you understand how to use the activity feed, one of the best social features of SharePoint 2010.

If you want to download the final project then go right ahead and click here.

Advertisements

One thought on “Working with SharePoint 2010 User Activity NewsFeed

  1. Pingback: Adventures with SharePoint 2010 ActivityManager, Newsfeed and other animals… | Johnny's SharePoint & Fast Fun Land

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s