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Specifying filtering criteria when automatically applying watermarks in SharePoint

Posted at: 10:42 on 22 April 2011 by Muhimbi

FilterIn our previous posts we established that the new ‘Automatic application of watermarks when a document is opened’ functionality of the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint is the coolest things since…well…this stuff. Today’s post goes into more detail and shows how automatic watermarking can be taken to the next level by specifying search filters.
 
This post is the third in a four part series:

  1. Applying user specific watermarks when a PDF document is opened in SharePoint.
  2. Merging dynamic data into watermarks using the PDF Converter for SharePoint.
  3. Specifying filtering criteria when automatically applying watermarks. (This Post)
  4. Apply User Specific PDF Security when a document is opened in SharePoint.

 
 
Similar to the way SharePoint views can be filtered to only display certain list items, Muhimbi’s automatic watermarking facility allows filters to be created that determine which documents should be watermarked automatically, and which shouldn’t. The possibilities are endless, but some obvious examples are listed below to whet your appetite:

  • Apply watermarks to draft documents, but not to approved documents.
  • Always apply watermarks to a document created by a user from a particular domain or authentication provider (e.g. FBA)
  • Watermark a document, based on the current date, for embargoed documents.
  • Enable watermarks on all documents with ‘Confidential’ in the Title.
  • Apply watermarks to minor versions (e.g. 1.3) of a document, but not to major versions (e.g 2.0).
  • Only apply watermarks to certain content types.

 
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Fortunately this powerful new functionality is very easy to use as you can see in the screenshot above. Each watermarking section comes with a separate Filter that contains the following fields:

  • Apply Filter: A simple check box that allows filtering to be enabled or disabled. When disabled, watermarks are automatically added to all documents.
  • Field List: A list of fields that can be used to apply filters on, e.g. Title, Author, Content Type, etc.. This is a ‘sanitised' list similar to the one displayed in SharePoint’s own View filter. Non sensible ‘for internal use only’ fields are automatically stripped out.
  • Comparison Type: Specify the kind of comparison to use, e.g. ‘is equal to’, ‘is greater than’, ‘contains’, ‘begins with’ etc.
  • Comparison Value: The value(s) to compare the selected field with. Full details are provided below.

 
It is in the Comparison Value field where things become interesting as all comparisons take the underlying type of the column into account. All common data types are supported, specifically:

  • Boolean: Accepts the following for True: True, Yes, -1, 1 and False, No, 0 as False.
  • Currency: Allows currency comparisons. Please use numbers only, do not specify the currency symbol.
  • DateTime: Allows date and time fields to be compared. As of version 5.1 you can enter [Today] (including the square brackets) to compare a date field to the current date, e.g. to apply watermarks to documents modified today. Similarly [Now] can be used to compare a field with the current date and time.
  • Lookup: Compare lookup fields, including lookups that may contain multiple values.
  • User: Compares fields that contain a reference to a user account, e.g. the Modified By field. Filters of this type expect a value recognised by the underlying Authentication Provider. This will usually be in the ‘domain\user_name’ format, but could also be ‘fbaprovidername:username’.
    As of version 5.1 it is possible to enter [me] (including the square brackets) to evaluate the field against the current user. This allows, for example, watermarks to be added to all documents not created by the current user.
  • Single and Multiple choice fields: Allows single and multiple values to be matched, particularly useful with the ‘contains’ comparison type. Examples and details are provided below.
  • Numerical fields: Carries out numerical comparisons.
  • URL: Can compare fields of type URL.
  • Text: Any text field or custom field type that uses a text based representation.

 
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Some additional notes of interest:

  • All comparisons are case insensitive.
  • The filter for the ‘Version’ field accepts the ‘[MajorVersion]’ and ‘[MinorVersion]’ values to distinguish between a major (1.0, 2.0) and minor (1.1, 1.2, 2.2) versions.
  • When filtering multiple choice / multi select fields you can specify multiple values. For example:
    • "Brett;Ben" Contains "Ben" = True
    • "Brett;Jeroen;Ben" Contains “Brett;Ben” = True
    • "Brett;Jeroen" Contains “Brett;Ben” = False
    • “Brett;Jeroen” is equal to “Jeroen;Brett” = True (The sequence in which values are specified do not matter)
  • If a field is deleted from a list after it has been specified in a filter then the filter will always equate to false resulting in the watermark not being applied.
  • It is not possible to specify a Filter for Insert events on a Document Library as the fields do not contain any values at this time. This is not a problem for inserting documents attached to a list.
  • When comparing fields that contain both Date and Time elements (e.g. the Modified Date) against such values as [Today] then please take into account that the value represented by [Today] does not include a time element. Therefore ‘Created Date = [Today]’ will never evaluate to true unless it is midnight. Instead use ‘Created Date >= [Today]’. For Date fields that don’t include the Time element, e.g. a birthday, this will not be a problem.

This concludes our series about automatic watermarking. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly.

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Merging dynamic data into watermarks using the PDF Converter for SharePoint

Posted at: 14:47 on 18 April 2011 by Muhimbi

mergeThe new 5.0 release of the PDF Converter for SharePoint provides quite a few new improvements, but perhaps the most highly anticipated new feature is the ability to apply watermarks to documents the moment they are opened. Now, it doesn’t make any sense to apply the exact same watermarks over and over again as that would be very inefficient, what you really want to do is adding data specific to the user who is opening the document.
 
This post is the second in a four part series:

  1. Applying user specific watermarks when a PDF document is opened in SharePoint.
  2. Merging dynamic data into watermarks using the PDF Converter for SharePoint. (This Post)
  3. Specifying filtering criteria when automatically applying watermarks.
  4. Apply User Specific PDF Security when a document is opened in SharePoint.

 

Adding this kind of dynamic information is done using merge fields, which can be entered directly into the watermarking text, for example: 
 
       PDF Opened by '{REMOTE_USER}' on '{LONG_DATE}' from IP '{REMOTE_ADDR}'
 
Which results in the following watermark:

Sample watermark with user specific data

 
Merge fields are not exclusive to the ‘watermark on open’ functionality, there are several other ways that watermarks can be applied using the PDF Converter for SharePoint, for example using workflows or web services. However, field codes are not always available for a particular interface as, for example, the web service has no knowledge about anything that happens in SharePoint, and workflows are not always associated with an HTTP Context.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why we have made the following table available to clarify which merge fields are available and under what circumstances.

   

Available from

Field Name Description

Web Service

Workflows

WM on Open

WM on Insert*

WM on Update*

{LONG_DATE} The long representation of the current date, e.g. 18 April 2011. V V V V V
{LONG_TIME} The long representation of the current time, e.g. 12:35:48. V V V V V
{DATE} The short representation of the current date, e.g. 7/03/2011. V V V V V
{TIME} The short representation of the current time, e.g. 12:35. V V V V V
{PAGE} The number of the current page in the PDF file. This value is automatically updated for every page. V V V V V
{NUMPAGES} The total number of pages in the PDF file. V V V V V
Any column name

Any SharePoint column / field defined on the list such as {Title}, {Author}. Please use (case sensitive) internal field names. See this list of internal field names.

Using workflow fields V V
(Lists only)
V
{HTTP_HOST} Returns the name of the Web server. This may or may not be the same as SERVER_NAME depending on type of name resolution you are using on your Web server (IP address, host header). V
{HTTP_REFERER}

Returns a string that contains the URL of the page that referred the request to the current page using an HTML <A> tag. Note that the URL is the one that the user typed into the browser address bar, which may not include the name of a default document.

V
{HTTP_URL} Returns the raw, encoded URL, for example, "/vdir/default.asp?querystring". V
{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Returns a string describing the browser that sent the request. V
{LOGON_USER} The Windows account that the user is impersonating while connected to your Web server. Use REMOTE_USER to view the raw user name that is contained in the request header. V
{REMOTE_ADDR} The IP address of the remote host (identifying the user) that is making the request. V
{REMOTE_HOST}

The name of the host that is making the request. If the server does not have this information, it will set REMOTE_ADDR and leave this empty.

V
{REMOTE_USER} The name of the user as it is derived from the authorization header sent by the client, before the user name is mapped to a Windows account. If you have an authentication filter installed on your Web server that maps incoming users to accounts, use LOGON_USER to view the mapped user name. V
{SERVER_NAME} The server's host name, DNS alias, or IP address as it would appear in self-referencing URLs. V
{URL} Gives the base portion of the URL, without any querystring or extra path information, for example, "/vdir/default.asp". V
{USER_NAME} The user’s name, if available (requires 7.2+). V
{USER_EMAIL} The user’s email, if available (requires 8.0+). V

* In SharePoint 2007 automatic watermarking during Inserts and Updates is available in Lists, but not in Doc Libraries. Use workflows instead.      

 
If there is any other kind of data you would like to merge in as part of a watermark then leave a comment below or contact us directly and we'll consider it for a future upgrade.

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PDF Converter for SharePoint - Recorded Webcast now available for live streaming

Posted at: 15:56 on 15 April 2011 by Muhimbi

Yesterday we recorded a webcast to talk about and demonstrate our popular PDF Converter for SharePoint. Based on the feedback, and the number of attendees that stayed on till the very last minute, it was a great success. Similar webcasts are available as well for the Muhimbi SharePoint Audit Suite 2.0 as well as a combined webcast for the URL Shortener, Workflow Power Pack and SharePoint Infuser.

Fortunately for those who did not attend, we recorded the whole event, which is now available for real-time streaming. It is worth watching as it contains lots and lots of demos including PDF Conversion in combination with SharePoint Designer & Nintex workflows, conversions using InfoPath, Watermarking, applying PDF Security, etc.
 

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The slide deck is available as well in PDF format.

 
Some of the demos featured in the presentation are also available as separate blog posts:


Enjoy watching it. As always, if you have any questioned then don’t hesitate to contact us. We are very helpful and answer any questions as quickly as we can.

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SharePoint Audit Suite 2.0 - Recorded Webcast now available for live streaming

Posted at: 15:27 on by Muhimbi

We recorded a webcast the other day to talk about and demonstrate the new 2.0 version of our popular SharePoint Audit Suite. Based on the feedback, and the number of attendees, it was a great success. Similar webcasts are available as well for the Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint as well as a combined webcast for the URL Shortener, Workflow Power Pack and SharePoint Infuser.

Fortunately for those who did not attend, we recorded the whole event, which is now available for real-time streaming.
 

image

 
The slide deck is available as well in PDF format.

Enjoy watching it. As always, if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to contact us. We are very helpful and answer any questions as quickly as we can.

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Applying user specific watermarks when a PDF document is opened in SharePoint

Posted at: 18:09 on 14 April 2011 by Muhimbi

confidentialWe have just released another major version (5.0) of our popular PDF Converter for SharePoint as well as our stand-alone PDF Converter Services and, as we always do, we are blogging about all the cool new features including AutoCAD support, PDF Merging as well as support for the PDF conversion of multi-page TIFF files
  
This post is the first in a four part series:

  1. Applying user specific watermarks when a PDF document is opened in SharePoint. (This Post)
  2. Merging dynamic data into watermarks using the PDF Converter for SharePoint.
  3. Specifying filtering criteria when automatically applying watermarks.
  4. Apply User Specific PDF Security when a document is opened in SharePoint.

 

Applying user specific watermarks when a PDF document is opened in SharePoint”, wow….. what does that even mean and why is it so special? Before I answer that question let’s have a look at the watermarking features that we have been supporting in the past and what limitations in SharePoint we have had to overcome to provide this utterly brilliant new functionality.

Our PDF Conversion engine has had the ability to add watermarks to PDF files using the web services interface for quite some time. It is a very flexible system that allows all kind of watermark types - including images, shapes, text, other PDF files or any combination - to be added to a PDF file. It is possible to target individual pages, even or odd pages or portrait or landscape pages. No matter how well this works, the fact that it was only available when programming directly against our web services interface excluded it for many users, unless you are a .NET developer.
 

Sample watermark with user specific data

 
Many customers wanted to apply watermarks directly from their workflows, so we made it possible to apply simple as well as complex watermarks using SharePoint workflows. This pleased most of our customers, but you know…our customers just can’t help themselves, they want more and more and sometimes….even more. A common request is to add watermarks to a document the moment it is opened with content specific to the user opening the file, for example the user’s name, IP Address, current time or a combination. The problem, however, is that SharePoint does not provide the means to run a workflow, or any other logic, when a document is opened as a trigger for ‘document opened’ is simply not available.

So, we had to dig deep, open our magic box of tricks and… hocus pocus…simsalabin…we managed to add a layer to both SharePoint 2007 and 2010 to facilitate this functionality. I am not saying it wasn’t utterly painful, but we have pulled it off.
 

Watermark-on-open

 
So, why is this functionality so important? Well, if you work with highly confidential information then you want to be able to figure out who uploaded your documents to Wikileaks, or who gave their copy of a draft document to their buddy at the newspaper? This is a REAL problem that many organisations struggle with today. (Another option is to run our SharePoint Audit Suite).

Although it has taken quite a bit of rocket science to add this functionality to SharePoint, we have managed to make it very user friendly and easy to use for SharePoint administrators and power users as you can see in the screenshot above. The key features are as follows:

  1. Specify stock watermarks at the Site Collection level and optionally ‘inherit’ the settings at the List or Document library level.
  2. Support for different watermark types: Text, Image, RTF and compound watermarks using XML.
  3. Merge codes can be added to allow dynamic – user specific - content, e.g. PDF Opened by '{REMOTE_USER}' on '{LONG_DATE}' from IP '{REMOTE_ADDR}'. More details about merge codes can be found here.
  4. Allow filters to be specified to make sure watermarks are only applied to certain documents, e.g. depending on the Content Type, Version (major or minor), or content of certain columns (e.g. ‘Title’ contains ‘Confidential’).
  5. Support for PDF Files in Document  Libraries as well as files attached to individual list items.

 

Please note that by default the Automatic Watermarking screens are disabled. Enable the the SharePoint Feature named ‘Muhimbi PDF Converter - Automatic Watermarking’ at either the Web Application or Site Collection level (but not on both).

The default values for watermarks can be specified in the Site Settings menu, however you need to separately enable watermarking on the Document Library settings screen in order to activate it.

 

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Breaking change in Nintex Workflow 2010 2.2.0.0

Posted at: 17:24 on 04 April 2011 by Muhimbi

Nintex logoUpdate: Nintex have resolved the issue with lightning speed. A new version of NW2010 (2.2.0.1) is available for download with immediate effect.

It has recently come to our attention that the new version of Nintex Workflow 2010 (v2.2.0.0) released at the end of March 2011 contains a breaking change in the Nintex API. As a result users will get an error message when opening any workflows in the NW2010 Designer that contain the Muhimbi ‘Convert to PDF’ workflow action. The workflow will continue to work just fine, it is just not possible to amend it.

The exact error message you will see when opening the Nintex Workflow Designer is as follows:

Error retrieving config xml for activity 'Convert file to PDF' using adapter type Muhimbi.SharePoint.DocumentConverter.Nintex.PDFConverterAdapter, Muhimbi.SharePoint.DocumentConverter.Nintex, Version=1.0.1.1, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=c9db4759c9eaad12

We are currently working with Nintex to see if they can issue a patch. In the meantime our advice is to use Nintex Workflow 2010 2.1.1.1. If you have already upgrade to 2.2.0.0 and cannot revert back to 2.1.1.1 then please contact us for a workaround.

Please note that this issue does not affect Nintex Workflow 2007.

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