Friday, May 11, 2007

Yet another scripting host - MyScriptHost

Developing for SharePoint I found myself in situation when I had an access the the server (direct or remote desktop) and need to run some ad-hoc code on it but the server did not have Visual Studio or any other development environment installed. I think this is familiar to some of us. These are some possible options:

  • install Visual Studio or any other development environment (very unlikely that administrator will allow you to do it for test or production environment)
  • develop the code on the other machine and run on the server (good approach but you loose code flexibility especially if you want to write and test your code interactively)
  • use SnippetCompiler. This is a very good tool and I would choose it if it supported command line execution of C# files.
  • use Windows Scripting Host (WSH) to create and run scripts (good approach but you need to use JScript of VBScript)
  • use  Dot Net Script (good tool, but it uses its own file format and does not have IDE)

I wanted to have some kind of a combination of SnippetCompiler and Dot Net Script where I could create some scripts and maybe execute them automatically in future. 

So meet MyScriptHost.

This is a console application with a windowed code editor. It works with one file at a time which can be executed with or without code editor. It can associate .mysh files to itself (I have taken this idea from Dot Net Script project).

Command line usage:

MyScriptHost.exe <filename> <command>

where <filename> is a name of a file and <command> is one of the following:

/open open the file for editing. This is a default behavior if no other command is specified.
/compile compile the file without execution
/run compile and execute the file
/runandwait compile and execute the file and keep the console window open after execution

Code file should be a C# class containing public static void Main() as entry point. The only addition to pure C# code is a metatag <@ Reference Name="assembly name or path" %> in order to define external references. Code file can have any number of these tags at the beginning of the file.

MyScriptHost contains internal static class MyshDebug which has some methods useful for debugging:

static void Watch(params object[] values) Opens a watch window for specified values
static void Print(object obj)

static void Print(object obj, int levels)

Prints object properties to console. It also allows to specify a number of levels to print out.

Watch window is a modal window and allows you to see and change properties in PropertyGrid. Invoke tab allows you to print property value with a specified level of details.


This is an example of a script I used with MOSS to import news items from xml file to SharePoint document library.

<%@ Reference Name="C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.dll" %>
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Diagnostics;
using Microsoft.SharePoint;
using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;
using System.IO;
using System.Xml;

public class Class1
    private const string m_destNewsItemsFolder = @"C:\My Projects\Sharepoint Scripts\ImportNews\Items\";
    private const string m_destNewsAttachmentsFolder = @"C:\My Projects\Sharepoint Scripts\ImportNews\Attachments\";
    private const string m_siteUrl = @"http://localhost:1003/";
    private const string m_prefix = "newPage_";
    private const string m_pageTemplateName = "page1.aspx";
    public static void Main()
        SPSite site = new SPSite(m_siteUrl);
        SPWeb web = site.OpenWeb("News");
        SPFolder pages = web.Folders["Pages"];
        SPFile pageTemplate = pages.Files[m_pageTemplateName];
        // delete old files
        Console.WriteLine("Deleting previous files...");
        List<SPFile> filesToDelete = new List<SPFile>();
        foreach(SPFile file in pages.Files)
            Console.WriteLine(String.Format("{0}", file.Name));
        foreach(SPFile file in filesToDelete)
            Console.WriteLine("Deleting " + file.Name);

        string[] fileNames = Directory.GetFiles(m_destNewsItemsFolder);

        // Create new files first
        for (int i = 0; i < fileNames.Length; i++)
            string fileName = Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(fileNames[i]);
            fileName = m_prefix + fileName;
            Console.WriteLine("Creating " + fileName);
            pageTemplate.CopyTo(pages.Url + "/" + fileName + ".aspx"true);

        // This is to refresh file list
        pages = web.Folders["Pages"];

        // Upload news content to already created files
        for (int i = 0; i < fileNames.Length; i++)
            string fileName = Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(fileNames[i]);
            fileName = m_prefix + fileName;
            Console.WriteLine("Uploading " + fileName);

            XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();

            string body = GetNodeText(doc, "//body");
            string date = GetNodeText(doc, "//date");
            string sourceName = GetNodeText(doc, "//sourceName");
            string newsType = GetNodeText(doc, "//newsType");
            string title = GetNodeText(doc, "//title");
            string[] attachments = GetNodeTextArray(doc, "//attachment");

            string creator = GetNodeText(doc, "//creator");
            string creatorName = GetNodeText(doc, "//creatorName");
            string author = GetNodeText(doc, "//author");
            string entity = GetNodeText(doc, "//Entity"); //????
            SPFile newPage = pages.Files[fileName + ".aspx"];
            // adjust body
            body = "<p>" + body.Replace("\r\n""</p><p>") + "</p>";
            SPListItem item = newPage.Item;
            item["Page Content"] = body;
            item["Article Date"] = date;
            //item["NewsType"] = newsType;
            item["Title"] = title;
            item["Contact Name"] = author;
    private static string GetNodeText(XmlNode root, string xpath)
        XmlNode node = root.SelectSingleNode(xpath);
        if (node == null)
            return "";
        return node.InnerText;

    private static string[] GetNodeTextArray(XmlNode root, string xpath)
        XmlNodeList nodes = root.SelectNodes(xpath);
        List<string> values = new List<string>();
        foreach (XmlNode node in nodes)
        return values.ToArray();
I am not going to explain how this script works. It just demonstrates the power and flexibility I gained in development for SharePoint in restricted environment. I started this project for fun and now it becomes a very useful tool for me.

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