Creating SharePoint Online Site Collection using PowerShell

Recently, I have been very busy building a new product, and been playing a lot with the new (and old) Office 365 APIs and everything around it. The product is cloud based and in a multi-tenant distribution model. I will be blogging more often about the experience and challenges I faced.

Being a multi-tenant product that will be deployed many times, Automating it was the first thing to cross my mind.

I am using PowerShell scripts to create a site collection which will act as the datasource for my app.

The code is very straight forward three steps:

  1. Get the credentials
  2. Connect to the admin service
  3. Create the new site

Back to blogging

It’s been so long since I last blogged, almost 4 years!!

I will try to maintain a bi-weekly post writing up my newest works and findings. It’s been 4 years or even more I have worked with a lot of technologies mainly mobile from native iOS apps to cross-platform using titanium, phonegap and recently Xamarin.

So obviously, I am interested in mobile apps in all platforms, so I will be writing mainly in that domain, but I will also write about other experiences in competitive programming and algorithms I newly learnt.

Anyway I hope these coming blog posts become useful for someone out there. :)

Wish me luck.

Cairo Code Camp 2010 and my MEF session

Earlier this week on the 27th and 28th  of February DotNetWork user group organized the biggest dot net event in Egypt  “CairoCodeCamp“; it was held in the German University in Cairo (GUC) was sponsored by some leading technology companies as Microsoft the complete list is on the CairoCodeCamp website.

The Camp started with a Keynote by the awesome Scott Hanselman and then was followed by 5 parallel sessions for the two days, concluding 40 awesome sessions.

On the other hand, I had the chance to be a speaker in that awesome event, my session was titled ” When MEF meets silverlight ” and was mainly an introduction to MEF in Silverlight, and here I share my materials.


When MEF meets Silverlight
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View more presentations from AmrElsehemy.


The slides 

Mef-Legoized.pptx (2.58 mb)

Can’t wait for the next Cairo Code Camp, see you then.

Learning Silverlight : The plan and Introduction

In my previous post, I mentioned my interests and things I want to talk about in 2010, the first thing I mentioned is Silverlight, my knowledge about Silverlight now on a scale from 0 to 10 is just 0.5, actually I know nothing except that it I want to know everything, so here by I show all the topics I want to learn; not in any order.

Silverlight learning mindmap

So other than the titles, a small introduction on Silverlight needs to be done then next parts will start the actually good things,

Silverlight Introduction

I thought the best way to introduce what is Silverlight is to ask the usual WH questions and here are they;


Silverlight is a cross-browser (works on any browser Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Opera and recently Chrome), cross-platform (Windows, Mac and Linux) plugin for building and delivering the rich interactive applications for the web. It only needs a plugin to be installed.


Silverlight 1.0 was first released in 2007, in November 2008 the second release of Silverlight 2, 6 months later Silverlight 3 was out there, and now here we are with Silverlight 4 beta


If you are running Windows install the runtime from here.

If you are on a Mac download and install from here.



To start building silverlight applications you can install the developer tools for Silverlight. If you don't have Visual Web Developer, download both using Web Platform Installer. This will install the SDK, developer runtimes, and Visual Studio project templates. If you already have Visual Studio, download the tools directly (the Silverlight 3 SDK is also available as a standalone download). For additional information, read the Overview and the Silverlight 3 Release Notes

For Silverlight 4 download the tools from here 


Until now I have not finalized the plan so I would love to hear whats your opinion. Is something missing? Is something not needed?

Happy new year, Happy 2010

First of all, Happy new year to all, hope that 2010 will be more successful that the previous years. It has been almost a year and I haven't wrote anything on my blog, and even more than a year since the last technical blog post, I know it has been a bad year for me; well I have some reasons but mostly just because I got lazy, but I was wanting to get back to the community as I gained a lot from it, I think its time to payback a very small portion of what I have learned from them.

So, I think no time is better than the very first day of the year for this turnover and getting back, after more than a year away from blogging, new technologies have came out, and my interests changed too.

Whats new for Amr Elsehemy in 2010 :

As a starter, I need a new blog theme; I won't let this take my time but I will be working on one these days.

What you will see regularly in my blog (hopefully Smile ) in general is anything technology related, but specifically one of the following topics:


I was an early adopter of this great new technology I even remember when me and moses where reading the very poor (that time) SDK; oh yes and it was called WPFe for Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere, it didn't even have a Z-index property in Elements. But now all my knowledge about Silverlight that its API's are written in managed  code, rather than Javascript, and also the latest version out there is the Silverlight 4 beta which was announced at the PDC.

I have been looking around silverlight for a very small time now, and I collected some topics or just outlines for me to work on, or you can call this as a learning plan; I will also blog what I have learned along the way with many resources and links which I used and helped me along the way. 


I also was an early fan of the great new framework when it came out in its 5 RC's!! :) then betas, I also started a series which unfortunately I haven't finished, I was building a very simple but complete blog engine, it was for learning purposes and not meant to be used professionally. So, my 2010's years resolution is to learn more and more about this framework also finish or rather restart the jBlogMvc series but this time with the new versions of (ASP.NET MVC, jQuery).

As I mentioned I will re-write my small blog engine to get the most of it. 

Mac world

mmm, 2009 I first got my iPhone 3G in February and soon in August I had my MacBookPro, and so fast I am being a fan of ObjectiveC and XCode, and wanting to build iphone apps and Mac Os applications as well, I expect that I blog from time to time the latest things I have known in this great world. 

Information Retrieval

I mentioned many times my Masters studies, I talked about the courses and so, but now I am in a new phase; the thesis phase, so I will also frequently write about topics in my research.


Finally, my next post will most probably be my silverlight learning plan, and the first lesson I learned, so wish me luck. 

Happy Birthday MyBlog

Hello all, I know this blog has been idle for a long time, the reason is not I am becoming lazy or I don’t have any more new ideas and topics to write about it just so happens I was quite *very* busy and unstable in my work the past few months.

But anyway I am still busy, but I think more stable and its time to manage my time more accurately to come back to the blogo-sphere again.

One year ago, 3rd of January 2008 I decided to buy the domain to be my blog, before that I wasn’t an active community member, after this year has gone I might have not participated much towards the community but at least I gained some valuable knowledge from it.

In 2008,

My top posts, I started my blog with a tutorial series to help custom controls developers to give their controls a rich design time support through 15 parts,  I will list them here.

Also, my jBlogMvc small series had some audience and gained a lot of traffic, here are the posts.

2008 also witnessed some big change in my MCP transcript, after working with .net and Microsoft techs for a few years this summer I decided to get some certificates [MCPD : Enterprise and Web Developer] plus 4 other MCTS SharePoint certificates.

( , Transcript ID (758580) and the Access Code (sehemyxx))

Other than studying and self improvement, I finished my post graduate studies and starting my masters point, I am researching around something related to the knowledge extraction from the web which will be very  related to web semantics and web ontology.

Career wise, I worked for SCS for three quarters then left to ITWorx . In parallel I also became a teaching assistant at my faculty (Faculty of Computer and Information Sciences – Ain Shams University), I thought till now 2 courses one on Digital Image Processing and the other on Basic Data Structures using C++, I also learned alot during this semester and built some basic data structures which I will find some time to share what I learned also built an image processing package a mini photo shop which also I will share one day.

About 2009,

The first thing on my mind is to get a new theme, to stand up with the new me.

For the time being, I think whenever I start blogging again it would be something near ASP.NET MVC or jQuery which both are considered the new kids on the block of the .NET web world.

I also have an application in my mind, I wish I have the time to do it and share my experience.

Happy new year all, and happy birthday my blog.

jBlogMvc : part 3 Themable View Engine, Archive and Filtering by year, month and day

NOTE: In this series I build a blogengine using ASP.NET MVC and jQuery from scratch in order to learn more about these new technologies. If you haven’t read the first post in this series, I would encourage you do to that first, or check out the jBlogMvc category. You can also always subscribe to the feeds.

jBlogMvc is converted to be used on ASP.NET MVC Beta 1 if you haven’t downloaded it yet you can find it here, to read about the changes and additions in the beta 1 I do recommend reading ScottGu’s asp net mvc beta1 announcement if you haven’t already read it.

This part had witnessed a big change in project structure hence the new release of the beta1 and building a themable folder structure as shown in the pic.solutionExplorer  [more]

I built a ThemableWebFormViewEngine which now is responsible to find and create the Views to be rendered, the following listing shows the Theme View Engine

This code is based on the work Chris Pietschmann of here.

The theme folder should contain the following views

  1. site.master “the overall look and feel”
  2. Index.aspx “for multi posts page”
  3. archive.aspx “archive page”
  4. login.aspx “login page”
  5. single.aspx “single post page”
  6. _postview.acsx “for the post template”

I also added in the Blog General Settings an option list for querying all themes available.

I also added a ThemePreview action which you can preview how themes look with your posts without applying it, you can test the theme using a url like this http://localhost:2113/themepreview?theme=Transparentia as you can see in the code above line 85, the method that decides which theme to render check first if the action themepreview is used and if there is a theme parameter in the query string.


Aslo jBlogMvc now supports the Archive page, when the posts get more and more readers like to have a page that has all the posts, and this is the description of the archive page, with an action like the following,

and a simple view, that renders a table of posts titles and dates.

Filtering Posts by Date using url

Also I added date filtering in url so that you can query posts by date like this






This was done by adding the following route in the route table at application start


Some Changes

PostBinder class is no longer used, I grabbed this part from Scott’s announcement

Preview 5 introduced the concept of “model binders” – which allow you to map incoming form post values to complex .NET types passed as Controller action method parameters.  Model binders in preview 5 were extensible, and you could create custom binders and register them at multiple levels of the system.  Preview 5 didn’t ship with any “pre-built” binders, though, that you could use out of the box (you instead had to build your own).  Today’s beta now includes a built-in, pre-registered, binder that can be used to automatically handle standard .NET types – without requiring any additional code or registration.

You can see how the AddPost action in the AdminController accepts a Post parameter just as before now with now binders, however, you can see me using Bind attribute on the post with a parameter Prefix so why?, the out of box implementation will use parameter name “p” in this case and find in the form post collection for p.body, p.title, p.slug and so on, so the developer can override this default behavior by using this attribute, here I am sending an empty prefix so it should find form post variables named body, title and so on.


So what do you think? you are most welcomed to leave comments.

Download version one :

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jBlogMvc : part 2 Editing, Deleting, Paging Posts and Rss feeds

NOTE: In this series I build a blogengine using ASP.NET MVC and jQuery from scratch in order to learn more about these new technologies. If you haven’t read the first post in this series, I would encourage you do to that first, or check out the jBlogMvc category. You can also always subscribe to the feeds.

What about new features this part will cover :

  1. Configuration is saved in the database.
  2. Managing Posts (Editing, Deleting).
  3. Posts are now paged.
  4. Some jquery magic is used.

So, lets have a tour in the project one more time. [more]


Database has now a new table to read and write the blog settings.

The project design has changed I applied the Repository Pattern (as recommended in some feedback) , so know I have an extra layer I don’t plan on supporting other data stores but its a good practice (anyway this series is to learn).


Pagination is added it has been discussed many times I will not repeat the code I got over here, for more about paging in ASP.NET MVC check the following excellent posts


IBlogRepository and its implementation were added to this folder, the IBlogRepository is as listed here



Still having the main two controllers (Home and Admin)  but many changes have came through, due to changing the structure and using repository.

Home Controller now sends a PagedList rather an ordinary List to the View, and I added a feed action which returns rss feeds of the blog as shown below

Admin Controller has a lot of additions as shown in the code listing.


A lot of views were added in this part 2 other nested master pages have been added Admin_Manage and Admin_Settings for managing blog content and settings respectively some content views were added too.

  1. ManagePosts : Grid for all posts.
  2. EditPost : editing a post.
  3. DeletePost : confirm deleting a post.
  4. GeneralSettings : Blog Name, Blog description.
  5. ReadingSettings : Posts per page, syndication count.

I will not copy and paste code here, please take a look at the attached project.


This part didn’t miss some of the jQuery magic as well, I found another interesting plugin called jEditable which allows ajax inline editing, its pretty cool and small, all you need to start using it, is an Action that accepts POST verbs and returns some value.

I used it here with the (Settings) panel to read and write blog settings, the following code snippet is from the GeneralSettings.aspx view page defined in the document ready event.



Its clear that this code snippet assigns the textbox with id blogname to an action called UpdateSettings found in the Admin controller, shown in the next code snippet


inline editing

So, in the action I accept two parameters sent id and value, sent by default by the jEditable plugin which can be configured to change the variable names, the action is expecting that there is a blogsetting  in the Settings table having a key macthing the id parameter for example (blogname), which I also expect having a matching Property name in the Config class (built using the singleton pattern).

I am pretty sure that this is not the best practice for this case, thats why I am in need for constructive feedback.


And that’s all for this part, I have more and more features coming while writing this engine I have learned much till now, hope someone is learning with me too.

In this part, I used some features of the ASP.NET MVC to complete the administration area I started last, jQuery too was used to make inline editing (jEditable plugin) so what do you think? you are most welcomed to leave comments.

Download version one :

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