Refinement Panel Customization Saving Woes

Applies To: SharePoint 2010

Editing the Filter Category Definition of a Refinement Panel web part can make your search result pages so much better. This is one of the first things we customize and every time we do, I get tripped up by a really annoying setting in the web part.

Problem Scenario

I replace the XML in the Filter Category Definition property in the Refinement properties section of the web part. I hit Apply and everything validates. I save the page and run the results – No custom refinements! In fact, when I open the web part back up for editing, my custom Filter Category Definition is totally wiped out! Why isn’t it saving!?!?!?! Why am I weeping ever so softly?!?!! Why would I confess that on the internets?!?!?!?!


There’s a checkbox at the bottom of the Refinement properties section labeled, Use Default Configuration. This is checked by default. Unless you uncheck this when you place your custom XML in the property, it is going to completely ignore you and replace it with the default XML.


I can see why things work this way, but it is extremely unintuitive. It would seem that the web part should recognize there is custom XML in the Filter Category Definition and understand that’s what it should use. Then a button (NOT a checkbox) that says something along the lines of “Revert to Default Configuration” would be used to reset that XML when needed.

Oh well, nobody is asking my opinion anyway. So do yourself a favor and remember to uncheck that box whenever customizing the Filter Category Definition.

Using Powershell to Document SharePoint 2010 Farm Configuration

Applies To: SharePoint 2010

Business continuity (Disaster Recovery) is an important topic for SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft has provided a helpful book available online here: Business Continuity Management for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. The book is full of steps and options for backing up and restoring your farm.

There is an interesting powershell script starting on page 132 that takes advantage of the Export-Clixml powershell cmdlet to cycle through your farm’s configuration and write everything to XML files. The resulting XML isn’t super user friendly, but it is human readable. Even cooler is that you can use the Import-Clixml cmdlet to instantiate those objects back in powershell later.

Obviously an actual Farm backup (configuration-only) is more helpful for restoration of your settings, but these XML files can be very useful. For instance, if you don’t want to restore all your configuration but just want to document it somewhere so you can either reference it in whole or in part, this is a great solution. Even better is using it as a guide to pick and choose the various commands when you’re trying to find some information on the fly.

Unfortunately, the script is all jumbled together and split across multiple pages making the included suggestion of copying and pasting into a text document more complicated than needed. The newlines are all in the wrong places, the comments run together and overwrite commands, page numbers show up, etc. So, I went through the resulting file and formatted it correctly. You can use the copy toolbar to get it directly:

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