Adjusting VS Code Language Associations

Applies To: Visual Studio Code

Have you ever opened a file in VS Code and there was no magic highlighting? Your first response is likely to weep and curse the heavens. Fortunately, the heavens have heard your cries and you can quickly fix things with just a couple of settings tweaks.

Plain Text!!? That is clearly the incredibly popular webpart file type!!

This can happen if you decided to use your own proprietary filetype for some standard format (like XML) or more likely you are trying to open someone else’s proprietary filetype for some standard format (like XML).

All you need to do is clue VS Code into how it should treat those types of files. This is done in your user settings. To open your settings just hit Ctrl+[Comma] or you can open them from the File > Preferences > Settings menu option.

The setting we are looking for is files.associations. You can find this by typing it in the Search Settings box. To edit the setting, just click the pencil icon next to it and choose Copy to settings. This will copy the setting over to your user settings file where you can add your values:


Each association is just a key/value pair. You can have as many of these as you like (just separate them with a comma). The key is a glob pattern that will match on the full filename. If you include a / then it will actually match on the full file path. For simple file extensions matches, just use a wildcard (*) followed by the extension.  Here’s what mine looks like for .webpart files:


As soon as you save and go back to your file you’ll see the magic applied:

Wowee! Now I can get back to manually editing exported web parts! yay?

You can read more about how all this works here.

Also, for those that didn’t spot it above, my pretty colors are from the Blackboard theme.

Changing Web Part Properties When the Page is Unavailable

Applies To: SharePoint

The other day we made some changes that caused some issues with how one of our web parts was configured. Unfortunately, I hadn’t wrapped the problem in a try/catch and my error blew up the whole page. I’m sure I’m the only one that’s ever done that. So obviously I’ve got some code changes to make, but what do I do in the meantime? Fortunately, there’s some straight forward Powershell that lets you change web part settings (even custom properties like mine).

I found the solution to this over on where he was using the technique to change a web part that automatically redirected the user. I’ve just reproduced his code here and added some explanation and background.

When I first went to solve this problem I tried the ?contents=1 querystring trick to pull up the Web Part Administration page. If you’re looking for a quick solution you can add that query string to the end of your page’s URL and then delete the web part from the page and start over. But a more elegant solution is to just change the offending property using some easy Powershell.

Using the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, run the following commands:

$web = Get-SPWeb ""
$page = $web.GetFile("default.aspx")
$wpm = $web.GetLimitedWebPartManager("default.aspx",[System.Web.UI.WebControls.WebParts.PersonalizationScope]::Shared)
$part = $wpm.WebParts[0]
$part.SomeProperty = "The correct setting!"
$page.CheckIn("Fixed that property")
$page.Publish("Fixed that property")

What Just Happened?

In line 1 we’re just getting a reference to the web site (SPWeb) where your web part lives using Get-SPWeb. Just replace the URL shown with yours.

Lines 2-3 and 8-9 are only required if the page you’re modifying is on a publishing site or check in/out is required. Feel free to skip these (go directly to line 4) if you’re just editing a simple page. If your page does require check out to be edited, line 2 is simply retrieving the file (SPFile) using the GetFile method using the relative location of the page. Then line 3 calls the CheckOut method which, of course, checks out the file.

In line 4, we’re grabbing a reference to the Web Part Manager for the page (SPLimitedWebPartManager) using the GetLimitedWebPartManager method. Just replace the first parameter with the relative location of your page. The second parameter is the PersonalizationScope enumeration and can be User or Shared. You’re going to want to use Shared to affect everybody. The Web Part Manager object is what lets us get access to all the web parts on the page and screw with em.

In line 5, we grab the web part (WebPart) we want by index using the WebParts collection. In the example above I already knew that the web part I wanted was the first one in the collection. You can also pass the uniqueID property of the web part (instead of the index). You can find out both by simply calling the WebParts collection by itself ($web.WebParts) and everything will get listed to the screen.

To see all the available properties of the web part you can just type ($part) and it will list everything out including any custom properties. Then you can just set them like we do in line 6.

Line 7 uses the Web Part Manager’s SaveChanges method to incorporate all your changes. Lines 8-9 are again only required if your pages library requires check in/out and publishing. If it’s a simple page just skip to line 10. Line 8 uses the CheckIn method which takes a string for a check-in comment. Line 9 uses the Publish method which also takes a string for a comment.

Line 11 just calls the Close method and ensures we clean up all our resources.

That’s it! Now you can wrap that up in a script to loop through multiple pages and change properties on all sorts of web parts or just one-off fix those web parts you might have broken.