ARTICLE

SharePoint 2010 - Create Custom Timer Job

Posted by Jean Paul Articles | SharePoint 2010 July 11, 2012
In this article we try creating a custom Timer Job in SharePoint.
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In this article we try creating a custom Timer Job in SharePoint. The tools we are going to use are the following:

  1. Visual Studio 2010
  2. SharePoint DevTools from CodePlex

We can start with analysing what is a Timer Job.

What is a Timer Job?

A Timer Job is a periodically executed task inside the SharePoint Server. It allows us to provide a task execution environment.

TmrJobShr1.jpg

For example we can execute tasks like: sending emails every hour, updating data every day, creation of reports every week etc.

Default Timer Jobs inside SharePoint

There are many Timer Jobs inside SharePoint which do the internal tasks like:

  • Sending emails
  • Validating sites
  • Delete unused sites
  • Health analysis
  • Product versioning
  • Diagnostics

These tasks will have execution periods like:

  1. Minute
  2. Hour
  3. Day
  4. Week
  5. Month

Manage Timer Jobs

You can see the Timer Jobs from Central Administration > Monitoring > Manager Timer Jobs:

TmrJobShr2.jpg

The following is the list of some Timer Job Definitions:

TmrJobShr3.jpg

You can select each Job Definition and change the schedule or disable it.

Creating a Custom Timer Job Definition

Now we are ready with the basics to proceed with creating a Custom Timer Job.

Scenario

We have a list named Products which is a custom template. Any new product arriving has to be posted to an SQL Server database so that the company website can show it to potential customers.

So the activities involved are the following:

  1. Create Products List inside SharePoint
  2. Create Product Table inside Database
  3. Create the Timer Job Definition
  4. Create Event Receiver
  5. Create the Database Insert Method
  6. Deploy the Timer Job
  7. View the Results

Step 1: Create Products List inside SharePoint

Here is the List Definition (the list template with data is attached with the article):

TmrJobShr4.jpg

You will see that the core columns of the list are:

Column

Description

Title

The name of the Product

Description

About the Product

Price

The price of the Product

The HasPosted column determines whether the item is copied to the Products database.

After installing the list from the template you will will see it has 2 items:

TmrJobShr5.jpg

Step 2: Create Product Table inside Database

Now we need to create the destination database and table. The following is the table definition (the table SQL is attached with the article):

TmrJobShr6.jpg

Step 3: Create the Timer Job

In this step we can go ahead and create the Timer Job. For this you require Visual Studio 2010 and the SharePoint templates installed.

Open Visual Studio and create a new Empty SharePoint Project as shown below:

TmrJobShr7.jpg

In the next page select your server and use the Deploy as Farm solution option:

TmrJobShr8.jpg

Click the Finish button after entering the options.

Now add a new class and derive it from SPJobDefinition as shown below:

using System;

using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.Linq;

using System.Text;

using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;

 

namespace SPTimerJobExample

{

    public class ProductsJobDefinition : SPJobDefinition

    {

    }

}

Now replace the above file with the following content.
 

using System;

using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.Linq;

using System.Text;

using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;

using Microsoft.SharePoint;

 

namespace SPTimerJobExample

{

    public class ProductsTimerJob : SPJobDefinition

    {

        public ProductsTimerJob()

            : base()

        {

 

        }

 

        public ProductsTimerJob(string jobName, SPService service, SPServer server, SPJobLockType lockType)

            : base(jobName, service, server, lockType)

        {

            this.Title = "Products Timer Job";

        }

 

        public ProductsTimerJob(string jobName, SPWebApplication webapp)

            : base(jobName, webapp, null, SPJobLockType.ContentDatabase)

        {

            this.Title = "Products Timer Job";

        }

 

        public override void Execute(Guid targetInstanceId)

        {

            SPWebApplication webapp = this.Parent as SPWebApplication;

            SPContentDatabase contentDb = webapp.ContentDatabases[targetInstanceId];

 

            SPList list = contentDb.Sites[0].RootWeb.Lists["Products"];

 

            CopyItems(list);

        }

 

        private void CopyItems(SPList list)

        {

            foreach (SPListItem item in list.Items)

            {

                bool hasPosted = (bool)item["HasPosted"];

 

                if (!hasPosted)

                {

                    new DbManager().Insert(item);

 

                    item["HasPosted"] = true;

                    item.Update();

                }

            }

        }

    }

}

The above code perform the following activities:

  1. Get the list of items from Products where HasPosted is false

  2. Insert the Product into the Database

  3. Mark the item HasPosted to true

We need to include the DbManager class file which will be done in the upcoming step.

Step 4: Create Event Receiver

Now we have to create an event receiver which performs the installation or uninstallation of the Job Definiton.

In the Solution Explorer right-click on Feature and use the Add Feature item:

TmrJobShr9.jpg

In the dialog that appears, change the title to Products Job Definition and the Scope to Site:

TmrJobShr10.jpg

Now right-click on the Solution Explorer > Feature 1 and click Add Event Receiver:

TmrJobShr11.jpg

Inside the class content of Feature1.EventReceiver.cs place the following code:
 

const string JobName = "Products Timer Job";

 

 public override void FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)

 {

     SPSite site = properties.Feature.Parent as SPSite;

 

     DeleteJob(site); // Delete Job if already Exists

 

     CreateJob(site); // Create new Job

 }

 

 private static void DeleteJob(SPSite site)

 {

     foreach (SPJobDefinition job in site.WebApplication.JobDefinitions)

        if (job.Name == JobName)

             job.Delete();

 }

 

 private static void CreateJob(SPSite site)

 {

     ProductsTimerJob job = new ProductsTimerJob(JobName, site.WebApplication);

 

     SPMinuteSchedule schedule = new SPMinuteSchedule();

     schedule.BeginSecond = 0;

     schedule.EndSecond = 5;

     schedule.Interval = 5;

 

     job.Schedule = schedule;

     job.Update();

 }

 

 public override void FeatureDeactivating(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)

 {

     DeleteJob(properties.Feature.Parent as SPSite); // Delete the Job

 }


You need to add the using as well:

using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;

Step 5: Create the Database Insert Method

In this step we can complete the DbManager class file. Here we are using the Entity Framework associated with the .Net 3.5 version.

For this add a new Entity Data Model into the project and map to the Product table which we have created in a previous step; see:

TmrJobShr12.jpg

Now create a class file named DbManage.cs and replace it with the following content:
 

using System;

 

namespace SPTimerJobExample

{

    public class DbManager

    {

        public void Insert(Microsoft.SharePoint.SPListItem item)

        {

            using (ProductionModel context = new ProductionModel(GetConnectionString()))

            {

                Product product = new Product();

                product.Title = item["Title"].ToString();

                product.Description = item["Description"].ToString();

                product.Url = item["Url"].ToString();

                product.Price = (double)item["Price"];

                product.PostedOn = DateTime.Today;

 

                context.AddToProducts(product);

 

                context.SaveChanges();

            }

        }

 

        public string GetConnectionString()

        {

            string connectionString = new System.Data.EntityClient.EntityConnectionStringBuilder

            {

                Metadata = "res://*",

                Provider = "System.Data.SqlClient",

                ProviderConnectionString = new System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnectionStringBuilder

                {

                    InitialCatalog = "YOUR-DB-NAME-HERE",

                    DataSource = @"YOUR-SERVER-NAME-HERE",

                    IntegratedSecurity = false,

                    UserID = "YOUR-USER-ID-HERE",  

                    Password = "YOUR-PASSWORD-HERE",         

                }.ConnectionString

            }.ConnectionString;

 

            return connectionString;

        }

    }

}

The above code contains the Insert() method to insert a new record into the Product table.

For the time being I am hard-coding the connection string. You need to specify the correct user credentials in the GetConnectionString() method.

Note: Please note that the connection string is loaded from the executing application's configuration file. In the case of Timer Jobs the configuration file will be OWSTIMER.exe.config residing in the 14hive folder.

Step 6: Deploy the Timer Job

Now we are ready to deploy the Timer Job into the SharePoint Site. For this right-click on the solution and click the Deploy option.

TmrJobShr13.jpg

If you get the Deploy Succeeded message we are good.

Step 7: View the Results

Now we can go to the Central Administration to see our Timer Job. For this open Central Administration web site and go to Monitoring > Review Job Definitions:

TmrJobShr14.jpg

On clicking the Review Job Definitions link you will see our item as shown below:

TmrJobShr15.jpg

Click on the item and in the appearing page click the button Run Now:

TmrJobShr16.jpg

You will see that the Timer Job is set for 5 Minutes according to our code.

Now we can go back to the Products list and see that the HasPosted is set to True.

TmrJobShr17.jpg

Going to the SQL Server Table we can see both the records are inserted there.

TmrJobShr18.jpg

Troubleshooting Tips

While developing timer jobs, you might need to delete the assembly and feature as well. Please note the following points for troubleshooting guidance:

  • Features are deployed to the 14hive folder

  • The assembly gets deployed to GAC folder

  • You can use RETRACT option from Visual Studio

  • You can use GACUTIL to uninstall the assembly

  • You can remove the Feature from 14hive folder

For troubleshooting the Farm Solutions or User Solutions you can use:

  • Central Administration > System Settings > Manage Farm Solutions

  • Central Administration > System Settings > Manage User Solutions

TmrJobShr19.jpg

You can Retract or undo the last Retract schedule there.

For checking the Job Status or History you can use:

  • Central Administration > Monitoring > Check Job Status > Timer Job Status

  • Central Administration > Monitoring > Check Job Status > Timer Job History

These screens will show the Success / Failure status of the jobs and any errors associated. For example an invalid connection string problem is identified as shown below:

TmrJobShr20.jpg

Debugging Tips

In some cases the Timer Service holds the old version of an assembly. So the new changes you do through Visual Studio may not be reflected immediately. You can change the assembly version and view the GAC to ensure the correct version was deployed.

TmrJobShr21.jpg

Plus you can restart the SharePoint 2010 Timer Service from services.msc:

TmrJobShr22.jpg

Note: In the case of Integrated Security as True in connection strings, the authenticated user would be the Service Account user assigned in the service.

References

Technet on Timer Jobs
Code on Timer Jobs
Solution Removal using PowerShell


Summary

In this article we have explored the Timer Job feature of SharePoint and creation of a custom timer job. The following are the key points to be remembered:

  • Timer Jobs can be scheduled for automating jobs inside SharePoint 2010

  • SPJobDefinition is the base class for Timer Job

  • Create Event Receiver Feature to create or delete the timer job

  • SPFeatureReceiver is the base class for event receiver

  • The feature gets deployed in the 14hive folder

  • OWSTIMER.EXE is the process executing Timer Jobs

The associated source code along with the list template with data is attached. You can download and try running it.
 

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