How to load balance FIM

November 23, 2009 at 11:26 AMHenrik Nilsson

Darryl Russi have posted a great article on how to configure for more than one instance of the FIM Service.
If you haven’t discovered Darryl’s blog yet, make sure you bookmark it or add a feed subscription!

Service Partitions - Multiple Middle Tiers, Request & Workflow Processing

Posted in: Forefront Identity Manager | Identity Management | Workflow

Tags: ,

WIF is released!!!

November 17, 2009 at 9:01 PMHenrik Nilsson


Today Microsoft announced that Windows Identity Foundation is released. It puzzles me since the RC of WIF must be the most short lived RC ever, only 11 days or am I missing something?

Anyway, have a look at the announcement:

Unfortunately the download doesn’t seem to be working yet but it’ll probably show up here soon…

Posted in: ADFS | Federation | WIF

Tags: ,

EnumerateResourcesActivity - the follow-up

November 16, 2009 at 10:13 PMHenrik Nilsson

A couple of months ago Joe Zamora (the CShark) was trying to solve the mysteries around the EnumerateResourcesActivity, a great activity that you could use from your own custom activities/workflows but not from the FIM workflow designer, read Joe’s post here. After a lot of work, some help from Nima in the product team and a couple of not that useful tips from me Joe got it working. See the forum post where me and Joe was trying to accomplish this here.

The EnumerateResourcesActivity is the only activity that could search for and return resources in FIM and it does so simply by you giving it an XPath query. It’s a really nice activity except it’s got limitations in that it can only contain a single child activity (actually not strange at all, the same goes for the ReplicatorActivity) and it has a got a designer that doesn’t allow for adding the child activity declaratively so you’re forced to add the single child using code. The EnumerateResourcesActivity work pretty much as the ReplicatorActivity in that it iterates bunch of values only in the case of the EnumerateResourcesActivity it finds the values (resources) before iterating them. An important aspect of workflow crafting is that an activity can’t be executed twice and that is handled by the EnumerateResourcesActivity by creating duplicates of the child activity objects (and descendant objects of the child activity) for each iteration before the iteration is started therefore you can’t use the original activity object references for getting activities within the iterations.

Joe used a CodeActivity as the single child but the solution I’m going to show you will use a SequenceActivity instead making it possible to add more than one single activity because you will probably want to do work suited for other activities like add a user to the group you have found or something like that.

I won’t go through all the stuff around activity crafting, for this you’ll have to turn to the Windows Workflow Foundation developer center , the Forefront Identity Manager 2010 Developer Reference or maybe the oracle scrapheap's named Google and Bing. First of all we need some code in the designer part of our custom Activity class (A custom activity is usually created from two partial classes when you create it in Visual Studio). In the InitializeComponent method I create a EnumerateResourcesActivity, add a SequenceActivity to it and to the SequenceActivity I add a CodeActivity but I leave for you to create more child activities to the SequenceActivity after the CodeActivity. Finally I add the EnumerateResourcesActivity to the custom activity I’m currently creating:

private void InitializeComponent()
    this.CanModifyActivities = true;

    // codeActivity
    this.codeActivity = new CodeActivity();
    this.codeActivity.ExecuteCode += new System.EventHandler(this.codeActivity_ExecuteCode);

    // sequenceActivity
    this.sequenceActivity = new SequenceActivity();

    // enumResourcesActivity 
    this.enumResourcesActivity = new Microsoft.ResourceManagement.Workflow.Activities.EnumerateResourcesActivity();
    this.enumResourcesActivity.PageSize = 100;
    this.enumResourcesActivity.XPathFilter = "/Person";
    // MyCustomActivity
    this.Name = "MyCustomActivity";

    this.CanModifyActivities = false;

Did you notice the XPathFilter property of the EnumerateResourcesActivity that I’ve set to return all person objects? You might think it’s strange that I add a CodeActivity as the only child of the SequenceActivity but I use this for getting the resource for the current iteration and it also gives a method that you could use for assigning values to siblings further down the execution chain from the CodeActivity that I leave up to you to add.

Here’s how I extract the value from the EnumerateResourcesActivity:

void codeActivity_ExecuteCode(object sender, EventArgs e)
    SequenceActivity s = (SequenceActivity)((CodeActivity)sender).Parent;
    ResourceType resource = EnumerateResourcesActivity.GetCurrentIterationItem(s) as ResourceType;

    // Perform initialization of any sibling activities here but remember you must reference
// them as I’ve done above with the SequenceActivity
// and a good way of doing it could be for example...
// UpdateResourceActivity u = s.Activities.OfType<UpdateResourceActivity>().First();
// or other generic “queries”.

First of all we need to get the SequenceActivity of the current iteration and since we know it’s the parent of the CodeActivity we could get the Parent property object of the current CodeActivity object instance that we’ve got from the sender parameter. Then we call the static GetCurrentIterationItem method passing in the SequenceActivity object instance and this should return the resource for the current iteration.

Next I leave up to you to use the values of the found resources to do whatever you wish and that could be for example update the resources found, delete the resources found or maybe create new resources from whatever values the found resources contain.

Posted in: Forefront Identity Manager | Identity Management | Workflow

Tags: , ,

Working with RCDC’s in Visual Studio

November 14, 2009 at 2:14 PMHenrik Nilsson

Not all of you out there know that Visual Studio is a great tool for editing XML and that goes for Resource Control Display Configurations as well. If you’re using Notepad for editing RCDC’s you should definitely rethink what you’re doing because wouldn’t it be nice to have Intellisense, Schema validation while you type, and a lot of other nice features?

In order to accomplish this you need the schema for RCDC’s and that could be found as Appendix A in Resource Control Display Configuration XML Reference. I’ve prepared the schema so that it’s ready for use in Visual Studio, download it here.

Before you start editing RCDC make sure you read and understood the Introduction to Resource Control Display Configurations and the Resource Control Display Configuration XML Reference.

How to create the XML schema file RCDCSchema.xsd (unless you have downloaded it here):

  1. Open Visual Studio and choose to create a new file from the file menu, select XML Schema and click open.
  2. Remove everything from the new file except the top row:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  3. Paste in the contents from the Appendix A in the Resource Control Display Configuration XML Reference.
  4. Save the file as RCDCSchema.xsd in the location of your choice.

How to edit an existing RCDC:

  1. In the portal, go to Administration/Resource Control Display Configuration.
  2. Open the RCDC of your choice.
  3. Click the “Click here to view the value of this attribute” link above the file upload control for the Configuration Data attribute and a new window opens and shows the XML for the RCDC.
  4. Save the page with .xml file extension in a place of you choice.
  5. Open the file with Visual Studio.
  6. In the properties for the document there’s a Schemas property. click the button with the ellipsis within the value field for this property and a dialog with available schemas shows up.
  7. Click the Add button, browse and select the RCDCSchema.xsd file.
  8. Click Ok to close the schemas dialog.
  9. If you have done everything correct you’ll now be able to edit your RCDC xml file with Intellisense and schema validation.


How to upload a finished RCDC:

  1. In the portal, go to Administration/Resource Control Display Configuration.
  2. Open the RCDC of your choice.
  3. Click the Browse button in the file upload control for the Configuration Data attribute and select the file you have edited in Visual Studio.
  4. Close the RCDC page by clicking the ok button.

How to improve the schema

Unfortunately the schema isn’t perfect, I would really like to have the available options for the different attributes to be present in the schema so that you could select for example the value “UocTextBox” for the my:TypeName attribute, this would make the editing even simpler and less error prone. Is there anyone out there that has the time and interest for taking this schema a bit further?

What I mean is for example if we add the following type definition to the schema (not complete):

<xsd:simpleType name="controlTypes">
   <xsd:restriction base="xsd:token"> 
      <xsd:enumeration value="UocTextBox"/> 
      <xsd:enumeration value="UocFileUpload"/> 
      <xsd:enumeration value="UocPictureBox"/> 
      <xsd:enumeration value="UocDropDownList"/>


…and map this type to the my:TypeName attribute like this:

<xsd:attribute name="TypeName" type="my:controlTypes"/>


…We could easily use Intellisense for selecting a value for the my:TypeName attribute like this:

A known issue with the schema
A while ago was helping out on the forum (this thread) and as I hope you all know XML is case-sensitive. Usually boolean values are entered using lower-case but in the RCDC schema some attributes like for example the Required attribute requires you to enter the boolean value with an initial capitalized letter and improving the schema could help many avoid this problem.

For more info on the XML Tools in Visual Studio go here

Posted in: Forefront Identity Manager | RCDC

Tags: ,

Finally the FIM 2010 RC1 VHD is available

November 10, 2009 at 9:22 PMHenrik Nilsson

Find it here

I waited  a long time for this but I lost my patience 1½ weeks ago and did an install of my own so I don’t need it anymore but for those of you out there – this will save you a lot of time installing and hopefully it contains some interesting educational stuff. My wish is that the VHD for the following releases could be released at the same time and that the educational stuff instead could be released later. Brjann?

Once again Jorge was first with the news… Jorge don’t you have anything better to do than surf the web for news, have you got a secret search engine of your own or a feeds reader on steroids? :-) 

Posted in:


Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) RC is here!

November 6, 2009 at 8:42 PMHenrik Nilsson

Don’t miss Vittorio’s fantastic Italian accent and all about what’s new in WIF!
You could also download this whitepaper if you wish to know more about what's new.

If you don’t have a subscription for Vittorio’s blog yet, go get one!
Could we hope for a ADFSv2 release at PDC?
Download WIF here


Posted in: ADFS | Federation | WIF