SharePoint and Windows Live ID

One of the great features of Claims authentication in SharePoint (2010 or 2013) is the ability to use external authentication providers such as ADFS, Microsoft LiveID (Hotmail, etc) or even Google among others. Better yet, using Microsoft Azure ACS makes setting up and managing this for extranet sites or Cloud applications simple!


The Catch!

However there’s one catch (isn’t there always?) Microsoft Live ID doesn’t give the email address in the claim. This sounds obscure but in effect what it means is that once you configure all of this this is what you get:


What a nice and friendly username!

(If you want instructions on configuring all this, I highly recommend Wictor Wilén’s indispensible series of articles on the topic:



Most people suggest using something like Google to authenticate instead to avoid this, however with SharePoint Online, Project Online, EPMonDemand  (ahem – excuse the blatant plug!) and Office365 all tied to my LiveID, I personally don’t think that’s an option!

So basically we need to populate that information, sure we could ask users to do it manually, but better yet let’s find out how to do this the Microsoft way.


Live Connect API

In order to support Windows 8 apps, Web apps and all manner of mobile devices MS have this great resource available, head over to the Live Connect Developer Center to see more information. Once you’ve registered then you can follow my steps below to get you setup to auto-populate SharePoint user information via Javascript!


Getting this going

Note: Getting to the business end here; you’ll Visual Studio, some JavaScript, SharePoint Object Model and WebPart development experience to continue. (Or just skip to the end and download my example, like everyone else!)

Firstly you’ll need to create yourself an ‘application’ on Live Connect, something like the following:


The important thing is to note your Client ID, and then enter the correct URL under Redirect domain.

All done, easy!


If you want to see how all this works, the Interactive Live SDK is one of the best SDK implementations I’ve seen from MS, have a look at what kind of options are available to you.

For example, the following JavaScript will return the basic user information for the currently logged in user including name, email addresses and more;

    client_id: “***********”,
    redirect_uri: “callback.aspx”,
    response_type: “token”
 WL.login({ “scope”: “wl.emails” }).then(
    function (response) {
    function (response) {}
 function updateUserData() {
    WL.api({ path: “/me”, method: “GET” }).then(
        function (response) {
            // Do something here!
        function (response) {}

Neat hey?


Bring it all together

Okay not quite done yet, lets put this into a nice simple SharePoint webpart and then using the good old Object Model update the current users’ details.

What you need to do:

  1. Open Visual Studio and create a new SharePoint – Visual Web Part Project


  1. Create some ASP controls for your webpart, I won’t bore you with all the details here, get the full solution below in which I created the following:
    1. AccountTextBox
    2. NameTextBox
    3. EmailTextBox1
    4. UpdateButton
    5. Plus a bunch of labels to make things neat.
  2. We need a link to the Live Connect, to make this easier I have saved a copy in a Layouts folder in my solution, so my ScriptLink looks like this:
    <SharePoint:ScriptLink ID="LiveIdscript" runat="server" Name="UpdateUserWebPart/wl.js"></SharePoint:ScriptLink>
  3. Also for the Live ID bit to work we need a callback.aspx file in our solution, which is referenced in the “redirect_uri” parameter passed to to WL.init in the JavaScript, this file should look something like the following;
 <!DOCTYPE html>
 <html xmlns="">
 <title>Authentication Complete</title>
 The script will handle passing oauth/authorize response back to the calling page.
 <script src="/_layouts/15/UpdateFromLiveID/js/wl.js" type="text/javascript">
 <p>This window can be closed.</p>
  1. Now for the JavaScript, first we need to initialise and try to login to Windows Live.
<SharePoint:ScriptBlock ID="ScriptBlock1" runat="server">
        client_id: "*************",
        redirect_uri: "<%=SPContext.Current.Web.Url %>/_layouts/15/UpdateUserWebPart/callback.aspx",
        response_type: "token"
    if (document.getElementById("<%=EmailTextBox1.ClientID %>").value == '') {
        WL.login({ "scope": "wl.emails" }).then(
        function (response) {
         function (response) {}

Above I’ve included an IF that checks for an existing Email address, if none is found then it automatically tries to login. (Pop-up blockers hate this, so you’ll need to do something nicer)

  1. Next here’s my updateUserData() function which is called on successful login;
function updateUserData() {
    WL.api({ path: "/me", method: "GET" }).then(
        function (response) {
            document.getElementById("<%=EmailTextBox1.ClientID %>").value = response.emails.preferred;

            if (! {
                document.getElementById("<%=NameTextBox.ClientID %>").value = response.emails.preferred;
            else {
                 document.getElementById("<%=NameTextBox.ClientID %>").value =;

            document.getElementById("<%=UpdateButton.ClientID %>").click();
            function (response) {}

So once we have the user data we update our ASP controls created previously so we can use those in the code behind.

  1. Lastly we need some code behind to get the details and update our SPUser object.
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(AccountTextBox.Text))
        AccountTextBox.Text = SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.LoginName;
        NameTextBox.Text = SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.Name;
        EmailTextBox1.Text = SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.Email;
    UpdateButton.Click += UpdateButton_Click;
  1. Here I’m updating the controls on Page_Load but only once, then creating an event for our Button.
  2. For the button I basically do the following:
void UpdateButton_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
    SPUser currentUser =

    currentUser.Name = NameTextBox.Text;
    currentUser.Email = EmailTextBox1.Text;


To keep this short(er) I have cut out the RunWithElevatedPrivileges bits and such, you actually might not need to have that depending on your user permissions, but if you leave it in then I suggest reading this.


Are we done yet?

Now lets deploy and have a look;



That’s what we see initially, but once we allow that popup:




Make sure you select Yes.




Now if everything’s working, clicking Update should do just that!




Get my full example solution here built for Visual Studio 2012 in SharePoint 2012, just make sure you update it with your Client ID from Live Connect.



It’s not perfect, in fact it’s a way off (think application pages, modal dialogs, mmm), but hopefully this will get you started.

Any questions, post below, but I strongly recommend you play with the Interactive SDK on Live Connect and read the Getting started documentation there if you have any problems with the JavaScript. It took me quite a bit to get all that working together the first time!

Update: See my latest post on this topic for a better approach:

Project Details Web Part Error When Using Host Headers

This was an issue that I spent a good amount of time working with a customer on; when you add the Project Server web-parts to other SharePoint sites in other web applications, in some cases the Project Center / Project Details webpart will give the following error always:

"Project Center cannot access the project(s) you are trying to view. It is most likely that you either don’t have permissions to view the project, another user has deleted this project(s) before you were able to view it or that another user is in the process of publishing the project."


Quick note: The webpart can be added to other sites using the steps discussed here by Christophe.

After a long investigation the problem was found to be a repeatable issue caused by the use of Host Headers in the Alternate Access Mapping configuration of the SharePoint farm.

In short; when the PSI URL configured in the .webpart XML web part configuration file and / or the site in which the webpart has been added uses a host header other than the NETBIOS name, then this problem will occur.

All other Project webparts work without issue, Reminders, My Tasks, etc although I have not tried them all, I might guess that the Resource Center webpart would have the same issue.

Eventually we confirmed with Microsoft support that this issue is a bug and no hotfix is currently available.

In terms of workarounds, not many good ones exist. I tested adding a second Alternate Access Mapping pointing to the NetBios name, however this only works if all clients use the non-hostheader address, in other words:

Site: "Project XYZ Workspace" accessed via http://servername/site/projectxyz will work BUT when accessed via http://hostheader/site/projectxyz (which is the same site) it DOES NOT WORK. That obviously has major drawbacks.

In the end in my case our solution was to move the PWA site into the other web application.

I hope this helps someone out there.