F# + SharePoint = a list attachment versioning event receiver

21 Nov 2011

It’s been a while since I last took a serious look at F#. Back then I did a simple random fractal terrain generator which, even though the algorithm is simple, I found challenging to do. Nevertheless, functional programming is just one of those areas that I keep returning to. This time around I want to use the event receiver for versioning attachments in SharePoint lists to get familiar with object-oriented F#. Of course, translating a C# class to an F# class, the result will look like C# with different syntax and better type inference. The point here is to use classes in F# as a way to expose functionality to other .NET languages. In a real-world F# application the core logic would likely not be object-oriented.

namespace Dk.Bugfree

open System
open System.Globalization
open Microsoft.SharePoint

type public ListAttachmentVersioningEventReceiver() =
    inherit SPItemEventReceiver()
    member private r.CustomVersion = "CustomVersion"
    member private r.ShadowLibrary = "ShadowLibrary"

    // override ItemAdded : properties:SPItemEventProperties -> unit
    override r.ItemAdded properties =
        base.ItemAdded properties
        r.SetCustomVersionLabel properties.ListItem
        r.CreateSnapshot properties

    // override ItemUpdated : properties:SPItemEventProperties -> unit
    override r.ItemUpdated properties =
        base.ItemUpdated properties
        let item = properties.ListItem

        if r.RollbackHappened item then
            r.RestoreSnapshot properties
            r.SetCustomVersionLabel item
            r.CreateSnapshot properties
            r.CreateSnapshot properties
            r.SetCustomVersionLabel item

    // member private CreateSnapshot : properties:SPItemEventProperties -> unit
    member private r.CreateSnapshot properties =
        use site = properties.OpenWeb()
        let item = properties.ListItem
        let shadowLibrary = site.Lists.[r.ShadowLibrary] :?> SPDocumentLibrary
        let path = String.Format("Versions/{0}/{1}", item.ID, r.GetOfficialVersionLabel(item))
        let shadowFolder = r.CreateFolderPath shadowLibrary path
        item.Attachments |> Seq.cast |> Seq.iter (fun fileName ->            
            let existingFile = item.ParentList.ParentWeb.GetFile(item.Attachments.UrlPrefix + fileName)
            let newFile = shadowFolder.Files.Add(fileName, existingFile.OpenBinaryStream())
    // member private RollbackHappened : item:SPListItem -> bool
    member private r.RollbackHappened item =
        let culture = CultureInfo.InvariantCulture
        let currentVersion = Single.Parse(r.GetOfficialVersionLabel(item), culture)
        let lastVersion = Single.Parse(r.GetCustomVersionLabel(item), culture)
        currentVersion > lastVersion + 1.0f

    // member private RestoreSnapshot : properties:SPItemEventProperties -> unit
    member private r.RestoreSnapshot properties =
        let item = properties.ListItem
        let restoreVersion = r.GetCustomVersionLabel item
        r.EventFiringEnabled <- false    

        item.Attachments |> Seq.cast |> Seq.map (fun fileName -> unbox<string> fileName) |> Seq.toList
                         |> Seq.iter (fun fileName -> item.Attachments.Delete(fileName))
        use site = properties.OpenWeb()
        let path = String.Format("Versions/{0}/{1}", item.ID, restoreVersion)
        let shadowLibrary = site.Lists.[r.ShadowLibrary] :?> SPDocumentLibrary
        let source = r.CreateFolderPath shadowLibrary path

        source.Files |> Seq.cast |> Seq.iter (fun file ->
            let unboxedFile = unbox<SPFile> file
            item.Attachments.Add(unboxedFile.Name, unboxedFile.OpenBinary()))

        item.SystemUpdate false
        r.EventFiringEnabled <- true

    // member private CreateFolderPath : list:SPDocumentLibrary -> path:string -> SPFolder
    member private r.CreateFolderPath list path : SPFolder =
        r.CreateFolderPathRecursive list.RootFolder (path.Split [|'/'|] |> Array.toList)

    // member private CreateFolderPathRecursive : folder:SPFolder -> pathComponents:string list -> SPFolder
    member private r.CreateFolderPathRecursive folder pathComponents =                
        match pathComponents with
        | [] -> folder
        | head :: tail -> 
                let existingFolder = folder.SubFolders.[head]
                r.CreateFolderPathRecursive existingFolder tail
                :? ArgumentException ->
                    let newFolder = folder.SubFolders.Add head
                    r.CreateFolderPathRecursive newFolder tail

    // member private SetCustomVersionLabel : item:SPListItem -> unit
    member private r.SetCustomVersionLabel item =
        r.EventFiringEnabled <- false
        item.[r.CustomVersion] <- r.GetOfficialVersionLabel item
        item.SystemUpdate false
        r.EventFiringEnabled <- true  

    // member private GetCustomVersionLabel : item:SPListItem -> string
    member private r.GetCustomVersionLabel item =
        item.[r.CustomVersion] :?> string

    // member private GetOfficialVersionLabel : item:SPListItem -> string
    member private r.GetOfficialVersionLabel item =

A couple of things to note about the F# implementation: first, it hardly specifies any types. They’re inferred by the compiler. Where type names do appear, it’s mainly because they’re required to unbox elements of an IEnumerable collection. Secondly, F# has flexible self identifiers. Methods must explicitly specify the name of the this reference in C# and use it when accessing members. Thirdly, arguments to general .NET methods are passed as a tuple value, i.e., as comma-delimited arguments surrounded by parenthesis.

Have comments or questions? Please drop me an email or tweet to @ronnieholm.