Lesson Learned: Outlook and Changing SharePoint Site URL’s
In outlook connected libraries, calendars, tasks, contacts and synchronized SharePoint areas information will no longer synchronize (and rightly so) if you change the related SharePoint site’s url.
So if you notice you cannot see newly added calendar events, or documents and the synchronization is off, double check the URL of the site has not changed.
The solution’s seems pretty simple if this does happen to you, you just reconnect the libraries using the out of the box SharePoint connect options and the existing outlook entries will now be properly connected (no need to delete and re-add for document libaries), but Calendars DO seem to need to be removed, and then re-added to update appropriately, and seemingly the same result with tasks, contacts, etc…
In fact I would say the key here is to really think about the impact changing a URL has, from bookmarking to services, applications, and things that reference the url externally (in this case, outlook 2007).
So why am I sharing this?
So during a conference this weekend I was setting up for my presentations (on SharePoint as an Idea and Innovation Platform) and opened up my synchronized sharepoint libraries in outlook.
I immediately noticed something that makes any presenter groan. The version of my presentation that was synchronized was several versions back. Well of course I connected through a VPN tunnel to my exchange and SharePoint environment and performed an update… but for some reason all of my SharePoint Lists in outlook didn’t update.
I navigated to the SharePoint site, downloaded the presentation and continued on for the next several hours with the different groups and presentations but then as soon as the presentations were over and I had resolved any outstanding questions I sat in the corner and scratched my head as to what had happened.
Then it hit me: Recently I had changed the site properties of the SharePoint site housing the connected library. In SharePoint 2007 you can modify the title, logo, description, and “URL” of the site.
What I had done was cleaned it up a little bit to account for a new managed path and architecture I was putting in place, what I forgot to think of is how this could impact anyone who has synchronized the libraries and calendars within the site.
In this case it was a minor hiccup, but could you imagine if this had been a site with important data hundreds of people were viewing? Now all those off site who might rely on Outlook synchronization would be unable to see new changes, and because it might not be immediately obvious this could happen for sometime creating a huge cost in misinformation. Not to mention that obviously I had not fully considered the impact other services might experience if they are referencing that previous site url.
(To be fair I also knew I was the only person using this site, and the only person who has access to/uses the site’s materials right now, so (and this could be me trying to excuse it) really I fully expect had this been a different situation I would never have changed the URL without considering the impact in far greater detail.)
Well I won’t make that mistake again! And hopefully someone else out there reading this avoid the potentially extremely costly and dangerous mistake I made.