harbar.net component based software & platform hygiene

ULSViewer – the tool that NO SharePoint practitioner should be without

Print | posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 8:43 PM

I am frequently surprised (I know, I shouldn’t be really) just how few SharePoint people know about ULSViewer. Often times someone will be complaining about an error they are experiencing, the conversation goes something like this:

SPDude, “Hey man, I’ve got a problem with my SharePoint”

Me, “Don’t we all buddy,  it’s installed isn’t it… but what’s your problem exactly?”

SPDude, “Well when I click on the widget and attempt to configure the coolness, I get ‘an unexpected error has a occurred’”

Me, “OK, widget coolness can be a real pain, does it give you a nasty GUID at the end of that message?”

SPDude, “Erm, let me check… oh yeah, it says 9df4f96c-5c78-4a4e-860b-c10996e50e2b”

Me, “OK, excellent, you know what that GUID means right? Just Kidding! Have you looked it up in the ULS?”

SPDude, “Oh, ULS, yuk. I opened it once but it was just so confusing and filled with noise, I never bother with that anymore, its just way too much hassle”

Me, “Hmmm, well you really need to look in there to find out what's going on.”

SPDude, “Isn’t there an easier fix? Don’t you know what the fix is? Aren’t you supposed to be a Master?”

Me, “Well there’s so many problems with SharePoint, not even a Master can remember all those GUIDs.”

Me, “You could load the ULS into ULSViewer and filter on the GUID, that will correlate the issue for you”

SPDude, “What’s ULSViewer?”

You get the idea. Not good.

ULSViewer is without a shadow of a doubt the single best SharePoint utility there is. I don’t care if you are a code head or an IT monkey, you should not be without this tool. It’s the desert island SharePoint utility, not that there’s any place for SharePoint (or computers in general) on a desert island.

It has so much awesome-ness this little post can’t do it justice, but here are some highlights:

  • Real time ULS view
  • Real time notifications
  • Category and severity filtering
  • Correlation ID filtering and aggregation
  • Display Formatting
  • Playback of events
  • Workspace persistence
  • The guys that made it are also very cool and trendy and deserve much love. Unfortunately they didn’t make the so called SharePoint “Top 50”, but I don’t recon they care less about that!

06-10-2010 20-41-05

[update: it looks a little different since the August 2014 update, but is basically the same deal]

This tool is basically the first thing you should be using to troubleshoot issues with SharePoint. What are you waiting for? head on over to the MSDN Code Gallery to grab your copy.

MSDN Code Gallery: ULSViewer

Updated download link: ULSViewer