Friday, November 11, 2011

Revisiting the SharePoint collection adapter for F#

Recently, I got to work with SharePoint 2007 again and I revisited a previously written blog Exploring SharePoint 2007 Object Model with F#. In that blog, I complained about the fact that SharePoint collections did not implement IEnumerable, causing me to implement a type specific collection adapter as pilfered from Asfar Sadewa. However, as I started to work with more different SharePoint collections, I realized that I need a generic SharePoint collection adapter. But once again, I was foiled by SharePoint's library designers. I wanted to ensure some level of type safety for my generic collection adapter and wanted to bound the collection item generic type variable so the client code is restricted to types such as SPWeb, SPList, etc. Looking up the hierarchy, I see the type SPSecurableObject. Unfortunately, SharePoint library designers did not make SPSecurableObject visible to others and the next level up that hierarchy is the Object type. So I'm stuck with an unbounded generic type for the collection item in my generic version SharePoint collection adapter. Actually, what I really want is to ensure that the collection item type is consistent with the collection type. I haven't quite figure out if that's even possible to apply that kind of type parameter constraints in C#. Here is generic version of the SharePoint collection adapter (with the runtime type error leakages) implementation:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using Microsoft.SharePoint;

namespace SharePoint.Utility
    // I really wanted to apply constraint to TPart to SPSecurableObject
    public class SPCollectionAdapter<TPart, TCollection> : List<TPart> where TCollection : SPBaseCollection
        private TCollection _listCol;

        public SPCollectionAdapter(TCollection listCol)
            _listCol = listCol;

        private void Refresh()
            this.Capacity = _listCol.Count;

            foreach (TPart item in _listCol)


This allows me to write my F# code as follows:

open Microsoft.SharePoint
open SharePoint.Utility

let path="http://localhost/"
let collection = new SPSite(path)
let site = collection.RootWeb
let lists = SPCollectionAdapter<SPList,SPListCollection>(site.Lists)
Seq.iter (fun (x:SPList) -> printf "%s\n" x.Title) lists