‘Data is Null’ Search Error for Indexing Local SharePoint Sites

After months of search indexing working perfectly in SharePoint 2010 on the Local SharePoint Sites, we all of a sudden began to get errors on every single page in our content site collection.  This is the error that we found in the Search Service Application: Crawl Log.

The SharePoint item being crawled returned an error when requesting data from the web service. ( Error from SharePoint site: Data is Null. This method or property cannot be called on Null values. )

After some research it was suggested that it could be related to an SPGroup on the site collection that was create programmatically with a null description.  Here is example code of how SPGroups are created and where this issue would occur.

using(SPWeb web = SPContext.Current.Site.RootWeb)
//PARAMETERS: Group Name, Group Owner, Default User, Description
web.SiteGroups.Add(“New Group Name”,  SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser, SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser, null);


Obviously our issue did not stem from explicitly passing NULL as the description but our function that handled group creation took the description in as a parameter.  We fixed this function to make sure that it never attempts to create a group with a null description but we still needed to figure out which group or groups were causing the problem.  To handle this, I created a quick Powershell Script that cycles through all of the SPGroups in the root web and corrects any groups that have this issue.  Below is the code for that script:

$parentWeb = “http://rootweburl/”

$web = Get-SPWeb $parentWeb

if($web) {
foreach($group in $web.SiteGroups){
if($group.Description -eq $null) {
Write-Host $group.Name
$group.Description = $group.Name


After running this script (where we found the 1 group that was the culprit) I was able to run a full index on the Local SharePoint Sites and everything was resolved.

SharePoint 2010 Search Service: Local SharePoint Sites Cannot Be Crawled Error

I recently migrated to a new SharePoint 2010 system where I split out our old application server into a separate SharePoint 2010 Application Server and SharePoint 2010 Web Front End (WFE).  I initially setup the web server to redirect all traffic to fully qualified domain name such as http://sharepoint.test.com.  At this point the SharePoint 2010 Search Service worked as expected when crawling the local SharePoint site and user profiles via the following links:

After I launched on the new system, the decision was made to switch to having the web server redirect everything to simply http://sharepoint.  The reason for this was to have our SharePoint site be in the Intranet Zone for Internet Explorer and Chrome so that it would automatically logon users via their Active Directory credentials.  Everything went fine until I tried to run a search crawl and got the following error:

The start address http://sharepoint (and sps3://sharepoint ) cannot be crawled.

Context: Application ‘Search_Service_Application’, Catalog ‘Portal_Content’

This item could not be crawled because the repository did not respond within the specified timeout period. Try to crawl the repository at a later time, or increase the timeout value on the Proxy and Timeout page in search administration. You might also want to crawl this repository during off-peak usage times. (0x80040d7b)

I investigated a lot of different fixes but in the end the issue was with the proxy server that was set on the web and application servers.  The servers needed a proxy in order to have web access for Windows Updates, etc but the issue turned out to be that the proxy server was not allowing resolution of the short url of http://sharepoint.  The resolution was to add the following rules to the proxy bypass list and reboot the servers.  To do this run command prompt as an admin and use the following command:

netsh winhttp set proxy xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:portnumber bypass-list=”<local>,sharepoint”

Here is some more information on the winhttp set proxy command.

Official Launch of MyBesa.org!

Besa Community, the latest project developed by The Unison, has officially opened to the public today!

Besa is about engaging the people and causes around you. It’s about seeing your role in the community through a different lens. It’s about addressing the social problems that define our generation. It’s about making a difference in your life and your community today.

Check out the site at www.mybesa.org and learn more about Besa and its founder Matt Goldstein and start getting involved in the Columbus community today!

Besa Community Homepage

New College Liftoff Site is Live!

The Unison just launched the new College Liftoff site on Monday!  http://collegeliftoff.org

College Liftoff helps families of all financial and educational backgrounds invest in higher education. The Columbus, OH headquarters launched in May 2009.

College Planning with College Liftoff

If you were like me coming out of high school, paying for college did not seem like a pressing issue.  I was fortunate to get some scholarships here and there but with the easily attained loans I never felt the need or urge to really explore all of the free scholarship and grant money that is out there.  Since I never saw the money it never bothered me to just add to my student loan debt.

Looking back after being out of college for 3 years and paying on all of those loans, I realized that I did myself a great disservice by not preparing myself financially for the costs of a college education.  This is a big problem with many college grads and can become a huge burden that can limit their future career and lifestyle. (Here is a great article from USA Today about Generation Y’s steep financial hurdles: Huge debt, no savings)

Recently at The Unison (a web design company based out of Columbus, Ohio) we have become involved with Aaron Greene and College Liftoff.  They are a relatively new company that specializes in  helping students and families find the right school and education while decreasing the financial burden that comes along with a college education.  From school and scholarship research to financial aid seminars they can be a huge resource to set college students up for long term success.

In the Bleak Midwinter

Here is a video of me playing a song that I arranged awhile back for the A Christmas to Cure Cancer 4 album that was released in 2008.  I have always loved this song growing up and when asked to do a song for the album this sounded like a great one to arrange!

If you head to http://myspace.com/andrewrothmusic, you can hear the original recording in its entirety.

I was able to do all of the recording myself using Adobe Audition, a Yamaha MW10 USB audio board and a Shure SM81 microphone.  It also allowed me to break out my cello and lay down a few tracks which is always fun!

If you like the song you can purchase the album at http://achristmastocurecancer.org/actcc4_cd/index.php and remember all of the money from the sale of the album goes to support cancer research!

NOTE: If you are wondering what guitar I am playing in the video it is actually my late Dad’s guitar.  It is an Aspen (now defunct) AD28-SH and was manufactured in Japan in the 1970s.  It has an incredible sound with a great bass response that I feel rivals higher end Martins and has quickly become my favorite guitar to play over my Ibanez AW300CE!