Configure K2 and SharePoint Online integration

Some time ago I posted an article “Configure K2 and SharePoint Online integration” on StarWind Software blog which outlines details about getting your SharePoint online instance up and running and adding K2 for SharePoint app to your app catalog, so if you are interested to know more read on at StarWind Software blog.

One thing I was not 100% clear on while writing that article is “Enable auto-activation on sites where the app is deployed” option, which is enabled by default (K2 for SharePoint app > Settings > Manage App Activations).

Based on the setting name wording I was not very clear whether “Enable auto-activation on sites where the app is deployed” setting works for SharePoint online newly created site collections? Especially as I’ve noticed that if I run activation manually there is a step “we need to create a token of your behalf” which, I assume, requires user input… So I had a question whether auto activation is possible for SharePoint Online newly created site collections where K2 app was only deployed?

It was also not very clear what drives/triggers automatic activation and with which frequency it happens.

Luckily enough there are some colleagues who always help 🙂 Below some extra details I’ve learnt only after writing that article.

The function of the Auto-Activation Setting on the Manage App Activation Page designed for strict activation on Site Collection Level (permission wise) and only allow Site Collections to be activated via the App Catalog Level.

When the setting is set to False the below Warning will be presented when the user tries to activate on the Site Collection Level:

This setting will not Auto Activate any new Site Collections created in SharePoint Online. When it set to True/Enabled you can perform activation from site collection level. So the wording “Enable auto-activation on sites where the app is deployed” is really a bit confusing though description above this setting is quite clear (but who reads notes and descriptions? 😉

Essentially this option allows Site Collection Owners activate K2 app on a site collection level manually and when it disabled they won’t be able to do that from the site collection level and it will be possible only via app catalog level from K2 app management page.

But, true auto activation does happen for sub-sites of already activated site collections. But this functionality works only with K2 Five. This functionality was introduced in K2 4.7 but did not work as expected. More information on this can be found in the following KB

But this subsites auto-activation requires Event Receiver sub-site of the K2 site to be exposed to internet when you use SharePoint Online. When using SharePoint on premise there is no need for any exposure of the K2 site to the internet.


Configuring Windows Server 2016 Core Domain Controller

In Windows Server 2016 you no longer have an opportunity to switch back and forth between core and GUI installation, hence you cannot do install and configure AD DS in a lazy way (using full GUI) and then convert it to core. That was something I discovered hard way long time ago – so I already have separate VHDX templates for Server 2016 core and full GUI VMs.

But it has been quite a while since I was playing with Server Core so when I starting provisioning my new Server 2016 core domain controller VMs today I realized that I need to remember quite a few commands to fully install AD DS on Server Core. I was about to create a blog post listing essential commands, but actually found very well written blog post on TechNet covering exactly that: Chad’s Quick Notes – Installing a Domain Controller with Server 2016 Core. So just sharing it here, instead of writing the same myself 🙂


Getting Hyper-V guest OS information without logging in to guest OS/VM

The other day it was necessary for me to confirm Windows OS build in  Hyper-V guest VM without logging in into it. I simply received VM from the client but no credentials which I could use, but it was necessary to quickly confirm guest OS build. I was certain that there is a way to query such data from Hyper-V host without logging into guest and with no credentials. After some googling I was not able to find some simple command or one liner to pull this data (opening PS session into VM was not an option as it requires credentials), but I’ve found good function which does exactly what I need on Yusuf Öztürk blog, here it is:

Once you have this function, you can use it like this:

Sample output from this function:


K2 Five collation requirement changes

In the past I’ve wrote some blog post promoting documented K2 collation requirement. With release K2 Five this requirement changed and I guess I have to mention it on my blog as essentially it makes my old blog posts about required K2 database collation incorrect.

So recently (with release of K2 Five) all K2 documentation was updated and states that our requited collation now is “SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS“. Where to find this information?

In K2 Installation and Configuration Guide you can find “SQL and Reporting Services Operational Requirements” section which says that:

– Case-sensitive databases are NOT supported.

– The following collation setting is required for the K2 database: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS

And as usually you can find the same information in K2 Product Compatibility, Integration and Support matrix:

What is good about this change is that SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS will be default collation if you installing SQL Server on top of Windows Server which has been installed with US location/language settings – so at least some people will meet this requirement by accident.

What is bad is that collation requirement was just silently changed in documentation with release of K2 Five without any explanations. According to my current knowledge collation which was mentioned in documentation before was a requirement only for pre-4.6.11 versions of K2. So in case you are doing new installation of K2 4.6.11 or newer make sure that your SQL Server instance provisioned with SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS collation.

Somewhat mixed blessing is change which was made to K2 Five installer to enforce this collation: what it does at the moment is just enforces this collation on K2 DB level while ignoring SQL Server instance level collation. So in case you not provisioned SQL Server instance with the right collation you will get an errors post installation and will be forced to change SQL Server instance level collation to fix this. That’s something that I hope will be corrected in K2 installer in the future so that it warns you about wrong instance level collation issues before you start your installation.

Conclusion: read vendor documentation carefully before doing your installation even if you did it many times before 🙂


Unable to logon to K2 using AAD credentials: “WIF10201: No valid key mapping found for securityToken”

Problem: You unable to log on to K2 sites (Designer/Runtime/Management) using AAD credentials (AAD integration configured without SharePoint online as described here) and receiving the following error:

Resolution steps:

1) Open your K2 AAD app Federation Metadata Document using the following URL:{YOUR_DIRECTORY ID}/federationmetadata/2007-06/federationmetadata.xml

2) Inside metadata XML document you need to search for a certificate value within <X509Certificate></X509Certificate> tags and copy it. You need very first value from <Signature> section. It looks like it gets changed from time to time causing this issue.

3) Open online Calculate Fingerprint tool and paste this value into X.509 cert field of this page, make sure sha1 selected as algorithm and click on Calculate Fingerprint button:

4) Navigate to K2 Management > Authentication > Claims > Issuers. Select your AAD issuer, click Edit and paste unformatted FingerPrint value into Thumbprint field of Edit Claim Issuer dialog:

This completes required changes, no K2 service restart required after this, and you can proceed to step (5) immediately.

5) Try AAD logon again, clearing browser cache if necessary.

And the most important part (if you use K2 4.7): You may see this error with a regular intervals of around 2 months or something if you run K2 4.7 without November 2017. Be sure to apply November 2017 CU to get support for rollover of the Azure Active Directory certificate thumbprints. You can see that this has been added in November 2017 CU as per CU release notes, K2 Five support this in its RTM version.



How to quickly grab K2 HTTPS certificate thumbprint using PowerShell

I’ve already mentioned this in my old blog post (along with GUI way for this task), but just posting this separately for better visibility/searcheability 🙂

In case you need to obtain thumbprint value of your K2 site HTTPS certificate (or any other certificate) you can use this PowerShell script:

If necessary you can put it into variable and reuse in other commands/script, just replace “Write-Host” with “$thumbprint = ” to store certificate thumbprint value in $thumbprint variable. Just don’t forget to change filter argument  “” to something that is relevant for your certificate.


Configure K2 SmartForms for AAD Authentication

My post “Configure K2 SmartForms for AAD Authentication” has been just recently published on AcloudA Blog. But in addition to that I’ve already managed to revisit exactly the same process to see how it works in K2 Five Public RC which is already available to K2 clients upon request.

This article assumes that you have K2 Five Public RC installed and configured in your environment with on-premise AD or K2 SQL authentication and we now just want to add an AAD integration.

Beyond installed and configured K2 blackpearl and K2 SmarForms our prerequisites are AAD subscription (this has been covered in my previous article) and SSL configuration of K2 web sites (as usual for test purposes you can get away with self-signed certificate, and this is also covered in K2 Installation and Configuration Guide).

There are two big parts in setting up K2 and AAD integration: registering K2 SmartForms app in AAD and K2 side configuration of OAuth Resource and AAD label.

First part is fully covered in my previous article so I only going to go through K2 side configuration steps.

To begin configuration process, we need to open K2 Management site. As our first step here, we need to Register an OAuth Resource in K2. To do that we navigate to Authentication > OAuth > Resources and click on New button:

As you can see overall UI theme changed a bit in K2 Five from black to silver/gray and in New OAuth Resource form we now have two extra fields “Refresh Token Endpoint” and “Metadata Endpoint”. We now need to to type in resource name, select Microsoft Online as a resource type and enter Authorization and Token Endpoint values we recorded during AAD app registration, i.e. they should look as follows:

Token Endpoint value:{AAD_DIRECTORY_ID}/oauth2/token

Authorization Endpoint URL value:{AAD_DIRECTORY_ID}/oauth2/authorize

We leave Use Host Server Authorization Endpoint checkbox unchecked, and two new fields unfilled and click on OK button (see screenshot below):

Our next step is to edit client_id resource parameter of newly created OAuth resource. For that make sure that your “AAD” resource is selected in resource list and select client_id from the lest of Resource Parameters below and click on Edit button as shown below:

Once client_id edit dialog has been opened we just need to paste APPLICATION ID we saved during AAD app registration in all three fields of this box, i.e. we use it as a value for Authorization, Token and Refresh:

We next need to edit number of other parameters in the same fashion. We edit api_version resource parameter entering “1.0” for all values:

Next, we edit scope resource parameter entering reader as Authorization Value as shown below:

For all values of client_secret enter KEY we saved during AAD app registration:

We specify for all values of resource parameter:

For redirect_uri we enter https://{YourK2Server}/identity/token/oauth/2 as Authorization and Token value:

For entity_id parameter we enter DIRECTORY ID of your AAD instance as a token value:

After all these edits you Resource Parameters for AAD resource should look like this:

We are now ready to add AAD security label in K2 (you can use something other than “AAD” as label name). For this we need to execute this SQL script or use sample script from K2 Installation and Configuration guide adjusting values for @OAuthProviderName and @SecurityLabelName variables. Be sure to back up your K2 database as you supposed to do before any direct modification of K2 database (I hope this is already your habit? If not try to form it 😊).

Once script has been executed, we need to restart K2 service to get this new label initialized/picked up by K2.

Our next step is to add new claim issuer from K2 Management site, for that navigate to Authentication > Claims > Issuers, click New and fill in New Claim Issuer form as shown below:

You need to specify the following values there:

For Issuer value you specify{DIRECTORY_ID}/, for URI value you specify{DIRECTORY_ID}/wsfed. As a Thumbprint value you need to paste your FINGERPRINT VALUE. Pay attention to trailing slash in Issuer URL – do not omit it.

Next step is configuration of the Claim Mappings in K2. Claim mappings are used to identify the incoming claims and map them to the appropriate K2 security label. To do that we navigate to Authentication > Claims > Claims and click New:

In the New Claim Mapping form, we then select label and issuer we created earlier and fill in the form. We need to type in User and Group token identifiers and fill in all values under Identity Provider along with Original Issuer and Claim Type values under Identity section (see screenshot below).

Next, we need to configure the Realms and Audience URIs linking them with new issuer. For that, we navigate to K2 Management > Authentication > Claims > Realms and for every realm enable our AAD issuer, by means of selecting realm entry, clicking Edit and checking newly created issuer in Linked Issuers list:

Hooray! We can now navigate to our SmartForms URL and select our AAD and logon with AAD credentials:

Once label is selected you are redireted to Microsoft login page ( where you need to type in your AAD credentials and click Sign in:


What you going to see next obviously depends on which K2 site you were trying to access. And here things are a bit different in K2 Five – you actually won’t be able to access anything until rights will be granted. Both K2 Management and K2 Workspace are now essentially SmartForms based forms and you going to get related error messages when you don’t have access to them:

As for designer it seems it is also locked for AAD user, which was not the case in K2 4.7:

It looks like even designer is locked out by default, but bad thing that error messages not too user friendly to say the least.

This nudges us to perform our final configuration step. As we don’t have K2 Management rights we need to go and grant them, right? No changes between 4.7 and K2 Five here, before we will be able to read AAD data we need to obtain and cache AAD OAuth token for K2 service account and until that we only going to get this error message:

Error message tells us that OAuth token requires authorization and comes from K2 URM Service.

It means that we need to obtain OAuth token for K2 service account (URM Service runs in the context of this account). To do that perform the following steps (no changes here if we compare with K2 4.7):

1) Run SmartObject Services Tester (“C:\Program Files (x86)\K2 blackpearl\Bin\SmartObject Service Tester.exe”) in the context of your K2 service account using standard Windows “Run as different user” option.

2) Now the tricky part. Unfortunately, now, in K2 4.7 SmartObject Services Tester only allows you to perform authorization redirect only when you are creating new instance (this possibly will be addressed in upcoming K2 Five release). Thus, to get our K2 Service account token instead of touching URMService we will simply register new Azure Active Directory service instance (and you may want to have it anyway):


In Add Service Instance dialog we just switching Authentication Mode to OAuth, selecting our OAuth Resource (“AAD”) and typing as OAuth Resource Audience value. We do not touch any other settings leaving them on default values as illustrated below.

Once you click on Next, you will get this message (once again this message appears only when you are adding new instance, not editing existing one!):

Once you hit OK browser window will be opened where you need to type in your AAD credentials. Important: you need an AAD user with Global administrator directory role for this action, otherwise you are going to see the following error:

If you remember one of the rights we granted to our app is “Read directory data” and as it is a directory wide access only global admin AAD user can grant consent to this right:

Once you type in your AAD global admin user credentials you just need to confirm that we are granting permissions mentioned above to the app:

Once you click on accept you should be redirected on your K2 Identity site (you may get Windows credentials prompt at this stage – type in your K2 service account credentials) and see “Authorization Successful” message:

This means that K2 service account token has been created and cached on your K2 server and you can see it in K2 Management > Authentication > OAuth > Tokens:

3) You can now get back to SmartObject Services Tester and click on Next, Add to finish creation of AAD Service Instance:

We now completed all the configuration steps and can grant rights to AAD users and use them in all K2 user pickers:

If we now trying to login to K2 sites using our AAD account prior to granting any rights both K2 Designer and K2 Workspace going to be available to him in default configuration (so Designer is still not locked out by default), but K2 Management is not accessible until you grant your user appropriate rights:

Of course, K2 Designer we see in K2 Five is completely different beast than it used to be, but discussing it is out of scope for this article, so I’ll just put only one screenshot of it below:

So, after repeating AAD integration configuration steps I can say that at least in K2 Five Public RC we don’t see any drastic changes when it comes to configuring AAD integration (though we can see couple of tiny changes but they don’t impact the overall process) – depending on your preference you can either refer to my old article to go through the entire process or use an old article only for AAD app set up part and this one for K2 configuration part.


Convert Server 2016 Evaluation to Licensed – “This edition cannot be upgraded”

The other day it was necessary to me to convert from activated Windows Server 2016 Evaluation to Licensed. As I had a key I thought it would be matter of clicking Change product key in GUI ant entering a new key. So you either wade through GUI till you find this Change product key link:

Or directly run “slui” command. Both actions will open up this window for you:

But if you try to type license 100% correct and valid product key on activated Evaluation machine you will get this error:

“This edition cannot be upgraded?” And it might be confusing, especially if you did a quick check on edition installed and prepared appropriate product key… But check again, for Evaluation versions, edition value contains word “Evaluation”, so it is not “Datacenter”, but “Datacenter Evaluation”:

Now it is clear what is complaining about. But how to make it to accept full product key? You can use DISM for this:

This will require reboot and some waiting but will convert your Evaluation license to full, provided that you entered correct product key.


“Method not found error” when attempting to add a new item into K2 Studio project

The other day I was about to build some tiny K2 test project using old-fashioned thick designer UI K2 Studio which I still prefer to use whenever I need to build some little K2 process. Unfortunately I bumped into this error:

Error message politely informs us about this:

Method not found: ‘Microsoft. Build. BuildEngine

BuildItem SourceCode. ProjectSystem. ProjectBuildItem


That’s not very obvious, right? But, trust me it just complains that some DLL is not properly added to GAC, or there is a mismatch between DLL version in GAC and in some other location.

Solution? If you run K2 environment without coldfixes just run a Repair from installation media. But most likely you’ve applied some coldfix recently. Verify if files which supposed to go to GAC were added to that location correctly. Remember that some files go to K2 installation directory, while some others may go to “[Program Files]Reference Assemblies\SourceCode\v4.0\” and into GAC v4, i.e. into “C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL\”. In my case the error was caused by the fact that SourceCode.Workflow.Authoring.dll assembly was not updated in GACv4.

When something wrong with aforementioned DLL you will also see the same error when trying to deploy something with PnD:

So in case you getting this type of error you know what to check now.