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Where the Heck are my New Icons?

Well now, don’t I feel stupid – it’s always the easy things that sneak up and bite you where it hurts.

So yesterday, I was adding the PDF icon to a SharePoint 2010 farm; simple task, common as dirt, everyone does it.

How you say? Well, there are any number of posts about this (the process has been the same since at least Windows SharePoint Server 2.0/SharePoint Portal Server 2003), so I won’t dive in too deep – suffice it to say, there are two major tasks that need doing:

  • Add the PDF icon to the templates/images folders under the 12 or 14 hive
  • Add the correct syntax to the DOCICON.XML file in the templates/XML folder

So, this is fairly easy; so easy, in fact, that I got the icon from the Adobe site and then searched for the correct XML snippet using my handy-dandy search engine. Like most of you, dutifully made the modifications (read: copied and pasted the code directly from the browser) listed above to my SharePoint Server and ran IISRESET.

Here’s the fun part – Unlike the other 100-200 times I’ve done this, the icon would not show. Not only would it not show, other icons (like the one for Excel, for instance) was broken.

 Definitely not my favorite icon…

Hm. So first, I went and checked permissions – nope, not it. Then I went and looked at the original file (yes, kids, it’s always a good idea to back up the original DOCICON.XML file – I had renamed mine DOCICON-Original.XML).

Everything _looked_ ok, nothing out of the ordinary. All the closing brackets were there, etc. Next, I accidentally double-clicked the DOCICON.XML file instead of right-clicking it.

Some folks don’t know this, but for all the kidding Internet Explorer gets (and sometimes deservedly so), it can be a good troubleshooting tool. You can open an XML file in IE, and it will render.

Figure 1 - Viewing the XML File

Figure 1 – Viewing the XML File

And yes, it will give you the obligatory message that it’s restricted this page from running scripts or ActiveX scripts – to protect you.

But guess what happens when it hits a malformed XML file – it tells you all about it. I remembered this jewel and double-clicked the new DOCICON.XML file, to see if IE saw anything out of the ordinary. It did.

Figure 2 - Malformed XML not acceptable in IE

Figure 2 – Malformed XML not acceptable in IE

OK, what the heck is going on here? Well, what character comes next in the <Mapping Key= tag? A quote. But I have a quote in my XML file – look, there it is, right after pdficon_small.gif!

Figure 3 - Inspecting the Straight and Curly Quotes

Figure 3 – Inspecting the Straight and Curly Quotes

Uh, wait – anybody see anything strange? Yep – there’s the issue. When I copied the code off the website, the text was formatted with curly quotes instead of the standard quotes. Apparently XML still does not have a sense of humor, even after all these years.

I put the standard quotes in place of the curly quotes, then ran an IISRESET to cure the problem.


The moral of the story? Not all quotes are created equal –

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