Creating Custom SharePoint Timer Jobs

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A few weeks back I posted about how you can create custom timer jobs for use in the latest release of SharePoint to perform scheduled tasks. However, considering there have been almost 40 comments to the post in the last three weeks, I figured the post needed some clarification (duh, ya think?).

The first thing you need to do is create a class that inherits from the Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPJobDefinition class. To implement this class, you need to create a few constructors and override the Execute() method, like so:

As you can see, this job does nothing important but add a new item to a Task list every time it's executed. Now that you have the job built, you need to get it registered. Unfortunately the only way to do this is through code, but it sure would be one heck of a candidate for a custom STSADM command. Anyway, since we don't have that today, I like to use the feature activated & deactivated events to install/uninstall my custom jobs.

To do this, you have to create another class that inherits from the Microsoft.SharePoint.SPFeatureReceiver class and implement the FeatureActivated & FeatureDeactivated event handlers like so:

Now… to get it working, all you need to do is:

  1. Deploy the strongly named assembly to the GAC.
  2. Reset IIS (required for SharePoint to “see” the new timer job in the GAC).
  3. Create a feature specifying the receiver class and assembly that contains the event receivers.
  4. Install the feature.
  5. Activate the feature.

This sample timer job assumes it's running within the context of a WSS v3 site that has a list created with the Tasks list template in the root web within the site collection (or, just create a Team Site at the root of your site collection).

Once you activate the feature, it should show up on the Timer Job Definitions page in Central Administration / Operations. It won't appear in the Timer Job Status page until it's executed at least one time. Wait for five minutes or so (the schedule this sample is using) to see if it's running. You should start to see items showing up in the Tasks list in the root site in your site collection.

Here's a Visual Studio 2005 solution that includes everything you need to create a custom timer job. Note that I used the technique I described in this article to modify the Visual Studio project to create the WSP file for me:

» TaskLogger_CustomTimerJob.zip

Or, you can use this Windows SharePoint Solution Package (*.WSP) to deploy the prebuilt timer job used in this article (handles steps 1-4 above):

» AndrewConnell.TaskLoggerJob.zip (unpack the ZIP to get the WSP)

To deploy the WSP file, simply add it to the solution store using STSADM (using the following command) and then deploy it to the desired site:

stsadm –o addsolution –filename AndrewConnell.TaskLoggerJob.wsp

Note: if you plan to test the timer job attached in that article, please make sure you also uninstall it. I just realized I never uninstalled mine and my Tasks list had over 30,000 items in it from the last few weeks. Oops! :)