One of the neat features of SharePoint that doesn’t get a lot of press is the Document Conversion Service. This is a feature that takes a document (e.g. a Word document) and converts it to a Page for publishing (provided your servers are setup and your content types are configured set up for it, and this whole process is called Smart Client Authoring. It’s a lot like the Authoring Connector in MCMS – it gives users a ‘friendly’ way of authoring (although given that SharePoint uses a rich text control that is almost the same as a Word toolbar, I’m not sure how much of a sell it is. People do seem to like authoring web page content in Word though).
When I was testing it here I found that I kept getting an error whenever I was trying to convert a document:
Converting the document to a page failed. The converter framework returned the following error: CE_OTHER
Another nice, descriptive error from SharePoint. The logs didn’t really give me much of a clue either. However, I did find a nice explanation on the SharePoint ECM blog by Robert Orleth.
CE_OTHER is a fairly generic error code (not covered by the more explicit error code, hence the name). It means that something went wrong trying to fire up the converter. I’ve seen this in two major cases:
1. when trying to do the conversion on a DC (domain controller) – that’s not supported because the converter is executed in the context of a very unprivileged local account, and there are no local accounts on DCs.
2. when the server is locked down and the users group doesn’t have the privilege to logon locally. In order not to have to undo your lockdown, go to the group policy settings and allow the local account “HVU_” to logon locally. The password to that account is set randomly every time the document conversion services start and the account has no rights to see anything except the directory that the conversion is happening in, so that’s not exposing your server to a big risk.
I tried setting up the conversion on another machine which is not a domain controller – and it worked nicely. I guess that I need to investigate whether the converter can be run as a more privileged account – a single machine setup including domain controller is very useful for demos. I’ll investigate sometime… …comment here if you try it and get it working like that.