We use a feature to deploy files that are common to our webparts to the Style Library in SharePoint Server 2010 and recently we came across the problem where files were not being updated when we deployed an updated version of the feature. (Note: I use the term "version" loosely here - we are not versioning our webparts). After searching around I found that this issue (i.e. modules will deploy initial version of a file but won't update it) has been documented on a number of blogs. The conclusion of all was that to update the files, you need to do it programmatically using a FeatureReceiver. I found a couple of different solutions:

For sandboxed webpart solutions:


For farm webpart solutions:


I tried both solutions but ended up going with Johan's solution with some minor tweaks for our scenario.

I encountered a NullReferenceException when I ran Johan's code, but this was because we don't have a Path attribute on our Module element. I replaced the call to retrieve the Path attribute with a call to retrieve the Url attribute. I then encountered the following error:

The URL ‘[url]‘ is invalid. It may refer to a nonexistent file or folder, or refer to a valid file or folder that is not in the current Web

I've found various different blogs outlining solutions for this error but none have resolved it for me:

* links removed as I am but a lowly newbie who can't post more than 2 links ;) *

Does anyone have any other suggestions aside from logs?

NOTE: We are using a farm solution, not a sandboxed solution.

  • Answer coming in 8 hours... I can direct message additional information to anyone who needs it sooner or if someone with more status can add the links/extra info for me, it would be greatly appreciated.
    – B-K
    Oct 19, 2012 at 0:46
  • did you resolve the issue? otherwise please post your manifest file
    – Diptarag
    Oct 19, 2012 at 3:01
  • @Diptarag Yes, I did resolve the issue. Sorry for the delay in posting the answer.
    – B-K
    Oct 25, 2012 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


After doing a lot of reading and after debugging the feature receiver, I discovered two things:

  1. One of our files (which was introduced after the original version was deployed but before the current version) didn't exist in the Style Library on the SharePoint site. i.e. it had never been deployed. I checked a couple of our test servers and the file wasn't there either so this confirmed it wasn't isolated to my dev machine. This "missing" file was the file throwing the Invalid URL error when SPWeb.Files.Add was called. I confirmed that the file did exist in the hive and that the Add method could create new files. I had a look at what SPWeb.GetFile() was returning. Interestingly enough, the SPFile object returned when retrieving the "virtual file" had Exists = true... but... the file doesn't exist on the server??? (Interesting post here on SPWeb.GetFile(): http://blog.mastykarz.nl/inconvenient-spwebgetfilestring/). I switched to using GetFileOrFolder() and casting to SPFile but my problem still wasn't resolved.

  2. After looking again at Johan's code, I decided to see if there was something else in the call to Add that could be causing an issue. I re-examined our elements.xml file to see if the entry for the "missing" file was different from the other file entries. This ended up being where my problem was... the entry for the "missing" file didn't have all of the attributes that other entries had. In particular, it was missing the Type and IgnoreIfExists attributes.

    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\JQuery\JQueryDollarFix.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/JQuery/JQueryDollarFix.js" />

    I updated the entry to be:

    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\JQuery\JQueryDollarFix.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/JQuery/JQueryDollarFix.js" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="True"/>

    I re-deployed the wsp to the SharePoint site and activated the feature. The FeatureReceiver code ran successfully and the files were updated and checked into the Style Library.

    Feature Receiver Properties Extension (I put this in its own class in the same project as the feature):

    using System.Collections;
    using System.Globalization;
    using System.IO;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Xml.Linq;
    using Microsoft.SharePoint;
    using Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration;
    /// <summary>
    /// Extension methods for SPFeatureReceiverProperties
    /// </summary>
    public static class SPFeatureReceiverPropertiesExtension
        /// <summary>
        /// Updates the files in module.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="instance">The instance.</param>
        public static void UpdateFilesInModule(this SPFeatureReceiverProperties instance)
            var modules = (from SPElementDefinition element in instance.Feature.Definition.GetElementDefinitions(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture)
                           where element.ElementType == "Module"
                           let xmlns = XNamespace.Get(element.XmlDefinition.NamespaceURI)
                           let module = XElement.Parse(element.XmlDefinition.OuterXml)
                           select new
                                   Url = module.Attribute("Url").Value,
                                   Path = Path.Combine(element.FeatureDefinition.RootDirectory, module.Attribute("Url").Value), // don't have a Path attribute on our Module so changed Path to URL
                                   Files = (from file in module.Elements(xmlns.GetName("File"))
                                            select new
                                                    Url = file.Attribute("Url").Value,
                                                    Properties = (from property in file.Elements(xmlns.GetName("Property"))
                                                                  select property).ToDictionary(
                                                                      n => n.Attribute("Name").Value,
                                                                      v => v.Attribute("Value").Value)
            using (SPWeb web = (instance.Feature.Parent as SPSite).OpenWeb())
                modules.ForEach(module =>
                        module.Files.ForEach(file =>
                                string hivePath = Path.Combine(module.Path, file.Url); // in 14-hive
                                string virtualPath = string.Concat(web.Url, "/", module.Url, "/", file.Url); // in SPFS
                                if (File.Exists(hivePath))
                                    using (StreamReader streamReader = new StreamReader(hivePath))
                                        object obj = web.GetFileOrFolderObject(virtualPath);
                                        if (obj is SPFile)
                                            SPFile virtualFile = (SPFile)obj;
                                            bool checkOutEnabled = virtualFile.Item == null
                                                                       ? virtualFile.ParentFolder.Item.ParentList.
                                                                       : virtualFile.Item.ParentList.ForceCheckout;
                                            bool needsApproval = virtualFile.Item == null
                                                                     ? virtualFile.ParentFolder.Item.ParentList.
                                                                     : virtualFile.Item.ParentList.EnableModeration;
                                            if (checkOutEnabled)
                                                if (virtualFile.CheckOutType != SPFile.SPCheckOutType.None)
                                            virtualFile = web.Files.Add(
                                                new Hashtable(file.Properties),
                                            if (checkOutEnabled)
                                                    "Checked in by deployment.", SPCheckinType.MajorCheckIn);
                                            if (needsApproval)
                                                virtualFile.Approve("Approved by deployment.");

An excerpt of the elements.xml file for our Module:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
  <Module Name="Style Library" Url="Style Library">
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\JQuery\UI\jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/JQuery/UI/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.js" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\JQuery\UI\jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/JQuery/UI/jquery-ui-1.8.16.custom.min.js" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Resources\search.png" Url="Assets/Resources/search.png" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\Common.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/Common.js" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />   
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Styles\Common.css" Url="Assets/Styles/Common.css" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Styles\Pager.css" Url="Assets/Styles/Pager.css" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Styles\sharepoint.theme.overrides.css" Url="Assets/Styles/sharepoint.theme.overrides.css" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="TRUE" />
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Scripts\JQuery\JQueryDollarFix.js" Url="Assets/Scripts/JQuery/JQueryDollarFix.js" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="True"/>
    <File Path="Style Library\Assets\Styles\images\arrow.gif" Url="Assets/Styles/images/arrow.gif" Type="GhostableInLibrary" IgnoreIfAlreadyExists="True"/>

Useful links:

* Removed as unable to add more than 2 links *

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