Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels can spawn lots of SPWebs

Be careful when using the OOTB SharePoint Publishing property Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels as it spawns SPWebs for every call.

To demo this I’ve created a web part and added 2 different code blocks to it with monitored scopes. The first one creates 3 objects with a direct reference to the UserAccessibleLabels property. The second one uses a local field which is only assigned once.

namespace TestVariations.TestAccessibleLabels
{
    [ToolboxItemAttribute(false)]
    public partial class TestAccessibleLabels : WebPart
    {
        private ReadOnlyCollection<VariationLabel> userAccessibleLables = null;

        public ReadOnlyCollection<VariationLabel> UserAccessibleLables
        {
            get
            {
                if (userAccessibleLables == null)
                    userAccessibleLables = Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels;

                return userAccessibleLables;
            }
        }

        public TestAccessibleLabels()
        {
        }

        protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e)
        {
            base.OnInit(e);
            InitializeControl();
        }

        protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            try
            {
                var resultBuilder = new StringBuilder();

                using (new SPMonitoredScope("Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels"))
                {
                    var variationLabels = Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels;
                    var variationLabels2 = Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels;
                    var variationLabels3 = Variations.Current.UserAccessibleLabels;

                    foreach (var label in variationLabels)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label.Title);
                    }

                    foreach (var label2 in variationLabels2)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label2.Title);
                    }

                    foreach (var label3 in variationLabels3)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label3.Title);
                    }
                }

                using (new SPMonitoredScope("this.UserAccessibleLabels"))
                {
                    var variationLabels4 = this.UserAccessibleLables;
                    var variationLabels5 = this.UserAccessibleLables;
                    var variationLabels6 = this.UserAccessibleLables;

                    foreach (var label4 in variationLabels4)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label4.Title);
                    }

                    foreach (var label5 in variationLabels5)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label5.Title);
                    }

                    foreach (var label6 in variationLabels6)
                    {
                        resultBuilder.Append(label6.Title);
                    }
                }

                resultLabel.Text = resultBuilder.ToString();
            }
            catch (Exception ex)
            {
                resultLabel.Text = ex.Message;
            }
        }
    }
}

If we take a look at the developer dashboard, we can see SPWebs getting generated for each variation:

spweb spawns

Using ILSpy we can see that SharePoint opens web objects to check the current user’s access.

ilspy variations

When taking a look at the loading time, we see that the impact on the total loading time is quite high when using lots of direct references.

spweb monitored scopes

For the conclusion we can say that using the OOTB SharePoint property is the way to go when you only have to use it once. However when you’re using this property all over the place in your code it’s best to keep the “result” of the UserAccessibleLabels in a private field.

Working with SPWeb’s Propertybag

The most common scenario for working with site settings is using the site’s propertybag. When you look at the SPWeb’s members, you might notice the following properties and methods:

It’s important to note that the methods of SPWeb that handle properties, reflect upon the SPWeb.AllProperties property and not on the SPWeb.Properties property. Only the AllProperties property should be used, the Properties property is added to SharePoint 2010 in order to provide backwards compatibility with older applications.

A big improvement of the SPWeb.AllProperties is that instead of a StringDictionary, you get a HashTable where you can store objects instead of strings. There is a restriction here though: Only String, INT, and DateTime datatypes can be used as the value in AllProperties.

An example of using SPWeb properties in PowerShell, the same can be used in C#:

$web = Get-SPWeb http://sharepoint
$web.AddProperty("SPWebObjectKey", $web)
$web.Update()
$tempWeb = $web.GetProperty("SPWebObjectKey")
Write-Host $tempWeb.Url

This outputs to http://sharepoint

Now that we have used our property and no longer need it, it’s time to delete it:

$web.DeleteProperty("SPWebObjectKey")
$web.Update()