SP2010 RTM Bug found in CQWP [PageQueryString] feature

Sigh .. another few days of RTM development and another bug found …

This one regards the Content by Query Web Part (CQWP) and the new PageQueryString filter functionality. This is a cracking new feature which allows you to dynamically set the filter based on a query string value in the request URL… unfortunately there is a bug.

I found this when I was trying to set an aggregation of some News pages, but filter them using a query string as a poor-man’s web part connection 🙂

My Requirement: Show all custom “News” pages within the pages library of my News site, and filter the date using a query string value.

Normally this would involve custom development, but not any more in SharePoint 2010!

  1. I targetted my CQWP at the Pages Library (no point querying the entire site, as it would be a performance hit).
  2. I also targetted the CQWP at my custom “News Page” content type, as I didn’t want the “home” page to be returned in the aggregation
  3. Finally, I added a Filter of “Article Date” is Greater Than [PageQueryString: StartDate], so that I can start to filter my news by date using the query string.

I hit the “apply” button with sweaty palms .. excited to see this new functionality in action ..

There is a problem with the query that this Web Part is issuing. Check the configuration of this Web Part and try again.


What Went Wrong?
This was quite a shock .. I checked and double checked that my filters were setup correctly.. I spent an entire day checking and double checking all of my settings and values to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake somwhere. If I removed that filter then it worked (and returned all my news items). Bizarelly if I included a valid query string like ?Title=Home in my URL then it WORKED?? But remove the filter completely and it failed …

So What EXACTLY doesn’t work ??
I spent a good few hours investigating this in more detail, and came across the following findings. If you have the following ALL set in your CQWP then it will fail:

  • Targetting a Specific List, and
  • Targetting a specific Content Type, and
  • Any [PageQueryString] filter in your query, and
  • The [PageQueryString] variable is NOT present in the URL

If you change any one of these settings then it will start working!

How To Replicate This Bug
This is quite simple really, just follow these steps:

  1. Create a new “Publishing Site” site collection
  2. On the home page, add a new Content By Query Web Part
  3. Set the following query properties
    • Show items from the following list: /Pages
    • Show items of this content type group: Publishing Content Types
    • Show items of this content type: Page
    • Show items when: Title > Contains > [PageQueryString: title]

  4. Hit Apply. The web part will report: There is a problem with the query that this Web Part is issuing. Check the configuration of this Web Part and try again. If you add ?Title=Home to the query string then you should notice that the web part appears to work, but fails if the query string property is missing!

What is the Workaround?

If you then do ANY of the following, it will work:

  • Point it at a Site, or Site Collection, instead of a specific list, or
  • Do not filter by Content Type, or
  • Do not use a [PageQueryString] filter

Now … for my example (bring up pages using a specific page layouts from a pages library) I chose to change the query to target the site. I don’t have a lot of other content in my News site, so it won’t be much of a problem.

I can imagine this cropping up again and again in the future though, especially with large Intranet sites with thousands (or even millions?) of documents … you don’t want to be doing site-wide queries there, the performance impact would be significant!!

Glyn Clough has come up with a workaround. It seems that adding an additional filter that is always true (such as Title != “”) makes it work. Annoying, but at least there is a workaround.

  • dhileep varma Shunmugham

    Very good article.. Thanks for your time on this. Cheers..

  • teylyn

    Thanks for this valuable info. I couldn't figure out why my CQWP did not work any more after I set ViewFieldsOverride in the .webpart file. Before that, it was fine, afterwards I got the error above. For me the trick was to deselect the audience targeting in the Query panel.

    cheers, teylyn

  • Thomas

    I have a similar situation, in which a CQWP is configured to query a "Site Listing" Content Type. When I try to apply a filter: Project Category = "IT" it will return that same error as you mention. If I add an OR-condition to the same query, with a condition that is always true, it works.

    Just if someone else comes by with a simliar problem.

    More context: In my case, I'm trying to add in a few category-fields to the "Site Directory" solution found on CodePlex: http://spsitedirectory2010.codeplex.com/

    I would like to query eg. all IT-project site listings, from a higher-level portal site, which is when I stumbled upon this behaviour.

  • Martin Hatch

    UPDATE: Glyn Clough has come up with a workaround.

    Add an additional "dummy" filter which is always true (Title != "") and it works!

    Full investigation and results can be found here:


  • Martin Hatch

    UPDATE: It appears there is a further bug.

    If you have Content Type targetting enabled and you are using a [PageQueryString] and no query string in the request URL, then you get "no items found" ALL the time..

    As soon as you put the query string in, then it starts returning values.

    This is very frustrating, one of the most popular and powerful web parts broken in SharePoint 2010 🙁

  • Shafaqat Ali

    Awesome, I am adding Title!=”” filter and it is working now, Fun. Thanx for the write up.

  • Br

    Hi Thanks for sharing
    I have list where i have som news with title, date, department. I want to make a filter so that list is showing the news from the Januar 2016, or April 2016 for that department.
    I can filter the contentquery so that shows me just that department by URL/search?department=Economy but now i want the users to allow them to se news just for January – how should this filter be ? any ideas?
    I have createddate in list – so the query should be like seard?date=01-01-2016 and date 30-01-2016 & Department=economy