Medium 9781449321000

SharePoint 2010 at Work: Tricks, Traps, and Bold Opinions

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If you work with SharePoint, you may have discovered that there are countless tricks for using this platform to solve real-world problems—and you certainly wouldn’t mind learning some of them. That’s the purpose behind EndUserSharePoint, a community site that lets end users share ingenious new ways for putting SharePoint to work.

This insightful and entertaining book presents a compilation of popular, well-written articles from the site, published by contributors for people who use SharePoint at their companies but don’t have access to its technical server side. Each engaging story puts you into the narrative as a participant, rather than a passive observer, so you can easily visualize the situation and share the “aha!” solution with the author. Learn some tricks, gain some insight—and have fun doing it.

These articles will help you:

  • Build a documented framework for evaluating whether your company is getting the most value from SharePoint
  • Create documentation and script management with OneNote and a SharePoint library
  • Use the Data View Web Part to create hyperlinks from existing SharePoint data
  • Implement data visualization in SharePoint without access to the server
  • Creating document libraries with mixed content sources in any SharePoint version
  • Pull information from disparate site collections into a single navigation system

Contributors include:
Sadalit Van Buren
Kerri Abraham
Jim Bob Howard
Marc D. Anderson
Laura Rogers
Waldek Mastykarz
Alexander Bautz
Dessie Lunsford
Eric Alexander
Peter Allen

"What a fantastic resource. No other book in the SharePoint community hits this ‘power user’ or 'end user' audience like this book does. There are powerful examples in here that will really solve business problems and set the reader on the right track."
—Joel Oleson, Global SharePoint Evangelist, and one of the first SharePoint architects

List price: $31.99

Your Price: $25.59

You Save: 20%

 

11 Slices

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1. The SharePoint Maturity Model

ePub

How well does your organization use SharePoint? You probably cant answer that in any quantifiable terms, much less speak about how the various components of SharePoint are working for you.

With SharePoints explosive popularity and adoption worldwide, a community of SharePoint experts has formed with the goal of sharing knowledge about this product. The authors in this book, as well as hundreds of others, dedicate their time and energy to help organizations understand and use the product, and have made a galaxy of resources available for different areas of functionality.

Whats been missing is a cohesive way to analyze and understand the platform as a whole. Organizations dont know what they have, and they may be focusing too much on projects that yield little return, missing the quick wins, or declining to invest in areas that could truly transform their businesses.

I created the SharePoint Maturity Model to apply a holistic view to a SharePoint implementation and to bring standardization to the conversation around functionality, best practices, and improvement. My goal is to allow organizations to reach the full potential of their investments in SharePoint, and the SharePoint Maturity Model is the framework that enables this.

 

2. Empower the Power User

ePub

Many companies have a blanket No SharePoint Designer policy due to the risk the tool poses to the SharePoint environment. However, the real risk to the platform is not Designer, but a lack of development discipline. More than just opinion, this chapter introduces a model for empowering users that does not compromise the IT departments need for strict oversight. By combining basic configuration and project management theory with the features of OneNote, a SharePoint library, and a few content types, it is possible to provide users with the opportunity to build powerful solutions and preserve judicious control for IT.

The SharePoint Designer lockdown debate is a heated one to be sure. What is perhaps most interesting is that this topic rarely falls into that standard SharePoint response, It depends. There seem to be two distinct camps: those in favor, typically SharePoint professionals who understand the tool and praise its ability to add another layer of sophistication to business solutions, and those against, mostly in IT departments where great effort is made to lock down and prohibit its use.

 

3. jQuery to the Rescue

ePub

It seems like every time I turn around, I have a project that reaches just beyond what SharePoint will do with out-of-the-box (OOB) functionality. And just about every time that happens, jQuery comes to the rescue to make the job easy, elegant, and robust.

Because SharePoint uses web technologies, were blessed with being able to use JavaScript to manipulate the presentation layer programmatically. One of the most popular JavaScript libraries today is called jQuery. jQuery gives us an easy way to manipulate the document object model (DOM) of the web pages created by SharePoint. This all happens in the browser after the page has been served up and rendered. But, its so fast, many of its features appear to happen on load. Others can be utilized with JavaScript to allow the page to change based on user interaction.

In this chapter, Ive only touched the tip of the iceberg by showing some examples in which you can use jQuery for some great, easy-to-use functionality. When youre done with this chapter, you will know how to use jQuery to effect the following changes on your pages:

 

4. Unlocking the Mysteries of the SharePoint Data View Web Part XSL Tags

ePub

The article I chose for inclusion in this book may seem at first glance to be an odd one. After all, it is not much more than an outline for a series of articles I did over four months at EndUserSharePoint.com (EUSP). However, this first article laid the foundation for that series, which was well read and which later became an ebook that we sold on the EUSP site. People continue to buy from me today. This is not about me advertising that, but about the fact that a single, simple article at EUSP, with the questions, comments, and feedback attached to it, can grow and stretch and can help a great many more people than its author expected.

Writing for EUSP has always been a pleasure. If you think about it, there is really no pressureno more than writing on ones own blogyet one can help a great number of people.When Mark Miller first approached me to write for EUSP a few years ago, I felt honored, humbled, and secretly thrilled. EUSP had been a source of great content for me as a reader, and I felt like I had become a member of a little club of which I never thought I would be a member.

 

5. Hyperlinks in the Data View Web Part

ePub

In SharePoint, List and Library views are used to look at the same set of data in different ways. When views are created, columns, filters, sorting, and grouping are set up in an easy user interface. There are some additional settings such as totals, inline editing, and styles, but in a lot of cases, there is a point at which the out-of-box settings are not sufficient for the goals of the business.

When the settings do not provide the needed customization for the List or Library view requirements, you can use SharePoint Designer to create a Data View web part (DVWP) or an XSLT List View web part. There is a plethora of view modifications that you can make. The following are the most common reasons for customizing List views:

A need for conditional formatting

Customization of the displayed message when the view has no items

Creation of parameters

A need for complex filters

In this chapter, you will learn that there is a difference between Data View and XSLT List View web parts, and how hyperlinks are customized in each. The hyperlinks will also be structured differently for libraries than they are for lists. Therefore, an overview of SharePoint URL structures will be provided.

 

6. Building a Quote of the Day Web Part in SharePoint 2010

ePub

Back in 2009, I wrote an article about how to create a simple Quote of the Day web part by leveraging SharePoints 2007 customization capabilities (see Figure6-1).

Figure6-1.Quote of the Day web part in SharePoint 2007

Although the code behind the web part was very simple, the web part itself had a few limitations such as dependency on the jQuery library or use only in the same site as the location of the Quotes list.

One of the new pillars of SharePoint 2010 is the JavaScript Object Model (JSOM), which allows you to build dynamic web applications (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee538253.aspx). In the first part of this chapter, you will learn how to build your own Quote of the Day web part using the new SharePoint 2010 JSOM.

Whenever you want to redistribute your SharePoint solution, you should create a SharePoint Solution Package (WSP). Unfortunately, in many environments, deploying WSPs is restricted and allowed only after passing reviews. This process might be very expensive for a simple solution such as the Quote of the Day web part. The concept of the Sandbox has been introduced in SharePoint 2010 specifically for such scenarios. Sandbox allows you to deploy SharePoint Packages in an isolated process without the involvement of IT and can be done by the site collection administrator.

 

7. SPJS Charts for SharePoint

ePub

This solution is a bridge between Googles Visualization API and SharePoint. This enables you to get data from any SharePoint list or library within the site collection, and create dynamic charts with Google Visualization API.

The solution is used to get the data from the lists and present them to the Google Visualization API in the correct format. The charts are created with the Google Visualization API and therefore all chart-related issues must be checked with the documentation here: http://code.google.com/intl/en-EN/apis/chart/. You will find a link to the relevant configuration options for the selected chart from within the Edit Chart GUI.

This chapter will walk you through the setup of the solution and explain the various settings available in the Edit Chart GUI. It will not go into details about how you can create different charts. You will, however, find chart examples in my private blog, http://sharepointjavascript.wordpress.com.

The solution works in both SharePoint 2007 and 2010.

 

8. Taming the Elusive Calculated Column—Logic Functions

ePub

One of the more common frustrations for users new to working with formulas in SharePoint is the usage of logical functions. Throughout this chapter, my hope is that I can help alleviate some of the confusion in how they work, how to use them, and where they can be of benefit in your lists and libraries by working through a few examples that detail the logic behind the formula. Each function has a purpose, and although the logic involved can become confusing at times with complexities needed to build robust solutions, Im going to break each one down with an explanation of how they all fit together, and why.

The logical functions include the following individual functions:

Returns different values depending on whether a condition specified evaluates to TRUE or FALSE.

Returns a value of TRUE if all arguments in a statement are TRUE. If one or more arguments are FALSE, the entire statement is FALSE.

Returns YES if any argument is TRUE and NO if all arguments are FALSE.

 

9. Creating Document Libraries with Mixed Content Sources

ePub

This chapter shows how both documents and list items can be contained in the same document library for a consistent user interface. Often, sites are constructed so that documents are separated from useful internal or external links that may be relevant to that content, but this doesnt have to be the case. Documents and list items can both live in the same spot and blend seamlessly together. In this chapter, well examine the steps to achieve this result in both Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS)/Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) and SharePoint Foundations/SharePoint Server 2010.

On NothingButSharePoint.com, formerly EndUserSharePoint.com, we would get great questions on the Stump the Panel forum. These questions were from users who ranged from absolute SharePoint beginners to seasoned SharePoint administrators, End Users, and Developers. This forum, which is now located at https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/Forum/Pages/default.aspx, is a hotbed for great blog-worthy material. This is one of those great submissions from the forums.

 

10. SharePoint 2010 Tab Page

ePub

When the amount of content to be shown on a page exceeds the viewable real estate, users have to scroll down the page to view the content they wish to see. Scrolling is something to be avoided for an optimum user experience. Less scrolling means a much better experience for the user. SharePoint, however, does not provide a way to make this happen.

One of the better solutions to this problem in SharePoint is the use of tabs. Tabs allow the content manager to place more information on a single page while not forcing the user to scroll up and down the page to get to that information.

Wouldnt it be great to have a solution that allowed you to have a page that had tabs incorporated and ready for you to use?

The goal, then, is to create a Tab page that will do the following:

Allow users to view content with little to no scrolling.

Provide an option that has two to eight tabs.

Enable the use of cookies so that tabs become sticky, so when returning to the tab page, users will land on the last tab they were on.

 

11. A Global Navigation Solution Across Site Collections

ePub

Have you ever wanted an easier way to have global navigation that spans across site collections? SharePoint provides an elegant solution for global navigation within a site collection. However, when you architect a SharePoint instance to have multiple web apps and site collections, a global navigation system is not an easy solution to create. A global navigation system would need to be created on each site collection, and any changes to the global navigation need to be made in each and every site collection ...ouch!!! You would think there needs to be a better solutionand there is!

In this chapter, we will explore one possible solution that allows us to have the same global navigation across site collections and the ability to manage it from a central location.

The goal of this solution is to create a global navigation solution that will be capable of the following:

Deploying once and centrally adding, editing, deleting, organizing, and managing tabs and their associated pull-down menus

 

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