Archive for the ‘SharePoint webparts’ Category

Turn A SharePoint Task List Into A Task Master

Date:October 19th, 2012 Author: Tags: , , , , , ,
Category: FilterPoint Web Part, Highlighter, PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint Alert, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

Here’s how you can turn SharePoint’s built-in Task list into a powerful task tracking tool, using Pentalogic products.

These are just examples to get you started – we’re only scratching the surface here of what’s possible with our range of flexible SharePoint web parts.

To start, just create a new blank site and add a task list. Here’s one I made earlier:

start

Now just follow our guide for each section (or just the sections you want):

Each section has step-by-step instructions and a screenshot of the configuration to compare against.

Task list: Priority and Due Date highlighting

Uses Highlighter

To make the high-priority and upcoming tasks really stand out, we’re going to add a couple of highlighter columns.

Here’s what you will see on the All Tasks view – coloured flags to show priority, a column showing how long we’ve got left to complete items and a red highlight for things that are overdue.

highlighter_result

hl_priority

Highlight Priority

  • Create a new Pentalogic Highlighter column
  • Name the column Task Priority
  • Choose the column type Highlighting
  • Choose Show Icons
  • Click the Default icon, then click Clear
  • Change Base on column to Priority
  • Select Replace ‘Priority’ on all views
  • Under Rules click the Auto-create button
  • Click OK

Due Date Countdown

    • Create a new Pentalogic Highlighter column
    • hl_countdownName the column Due
    • Choose the column type Countdown
    • Change the Start option to [Today]
    • Change the End option to Due Date
    • Select Add to default view, on the Right
    • Uncheck all the display options except Days
    • Under Rules click the Auto-create button

Home page: Task calendar overview and summary

Uses Planner

On your site’s home page we’re going to add an at-a-glance overview of your tasks: A view of the task list (highlighted, if you did the previous section) and a task calendar.

Here’s what your home page will look like once we’ve finished:

mainpage

List view

  • Edit the page and add Tasks from the Existing Lists category
  • Edit the web part
  • Change the Selected view to All Tasks (to ensure Highlighter columns are displayed)
  • Click OK

Task calendarplanner_config

  • Edit the page and add Planner v2 from the Miscellaneous category
  • Set the Style to By Category
  • Set the Planner Source to Tasks
  • Set the Start Date to the column Start Date
  • Set the End Date to the column Due Date
  • Set the Category to Assigned To
  • Set the Label to Title
  • Set the Progress to % Complete
  • Set the Period to Auto
  • Change Set colour by column to Priority
  • Assign appropriate Colors to the priorities (e.g. High – Red)
  • Optional: Set a Fxed width under the Appearance section
  • Optional: Set the Font size to Medium

Analysis page: Graphs and granular reporting

Uses FilterPoint and PivotPoint

Now we’re going to create an Analysis page to produce some graphs and reporting data from your task list.

You will have an Analysis page that looks like this – showing  charts for each persons workload.

analysispage

Creating the page

  • From Site Actions choose New Document Library (to put the page in)
  • Call the library Pages
  • Set Quick Launch to Yes
  • Set Versioning to No
  • Change the Document Template to Web Part Page
  • Click Create
  • From Site Actions choose More options…
  • Under Page choose Web Part Page
  • Call the page Analysis
  • Change the Template to Full page, Vertical
  • Set the Document Library to Pagespivotpoint_pie_config

Graph and Report: Priority skew

Let’s add a graph to show us if tasks are being raised too often as “High priority”:

  • Edit the Analysis page
  • Add the PivotPoint web part from the Pentalogic.net category
  • Edit the web part
  • Set Display to Both
  • Set List to Tasks
  • Under Columns set Field to Priority
  • Under Chart options set Chart type to Pie
  • Click OK

Graph and Report: Status by Personpivotpoint_stack_config

Next we’ll add a graph to show the status of tasks assigned to everyone. That’ll show us if we have any bottlenecks in the team:

  • Edit the Analysis page
  • Add the PivotPoint web part from the Pentalogic.net category
  • Edit the web part
  • Set Display to Both
  • Set List to Tasks
  • Under Columns set Field to Status
  • Under Rows set Field to Assigned To
  • Under Chart options set Chart type to Bar
  • Set Color mappings to Automatic colors
  • Click OK

Filteringfilterpoint_config

Lastly, let’s add a filtering web part. this will allow us to drill down into our data by selecting certain statuses and date ranges:

  • Edit the Analysis page
  • Add the FilterPoint web part from the Pentalogic.net category
  • Connect the other web parts via the menu (Connections -> Provide filter to)
  • Edit the web part
  • Under Filters click New
  • Change the Label to Status
  • Set the Style to Drop Down
  • Under Get the filter values select From a list
  • Still under Get the filter values, the list Tasks and field Status
  • Under Filters click New
  • Change the Label to Start Date
  • Set the Style to Date Range
  • Set the Field name to From the connected web part and select Start Date
  • Click OK

You can display the page on the Quick Launch menu via Site Actions -> Site Settings and selecting the Quick Launch option under Look and Feel.

Alert page: Configure “Overdue” alerts

Uses Reminder

The last step is to configure Reminder to send email alerts to us when tasks are overdue. You’ll need to create the Pages document library if you skipped the previous section, and then continue with the instructions:

  • From Site Actions choose More options… reminder_config
  • Under Page choose Web Part Page
  • Call the page Reminder
  • Change the Template to Full page, Vertical
  • Set the Document Library to Pages
  • Edit the page
  • Add the Reminder web part from the Miscellaneous category
  • Edit the web part
  • Set Watch list to Tasks
  • Under Email to select Assigned To from the dropdown
  • Under Email CC enter the manager’s e-mail address in the text box
  • Next to Subject click “” and enter the following into the popup box:Overdue task ([Title])
  • Next to Message click “” and enter the following:This task is overdue: Title: [Title]
    Due date: [Due Date]
    Priority: [Priority]
  • Under Send When expand Overdue and choose by 1 Days
  • Click OK

You should hen see the following on the page:

reminderpage

You can also setup email alerts to remind you when tasks are due in a few days.

Finished!

Your mundane Tasks list is now an all-singing all-dancing Task Master!

This is just one example of the many possible solutions that can be achieved with our products. Please feel free to browse the product pages below to learn more or take advantage of our 30 day free trial:

SharePoint Sandbox Solutions: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Date:July 11th, 2012 Author: Tags: , , , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Development, SharePoint webparts, Training Comments:3 ;

Sandbox solutions are often seen as the cure-all for the worries of installing in-house or third party software on your SharePoint farm; but all is not as it seems.

This article aims to dispel some of the illusions around the safety of Sandbox Solutions, and cut through some of the fluff about what the sandbox should actually be used for and why.

  • The Good: What sandbox solutions do well
  • The Bad: What sandbox solutions don’t protect you from
  • The Ugly: The compromises you have to make to use them

What is a Sandbox Solution?

A Sandbox Solution is just like a normal Farm solution, except that it is deployed to a specific Site Collection (rather than the whole Farm), and has a limited set of tools it can use.

A full listing of what you can and can’t do in the sandbox can be found here:

Sandbox Solution Considerations (section “Capabilities and Elements in Sandboxed Solutions”)
Restrictions on Sandboxed Solutions in SharePoint 2010

It’s just like having a toddler in a sandbox in your garden (or yard): They can build sandcastles and dig holes using the tools you give them, but they can’t play with the chainsaw or ride-on mower you’ve left lying around (or dig enormous holes in your flower beds).

The Good

Sandbox Solutions are prevented from doing many things that could cause security or performance issues on your SharePoint server. Notable restrictions include:

  • No access to the network(s) your server is connected to
  • No access to the server’s registry
  • No access to the server’s filesystem
  • No access to e-mail via SMTP
  • Permissions cannot be elevated

There are also some additional features to help keep solutions in line:

  • Solutions can be installed at the Site Collection level by Site Collection administrators.
  • Resource Usage Limits are applied to solutions and can be monitored and limited by the administrator, preventing faulty or processor-hungry code from overwhelming the server.
  • Solutions can be automatically validated, and known troublemakers can be banned from the entire farm.

Notably, the main benefit to the Site Collection administrator is the ability to deploy their own solutions, but the majority of the other benefits are to the Farm administrator (and/or hosting company); although everyone benefits from the improved system stability these features help to ensure.

The Bad

There are a great many features to help with system stability and the prevention of security breaches; but there are limits to what the solutions are prevented from doing.

You should certainly never deploy untested third-party solutions to the sandbox “without fear of bringing down the entire farm”.

The best example of a danger to stability from within the sandbox is the lack of control over the Client Object Model, mentioned here: Sandboxed Solutions in SharePoint 2010

Pages, Web Parts, and controls that are deployed in sandboxed solutions can include code that runs against one of the SharePoint Foundation client-side object models … Code that runs on the client computer is not subject to any of the code execution or resource usage restrictions.

For example, a solution could contain malicious or badly written code executed via COM that requested all the items in a list an infinite number of times. If embedded into a web part, this would effectively turn the computer of every user that viewed it into a node of a DDoS attack on the server farm.

Rather less dramatically, it’s worth noting that there are no specific restrictions on actively malicious code within a Site Collection. It’s perfectly possible to:

  • Delete sites and sub-sites
  • Add COM calls to export data to an external site (much like Wictor’s data import)
  • Copy data added/edited in lists with item-levels permissions to unrestricted lists

The Ugly

Although sandboxing adds restrictions at every level of SharePoint, the feature wasn’t in the original platform design (in SharePoint 2007). In order to squeeze this feature in, some sacrifices had to be made.

Since there’s no access to the filesystem, the following aren’t possible:

  • Application Pages
  • Visual Web Parts (since they deploy a Control Template)

There are a some compromises due to Split Page Rendering; where sandboxed web parts are rendered separately from the rest of the page in a controlled thread:

  • No Script Manager to output/organise JavaScript
  • No web part connections
  • No access to the page Cache

Similar to the above: Because sandbox solution code needs to run in a controlled thread, the following functionality (that uses separate threads) had to be removed:

  • Workflows containing code
  • Timer jobs

Although most of these compromises are understandable, there are some features that are missing for no apparent reason:

  • You cannot use any of SharePoint’s own web controls (e.g. Date picker, User selection)
  • You cannot hide Custom Actions, or add Custom Action Groups

Conclusion

Sandboxing makes it less likely that you’ll accidentally destabilize a SharePoint farm with broken code, and make it easier to find and deal with trouble making solutions.

It’s also more difficult for malicious code to gain access to anything outside the Site Collection it’s deployed to, and slightly more difficult to destabilize the farm.

However, it doesn’t guarantee safety from either bad or malicious code and there are a large number of compromises to consider. Working around sandbox limitations will add overheads to most development projects, and many solutions will simply not fit into the sandbox model.

For example: FilterPoint and Highlighter are two of our own products that can never be made sandboxable, as they’re based on features that are simply not available in the sandbox.

Edit: Since the publishing of this post, we’ve discovered that sandbox solutions are now deprecated in SharePoint 15; as mentioned in the article SharePoint 2013 preview – Apps or Crapps?.

Date Range filtering with the new version of FilterPoint, PivotPoint and Planner.

Date:December 13th, 2011 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: Filter, FilterPoint Web Part, PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

FilterPoint has had the ability to send Date Filters but a common request has been Date Ranges – like showing everything this month, last year or between two arbitrary dates.

FilterPoint - Date Range Filtering

The good news is that we’ve added this in to FilterPoint as of version 1.2

The bad news is that this will only work with our other SharePoint products – Planner and PivotPoint – it won’t work with SharePoints built in List View web part (LVWP).

That’s disappointing!

Yes it is – it’s just a limitation of SharePoints filtering I am afraid, but all is not lost!

This page shows how you can do things like Month filtering using calculated columns and this blog article shows how you can setup “Current Month/Previous Month” views using nothing more than Calculated Columns and View filters.

Upgrading

As always you can upgrade without losing any settings by downloading and running the latest trial version and selecting “Upgrade” when prompted (don’t forget you need the a recent version of Planner (v2.6.9+) and PivotPoint (2.2.0+) to accept date range filters.

ViewRescue for SharePoint 2010 – Updated!

Date:March 30th, 2011 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Free Tools, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

View Rescue

We’ve recently updated our free ViewRescue tool for SharePoint 2010 to version 1.1.2

This latest version will now work with customized Master Page templates, as long as you have an “AdditionalPageHead” control in your template.

See our website for the latest version (you can install this over the top of the existing version to upgrade) and details about this free tool  that fixes a common annoyance in SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint 2010 and the mystery of the disappearing view selector menu

Date:March 8th, 2011 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, SharePoint webparts Comments:33 ;

Remember the good old days, before SharePoint 2010, when a dropdown on the top right of a List View Web Part (LVWP) allowed you to select different views, quicly and easily?

In SharePoint 2010 we have lost this handy feature.  On some pages, a substitute does exist in the Breadcrumb on the title bar (which is part of the Ribbon, at the top of the page). It took us a little while to actually realize was there – but once we found it, it was very welcome.

SharePoint List View Selector Menu

But wait, all is not well. as Kerri from one of our partners – LookOut Software who develop CRM software for SharePoint – pointed out even the breadcrumb option disappears on the majority of pages. It disappears if you

  • Add another list view web part
  • Add any other web part such as a Content Editor Web Part containing things like instructions for the list
  • 3rd party web parts like our PivotPoint or FilterPoint tools that work really well alongside list views for creating dynamic dashboards.
  • use your list on a wiki page – and remember most of the pages in SharePoint 2010 are wiki pages by default now.

Also you don’t get it if you’ve created a new page and added a list view web part to it.

Once it’s gone, you have to resort to the following ninja moves to change a view. Select the list title (or something in the list) > List Tools > List, Current View dropdown > Then the view you want. 4 clicks? My finger is getting sore SharePoint!

This bugged me so much that I decided to look into it further and ended up developing a little tool which  - well – rescues the view selector drop down.

If you just want the solution you can skip the rest of this post and download our free fix for this annoyance – ViewRescue

View Rescue for SharePoint 2010

If you’re interested in the techie details then read on…

Editing The SharePoint List Item Menu (Part 2: Using Javascript)

Date:November 4th, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: SharePoint Development, SharePoint Ideas, SharePoint webparts, Training Comments:6 ;

MenuBeforeFollowing on from Part 1 of this series which covered Editing the SharePoint List Item Menu Using Elements, I thought it would valuable to reproduce the same results without using Visual Studio or SharePoint designer (Part 4 will be to do it without a monitor). This method will allow non-developers with view edit access to customise the List Item Menu.

In this example, a ‘View (new window)’ option will once MenuAfteragain be added to each item’s context menu to avoid the modal box, as illustrated to the right. Although as Christophe helpfully pointed out in response to Part 1, the modal boxes can be banished under the list’s Advanced settings. Fortunately there are many other uses for these techniques, as we will see in Part 3.

This example uses a Content Editor web part, which means the Javascript can be added on a view-by-view basis. This allows a more targeted release and can be added by any user with permissions to edit the view. However, it makes widespread distribution more difficult; putting the function in a master page can overcome this but will implement it for every item menu on every list.

(more…)

New SharePoint FilterPoint web part – public beta released

Date:November 1st, 2010 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: Filter, General, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

FilterPoint SharePoint webpartWell finally, after months of hard work we are delighted to be able to let you know that we have just released our new FilterPoint web part for SharePoint in beta.

FilterPoint has been a long time coming so we hope you are going to like it.  It’s a tool that we always knew we wanted to develop. Dynamic filtering  – the ability to flip between filter values at the click of a mouse – is one of the building blocks for the kinds of rich applications that our customers like to build for themselves.  It builds on the power of webpart connections (a much neglected area in SharePoint) and once you have the ability to apply a group of filters to a page with a selection of webparts and lists you have the potential for some really nice dashboards.

But, as I said FilterPoint has been a long time coming, because what started out looking like a straight forward project turned out to be anything but . . . .

It starts off looking ever so simple with plenty of online examples – but when you start delving into the details it quickly becomes the stereotypical “Can of Worms” project.

There are basically two interfaces you can use – one old IFilterProvider interface , and the new ITransformableFilterValues interface. So far sounds easy but how about some wildcards….

With the new ITransformableFilterValues interface – you can’t create filters dynamically,  and you can’t have multiple connections on the consumer side in SP 2007.

On the other hand, with the old IFilterProvider interface you can’t send multiple filter values to List view web parts and you can’t connect more than one provider web part to a consumer web part. And that’s just scratching the surface.

To top it all off you have little control over what the filter consumer web part actually does with the info you give it – want to say “Equals” or “Not Equals” or “Greater Than” etc and thats out of the scope of what a filter provider can do (we’ve got some ideas on how to work around this in a future version of FilterPoint though).

My oh my, enough to make your head spin!

FilterPoint Webpart, filtering optionsAnyway- we’ve worked really hard to make this web part as simple to use as possible whilst still being compatible with any web parts that can accept the standard web part connections.  We have managed to come up with a tool which allows you to apply multiple filters to multiple webparts and lists, and (at least when working with our Planner and PivotPoint) you can have some control over the operator – using “not equal”, “greater than” and “less than” as well as the standard “equals”.  We hope to extend this aspect of the functionality in v2.

So, why might you want to use this thing then?

Well, you might want to use simply it to guide your users to the most relevant data in one list or webpart – giving them the ability to “filter on the fly”, selecting new data sets, and then clearing filters in one click.

Or, at the other extreme, you might want to bring together a collection of lists and web parts on one page, and use FilterPoint to create a truly dynamic dashboard for your users.

In fact, once you start to use filters and webpart connections there are any number of different ways to enhance the functionality of your SharePoint site with a tool like FilterPoint – we already have it set up on our Sales Pipeline and Client lists here, and are finding more possible uses every day.

We are planning to have FilterPoint ready for full public release by the end of the month.  In the meantime, if you pre-register for your free trial, you will qualify for a 25% discount on the product purchase price.

We hope you like it, and as always, we are keen to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Filterpoint Download

Why Tooltips are cool tips in PivotPoint Webpart for SharePoint

Date:September 9th, 2010 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

Tooltips  – those little boxes that pop up when you hover over something – can be a blessing or a bit of a nightmare.  It drives me nuts when people enable those snapshot tooltips on every hyperlink on a page.  the resulting pop ups are huge, usually contain info I don’t want to see, and seem to hang around on the screen for ever.

But imagine a tooltip where you choose exactly what information is displayed?  How cool would that be?  Well that’s exactly what you get with tooltips in our PivotPoint web part  for SharePoint – which is why I think they rock.

(more…)

SharePoint Case Study – Websense Pivot Through Their Marketing Dashboards

Date:September 6th, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

Hi everyone.

We wanted to share this new SharePoint case study with you.  It shows how online security specialists Websense are using our PivotPoint webapart to slice and dice their marketing list data, and create some awesome, dynamic dashboards.

(more…)

SharePoint Planner Webpart – new version released

Date:September 1st, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

Just a quick note to let you all know that we have just released a new version of SharePoint Planner web part - v2.6.4.

The new version includes a couple of handy new features that might be useful for you.

The new Split Multiple Values option will be useful in resource planning in circumstances where you want to enter multiple category values into one list item, but still view each individual category’s activity as a separate line in your Planner view.  For example you might want to create a list item for a project meeting, with several people in attendance.  In a Gantt view of project tasks it would be appropriate to show this meeting as one item.

sharepoint planner gantt chart

But in a category view of staff availability/commitments you would want the meeting to appear as a separate item for each staff member involved. (more…)