Archive for the ‘SharePoint webparts’ Category

SharePoint Staff Vacation Planner – DIY Guide part 5 – the system in action and Out of the box options.

Date:August 9th, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint Ideas, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

This is Part 5 of the SharePoint Staff Vacation Planner – DIY Guide

See the System In Action

So, now let’s reap the rewards for all of our hard work and see the system in action.

I need to book a day off for a hospital appointment on Friday 9th of July.  I can see all the absence bookings for my department and the number of days I have had off this year on the absence dashboards above. I’ve only had 1 day off for Medical Appointments so far this year and I am allowed 3 so that’s fine – but 3 people are off on that day already, it’s going to be tough, but I really need to go to that appointment.

So, as you can see, I can add a new item to the planner straight from the link in the webpart, I don’t need to go to the list.

Ryan receives the absence request email and from looking at his dashboards he can see that although I am well within my Medical Appointments entitlement approving this absence is going to leave him really short staffed on Friday – but he can’t face the thought of listening to me moaning about my in-growing toenail for another 3 months, so he approves the request.

Once the request is approved I get an email notifying me, and the status of the absence changes from “pending” to “approved” on the absence planner.

And for the final step in the process, is the email to Ryan on Thursday, to remind him that I am off the next day, giving him chance to make sure all my work is covered.

So now we should have no excuse for messing up staff absence planning ever again!

So Can’t I do this with SharePoint out of the Box?

Well some of it. Clearly, your basic list and filtered views are all set up in SharePoint out of the box.

When it comes to your dashboard views there are some limitations.

This is how your Vacation Planner Wall Chart looks out of the box:

or as a Gantt view:

We have lost all of our color coding, it’s not possible to show the name of the person who is absent, unless you make this the title of the event, and we have no way of distinguishing between approved and pending items.

For the “Absences to Date” and “My Absences” dashboards we can achieve something similar, if a bit clunky, out of the box.  From the settings tab in your Staff Absence Planner list, choose edit current view.

Head down to Group By and choose Requested By and Reason.  Then expand the Totals section and choose # Days Absence and sum.



This will give you a view like this:

The information is all there, but I have to work to get at it.  For example Ryan can see that I have had 11 days off this year, covering 3 separate occasions, but he is going to have to drill into each individual event and get his calculator out to figure out how many of my days off have been annual leave, training or Medical.

Then on to the workflow emails. It is possible to generate email alerts for the absence request and the request approval, but the solution isn’t perfect.  For absence requests an administrator can set the list up to email all line managers within your company or department, every time a new request is added to the list.  This means that managers will get absence requests from their own staff, but also from all other staff as well.  The only way to avoid this would be to set up a separate absence request list for each line manager.

For the request approved/rejected email the requester will need to set up an alert on each request as they create it, asking to be alerted any time anything changes on that list item.

When the alert emails arrive, this is how they look:

There is no way to edit the email, and give the recipient clues on what they are supposed to do with it.

The final “John Smith is off work tomorrow” email, cannot be generated in SharePoint out of the box, as it doesn’t do date based alerts.

You could do this with Workflow and Event Receivers, but that means having some technical knowledge and breaking out SharePoint Designer and/or Visual Studio.

So – can you build a staff absence planning system with SharePoint out of the box?  I guess the answer is “kind of”. It is possible to build a basic system but it’s going to lack some useful functionality and may now be enormously user friendly.

We hope you’ve found this useful.

If you would like to try the Vacation planning system you can download a 30 day free trial version here.

And as always, if you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear them.

SharePoint Reminder Webpart – version 1.7.8 now available

Date:June 14th, 2010 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

How annoying is it when you get reminded about something you have already done?  A little email saying:

“Can you please submit your expenses claim form by 12.00 noon today”

is just sooo annoying when actually you have been a good girl and done your expenses yesterday.

We get lots of support calls from SharePoint Reminder webpart users who have annoyed their team members in just this way – by sending our Reminder emails for tasks that have already been completed.

This is easy enough to do.  Reminder will look at the whole of a list unless you tell it to do something else.  So if you ask Reminder to send out an email for everyone who is tasked to complete their expenses claim form by 12.00 today that is exactly what it will do, regardless of whether the status of that task is “Active” or “Completed”.


SharePoint 2010 Ready – PHEW!

Date:May 4th, 2010 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: General, SharePoint webparts Comments:1 ;

Well, OK so it probably hasn’t been quite as much effort as climbing Everest – but sometimes it’s felt that way!

Last week Microsoft made the “final” release version of SharePoint 2010 available to developers and large corporates.  So we have been able to get on with our “final” set of compatibility tests and we can now announce that all of our products are SharePoint 2010 Compatible.


When you make software that works on a particular platform – whether it’s Windows, SharePoint, or the iPhone – the introduction of a major new version is really exciting, but it can also be very stressful. The introduction of a new feature might open up lots of new possibilities, but it could equally well present new problems for the way your own software works with the platform, or even make your application completely redundant.


And the Winner Is . . . !

Date:March 10th, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;
red carpet

No, it’s not more about the Oscars, it’s our Case Study Competition – just as important to us, but maybe Jeff Bridges wouldn’t share our view.

Random aside: Did you know that this is (allegedly) the first year in over 20 years that award presenters at the Oscar’s have used the phrase “and the winner is”?  “And the winner is” was banned at the 60th Oscars, for fear of offending the “non-winners” (didn’t they used to be called losers??).  Presenters have been saying “and the Oscar goes to . . .” ever since; until this year, when, presumably due to popular demand, the traditional phrase is back in place.

Anyway, enough of all this.  Our winner is Adam Venn of Bridges Engineering in Bath, England.  Adam wins something far more useful than a little gold-plate statue.  He gets a swanky new Flip video camera, which he tells us will come in very handy for filming the first baby that he and his wife and expecting any time now.

So thank you to Adam. Bridges have been using Reminder since 2007 and Adam has sent some really interesting information on how they use it.  As we expected they are doing things over there that we never even thought of.  We will be publishing a full case study in a couple of weeks.

Thanks also to everyone else who sent in case studies. We will be publishing them all over the next few months.  If you have a case study that you would like to share with us it’s not too late, just email me with brief details and I will get in touch to get the full story from you.  There are no prizes in it now – but we would still love to hear from you.


Case Study – “ACME” Choose Pentalogic SharePoint Reminder for Job Tracking System

Date:March 8th, 2010 Author: Tags: ,
Category: General, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

So here we are on track with at least one of our SharePoint 2010 New Year’s Resolutions – and its only March!

We wanted to get some more insight into how people use our products out there in the real world, and so we asked you to send in case studies.  In fact we launched a little competition to encourage you – winner to be announced in the next blog post.

We have been delighted with the response, and here is the first in what we hope will be a long running series.


Tell Us Your SharePont Story and Win a Flip Video

Date:February 16th, 2010 Author: Tags: , , ,
Category: General, PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint Reminder, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

One of our New Years Resolutions for 2010 was to: “find out how people really use our stuff”.

We really want to understand how people use our Planner, Reminder and Pivot Point in the real world.  We know we have clients from a huge range of industry sectors, so it will be great to see how our software helps with the special challenges of your area. And we know that some of you use 2 or 3 of our products together: we would love to know what you are doing there.

So this year we want to find out how you use our products in your SharePoint environment. If we know how you use them it will help us to improve them!

Just send us a quick email telling us a bit about your business and how you use our products and we will enter you into our free prize draw for the chance to win a funky Flip video camera.

We would really appreciate your help on this one, so if you have a minute free please send us a quick email.


Terms and Conditions

  1. You must be a user of Pentalogic Technology Software in order to enter (free trial users are welcome to enter.)
  2. Entries must be sent to with the subject line “Case Study”
  3. The draw will take place at 12 noon GMT on Monday 1st March, you entry must be submitted by 12 noon GMT Sunday 28th February to qualify.
  4. All entrants agree to take a 30 minute phone call from Pentalogic Technology, to clarify details of your case study.
  5. All entrants agree to their case study being published by Pentalogic Technology, on line or in print.

5 things you never knew you couldn’t do with SharePoint Gantt Charts

Date:February 3rd, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, SharePoint Planner, SharePoint webparts Comments:6 ;

Sometimes it’s all too easy to forget what it was like to be a new SharePoint user.  Sometimes you need a wakeup call to remind you of the “WOW” moments of delighted surprise when you discovered an amazing new feature, and the “AAAGGGGGHHHH!” moments of frustration, when you hit upon something SharePoint obviously should do, but for some inexplicable reason just doesn’t.

We got our wakeup call this week when we were putting together a product features chart for our Planner web part – which is an easy to use planning tool, with a Gantt chart view.  We like to do this with all our products, to see how we stack up against the competition, and against SharePoint out of the box.

When we looked at SharePoint out of the box, some of the basic things that you would expect from a Gantt chart just weren’t there.  Here are our top 5 “missing in action” feature in SharePoint Gantt charts:


2010: SharePoint New Year’s Resolutions

Date:January 18th, 2010 Author: Tags: , , , , ,
Category: General, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

A happy New Year to you – and 2010 looks like being an exciting one in the wonderful world of SharePoint

Here at Pentalogic we have a good crop of SharePoint New Years Resolutions.  We thought we would share them with you now – so that you can hold us to them if our resolve waivers down the line.

So here they are:

  1. Join a gym.
  2. Give up chocolate.
  3. Read “War and Peace”.

OK, so we’re never going to stick to those, lets focus on something realistic.


What’s In a Name?

Date:January 7th, 2010 Author: Tags: , ,
Category: General, PivotPoint Web Part, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

Some of you may have noticed that with the introduction or our new website we also seen to have lost a product – CrossTab.

Don’t Panic!  It’s still there, we just changed the name.

And why have we done that?  Well with the exception of us here at Pentalogic, and a few hard core number crunchers out there no one seemed to understand the old name.

Not that many people seemed to know what a Cross Tab is. And if you Google it this is what you get:

“A Cross Tabulation – often abbreviated to “crosstab” is a statistical technique that establishes an interdependent relationship between two tables of values, but does not identify a causal relationship between the values.”


Phew, sounds like hard work!

Actually it’s pretty simple – it’s just what an Excel Pivot Table does – which is why we have changed the name to “PivotPoint” – which we hope will make sense to a lot more people.

Like a Pivot Table, Pivot Point is one of the handiest little data analysis tools you could wish for.  Use it to get a quick a quick and easy to interpret summary of the numerical data in your SharePoint lists.

Since we were somewhat lacking in inspiration when it came to finding a new name we picked the brains of lots of SharePoint users and experts.  The suggestions for PivotPoint came from Kirill Kirg in the MOSS group on LinkedIn.  So many thanks to Kirill!

And as always, if you have any comments or suggestions please do get in touch.

SharePoint PivotPoint Free Trial Download

New for 2010 – Premium Support

Date:January 6th, 2010 Author: Tags: ,
Category: General, SharePoint webparts Comments:0 ;

We like to think that the standard support we offer as a part of our licensing is pretty good.  We are after all one of the very few companies in this market place offering all customers free telephone and email support. All backed up by our full 90 day money back guarantee for anyone who is not fully satisfied.

However some customers have requested a higher level of support and for this reason we have now introduced optional Premium support, for an annual fee.