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Reinventing the SharePoint List Forms


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Presented for SharePoint TechFest on May 17, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Reinventing the SharePoint List Forms

  1. 1. LIST FORMS, CUSTOM DEVELOPMENT, AND YOU:A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WOWING CO-WORKERS WITHOUT WORKING VERY HARD. William Schindler Director, Portals & Collaboration Practice – PacWest Self-Proclaimed Lazy Developer
  2. 2. WHAT DO I MEAN BY “LAZY”? 3 Tenets of Laziness 1. Results = good 2. Work for work’s sake = bad 3. More results & less work = bestMost developers are by nature (and should be) inherently lazy –computers and programming are inventions of the lazy man.My modus operandi: maximize laziness value for developers and end-users.
  3. 3. “SYLLABUS”• This presentation is: – 300-400 level – Aimed primarily at developers and gearheads – Pre-reqs: 200-level C#, 300-level ASP.Net, 200-level SharePoint development• Session outline / agenda – Explore out-of-the-box forms and tools (“what’s there now”) – The “Do”s and “Don’t”s of customizing list forms – “Cookbook” examples of real ways to customize – Value proposition: why you’d take this home• At the end you can: – Explain how to extend the forms in useful ways – Identify good (and bad) candidates for list form customization – Pitch to your boss and/or stakeholders why you should use this to solve their problem
  4. 4. WHAT’S THERE NOW?• Lists/libraries hold “things” – both concrete and abstract• Basic forms are basic, but allow manipulation of this content: Add / View / Edit• Where they live – Forms “sub-folder” of lists & libraries• How they behave: – “Internal” web parts used in render – Query string to select records / parameters (IsDlg)• Think MVVM: Emphasis on utility as a combined view / view model for list data
  6. 6. HOW TO “CHANGE” THEM• Don’t change them! – … most of the time. – Probably not a good idea to change/replace forms in existing lists and libraries; add and mark default instead. – Not as bad of an idea in your own custom list definitions, but consider carefully• Big gotcha: the existing web part is a bit of a golden cow. – Removing the existing web part zone & web part makes SharePoint stop recognizing it as a list form. – Good news is you can hide it, and it’s not much of a performance hog. – When you inevitably forget and do it anyway, you can still find the form by navigating the file system w/ Designer and go delete/fix it.
  7. 7. LIVE DEVELOPMENT! A SIMPLE OVERRIDE Hold onto your hats, and excuse the inevitable typos.
  8. 8. REAL(ISH) EXAMPLES• Good at solving “presentation of complex data” problems: – interactive/rich media libraries – linked records across lists – Heavy on presentation, light on edit Suggested Uses • Embedded players • Adding “wow factor” or better user experiences • Making common data (such as address blocks) more “natural” • Wowing your coworkers, bosses, and stakeholders• Contraindicators: – Little human interaction required or “data archiving” only – Complex interaction / copious data entry
  10. 10. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?• Situation – Many real-world problems in the enterprise are about how to visualize and surface sets of data. – Developers are inherently lazy and resources are limited.• Value – We can use SP list mechanisms – content types, site columns, taxonomy, workflow, versioning, etc., to create powerful, dynamic data, without lifting a finger. – You can still build whatever kinds of crazy interfaces you want in the technology you prefer, without giving up those advantages or writing whole new webpages/sites/applications.• It’s faster and it’s cheaper than the alternatives.
  11. 11. Q&A William SchindlerDirector, Portals & Collaboration Practice – PacWest Dino Dato-on Director, Portals & Collaboration Practice – Dallas