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Empowering Business
with
Hybrid Code/No-Code
Solutions
Bob German
SharePoint Practice Director
BlueMetal Architects
Business Users         Power Users / Analysts      Developers



        Business Technical          Business Technical   Business Technical



SharePoint People
How can we develop SharePoint solutions which
Design for Empowerment




                         empower business users to:
                          Maintain and update the solution
                          Change the solution to accommodate new business needs
                          Innovate




   Empowering the Power Users
Robots Past and Present




Degrees of Freedom
How can we add degrees of freedom
                         to these solutions?



Agenda
 Web Parts empower business users to build their own pages and
  mash-ups but…
 Sometimes there isn’t a web part to do something
 For more degrees of freedom:
  Find ways to make the web part general
  Allow for flexible editing
  Build a connectable web part that can be configured in a flexible way


      Approach             2007            2010            2013            Beyond
      Configurable          Yes             Yes            Yes              Almost
      Web Part                                                             Certainly
      Connected Web         Yes             Yes            Yes             Probably
      Part




Web Part
 Client wanted a web part that shows users the weather
  forecast for their location based on user profile
 Client liked Accuweather widget but it isn’t integrated
  with SharePoint




 SOLUTION: Content Editor with Profile Web Part
  Rather than a weather-specific web part – injects user profile fields into any HTML
  Download the Accuweather widget and inject the user’s zip code into it
  Reusable for any scenario involving HTML and user profile fields



Scenario 1 – Weather Web Part
 Client wanted a user directory web part to put on a
  departmental web page




 SOLUTION: Search View Web Part
  Rather than a user directory web part, build a general purpose search viewer web part
  Can be configurable for many uses including cross-site document views, interactive
   searching,
   or person directories


Scenario 2 – User Directory Web Part
 Client wanted a collaborative “dashboard” showing
  all aspects of a property under
  management




 SOLUTION: Connectable Web Parts
  Rather than a custom page, built a suite of connectable web parts
  Business users can reconfigure, rearrange, and reuse them for other situations



Scenario 3 – Mash-up
Web Parts
Configurable and
Connected Web Parts
 InfoPath forms empower business users to create and manage the
  forms but…
 Sometimes you hit a brick wall when InfoPath can’t do something
 For more degrees of freedom:
  Create a sandboxed InfoPath solution – users can still edit and update the form
  Create a web service that InfoPath can call

      Approach             2007           2010            2013           Beyond
      Sandboxed             No             Yes             Yes           Maybe
      InfoPath Solution
      Admin Approved       Yes             Yes             Yes           Maybe
      InfoPath Solution
      Custom Web           Yes             Yes             Yes          Probably
      Service




InfoPath Form
 Complex approval process
 Approvers are selected from
  Active Directory groups in the form
 InfoPath does not have a way
  to enumerate an AD group




 SOLUTION: Custom Web Service
  Set up as a secondary data source in InfoPath
  Configure using InfoPath Rules
  Form can still be edited by power users; web service is reusable in other forms



Scenario 1 – Look up Group Members
 Repeating field in InfoPath – need to use it in a workflow
 OOB options are – first, last, comma-separated
 We needed maximum function




 SOLUTION: Sandboxed Form Code
   Could have used a custom workflow action to extract, but wanted to adapt the form as well
   Users can still edit other form detail; no need for admin to install in Central Admin




Scenario 2 – Repeating Field
 Form for use in a marketing request
 Needed to allow users to select documents based on a
  wildcard, such as M*.pptx
 No support from IT – deploying a web service not possible




 SOLUTION: Sandboxed Form Code
  Uses SharePoint object model to query the document library
  Business users can edit and install the solution



Scenario 3 – Wildcard Lookup
Forms
Sandboxed InfoPath Form
 Business users can edit workflows as needs change over
  time, but…
 Sometimes you hit a brick wall when the built-in or SharePoint
  Designer workflows don’t do something
 For more degrees of freedom:
  Create a custom action for SharePoint Designer
  Create an event receiver that acts on an “Approval”

      Approach             2007           2010           2013   Beyond
      Custom Workflow      No              Yes           Yes    Maybe
      Action (Sandboxed)
      Custom Workflow      Yes             Yes           Yes    Maybe
      Action (Farm)
      Approval Event       Yes             Yes           Yes    Probably
      Handler




Workflows
 Workflow needs to strip attachments out of a form




 SOLUTION: Custom Workflow Action – Sandboxed Solution
  Reusable anywhere
  All other logic can be handled in SharePoint Designer


Scenario 1 – Custom Form Processing
 Workflow needs to update a line of business system following an
  approval
 Authorized users should be able to reconfigure the approval
  process
 Unauthorized users should not be able to bypass the approval




 SOLUTION: Event Handler as a Farm Solution
  Use OOB Approval form – site collection admins can reconfigure easily
  Event handler checks to ensure it’s running on the correct form and library


Scenario 2 – Update LOB System
 Users fill in a form and to get a SharePoint site
 Uses specific site templates based on user input
 Custom approval logic for deciding if the site should be created




 SOLUTION: Custom Workflow Action – Sandboxed Solution
  Whole workflow, approval, template selection set up in SharePoint Designer
  Flexible action creates the site



Scenario 3 – Site Provisioning
Workflows
Sandboxed Workflow Steps
 Always consider degrees of freedom before
  starting a development project
 - What parts of the business process are likely to change?
 - What skills to users have?
 - What permissions do users have?

 Choose your technologies wisely
 - To future-proof your solution, pretend you’re running in Office 365
 - Sandboxed solutions will probably go away
 - Farm solutions might or might not be restricted in the future

 Business Power Users are the SharePoint
  Heroes!

Summary
Thank You!

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Empowering Business with Hybrid Code/No-Code Solutions by Bob German - SPTechCon

  • 1. Empowering Business with Hybrid Code/No-Code Solutions Bob German SharePoint Practice Director BlueMetal Architects
  • 2. Business Users Power Users / Analysts Developers Business Technical Business Technical Business Technical SharePoint People
  • 3. How can we develop SharePoint solutions which Design for Empowerment empower business users to: Maintain and update the solution Change the solution to accommodate new business needs Innovate Empowering the Power Users
  • 4. Robots Past and Present Degrees of Freedom
  • 5. How can we add degrees of freedom to these solutions? Agenda
  • 6.  Web Parts empower business users to build their own pages and mash-ups but…  Sometimes there isn’t a web part to do something  For more degrees of freedom: Find ways to make the web part general  Allow for flexible editing  Build a connectable web part that can be configured in a flexible way Approach 2007 2010 2013 Beyond Configurable Yes Yes Yes Almost Web Part Certainly Connected Web Yes Yes Yes Probably Part Web Part
  • 7.  Client wanted a web part that shows users the weather forecast for their location based on user profile  Client liked Accuweather widget but it isn’t integrated with SharePoint  SOLUTION: Content Editor with Profile Web Part  Rather than a weather-specific web part – injects user profile fields into any HTML  Download the Accuweather widget and inject the user’s zip code into it  Reusable for any scenario involving HTML and user profile fields Scenario 1 – Weather Web Part
  • 8.  Client wanted a user directory web part to put on a departmental web page  SOLUTION: Search View Web Part  Rather than a user directory web part, build a general purpose search viewer web part  Can be configurable for many uses including cross-site document views, interactive searching, or person directories Scenario 2 – User Directory Web Part
  • 9.  Client wanted a collaborative “dashboard” showing all aspects of a property under management  SOLUTION: Connectable Web Parts  Rather than a custom page, built a suite of connectable web parts  Business users can reconfigure, rearrange, and reuse them for other situations Scenario 3 – Mash-up
  • 11.  InfoPath forms empower business users to create and manage the forms but…  Sometimes you hit a brick wall when InfoPath can’t do something  For more degrees of freedom:  Create a sandboxed InfoPath solution – users can still edit and update the form  Create a web service that InfoPath can call Approach 2007 2010 2013 Beyond Sandboxed No Yes Yes Maybe InfoPath Solution Admin Approved Yes Yes Yes Maybe InfoPath Solution Custom Web Yes Yes Yes Probably Service InfoPath Form
  • 12.  Complex approval process  Approvers are selected from Active Directory groups in the form  InfoPath does not have a way to enumerate an AD group  SOLUTION: Custom Web Service  Set up as a secondary data source in InfoPath  Configure using InfoPath Rules  Form can still be edited by power users; web service is reusable in other forms Scenario 1 – Look up Group Members
  • 13.  Repeating field in InfoPath – need to use it in a workflow  OOB options are – first, last, comma-separated  We needed maximum function  SOLUTION: Sandboxed Form Code  Could have used a custom workflow action to extract, but wanted to adapt the form as well  Users can still edit other form detail; no need for admin to install in Central Admin Scenario 2 – Repeating Field
  • 14.  Form for use in a marketing request  Needed to allow users to select documents based on a wildcard, such as M*.pptx  No support from IT – deploying a web service not possible  SOLUTION: Sandboxed Form Code  Uses SharePoint object model to query the document library  Business users can edit and install the solution Scenario 3 – Wildcard Lookup
  • 16.  Business users can edit workflows as needs change over time, but…  Sometimes you hit a brick wall when the built-in or SharePoint Designer workflows don’t do something  For more degrees of freedom:  Create a custom action for SharePoint Designer  Create an event receiver that acts on an “Approval” Approach 2007 2010 2013 Beyond Custom Workflow No Yes Yes Maybe Action (Sandboxed) Custom Workflow Yes Yes Yes Maybe Action (Farm) Approval Event Yes Yes Yes Probably Handler Workflows
  • 17.  Workflow needs to strip attachments out of a form  SOLUTION: Custom Workflow Action – Sandboxed Solution  Reusable anywhere  All other logic can be handled in SharePoint Designer Scenario 1 – Custom Form Processing
  • 18.  Workflow needs to update a line of business system following an approval  Authorized users should be able to reconfigure the approval process  Unauthorized users should not be able to bypass the approval  SOLUTION: Event Handler as a Farm Solution  Use OOB Approval form – site collection admins can reconfigure easily  Event handler checks to ensure it’s running on the correct form and library Scenario 2 – Update LOB System
  • 19.  Users fill in a form and to get a SharePoint site  Uses specific site templates based on user input  Custom approval logic for deciding if the site should be created  SOLUTION: Custom Workflow Action – Sandboxed Solution  Whole workflow, approval, template selection set up in SharePoint Designer  Flexible action creates the site Scenario 3 – Site Provisioning
  • 21.  Always consider degrees of freedom before starting a development project - What parts of the business process are likely to change? - What skills to users have? - What permissions do users have?  Choose your technologies wisely - To future-proof your solution, pretend you’re running in Office 365 - Sandboxed solutions will probably go away - Farm solutions might or might not be restricted in the future  Business Power Users are the SharePoint Heroes! Summary