SharePoint 2010


SharePoint allows the overlay of up to 10 calendars to produce a kind of stacked view of events:


 

Though these may often be different calendars, there is nothing to prevent the use of several views from the same calendar in an overlay. This would normally not be useful, but there is one context in which it neatly solves a common problem. How can deadlines before events be clearly shown in a calendar? For example, for many large events such as conferences, there are deadlines for the preparation of materials and the dispatch of documents. It is possible to produce an overlay of SharePoint views from the same calendar which show these deadlines clearly.

First, create two calculated fields in the base calendar you will be using and name them Materials Deadline – 60 days and Dispatch Deadline – 30 days. In these calculated fields, use the event Start Time and subtract respectively 60 and 30 from it, as described below:

 


 

Make sure the columns are formatted as Date and Time.

Next you will need to create two calendar views which display events but which use only the Material Deadline – 60 days and the Document Dispatch – 30 days columns.

Choose your calculated fields for the Begin and End columns. Then create two overlay calendars based on the Materials and Dispatch views, as per below:

If you colour-code the two overlay views to contrast with your base calendar, then the meaning of the deadlines should be clear.

 

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Be aware that if you link a Visio web drawing to a SharePoint list, there will be a five minute delay before modified data show up in the drawing, even if you refresh manually.

Yet in the underlying list the, figure for the Scooter amount has already been changed to 540:

It is therefore advisable to set an automatic refresh period of five minutes within the web part.

Like many of the list templates provided out-of-the-box, the SharePoint Survey has some useful basic functionality but the limitations quickly become apparent. A client recently asked to use the Survey list but to give users who had completed the survey some simple feedback with additional information where questions had not been answered correctly. There is no easy way to do this with the Survey list, but with a bit of customization, the following solution was developed.

This approach takes the SharePoint Survey list and moves it one step closer to being a Quiz.

Create a new view in the Survey list using SharePoint Designer

Once you have created your survey and populated it with questions you will need to create an additional view in your Survey list using SharePoint Designer. In the case of our customization, all questions were to be answered with Yes or No, so judging if the users had responded correctly was straightforward.

The view we require is one which filters on the Author field, which needs to be set to [Me]. In this way the view will provide information only from the response to the survey of the current user. In addition, the view will need to contain the answers to all the questions in the Survey.

Create a Custom List which will contain correct answers to Survey questions

Create a custom list with a column for the Survey name and columns for each Question and the further explanation of the correct answer if the answer provided in the Survey response was incorrect. In addition, you will need in this case a numeric column for each question which will contain the code for the correct answer, 1 for Yes and 0 for No.

Once this list has been created, we will customize the display form for the list using InfoPath Designer.

You will need to add another data connection to the form, apart from the Main one from the list. This data connection will by an XML connection to the new view created in the Survey list above. In order to create the connection, you will need the GUID for both the list and the view. (Both can be found when editing the view in SharePoint Designer).

Here is an example of the XML data connection from my test server:

http://win-sqpsjc4uhjv/sites/survey/_vti_bin/owssvr.dll?Cmd=Display&List=96BCAE05-CF9B-4C24-B727-C1E2970DE95D&View=C487ECC1-706B-4342-AD65-C8562CBB07CE&XMLDATA=TRUE&noredirect=true

You will need to replace the server and site names in your path, as well as the GUIDs from your list and view.

Set this data connection up as a Secondary connection in InfoPath for the Custom list form.

You are then free to organize the form as you wish. What I chose to do was align questions and additional information to be provided when the answer was incorrect and to use a rule in InfoPath to hide the answer if correct. The one tricky part is the need to have a field within the Main data connection which picks up the answer from each question, which can in turn be compared with the value for the correct answer in the custom list. Basically, the rule hides the additional explanation from the user is the answer was correct.

SharePoint 2010’s Ribbon offers some pre-set styles and mark-up styles for use when editing text. How these styles display is impacted by the Theme which is used. When customizing a theme, be aware of the following relationships:

 

Text/Background Dark 1 = normal text

Text/Background Dark 2 = Mark-up Styles, Headings 1-4 (the default is a dark blue colour of the default top band in SharePoint 2010)

 

Accent 1 = Colour Heading 1

Accent 2 = Colour Heading 2

Accent 3 = Colour Heading 3 and Caption style

Accent 4 = no effect

Accent 5 = Colour Heading 4 and Comment

Accent 6 = Highlight

 

If you look at the folder structure of a standard, out-of-the-box SharePoint site which has not been themed in any way, you will see the following structure, when opened with SharePoint Designer:

Once you customize an existing theme, a new entry will be created in the Themes Gallery, called Themed:

And within this, a folder grouping all the images and CSS files which are used within a custom theme:

Some important aspects of how your site looks can be easily changed by modifying an aspect of a theme. For example, a SharePoint theme allows the colour of hyperlinks used within the content area of pages to be changed. However, if you want to modify the behaviour of links when hovering with a mouse pointer, then this can only be done in the corev4.css file, a copy of which is saved in the Theme Gallery once a theme is customized. So to give a concrete example, if you want link text to be dark blue with no underline and to change to orange when you hover over the link, you would need to do the following:

  1. Customize your theme with the required link colour and followed link colour.
  2. Edit the COREV4.CSS file in the Theme Gallery. The file will be created with a reference number, in this case it was 8A0ABD2F, so the CSS file is called COREV48A0ABD2F.CSS. Search for ms-rtestate and change text-decoration to none and add a colour for the hover as follows:

    .ms-rtestate-field a:hover

    {

    color:orange;

    text-decoration:none;

    }

  3. Save the file and refresh your page to see the results.

Be aware that if you further change the Custom theme in any way, the COREV4.CSS will be copied again to the Theme Gallery, so you will have to redo any changes to the CSS file.

Reference Screenshots

Text/Background Dark 1 = Bright Green (Default #000000)

Text/Background Light 1 = Bright Green (Default #FFFFFF)

Text/Background Dark 2 = Bright Green (Default #1F497D)

Text/Background Light 2 = Bright Green (Default #EEECE1)

 

Accent 1 = Bright Green (Default #4F81BD)

Accent 2 = Bright Green (Default #C0504D)

 

Accent 3 = Bright Green (Default #9BBB59)

Accent 4 = Bright Green (Default #8064A2)

 

Accent 5 = Bright Green (Default #4BACC6)

 

Accent 6 = Bright Green (Default #F79646)

 

Hyperlink = Bright Green (Default #0000FF)

Hyperlink Followed = Bright Green (Default #800080)

 

SharePoint 2010 is an excellent document management system, which can also be used as intranet. In some cases, organizations may want something simpler to manage content yet need to link to elements of more sophisticated content held in documents, which may well be located in SharePoint. The easiest means to do this at a very basic level is to use the ReST protocol to pick up images, such as Charts in this example, which may probably be most conveniently hosted in Excel files.

The file below is held in a document library in SharePoint 2010 and updated by users via the browser.

Figures can be edited simply and the chart can be kept up to date.

Once the file is saved, (in this case, each cell edit in Excel is a save action), then the Chart will reflect the changed data.

 

In order to use the chart in an external content management system such as Drupal, the chart needs to be inserted as an image tag in a Drupal page as follows:

<img src=”http://win-sqpsjc4uhjv/sites/drupal/_vti_bin/ExcelRest.aspx/rest/Book1.xlsx/Model/Charts(‘Chart%201&#8217;)”>

The text format in Drupal must be set to Full HTML as follows:

The Chart image will then be displayed directly in the Drupal page. In this simplified version, the SharePoint site hosting the Excel file has been has been set up with read-only Anonymous access enabled. In the real world a more sophisticated configuration would be required to manage authentication between Drupal and SharePoint. This will be the subject of a blog article in the near future.

 

A soon as the source changes in SharePoint, only a page refresh is required to see the current data, as follows:

 

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