Documenting SharePoint deployment and/or customization projects can be even more of a hassle than documenting a standard software development project. Gasp! Did I just say documentation was a hassle? Yes I did, and it is. Therefore, let’s make sure our documentation serves a purpose and brings value to the equation.
Tell Me about SharePoint – What Is It Again?
SharePoint is a Microsoft client-server software product, which makes it more involved to use than one of their client products like Microsoft Word. However, you can leave the server details to Microsoft and use SharePoint as easily as Microsoft Word by signing up for Office 365 online. Unlike Word, SharePoint does not have a desktop version and is only accessible through a browser or mobile device. This blog will help you understand SharePoint from a user’s perspective and leave you on solid ground next time one your friends asks “what is SharePoint again?”…
SharePoint is awesome! You know that in your heart of hearts, but you also know SharePoint is not fancy. If you want fancy, you have to take what Microsoft gives you out-of-the-box and then add your own bells and whistles. But wait, they don’t have to be your own! Someone else has probably already developed that cheerful bell or happy whistle you need. It may even be shared as open source. I usually start by looking for free stuff, but time is money so I am also willing to pay for functionality that will save me the time it takes to create it myself. If Real Estate is all about location location location; then SharePoint customization is all about reuse reuse reuse.
What if traffic lights displayed the word “Go” or “Stop” instead of a green or red light? Unless the letters were 20 feet tall, it would be difficult to tell from any distance whether you should keep going. Indicators or icons improve usability, providing quick recognition of state and can also serve to draw the eye to clickable targets on a web page. Choice fields in SharePoint Online are excellent candidates for indicators, but how does one override the text with an icon without editing the page code and breaking the SharePoint magic of automatically responding to subsequent view configuration changes? There is a way and it’s called a JS Link Override or Client-side Rendering (CSR). By following this example, you will be well on your way to opening up a world of customization capabilities.
Now that your SharePoint list is set up, you might want the data to look different. Maybe you want to exclude some data or change the filtering options. Creating or modifying a SharePoint list view will get you there. But how?
The first thing you need to do is verify that you have permission to access the settings and change things around. If you are a Team Site Owner or Member, you should have no problem getting in. If access is denied, you’ll want to ask someone from IT to grant you permission to create and change list views.
A SharePoint list is more or less like a spreadsheet that displays rows and columns of attributes. It’s the framework through which you organize all the information on your site, most of which can be customized for your needs. For this exercise, we are going to focus on how to create a new view from scratch.
You might need a P&L report for a meeting you have with the board in ten minutes. So you root through one folder after the next, scouring My Documents, wondering if you had somehow saved it on your desktop by accident. Been there? Me too.
If you are like most people, you probably have files organized in folders that live on your hard drive or on a server. Those folders are arranged by date, by subject, or whatever method works for you. The problem is you are limited by having only one naming convention on the folder. You can’t have them organized by date, subject, and authorship at the same time, and after enough files pile up, it’s impossible to find the document you are looking for.
Managing inbox overflow is hard enough, let alone trying to save and organize every attachment your staff sends. SharePoint list filters is a great way to save your sanity and get what you need fast.