Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks we are running a series to introduce readers to our new book SharePoint 2010 at Work Tricks, Traps, and Bold Opinion: The Best of EndUserSharePoint.com. Each article will include a sneak peak of some of your favorite author’s chapter’s from the book.
Most people have heard the timeless parable of the six blind men trying to describe an elephant. Each man touches the elephant and, based upon the part of the body he touches, proceeds to give a definitive description of “an elephant.” None of the descriptions are correct, and yet they are all correct. Talking about SharePoint, even for those of us who have worked with it for years, is like a blind man describing an elephant. It is impossible, and yet we do it every day.
The NothingButSharePoint/EndUserSharePoint community site that I run has hundreds of contributors trying to describe the SharePoint elephant on a daily basis. They examine the beast from every angle, as a Developer, as an IT Pro, or as an End User, each with a different perspective and for different reasons. This book is a compilation of stories from the end user perspective, for those who must use and support SharePoint at their companies but don’t have access to the technical server side of the platform.
The stories in this collection were chosen because of their popularity on EndUserSharePoint. Like a blind man describing an elephant, each tale takes a different view of the platform and shows how you can use SharePoint to solve real-world business problems. The solutions and concepts have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on the EndUserSharePoint site. The authors have used the feedback on those articles to refine their ideas, making them useful for the broadest spectrum of the SharePoint Community. The technical aspects of each of the stories have been updated to the SharePoint 2010 environment, but the concepts remain timeless and can be applied to any version of SharePoint 2007 or 2010.
The stories can be read in any order, but I suggest that everyone at least review Chapter 1 just to get an idea of where your SharePoint implementation sits on the maturity scale. From there, glance through the rest of the stories and see what you’d like to tackle first.
The SharePoint Maturity Model—Sadie Van Buren
If there is a single chapter in the book that will be useful for everyone, Chapter 1 is it. It helps you examine the entire elephant. Sadie has experience with over 50 SharePoint implementations and uses the knowledge she has gained to create a documented framework for evaluating where your company stands when it comes to getting the most value from SharePoint.
Empower the Power User—Kerri Abraham
For some reason, OneNote has never really received the recognition it deserves, nor has the internal SharePoint Power User. I use OneNote every day and know people like Kerri who can’t even imagine getting work done without it. Kerri’s story in this collection is one of the longer ones, but when you see the power of what she has done to create documentation and script management within OneNote and a SharePoint library, you might consider opening up your environment a little more to give real power to your internal SharePoint heroes.
jQuery to the Rescue—Jim Bob Howard
jQuery is that special sauce that makes everything go better with the presentation layer. Jim Bob gives us five solutions you can implement immediately without recourse to the server. Some of the solutions are jaw-dropping to people who didn’t think it was possible to do cool stuff in SharePoint. As Jim Bob says, “It’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
Unlocking the Mysteries of the SharePoint Data View Web Part XSL Tags—Marc Anderson
In this story, Marc takes a core piece of what is needed to implement presentation-layer solutions with the Data View web part (DVWP) and the XSL that drives it. It’s one of those things that hardly ever gets touched, because it seems so mysterious. With the DVWP as the main character and XSL as its sidekick, this little adventure story is the beginning of a much longer tale.
Hyperlinks in the Data View Web Part—Laura Rogers
As a professional storyteller, I like to engage the audience immediately when I’m giving a talk. One of the things I can always count on is the audience knowing the answer to the question, “Who is Queen of the Data View web part?” Laura owns that space in the mind of the SharePoint community. In this update to one of her most popular articles, she demonstrates how to create hyperlinks from existing data in SharePoint.
Building a Quote of the Day Web Part in SharePoint 2010—Waldek Mastykarz
Without exception, the Quote of the Day web part is one of the most popular downloads at EndUserSharePoint. I created it in a half hour after hearing Lori Garcia tell a story about manually updating her site each day with a new quote. Waldek saw the solution and extended it to pull the quotes from a SharePoint list instead of having them embedded in the Content Editor web part.
SPJS Charts for SharePoint—Alexander Bautz
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliché for a reason. Visualization of data within SharePoint is one of the most powerful and useful aspects of the platform. Unfortunately, it’s not all that easy to do. In this story, Alexander shows us a solution that any site manager or site collection administrator can implement, even without access to the SharePoint server.
Taming the Elusive Calculated Column—Logic Functions—Dessie Lunsford
Dessie’s a funny kind of guy. I met him on the SharePointU forums when I first started working with SharePoint. He likes to go four-wheeling when he’s not cranking out stories for EUSP. The calculated column is one of the most underutilized features in SharePoint, useful for displaying inline visualization within any list or library. With his series of over 40 articles on EUSP, I think I can easily crown Dessie “King of the Calculated Column.” This story is a comprehensive step-through of the logic functions available within the calculated column.
Creating Document Libraries with Mixed Content Sources—Eric Alexander
Eric is my “go-to guy” when there’s a SharePoint issue I don’t know how to handle. As a matter of fact, Eric is the go-to guy for the thousands of people who have asked questions on our Stump the Panel Forum (STP) at EUSP, since he is the lead moderator. He has taken an interesting question from the forum, how to provide mixed content in a library, and created a solution that can be used in any version of SharePoint.
SharePoint 2010 Tab Page—Peter Allen
I first met Peter when he redid a solution I had created for formatting pages in a SharePoint wiki. In the updated solution he provides here for a tab-based interface, the fun part of the story is that he actually uses the solution to describe the solution.
A Global Navigation Solution Across Site Collections—Peter Allen
In this solution, Peter utilizes the SharePoint Web Services library created by Marc Anderson to pull information from disparate locations into a single navigation system. It is one of the most requested solutions when people have expanded beyond their first site collection and realize there is no visibility between data across domains.
There you have it. Eleven stories, each with a moral that clarifies a different piece of SharePoint. There is a second parable that is apropos for SharePoint that we have used at EndUserSharePoint. It’s the one on how to eat an elephant, but we’ll leave that to another time and place.
Note: Mark Miller is the Editor of SharePoint 2010 at Work: Tips, Tricks, and Bold Opinions by EndUserSharePoint and O’Reilly Media. Use discount MILLERSP for 40% off the print edition or 50% off of the ebook.