2007-02-27

Customization of the application.master page - error sources

All the standard SharePoint pages placed in the /12/template/layouts/ have their own master page: /layouts/application.master. To create a common look and feel for your site - including the admin pages used by a site admin or a site editor - this master pages has to be customized. This my be a little bitt challenging and I think you will be best off starting with the xisting one, and NOT from scratch.
Before you start creating a new application.master set CustomErrors="Off" and .. in the web config. Then you will get "developer friendly" error messagess.

Mistakes that I've made that kept me rather busy:
  • Place the placeholder "PlaceHolderUtilityContent" AFTER the ending FORM-tag tag. If not the post backs stops working
  • Forgot to create a HEAD-section similiar to the original application.master
  • Be very carefull when adding custom javascript components. I had added a componenten that forces all eksternal link to pop up in a new window, but that javascript made the tree-view control for setteing the site/page order "pop away"
  • Missing place holders are an obvious error source

Roles and responsibilities in a SharePoint 2007 project

SharePoint Portal 2007 is a challening product and nobody can be a specialist in every topic related to implementing SharePoint Portal in an organization. Below is a suggested set of roles and responsibilities, and the skills and experience that these people should have.

  • Project leader - runs the project on time, on budget and with the right functionality. Should have a good overview and understanding og SharePoint 2007 and its capabilities and limitiations.
  • Business and Process Analyst (s) - guide the project on which process should be enhanced or changed and why. Verify that SharePoint solution meets the requirments.
  • SharePoint Expert user(s) - setting up SharePoint with sites, publishing sites, document centers, lists, blogs, etc.
  • SharePoint Architect - thorough understanding of SharePoint (admin, developing, functions) and advise when and how new components/web parts should be developed. Microsoft Technologies in general; .NET 2.0 og .NET 3.0, Exchange, Active Directory, Office 2003/2007, IIS and infrastrcture in general.
  • SharePoint Customizer - do all the "non-programmin" customization of the SharePoint solution. Good understanding of SharePoint and the different web parts that are included. Experience with html, stylesheet, caml, xml, xslt, javascript, SharePoint Designer and InfoPath 2007
  • SharePoint Administrator - setting up the SharePoint infrastructure with servers and services; SharePoint 2007, Exchange Server, Active Directory, Windows 2003 and 2008 Servers, SQL Server 2005, IIS 6.0 and 7.0, network infrastructure, ISA server, etc..
  • SharePoint Developer - developing custom web parts and components. Experienced asp.net 2.0, web parts, master pages, Ajax developer and detailed knowledge of the SharePoint 2007 object model. Javascript experience.

Roles and responsibilities in a SharePoint 2007 project

SharePoint Portal 2007 is a challening product and nobody can be a specialist in every topic related to implementing SharePoint Portal in an organization. Below is a suggested set of roles and responsibilities, and the skills and experience that these people should have.

  • Project lader. Run the project on time, on budget and with the right functionality. Should have a good overview and understanding og SharePoint 2007 and its capabilities and limitiations.
  • Business and Process Analyst (s) - guide the project on which process should be enhanced or changed and why. Verify that SharePoint solution meets the requirments.
  • SharePoint Expert user(s) - setting up SharePoint with sites, publishing sites, document centers, lists, blogs, etc.
  • SharePoint Specialist - thorough understanding of SharePoint (admin, developing, functions) and advise when and how new components/web parts should be developed.
  • SharePoint Customizer - do all the "non-programmin" customization of the SharePoint solution. Good understanding of SharePoint and the different web parts that are is included. Experience with html, stylesheet, caml, xml, xslt and SharePoint designer
  • SharePoint Administrator - setting up the SharePoint infrastructure with servers and services.
  • SharePoint Developer - celpoing custom web parts and components.

2007-02-26

Are you going to access applications through the Business Data Catalog?

Then you should really check out the BDC Meta Man! It will get you going in seconds, and it offered at a very good price. The tool creates an Application Definition straight from the database tables or the web services wdsl files. Your data will be accesible in SharePoint by point-and-click.

Check it out on: http://www.bdcmetaman.com/default.aspx

After that you can spend time on challenging data integrations (if needed :-))

2007-02-25

Writing custom activities for the Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF)

I'm currently writing a custom SMS sender activity that I'll add to our SharePoint 2007 solutions. The .NET 2.o provider modell gives me the opportunity to write and apply different SMS sender providers for different mobile operators/gateways without changing the how the windows workflow activity itself is going to work. The activity becomes VERY simple, while all the details are hidden in the providers.

To get me started on writing the activity I used the following introduction; How to write a Custom Workflow Activity (or for even more help on writing custom activities "How to write a Designer Component") . For a good theoretical basis I've "scanned" (to be read in detail later) the book "Essential Windows Workflow Doundation, by Shukla and Schmidt.

The book "ASP.NET 2.0 Security, Membership and Role Management", by Stefan Schackow gives an excellent overview (and details!) on how the Provider model is applied in ASP.NET, and how it can be utilized in new applications. Several design patterns are in use; Strategy, Factory, Singleton, and Faqade. Check out and download the code (see chapter 9) to se how easy new providers can be implemented.

More on writing activities: To get an overview: http://www.ideseg.com/AddCustomWorkflowActivitiesToSharePointDesignerPart1.aspx Details: http://www.ideseg.com/AddCustomWorkflowActivitiesToSharePointDesignerPart2.aspx