Challenges

SharePoint Custom Field Type - SharePoint 2010/2007

OVERVIEW

The client wanted to develop a SharePoint component which extends the capability of SharePoint list to connect to another SharePoint list in same/other site. The client wanted to make the component configurable enough to fulfill any business need that requires storing relational data in different SharePoint lists.

THE CHALLENGE

The custom component required to be generic and configurable. The key challenges of the component development were:

  • Ease of integration across existing and planned product lines.
  • Rendering all field controls same as in standard SharePoint UI.
  • Multi browser support - Internet Explorer, Firefox,Chrome and Safari etc.
  • Component was required to meet the Level AA of WCAG standard meant for disable people.
  • Client also required the support of this component for all SharePoint versions, i.e. SharePoint Foundation 2010, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010, WSS 3.0 /Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
  • AJAX enablement of all the controls in UI was necessary to ensure quicker response time and better user experience.
Case Study Hurdles

NEWGEN SOLUTION

Newgen developed custom field type which enables a site administrator to choose the SharePoint list and it’s columns to define the relation. Column rendering was done in the form of Telerik grid. A preview panel was created to show the rendering preview of custom column being configured at run time. This panel gets updated as soon as any changes made in configuration. Moreover, for every selected column user can configure summary which automatically calculates summary values based on the selected summary function.

Apart from configuring list and columns there were few more configurable items:

  • Site administrator can use custom CSS to change look and feel of the component.
  • Site administrator can provide its own user control which will be rendered as it is along with the grid.
  • Site administrator can define the maximum limit of list items in a connected list that can be associated with a single list item of current list.
  • All these configurations are saved in the SharePoint database itself.

Once custom column is configured, it becomes visible in form of grid in new, edit and display item pages of the list. Each cell of the grid renders controls corresponding to the column chosen at the time of configuration. User can fill the values in various controls and submit the form. On form submission, component automatically creates and save list items in connected list and their relationships with current list item. Similarly, editing of existing list items is also catered.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Increased flexibility & simplified way of maintaining relational business data across different list also across different SharePoint sites.
  • No effort to maintain data integrity across the lists.

TOOLS & TECHNOLOGIES

Tools and Technologies

SharePoint Foundation 2010, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010, WSS 3.0 /Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (32 and 64 bit), Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Telerik RAD Controls Q2 2009 (2009.2 701), ASP .NET 2.0, C#, .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.