Thursday, 16 August 2012

Changing a Discussion layout in SharePoint 2013 with no programming

Okay you deploy a SharePoint 2013 Discussion.  The thing is you find it a bit primitive, just a subject, body and Question link.  What if you want to provide your users with a richer design you can do a great deal without having to change the master page or layouts or do anything in designer.

You can add web parts to a discussion.  In this case I edit the page and add a search box.

After adding the search box each time a user starts a new discussion they will have a search box at the top of the discussion.  This may be useful if you want to help users find information to include in discussions.

You can also change the fields in the discussion.  Go to List Settings and edit the List Content Type, and add a column, in this case I add a URL link.

After this users can include a URL in their discussions.
So as you can see I can make a lot of  changes to my discussion group without having to write a single line of JavaScript, HTML or ASP.NET.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

SharePoint 2013, some things don't change I wanted to change

There are somethings I really wanted to see change in SP 2013 that have not changed.  Right now my list of major let downs are:

Content Types: How content types are created and managed in SharePoint is highly confusing, and I have found myself wasting dozens of hours trying to sort which the right content type is.  2013 just copies content types over from 2010.

List settings, still its way to easy to delete things by accident, and the list configuration page is still to long and too ugly.  Why not a nice WYSIWYG and why can't I modify many lists at the same time?  This is still a pretty poor UI for managing a core SharePoint information feature.

Tables, there still a tables all over SharePiont 2013, especially in the calendar view.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

SharePoint 2013 first look

Summing up SharePoint 2013 after a full day of testing?  Its a lot more like Blogger, and that good.  Though the site has added a lot of new social features, it has remained a content publication and distribution tool with a purpose in life, something twitter and facebook really can't say.  Microsoft has kept the basic structure of SharePoint the same, but made the interface confirm to open standards better (it runs great on Chrome), has simplified the interface, and has added some great features well established in Web 2.0.

Embedding has lagged terribly in SharePoint until now, but with the new embed tool you can insert and review widget of code as well as with any WYSISYG tool I have seen.  Embedding YouTube videos will now be much easier and I hope to see SharePoint 2013 bringing much of the 'cognitive surplus' that is out there in YouTube in to the Enterprise.
 The layout and color schemes are actually a bit more subdued, clearly created with tablets in mind over screens.  SharePoint 2013 will be first WCM and ECM system for the Windows 8 tablet.  Likely the product will move tablets and phones from the consumer market to the Enterprise.
If you can't beat them join them, and SharePoint is now made up of Apps.  A clever users might notice that a App in SharePoint is really nothing more than a Web Part that has been instantiated to a site, but the adoption of a App framework makes for more consistent Web 2.0 usage.
Perhaps the most obvious change is the clear move to Windows 8 and the tablet.  My testing of IE8 was good but we found that Chrome was just as good, which can only mean SharePoint has finally embraced full standards.   The simpler graphic layout and 'metro' style clearly means this is the touch screen SharePoint.

In a much needed change the ribbon has been made simpler.  Microsoft might be getting this right.