The SharePoint User Group � Why you should attend

Guest Author: Sam Dolan

Before I started working for myself the thought of doing out of hours work, attending meetings or even a conference was something that would make me gasp � �what?! continue working after the hours of 5pm, I think not�. Now I do work for myself and my attitude has taken a complete turnaround and as a by product has made me a better person and I will tell you why I think that.

I had a look at what the word �community� meant -
com�mu�ni�ty – a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

One particular bit stood out to me � �group sharing a common interest� � in this case the particular interest is Microsoft SharePoint. I have been attending these user groups for 2 years now all over the UK in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Nottingham to name but a few and I can safely say that when I return home from a meeting I have either made a new contact, discussed something new with someone and most important then, I have learnt something new and/or shared something learnt. The last part of sentence is what sums these groups up � learning something new and/or shared something learnt.

So what is a user group?

This is a question that I do get asked a lot, when I talk about the SUGUK and when I get asked I see it as an opportunity to tell the person how great and invaluable these sessions are. In a nutshell the SharePoint User Group is a meeting that is held after hours that gives the opportunity to people to talk about all aspects of SharePoint with like minded people.

A meeting would last around 2 and a half hours with the common set up usually having two speakers with 1 hour slots talking about a particular area of SharePoint that could range from administrator to development all the way over to configuration & design. Half way through there is a break where food and drinks are put on for free usually by the company that is kindly donating the meeting room or area that the session are presented in � yes for free, you read correctly. Once the sessions are wrapped up the common custom is to head to the nearest public house for a SharePint � the term coined by Daniel McPherson and evolved by Andrew Connell for sharing a alcoholic beverage with the SharePoint twist. Even then it doesn�t stop there because sometimes there is even a ShareCurry � I think that one is self explanatory.

So why should you attend?

Ever been stuck with something? ever opened up that browser typed in the search engine URL and entered in your SharePoint related problem, query or error message � the results you will be presented with were probably written by a SharePoint expert of some sort who, chances are, is a community member. The idea is putting back in to the community what you take out. Putting back in could be anything, it could be blog posts that is highlighted on the SUGUK website, it could be a 1hour session or could be just attending to keep the sessions worthy of a repeat � everything helps continue the community and the development of the product.

What you also get from these meetings is exposure to all walks of SharePoint life from server configuration all the way to design and branding then taking a left turn at development life cycles and security. Delivered through the variety of session (prepared in the presenters spare time) that are on offer you can get as much or as little as you wish from them, some sessions are very specific and deep dive into a particular area then others are very overview and skimming the surface. You get the chance to talk to people that specialise in there chosen field whether it be through open question and answer session, a chat over some pizza at break or at the SharePint that follows it�s a chance to ask your burning question to people that know what they are talking about such as Microsoft Valued Professionals (MVP) � we even have some guest speakers from over seas!

Who helps run there user groups?

First of all the session are chosen from the community � sessions, ideas and suggestions are put out there for people to comment on what they to see. The sessions can be presented by anyone who feels they want to share something with the community. if could be for an hour, it could be for 15 minutes � what ever you are comfortable with. There is however one rule � no business endorsement, selling or sponsorship � it it purely community helping itself, so you wont get business trying to shove their new products down your throat. The sessions are regular with up to 2 to 3 sessions a week sometimes, held all over the UK and are managed by regional leaders. But the most important people there are the people attending to listen, because the more people turn up the more sessions can be held and it makes the nights worthwhile. Also did I mention that the sessions are free to attend � yes you read correctly again they are free!

What will I get out of it?

Help, knowledge, best practice, guidance, tips, tricks, how-tos, other peoples experiences, new tools, new features and what is coming up in the world of SharePoint are just a few of the potential things you can take away from the user groups. It is a great opportunity to network, speak to people potentially doing or have done what you are trying to achieve in your business and even if it is none of the previous its a chance to have a nice pint at the end of it � can�t go wrong really.

How do I sign up and get involed?

If you want to attend then head over to the SUGUK website to find out more information in the forums about what sessions are coming up and all you simple do is sign up by posting saying exactly that. If you would like to speak at a session whether it be something to do with a project you�ve delivered or maybe a tale from the trenches on something that was a nightmare and how you go through it � the community is keen to hear. All you need to do is speak to the regional leaders and they will be happy to discuss further.

Summary

The sessions are there to help people that are interested in SharePoint. The sessions are presented by experts from people who love the product all the way to SharePoint MVP�s down to the people who are just getting to grips with SharePoint. The session are prepared and presented in peoples spare time and in return they ask for people to continue to attend and help build up this already strong community. There is no pressure to get involved if you feel happy sitting a listening then fine, if you want to present and do a session or look to become a regional leader then even better � the choice is yours.

Information about the SharePoint User Group can be found at the official website.

Now the reason I think it has made me a better person is simple � being passionate about something and wanting that something to continue to keep that passion � David Brent once said � �There should be no ego when pulling together to do something good� but then again he said �I�ve created an atmosphere where I�m a friend first, boss second. Probably entertainer third.� � so I wouldn�t take the quotes I have used to seriously but hopefully you will get the idea!!

Thanks for reading.

Guest Author: Sam Dolan

Sam Dolan is a SharePoint Design & Brand Specialist and is the Director of PinkPetrol Ltd. Sam has been producing website designs, brands, UI’s and website overhauls for over 10 years now, 3 of those in the world of SharePoint. With a background of web design and user experience Sam focuses on the design, branding and UI side of SharePoint, taking the product with the target to make SharePoint look & feel beautiful. Some of his clients consist of the NHS, 21APPS & BBC as well as the SharePint , SharePoint Retreat, SharePoint Overflow logos under his belt.

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SharePoint: Extending the DVWP � Part 6: Examining the Form Action Links

Author: Jim Bob Howard

As we saw in the last Extending the DVWP article, it’s possible to intercept the built-in process of the OK button on a SharePoint form. And we can extend that to the DVWP by adding to the JavaScript call within the HREF parameter of our form action links. But, there’s more we can do…

We can build and call workflows, too.

Examining the Links

Before we dig too deep, let’s focus on what is going on so we know what we’re changing.

Let’s take a quick look at what each of these links is doing, OOTB (out-of-the-box). For each of these, the code is fired from a JavaScript call using the HREF (hypertext reference) attribute of the A (anchor) tag.

Note: The line numbers below are relative to my document, so they won’t necessarily show up at the same point in yours. To find them in your page, in the Design pane, click on the link in question. This will bring the HTML block into view in the Code pane. For the Edit and Insert Templates, you’ll need to switch to those views in SPD to see the links. For more details, see the previous article in this series: Extending the DVWP – Rearranging Columns – Default and Edit Templates.

Edit

The edit link is used to redraw the form with the Edit Template in place. It performs two functions:

  1. cancel (which causes the form to be redrawn);  but also
  2. dvt_1_form_editkey is passed the ID of the current list item so that the Edit Template will be drawn for that record

Edit Template

As we’ve already seen, the edit link causes the page to be redrawn with an Edit Template (or form) for the current record, with two more links: save and cancel.

  1. save
  2. This call is very simple. It takes the content on the form that we have updated and commits it to the database. No questions, no other steps, just save my changes.

  3. cancel
  4. Likewise, this is a simple call: cancel without saving. No confirmation, just quit it and redisplay the page as it was.

Insert

The insert link is used to redraw the form with the Insert Template in place. It, too, performs two functions:

  1. cancel (which causes the form to be redrawn);  but also
  2. dvt_1_form_insertmode is passed a 1 (for ‘true’) so that the Insert Template will be drawn to create a new record

Insert Template

Again, like edit, insert causes a redraw of the screen with a "new" form laid out like the DVWP, with similar links:

  1. save
  2. This one is exactly like the save on the Edit Template, above. It commits the changes made.

  3. cancel
  4. And this one cancels the insert and redraws the page as it was.

Delete

The delete link redraws the DVWP with the Default Template, but without the deleted list item. It actually performs three functions:

  1. cancel (which keeps the form from doing its normal submit function);
  2. delete (which passes this item’s ID to the delete function); and
  3. commit (which commits the deletion to take place).

Notice that there is no verification that it should be deleted; it’s just gone (of course, we could easily recover it from the Recycle Bin). In a future article, we’ll change the way that works.

Next time: Changing the functionality of these links (with workflows, jQuery, the PreSaveAction() function, creating new Edit, and a combination of those) will be the focus of the next few Extending the DVWP articles.

Author: Jim Bob Howard

Jim Bob Howard is a web designer / webmaster in the healthcare industry. He has been working with SharePoint since March 2009 and enjoys sharing what he has learned. He is a moderator and frequent contributor to Stump the Panel, and answers SharePoint questions on Twitter (@jbhoward) and via email (jimbobhoward@gmail.com).

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Build a Map Repository in SharePoint – Part 1

SharePoint Map Repository - Google MapsMy seven year old son is a natural athlete. It doesn’t matter which sport. As long as his body is in motion, he has a beautific look on his face, unself-concious joy. He plays ice hockey three times a week, has a little league baseball game on Sunday mornings, plays kickball in the school yard everyday at lunch.

He has gone on an 18 mile bicycle ride with me to prepare for the next time I ride across the United States. "As soon as you can ride 50 miles with me in one day, I’ll take you on my next trip." Little did I know when I made that promise how easy it’s going to be for him to reach that goal.

The latest challenge he wants to conquer is a marathon. Let’s say that again: I’ve got a 7 year old son who seriously wants to run a marathon. Not just run it, he wants to WIN it! When his grandfather was running the Boston Marathon two years ago, Orion was 5. He literally jumped on the course with his grandfather about 8 miles from the finish and had every intention of going all the way to the finish line until we pulled him off, much to his disappointment.

I told him we’ve got to build up to something like that. You just can’t step outside and run 26.2 miles without some kind of training. So this Wednesday morning, before school, I took him out for a three mile run. Honestly, I didn’t think he would be able to do it.

As soon as we hit the West Side Highway, he started talking. I mean really talking. It’s as if he doesn’t have a govenor between his brain and his mouth when his body is in motion. He sprinted ahead every chance he got, and when I’d catch up he’d say "I’ve been waiting for you for 10 minutes! You’re so slow." At the turn around, right past the Ferry Terminal at Battery Park City, I thought he was going to give up. Nope, he just wanted to lope across the grassy area, making it a little easier on his legs.

We got back to the house at around 7:15am. Did I tell you he woke me up at 5:45am because he was so excited to go on the run? We went in and mapped out our run on Google maps. I was amazed and what we’d done… not 3 miles, but closer to 3.4 miles! Unbelievable. I really do believe this kid is going to run a marathon before he’s 12.

Because of his proven ability to cover the distance, Orion and I are going to run the Annual Father’s Day Race Against Prostate Cancer in Central Park on June 12th. As part of the training for that event, I am building a map respository in my SharePoint site to keep track of the routes and distances we are using as part of our training schedule.

I’ve used Google Maps for years to plot driving directions, but I’ve never thought of using it for running routes. I have an account at Runner’s World, but they’ve changed the interface and put premium services on it for the basics of logging in a workout. That left the door wide open for me to create my own alternative in SharePoint.

Begin Building the Route

First thing I had to do was figure out how to make Google work the way I wanted. I didn’t want to map street routes for driving. I wanted exact control over the entire route. I logged onto Google Maps, www.Google.com/maps and chose the Get Directions link.

SharePoint Map Repository - Get Directions

Google has new interface icons, giving four choices for mapping: Driving, Public Transit, Walking and Bicycling. I choose the "Walking" icon to set the interface.

SharePoint Map Repository - Set for Walking Interface

I typed in "New York City" as the intitial destination, zoomed in really close to my neighborhood, and dragged the destination icon onto the start of our run: West Side Highway (9A) at West 11th Street.

SharePoint Map Repository - Set beginning of route

Set Destination Points in the Route

To set the first route marker, I zoomed out to get a higher level view , right mouse-clicked the turn at Stuyvesant High School and chose "Directions from here". This placed a marker on the map and also told me that the route to that point was 1.2 miles. Sweet! Hopefully it won’t take me 23 minutes to get to that point, as I don’t intend on walking at a 20 minute per mile pace.

SharePoint Map Repository - Set first route point

SharePoint Map Repository - 1.2 miles to first turn

From there, I continued to right mouse-click and set destination points until I reached the turn-around point at the World Financial Center Plaza, right past the new Ferry Terminal. The turn-around point was set at 1.7 miles, meaning the out and back was a nice 3.4 miles, a little more than a 5K.

SharePoint Map Repository - Set all destination points

Save Your Work

A nice feature in the Google interface is the ability to save your maps as interactive objects to embed on your web pages. In the top, right corner of the map I clicked the "Link" icon, bringing up a dialog screen that offered me a link to paste into an email or IM, and some object code to paste into a web page.

SharePoint Map Repository - Display the links to the map

The map you see below is what appears as a result of copying and pasting the code. It is interactive, so you can zoom in, zoom out and scroll through the entire thing.


View Larger Map

Summary

Now that we’ve got our route coordinates set and can embed them into a web page, it’s time to start work on the SharePoint Map Repository. My next article will step through the process of building a customized document library that will display my saved maps along with route information to help me choose which training route to run on my training days.

Suggestions or comments for columns in the repository?