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Hide-whens in SharePoint!

by dave 0 Comments

Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010.  More Info

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I had mentioned quite some time ago that one feature SharePoint just didn’t have was hide-when formulas.

Let me state here and now that I was mistaken.

Just this morning, I figured out how to do hide-whens in SharePoint. I don’t have the full range of options provided by the @Functions in Notes, but I can hide form UI based on data within that form.

I will try to expand on this later (I’ve already got 3 topics lined up to post about… just need to find the time), but in brief:

  1. Edit your list pages in SharePoint Designer (NewForm.aspx, etc)
  2. Hide the default list web part on that form. (Apparently it must be hidden, not deleted… i haven’t tested to see why that is.)
  3. Add a Custom List Web Part to the form
  4. Modify the XSL in that new web part.

That’s it. Now that you are working in XSL, you can use xsl:if to write logic to choose exactly what UI components should / should not display.

This technique won’t give you the full capabilities of Domino’s hide-whens, as it limits your logic to the list data… but that is better than nothing, and still fairly powerful. I intend to do more research to see if I can pull in more environment/session/user data to expand the capabilities of this concept.

And I suppose this also means I need to become much stronger with XSLT. I’ve suspected for years that XSLT is a skill I need to pick up. This forces the issue.

Admin vs. Dev

by dave 0 Comments

Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010.  More Info

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A few months back, I had stated that setting up a basic SharePoint environment really isn’t all that painful. And that is still true.

However –  what I have found is that only basic dev or proof-of-concept environments actually stay that basic. We have about 2 dozen servers in our environment, for example.

And we have spent the VAST majority of our time on administration issues, not on development efforts. In theory, everything will be wonderful once we get everything stabilized. But getting there is taking more effort than anticipated.  Every time we work on one issue, we find three more. The theory sounds much better than the practice.

I think that SP will still come through for us. But the process to go from nothing to a full-blown stable multi-server SharePoint install that actually benefits a business organization… Whew.  It is a doozy.
There was always a half-true joke in the consulting world that to accurately scope out a project, you take the estimate from the technical team and double it. For SharePoint, I’d double it again. If you are hiring consultants to do it, double it once more for good measure.

Uninspired

by dave 0 Comments

Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010.  More Info

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A little over a week ago I had 6 full posts I wanted to write, and was going to kick this blog back into high gear.

So why did I lose my inspiration?

A full week of literally babysitting the SharePoint environment, testing it every few hours, rebooting services and servers when they went down, just trying to keep it afloat.  Tens of hours researching errors and problems, to find that we are not alone in our tribulations, but nobody else has answers either. Being told that other organizations had to rebuild their server farm from scratch to resolve these kinds of issues. Starting to do so ourselves just in time, as our initial farm dying a tortured death. Piecing things back together, getting 90% of the functions in place, but beating our heads against the last 10%. Hiring some of the top consultants in town only to have them shrug their shoulders at our problems.

It is hard to be unbiased about a technology when you spend your Christmas just trying to keep it alive. I wasn’t alone in this… one other member of my team has put in just as much effort and made sacrifices as well.  Perhaps even more than I.

So I have lost a lot of inspiration to write this blog.

It still is my job to do this mirgration, though. So I will still write. But I have nothing unbiased to say right now.

Better Today

by dave 0 Comments

Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010.  More Info

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Well, the previous post was not so unbiased, I will admit.

But I’m feeling better about SharePoint today. I had a number of small problems to fix, and was able to fairly quickly and easily get into the site, make the udpates, get everything tested, and declare the problems resolved.

We’re starting to realize that going into SharePoint with a “Notes vs. SharePoint” attitude is dangerous. While they try to be competitive products, their architectures and techniques are so vastly different that comparisons inevitably leave us frustrated, wishing we could stay with Notes. But that just isn’t reality in our organization.
So we are trying instead to discipline ourselves, taking SharePoint for what it is, finding its strengths, and enjoying the experience of learning a new technology.

Notes vs. SharePoint Analogy

by dave 0 Comments

Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010.  More Info

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After a couple days of fighting SharePoint, and spending hours getting small details into just the right place, an image came into my mind.

Imagine Notes/Domino as a trainyard – while it has a lot of power, and definitely needs some technical knowledge, once you are set up properly, you just need to know which switches to throw to get the results you want. Your ‘train’ smoothly goes in the direction you desire.

Sharepoint is quite similar. Except that instead of a trainyard, your train is sitting in a big open parking lot, and you have lots of monkeys throwing crowbars under its wheels, and you need to see what happens and keep giving the monkeys new directions until you get the result you want.

SharePoint is fun. Really.