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Tag Archives: Sharepoint

Minimal Display Template

We want to use our own Display Templates on Non-publishing sites – our team sites. Without the Publishing Feature activated you have to create an own javascript file. Here is short and concise instructions how to install it: Display Templates on Non-publishing Sites.

As described on that blog, you can make copy of an existing Item_Default.js and adjust to your needs.

I also asked Elio Struyf and I got the same tip. I did create my starter template. Here I want to share this very minimal javascript based Display Template. The real Minimal Display Template is in the SPCSR github repository: Item_Minimal.js It has been improved by Elio Stuyf himself 🙂

(function () {
  // Config contains variables that are defined in one place
  var config = {
    propertyMappings: { 'Path':null, 'Title':['Title'] }
  };
  var templateUrl;

  var register = function () {
      if ("undefined" !== typeof (Srch) && "undefined" !== typeof (Srch.U) && typeof (Srch.U.registerRenderTemplateByName) === "function") {
              Srch.U.registerRenderTemplateByName(templateUrl, render);
          }
    };
    render = function (ctx) {
      // Display template data
      var cachePreviousTemplateData = ctx.DisplayTemplateData;
        ctx.DisplayTemplateData = {
        'TemplateUrl': templateUrl,
        'TemplateType': 'Item',
        'TargetControlType': ['SearchResults', 'Content Web Parts'],
        'ManagedPropertyMapping': config.propertyMappings
        };
        var cachePreviousItemValuesFunction = ctx.ItemValues;
        ctx.ItemValues = function(slotOrPropName) {
                return Srch.ValueInfo.getCachedCtxItemValue(ctx, slotOrPropName);
        };

      // Retrieve managed property data
      var path = $getItemValue(ctx, 'Path');
      var title = $getItemValue(ctx, 'Title');

      // HTML markup for an item
      var htmlMarkup = String.format( '<div>' +
                        '<a href="{0}" title="{1}">{1}</a>' +
                                        '</div>', path, title);

        // Caching
        ctx.ItemValues = cachePreviousItemValuesFunction;
        ctx.DisplayTemplateData = cachePreviousTemplateData;

        // Return the HTML markup
        return htmlMarkup;
    };

  // Retrieve all the loaded scripts
  var allScripts = document.getElementsByTagName("script");
  // Get the last script file (this is the current DT file)
    var scriptUrl = allScripts[allScripts.length - 1].src;
    if (scriptUrl.indexOf('/_catalogs/') > 0) {
      // Remove the query string 
      if (scriptUrl.indexOf('?') > 0) {
        scriptUrl = scriptUrl.split("?")[0];
      }
      // Insert the site collection token
      templateUrl = '~sitecollection' + scriptUrl.substr(scriptUrl.indexOf('/_catalogs/'))
    // Register the template to load
    register();
      if (typeof (RegisterModuleInit) === "function" && typeof(Srch.U.replaceUrlTokens) === "function") {
          RegisterModuleInit(Srch.U.replaceUrlTokens(templateUrl), register);
      }
  }
})();

Benefits of js approach

If you choose to directly upload and mantain a javascript file you’ll get following benefits:

  • You can use the same display templates on Non-publishing sites and they work directly in SharePoint Foundation
  • You’ll get intellisense
  • You can run static code analysis agains your javascript code and you can create unit tests
  • It is more readable understandable from developer to developer
  • It is easier to follow best practices for javascript
  • It encourages reusing javascript components for Display Templates, CSR (JSLink) Templates.
  • You like TypeScript? Well, then it is best to skip the “grey” code in html comments.

Findings

  • You cannot use ‘use strict’ in your js file.

How to create a Display Template

Rename the Item_Minimal.js file to your name, update some properties.

Upload it to _catalogs/masterpage/Display Templates/Search/<your-folder>

Use ContentType: Display Template Code

displaytemplate-002

Template Level: Item and Managed Property Mappingsdisplaytemplate-003

Create a new Result Type. Every time you update the Display Template (item properties) you have to update the Result Type.

displaytemplate-001

Moving from Minimal to Better

Of course the minimal display template is not enough. There is a whole lot of things we can do, I prepared some tips (my own “best practices”):

  1. Learn the Search Display Template Syntax: Corey Roth – Useful js for Display Templates
  2. Follow Elio Struyf’s 10 tips for working with Display Templates (except the first one – javascript is better 🙂 )
  3. Prefer JavaScript Display Templates if you are a developer and you want to  have a better control
  4. Never update the built-in Display Templates.
  5. Centralize reused parts of Display Templates – utilities, common parts, css. Use a CDN site for that.
  6. Check out the SPCSR github repo, there are many Display Templates that you can use or be inspired from.
  7. Create your own folder in _catalogs/masterpage/Display Template/Search to have all your Display Templates within a site collection.

 

SharePoint Utilities – a promising JavaScript Framework

My colleagues at Bool have developed a new JavaScript framework for SharePoint – sharepoint utilities. It started on our DevDay last year – a whole free day when we could learn new things, try out new techniques or build something that was not even requested from a customer. I was not working on sharepoint utilities, so I almost forgot it until…

I recently  re-discovered sharepoint utilities. It is on Github, it is MIT licensed and contributions are welcome. The core of sharepoint utilities (sputils) is a set of wrappers for Search, TermStore, REST that allow you be more productive as a developer.

What I find especially compelling with that it contains some other fundamental stuff that every SharePoint developer needs:

  • XHR, you only need to use sputils.rest.get or sputils.rest.post to make Ajax requests to SharePoint, no need for jQuery or sprequestexecutor.js
  • Promise, it contains a minimalist Promise framework – no need for jQuery.Deferred. All calls to SharePoint _api are wrapped in promises. So there is a better way of making calls to SharePoint.
  • DateTime, it contains some useful functions for working with dates and time.
  • Functional JavaScript. No need for underscore.js or lodash.js.

To me, XHR and Promises are two important parts that I need in every solution. So instead of linking jQuery and preparing reusable XHR functions for SharePoint, I’d recommend using sharepoint-utilities.

A tiny tool for User Custom Actions

hehyuaf

Everybody loves User Custom Actions in SharePoint. That’s the only recommended way of customizing SharePoint. You have heard about it. Unfortunately there is no convinient way of administering them. People have their console applications or powershell scripts to add, update and delete user custom actions. It works but it is hard to open up Visual Studio or PowerShell every time you will try out an idea on a test site.

To overcome this, I have created a tiny little tool, packaged as a bookmarklet for your browser. When you click on it, it will show your existing user custom actions and you can add new user custom actions.

It is an ongoing little project, available on github, contributions are welcome. What’s left is:

  • Implement Delete operation
  • Implement Update operation
  • Improve the UI.

Here is how it looks today:

usercustomaction-001

To use this tool, add a new bookmark in your browser and copy the content of bookmarklet.html as the url.

Resources on that topic:

Creating a bookmarklet for Exporting Web Parts

REST API for User Custom Actions (MSDN)

What it can be used for

It can be used on test sites to try out ideas. But do not use it in Production. On ther other hand, parts of this script can be used in other scenarios, like adding new functionality by site owners directly from the browser, where data is predefined.

How to add a JavaScript code

You can use this boilerplate code to add a UserCustomAction, just put it into the textarea and click “Add new”:


var fileref=document.createElement("script");
fileref.setAttribute.src= "YOUR-SCRIPT";
document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(fileref);

Best practices for User Custom Actions

  • Add a ScriptBlock instead of ScriptSrc. In that way you can reference javascript and css files outside you site collection – ultimately from a CDN site.

Provisioning Google Maps JSLink with SPMeta2

kartta-000

Among PnP Samples there is a solution for using Google Maps. Great solution where where you can pick a point on a map and define a spacial area on the map. Unfortunately it is a sandbox solution. I rewrote it to a code based template with SPMeta2 Framework. Now it can be installed on any site very easily, without needing UserCode Service and a cumbersome process of uploading a wsp package and activating it. The code is very simple, you can see it on github.

kartta-001

Let’s take a look at it. It does not contain a single line of SharePoint Legacy XML. There are following SharePoint artefacts that are getting provisioned:

  1. Two site columns (Location Point and Location Area)
  2. A SharePoint List (Locations) with two additional fields mentioned above
  3. Google Maps code in and CSR in a jslink file
  4. Auxiliary pages for selecting points and areas on the map.

Field Definitions

In SPMeta2 everything is separated in meaningful definitions. First we define our fields. The preferred place in the VS solution is Definitions – IA – Fields.

kartta-002

List Definitions

Then we define our List – Locations. That is also a SPMeta2 Definition. List Definitions reside in Definitions – IA – Lists. We do not add fields in our list definition. The fields are added while “assembling” the model.

kartta-003

ListView Definitions

ListView Definitions are also in the Definitions – IA folder. We inherit from the OOB AllItems view:

kartta-004

Modules (a.k.a. Files)

Resource files like javascript, css, aspx, html and so on are Modules. They are in the “Modules – Implicit” folder. The internal structure is copied to the web folder. The upload of files is easy and is defined in the web model, see next section.

Web Model

Now it is time to pick the definitions and create a model. The most common model is a Web Model. The model is created programmatically and relies on “Add” methods: AddField, AddList and so on:

kartta-005

Provisioning

The actual provisioning is the most fun, it is easy and straight forward, it takes models and deploys it to a SharePoint site. You can easily switch between SSOM and CSOM.

kartta-006

Distribution

Another bonus of SPMeta2 Provisioning Framework is the ability to serialize and deserialize models to XML or JSON. In our project we define SharePoint Applications as SPMeta2 models serialized in XML and make them available for installation on any SharePoint Site.  A SharePoint Application is a meaningful collection of SharePoint artefacts that becomes an entity and solves a business need.

Summary

This Maps solution is a simple solution, but it is a very powerful one, originally created by the PnP team. If we just redesign the Provisioning Part, it becomes awesome. SPMeta2 provides a solid, well defined, easy-to-understand framework for define code-first models for SharePoint Applications.

Export Any Web Part using a Bookmarklet

My blog post about exporting any webpart from a SharePoint Page is one of the most read articles on my blog. I use this method a lot. Now what I want to do is to simplify the process. Inspired by my colleague Dan Saedén’s awesome bookmarklet for reading and updating web properties, I decided to make my own bookmarklet. That was easy. Now we can export any web part from any SharePoint page without even looking at any ids in the html markup and assembling the export url manually. Just add the bookmarklet or run  the javascript code in the browser console. The code (js and bookmarklet) is on Github.

Here is an animated gif that explains how to use it:

export-webpart-002

Add Search Verticals by code

search-verticals-001

Adding own search verticals is a common task in the Search Configuration in SharePoint. Here I want to share a code sample for achieving this programmatically. I hope, this model can be added to SPMeta2.

First of all, Search Verticals are dedicated Search Results Pages and links to them. How to add them manually is described on technet:

There is no API in CSOM for that. Luckily, Mikael Svenson found how to get the Search Navigation and contributed to PnP by writing an Extension: web.LoadSearchNavigation.

Here is my sample code for adding new Search Verticals programmatically:

NavigationNode searchNav = context.Web.Navigation.GetNodeById(1040);
NavigationNodeCollection nodeCollection = searchNav.Children;
NavigationNodeCreationInformation everything = new NavigationNodeCreationInformation
{
    Title = "Everyting",
    Url = "/search/Pages/results.aspx",
};
NavigationNodeCreationInformation myresults = new NavigationNodeCreationInformation
{
    Title = "My Results",
    Url = "/search/Pages/myresults.aspx",
};
nodeCollection.Add(everything);
nodeCollection.Add(myresults);
context.ExecuteQuery();

What is a SharePoint application

SharePoint Artefacts in a meaningful assembly like a lego toy

A meaningful collection of Lego bricks is a toy. A meaningful collection of Lists, Fields, Files and other SharePoint artefacts becomes a SharePoint Application. Private picture.

App, Add-In, List, Web, Site, Sandbox solution, Workflow. There are too many words flying around in SharePoint that confuse users and Non-SharePoint-Developers. I want to introduce a “new” concept that is so simple and that a company can understand and govern: a SharePoint Application.

That is so simple. It can be called a tool, a functionality. That can be a SharePoint list, a document library with a workflow, or a document library with custom jslink. All they can be SharePoint Applications. Let’s use lego as a metaphor. Have you seen this?

SharePoint Artefacts as lego bricks

The same toy car in just brics. SharePoint Artefacts like Webs, Lists, Fields, Content Types, JSLink etc are just lego bricks. Private picture.

These lego bricks together become a cool toy that you can play with (as you can see in the picture above). So it is with SharePoint Applications, too. SharePoint Applications solve actual business needs. A List, or a JSLink by themselves do not solve a business need. It must be a meaningful collection of SharePoint Artefacts that becomes a SharePoint Application.

Example

Does the lego metaphor make sense to you? To go back to SharePoint, I’ll give you an example of a SharePoint Application. I would say everybody has done such Applications. In a project we created a document library for product icons that were used for all products in a company. Easy? Yes. But the icons had several states (active, inactive…). Versioning and Approval was required. A workflow for new requests and submits was implemented, too, permissions for different roles, metadata navigation in the document library and so on. Sure, SharePoint provided us with great “lego bricks”. But we created a tool, a functionality – a SharePoint Application, that makes sense to our business.

What’s new then? Well, we all have done such applications. The new is to understand SharePoint Applications as an own alternative and quality assurance. See more below.

Another example is an “App” for SharePoint Online that I converted into a SharePoint Application by adjusting it for SPO and OnPrem. That’s when I came up with the idea of the SharePoint Application.

Definition

A SharePoint Application is a meaningful collection of SharePoint Artefacts, like Webs, Lists, Fields, Views etc that becomes an entity and solves a business need. SharePoint Applications follow best practices and quality policies as all other applications.

To understand more, let’s compare with the related concepts:

SharePoint Application vs SPList

An SPList (an “app”) is often only a part of an entity. Users often create two or more lists, update views and so on. A SharePoint Application contains a list and everything else ready for satisfying business needs.

SharePoint Application vs. SharePoint Hosted App (Add-In)

An SP Hosted App resides in a different domain, it is a subsite that is only trusted to do some predefined actions. An SP Hosted App allows separation of trust, it can be uninstalled easily and it is always a separate site (Web). A SharePoint Application is more flexible (it might be a list in the same site). It is closer to the actual site where users need this functionality. A SharePoint Application is in the same domain name and has the full user trust. A SharePoint Application does not require App Infrastructure and separate domains. It is searchable and can benefit from BlobCache (Style Library) to ensure good web performance.

SharePoint Application vs. Provider Hosted App (Add-In)

SharePoint Application uses SharePoint Templates, Information Architecture, Search, Identity Management etc. A Provider Hosted App is a dedicated web application outside SharePoint. A Provider Hosted Application is powerful because it is not bound to SharePoint. All advantages and disadvantages are the same as the ones for a custom ASP.NET application. A Provider Hosted App has a connection to SharePoint, it requires a Trust and App Infrastructure in your environment. A SharePoint Application is not that powerful, but as long your business need can be solved by SharePoint lists, Page Layouts, Workflows, then a SharePoint Application is the right choice for you.

Quality and Governance

To ensure quality, every SharePoint application should comply with policies and fit into the overall Govenance model. Treat them as they were other Applications. They must have system documentation, application lifecycle management including versions, upgrades and rollbacks. They must be staged and tested before going to production. Another example of a quality policy is that a SharePoint Application is provisioned, maintained and operated using only Client Side Object Model – no farm solutions. All SharePoint Applications are tracked in a system for a better supportability.

Provisioning Framework for SharePoint Applications

I would strongly recommend using a framework for provisioning your SharePoint applications. My favourite is SPMeta2. There is also PnP which is a strong community. It might be okay with manual setups (click-click in SP) for smaller applications. My advice, though: Require code based, repeatable, code-documented and tested provisioning of SharePoint Applications even for smaller ones.

Summary

SharePoint Applications have been around for a long time. My goal is to give them a name so we don’t need to be confused by apps, add-ins, lists. A SharePoint Application is not a technical term, it is just a meaningful solution for a business need, done in SharePoint that leverages high quality by following policies and standards within a company.

Http to Https Redirect in Provider Hosted Apps

It is strongly recommended to use https in SharePoint Provider Hosted Apps. In many provider hosted apps I have seen, only https works. I would recommend to configure a simple http to https redirect in IIS and make solutions better. Many Provider Hosted Apps can be done in that way that they are available without SharePoint Context, e.g. for browsing information. In that case that is important to have an easy url and an automatic http -> https redirect.

In this post I’ll give a short manual for doing that. I would recommend this step for all provider hosted apps.

1. In the Provider Hosted Apps Server install the URL Rewrite IIS Module using Web Platform Installer:

http-https-001

2. Next step is to add the http binding to your solution (this is needed for the future redirect):

http-https-004

Then you can configure the automatic http to https redirect using the GUI or the web.config update. My instructions originally come from JPPInto.com blog.

I suggest updating the web.config file directly in the Provider Hosted App:

http-https-002

3. Add this section to the web.config file:

http-https-003

<system.webServer>
  <rewrite>
   <rules>
    <rule name="Redirect to HTTPS" stopProcessing="true">
     <match url="(.*)" />
      <conditions>
       <add input="{HTTPS}" pattern="^OFF$" />
      </conditions>
      <action type="Redirect" url="https://{HTTP_HOST}/{R:1}" redirectType="SeeOther" />
    </rule>
   </rules>
 </rewrite>
</system.webServer>

It is important to know that his web.config section will cause failure on the server if URL Rewrite module is not installed.

Summary

These steps are very easy to accomplish and I recommend it for every Provider Hosted App, especially those ones that are accessible without going through SharePoint (Web Content -> Apps). This also reflects the configurations in Azure Apps (WebSites).

Kom igång med SPMeta2

SPMeta2 (eller bara M2) är ett relativt nytt ramverk för provisionering av SharePoint-artefakter. Bakom ramverket ligger ett gediget arbete. I den här posten vill jag skriva upp mina steg för att sätta upp ett litet projekt. För mig är SPMeta2 nytt och huvudprincipen i den här bloggposten att få en fungerande lösning så snabbt som möjligt. Informationen här kan snabbt bli inaktuell, eftersom SPMeta2 förändras och förbättras väldigt snabbt.

Vad är SPMeta2
SPMeta är ett ramverk för att provisionera SharePoint-artefakter, allt från fält, innehållstyper, listor, dokumentbibliotek, user custom actions, ladda upp filer med mera. Klassiskt har vi gjort provisionering med hjälp av XML-baserade moduler och features. SPMeta2 erbjuder ett Fluent API som är kodbaserat. Med hjälp av SPMeta2 definierar man en modell (enkla objekt POCOs) som inte har beroendet till SharePoint. Modellen används sedan av Provision-delen som anropar modellen för specifika versioner: SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office 365 med mera. Man kan välja CSOM och SSOM. Provision är också flexibel vad som gäller paketering: det kan vara en konsolapplikation, en SharePoint-app, ett wsp-paket, en PowerShell-modul. Se följande länkar:

Testmiljö

För att testa behöver vi en site. Jag använder min http://dev/sites/004 som jag skapat just för det här. Av någon anledning gick det inte att använda Visual Studio 2015. Så jag har min Visual Studio 2013 på en virtuell maskin med SharePoint.

Målet

Provisionera jQuery och ett enkelt skript till min site collection.

Process

Installera Visual Studio Template

m2-001

Det här kommer leda till github. Ladda ner den därifrån:

m2-002

Godkänn och Installera

m2-003

Skapa ett nytt projekt. Solution ska vara Takana. Projektet ska vara Takana.Model

m2-004

Välj “Pocos only” och Takana som prefix och gruppnamn (i mitt litet labb kommer de här inte användas, men det går så snabbt att ställa in dem här):

m2-005

Man får en bra struktur över modellen, allt prefixat och enligt best practices.

m2-006

Jag kommer att använda de här modellerna sedan:

m2-007

Nästa steg är att skapa Provision-delen. Skapa ett nytt projekt i samma VS Solution. Kalla det Takana.Provision:

m2-008

Välj SharePoint Standard och SP2013 CSOM

m2-009

Efter det har vi en VS Solution med två projekt: Takana.Model och Takana.Provision. I Takana.Provision finns CSOMProgram.cs som startar provisioneringen:

m2-010

För att börja med, behöver man sätta Takana.Provision som Startup Project (blir fetstilt)

m2-011

Efter det måste ett tillfälligt problem lösas – referensen 16-foldern. Det här ett känt problem och kommer förmodligen lösas inom kort.

m2-012

Den snabbaste vägen till att ersätta referensen är att installera ett nuget-paket som heter SharePoint Online Client Side Object Model. Även om det är för SharePoint Online, funkar det alldeles utmärkt för OnPrem också.

m2-013

Efter det lägg till Takana.Model som referens

m2-014

Byt ut siteUrl, siteModel och rotWebModel:

m2-015

Det går fort att köra den här konsolapplikationen. Nu när jag går in på min site, ser jag att jQuery har provisionerats och ett litet skript också som skriver till konsolen.

m2-016

Sammanfattning

Det här en liten manual för hur man lätt kan komma igång och prova SPMeta2. SPMeta2 är ett kraftfullt ramverk som kan användas för provisionering och uppdatering av SharePoint-applikationer. Det kan finnas en tröskel i att börja använda det. Jag hoppas att med den här bloggposten jag kan göra fler nyfikna på att prova SPMeta2 och kodbaserad provisionering för att det är ett framtidssäkert sätt att arbeta med SharePoint.

Method “GetList” does not exist

I troubleshooted a piece of CSOM code in SharePoint 2013. I got the following error:

Method “GetList” does not exist

The reason was that the method GetList was not imlemented until March 2015 CU (15.0.4701.1001), and the SharePoint farm I had was SharePoint 2013 SP1 (15.0.4569.1000). So the solution is to install the Cumulative Update or use web.Lists.GetByTitle. GetByTitle has one aweful shortcoming: it doesn’t work in multilingual environments. So I have recommended to install the March 2015 CU.

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