Monday, May 21, 2007

More than one way

Yes, well.. obviousness aside.. we built a better mousetrap. The whole edit form thingie, well.. was just too much of a PITA. Maintaining nine separate lists of 1000+ entries. History. Approval. Customization. ASPX nightmare although I've gotten myself really familiar with the code and custom forms are a walk in the park. Still no fix for the editform remapping debacle. So I figured, why bother?

Yes, so - build the formatting into the list. It doesn't really care if you use choice fields, radio buttons, whatever. It stores the data exactly the same way. It's still text. Or a number. Or a link, etc. Take off the ability to add new through a custom security group, edit and read only. The whole button disappears. Yayrah. And the piece that they all love? Let them edit in datasheet view. Present in standard, let them modify in datasheet thru actions. The view limits the fields they see. Then, add in versioning, no content approval. Add out of the box approval workflow.. and voila! No more list nightmare.

I still can't wait till they open up the supporting files functionality. Someone from microsoft really needs to address the issue - most of us are ready to cry. I'm just not in the mood to try and learn infopath - I know how to make forms, I've been doing it in asp/aspx for close to five years. My users just want some consistency and the learning curve on this product is pretty broad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Three months

Well.. it's been three months since I last posted about list hell. It's not really gotten any better, but at least there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Last week, a teammate (cohort?) and I were blessed with some Training. Yes, Training for the product that barely exists at a support or documentation level.

Brief rant: If I order one more freaking Sharepoint book that says it's published and it tells me that it's on "backorder" or will take 4-6 weeks to ship, I'm going to go PMS on someone. Set a date and stick to it, I'd get my butt fired if I met deadlines like these freaking publishing companies as of late.

So for now, I've been curling up with the big blue book, the Sharepoint Administrators Guide.. written by Mr. Bill English. It's good.. the community stuff is really insightul... it's a double edged sword, tho.. I'm not a programmer so lots of the customization stuff is over my head. It's kind of like watching Wheel of Fortune and feeling like God's gift to Sharepoint and then flipping the channel to Jeopardy - and suddenly you wonder where your extra chromosome came from. Those are the times that Bill gets set down and I pick up Vanessa Williams' Sharepoint 2007 for Dummies. For the times in between, the Sharepoint Users' Guide by Apress is tres good. The course book for 5061 was great when we were in class but it's a blessing if I can find anything now, the index is horrible. Note: the apress book has an already rather large user maintained error correction section. If something doesn't work, check the list. It might just be a misprint.

Anyways, back to the supporting files thingy. Yep, it seems that there are way more people that can't do it than can. I'm still watching the groups and commiserating where appropriate. Can't wait till someone explains how to fix it or Microsoft issues a fix of some sort because it's a bug. If anyone has any insight, I'm begging for an email.. (Recap: in designer, create a custom edit list and try and reassign the default form for the list source in supporting files on list properties and the selection for display-displayform.aspx, edit-editform.aspx, new-newform.aspx.. all grayed out. No way to change them. Modifying the aforementioned files from the default webpart actually will nullify the link and users get booted back to the toplevel site.) The most useful suggestion I've seen so far is to actually modify the link in the database. There's *got* to be a better way.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The List, Part Deux

Yes, well - we got the list. The real list. Not the plan B we spent all of Friday on. Of course it was at about 6pm Friday and I didn't check my email until yesterday. I emailed my boss to ask what, if any, objectives I had for Tuesday. He told me to run a quick analysis between FY07 (our Plan B list) and the new list. It took about an hour and a half to convert the data since it was not in a comparable format. Apples to oranges in more ways than one.

So I got the list, the data looks good. Going to have about 45 manual lookups but I'll let someone else do that tomorrow.

As for the Sharepoint stuff, he said he'd call me today but I've not heard from him. I'm working on my 'Work-Life Balance' so my overtime allowance is minimal. The editform still isn't working.

EditForm.aspx hell.

Well, I've followed the advice from other bloggers and a microsoft expert that my boss emailed.

The latest scenario:
Created/Uploaded 'The List'. Opened up the folder in sharepoint designer. Did a file - save as. Modified the one with the original file name. Deleted the web part from main and inserted a custom list, edit type. Turned edit to display on some fields (as was part of our original objective.)

Here's the funky part.

For whatever reason, I can't modify the supporting file for editform, newform or displayform. They're greyed out. It looks like it works and then poof - nothing. Right back to the orginal. If I modify the original file (which has a new name - the supporting files carries the link to the new renamed file).. It cancels the whole link and it sends the ID on the editform back to the main site url - not even the subsite. Going back into supporting files shows no file linked at all and it's still greyed out.

So my boss suggested a workaround. We've created a url to the modified editform and linked it thru the data itself with an appended ID to make it dynamic. Works just fine.

So then on Friday - this was all working great - someone working with me on it set a field to required. Except it was a column with no data, radio buttons. The whole thing biffed.

Isn't life wonderful?

Friday, January 12, 2007

2B or not 2B

There is a list coming. No, not just any ordinary list.. a list that defines all lists. A list of the who's and what's that we'll use next year. But when? Is there really anyway to know? Historically, as it's been in marketing for manual cleanup for a week now I'd wager another week. But the business demands action so sooner it shall be.

What shall become of this list?

This list is a pioneer of lists. This list is going into uncharted territory. The undocumented territory of Sharepoint 2007. Why? Because it's never a good idea to send out a spreadsheet and assume what you get back will even remotely assemble the template that was sent out. And because putting broken out spreadsheets back together is a job best reserved for those who either have an unlimited prescription to valium or the patience and attention to detail level of a obsessive compulsive saint.