Adding Comments to a List Part 1

In SharePoint 2007 the only lists that offer a comments feature are the posts list in the Blog site template. Wouldn’t it be nice to allow people to post comments on other types of lists like announcements or documents? Well after lots of trial and error I figured out how to do it.

What you will need

  • Two Lists
  • SharePoint Designer
  • Basic knowledge of HTML

I’ll assume you already have a list setup on which you want to allow users to comment. For this example I will use a standard Announcements list.

So the first thing we need to do is create a list to hold our comments.  I just used the following columns:

  • Title
  • Body
  • Post  (lookup to main list’s ‘Title’ column)

In the main list you will need to add a column that points back to the comments list.

  1. Go to the list settings page and click ‘Create Column’
  2. Name the column ‘Comments‘ (the name does not really matter. Set the type to ‘Lookup
  3. The lookup should get information from the comments list you created.  The column should be set to the lookup column in the comments list.  See the screenshot below. This column will show us the number of comments each item in our list has.  (more…)

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Improving #SharePoint Forms – Hints

When users are asked to enter information in a form sometimes it helps to give them a hint regarding what types of information should be entered.  Out of the box you can enter a description of each field that will be displayed.  If you want something more dynamic here is how to do it. 

  • Add jQuery to the page using the method described in this post
  • Download the jQuery Hint Box plugin and link it to the page. 
  • Call the script and set the options for the position and html content of the hint. Here is an example:
<script type="text/javascript">
$("input[title='Author']").inputHintBox({
	className:'simple_box',
	html:'Who is the author of this quote?',
	incrementLeft:-25,
	incrementTop:-15
	});
</script>

The above script simply selects  the field using its  title attribute then sets the css class for the element, its contents and position.

Here is the CSS I used for my example.

.simple_box{
	border:1px solid gray; background:url('/_layouts/images/toolgrad.gif');
	font-size:xx-small; color:#444; padding:7px;
}

Here it is in action.

hints

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Improving #SharePoint Forms

Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of posts on how to improve the out of the box SharePoint forms by using simple CSS and jQuery solutions.  These solutions will help improve usability as well as enhance the look and feel.  Look for the first post later this week.

As a point of reference this is what we will be starting with.

Standard SharePoint Form

Stay tuned for more soon.

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Displaying a rotating header image with caption

Nothing makes a site look good like nice images. Using a large header graphic on you Sharepoint site can help direct users to some important information or announcement. Many non-SharePoint images use this technique to add interest to their site and attract visitors. Doing something like this in SharePoint will make your site a lot less ‘SharePointy’ (my made up word for sites that look like SharePoint). Here is how I did it.

Rotating images with captions

(more…)

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CSS-Tricks AnythingSlider in SharePoint

Chris Coyier from CSS-Tricks built this really cool jQuery plugin that creates a content slider that will support any regular HTML in the slides. This is cool because many sliders I have used had limitations on what could be on the slides and did not offer many of the featuers the AnythingSlider does.

AnythingSlider in SharePoint
AnythingSlider in SharePoint

Setup

To get this working in SharePoint you will need to make sure you have a reference to jQuery in the page somewhere as well as a list for the slider to read from. For my example I am using an out of the box annoucements list.  You will also need the files for the plugin download the anythingSlider plugin from css-tricks.com.

  • In SharePoint Designer add a dataview webpart to the page with any field from your annoucements list.
  • Switch to code view and find the first <xsl> tag. It should be right after the closing <DatasSources> tag.
  • Right click on the tag and choose “Select Tag”. Press delete, don’t worry we will be adding in our own xsl.

Select the auto generated xsl

  • Paste the following xsl into the page where you deleted the code.

(more…)

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Resizable textareas in SharePoint edit forms

So one of the things that I have had end users complain to me about is the size of the text boxes on the new and edit forms of lists like the contacts list and announcement list. On a recent non-SharePoint project I used a jQuery plugin to create a resizable text area so I tried to implement it in SharePoint. Here is what happened.

I downloaded the Textarea Resize JavaScript jQuery plugin, saved in a SharePoint library along with the latest version of jQuery.

Selecting the Element

In order for the jQuery code to work it has to know which elements on the page you want to work with.

Here is the code SharePoint renders for a text box:

<textarea name="ctl00$m$g_3fa2cde8_0ea8_4421_814f_6a6d292fbe54$ctl00
$ctl04$ctl0ctl00$TextField"
rows="15"
cols="20" id="ctl00_m_g_3fa2cde8_0ea8_4421_ctl00_TextField" title="Body"
class="ms-long" dir="none"></textarea>

There are two problems:

  1.  ASP.NET creates very long and hard to use IDs
  2. The class ms-long culd apply to other elements on the page that I dont want to use the effect on.

(more…)

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Adding Suggestions to the Sharepoint search box : Part 2

In Part 1 of this post we used a simple javascript to display suggestions on a custom search box. After I wrote that post I was thinking it would make more sense to read the suggestions from a list instead of a JavaScript file. This post will explain how to setup the list and edit the JavaScript to read the suggestions from a list. The idea is that an administrator could manage the list and help guide users toward specific information instead of getting numerous un-related results like in those commercials for bing.

Assuming you already have the search box setup as described in Part one of this post all you will need to do is change the javascript and add some code to the page. (more…)

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