Build Your Own School Site (part IV) -Getting Started

Trudy Hutzler   Guest Author-Trudy Hutzler

Welcome to the fourth installment of the series on my School Site, in the first three posts we walked through the site looking at all the functionality that was built into it and briefly discussed how everything fit together.  Now we get to the fun stuff, I am going to start walking through how I created each part of the school site.  I am going to create a brand new Demo site so you can follow along each step of the way and see exactly what I did to create each part.  Along the way, I will provide you with all the information and formulas you need to recreate these solutions in your own environment.  So let’s get started!
First thing we need to do is create a new site for our demo.  I am using the Team Site template as the foundation for my new School Site.  For the Title I am using “School Site-Demo”.  The URL for the Web Site Address will look something like http://<server name>/<Site name>, so mine will be http://xmas/demo.
Next, we need to add a Picture Library titled “School Pictures”, and a new Document Library called “Formulas”.  This will be where I will place all the formulas and any other files you need to recreate these solutions in your own environment.  When it is all said and done I hope to provide users with a site template they can download, and this document library will be included. Now our site is ready for us to start adding our solutions.

Default Team Site

Create site using default Team site template

For the first solution, I wanted to start with something fun.  Therefore, I decided to start with the Image-Rotator solution which can be found in the SharePoint User’s Toolkit.  The Image-Rotator allows you to display a picture on your page randomly selected from a SharePoint picture library.   The Image-Rotator is a quick and easy way to add interest to your site, catch your users’ attention, and maybe even wow the boss.  But first, we need some pictures.
Now my daughter often downloads pictures for use in reports and such, and I don’t necessarily want those to be displayed by the Image-Rotator so I need to separate the pictures I want to display from the others.   So what I did in this instance is created another Picture Library I called “Rotator Pics”.    However, for this library I chose not to display it on the quick launch.  This way the typical user will even be aware that the library is there.  To further ensure no users try anything funny with the images I used unique permissions for this library restricting everyone, but the Site Collection administrators and owners, to read permissions.  This way if they do find the library they can’t change anything.
Picutre Library Permissions

Now we have a place to store our pictures we need to upload some pictures into the folder.

 On the Action Menu click on “Upload File”.  You can either upload each picture one at a time by selecting Upload file, or you can upload several files at one time by selecting “Upload Multiple Files”.

Now that we have the library and the pictures are uploaded, we need to find the URL for the picture library to use with the Image Rotator.  For the Image Rotator we need to find the edit view URL.

  • To do this first select the view of your picture library you want to use.  The view should not contain any folders.
  • Click on the down arrow of on the View Selector, and select “Modify this View”
  • When the “Picture Library Setting –>Edit View” page opens you will want to copy the URL from the address bar.

Now browse to SharePoint User’s Toolkit, and click on the Image-Rotator link.  The Image-Rotator configuration page will open, and you simply choose the options you want to use as follows:

  • First paste the URL we just copied above into the “Picture Library (Edit View)” text box.  This tells the Image-Rotator where to find the pictures to display.
    Choose a “Picture Format”.  In my case I want the pictures to be bigger than a thumbnail image so I am going with “Optimized for web display”
  • For “Picture Size” I will stay with the default option of “Forced Height” 200 px.
  • For “Alternate Text” the Image-Rotator we can either use the Picture Name from the library, or if you have added a description to each of your pictures when adding it to the library you can choose to use the description column instead.  I am going to stick with the picture name.
  • Under the “Description” section you can choose whether to display the information stored in the Description column or not.  I don’t want to clutter up the view too much so I am choosing not to display the description.
  • The next section is “Hyperlink”.  You options here are to NOT use a hyperlink, which is what I am going to use, you can also link to the full-sized picture, or you can use a link you have specified in a text column in your picture library.

I wanted to take a moment before we continue and talk about some of the neat extras the “Hyperlink” section provides.  Let’s say you are wanting to use the Image-Rotator to attract users to your site, you could allow your users to submit some of their own photos to be displayed, then using the Link to full-sized picture option you could allow users to click on a picture they particularly liked and see it full-sized view.

On the other hand, you might want to use the Image-Rotator as part of your new product announcement plan.  You could display pictures of new products in the Image-Rotator and then by choosing the “Open link specified in the following text column” option users to click on an image and be redirected to a product information page.  To do this create a custom text column in the picture Library where you can enter the URL for the Product information page, then enter the name of the column that holds the link in the text box for this option.

The possibilities are endless once you start thinking about it, and that is why I say this particular option packs a lot of nice extras that can give your site a polished look and feel.

  • The “Refresh Frequency” option allows you to choose how often the picture changes.  You can choose change the picture only once, each time the page uploads or refreshes. This way each time the users views the page the picture will be different, but will stay the same until they leave the page.  Or you can choose to change the picture on a regular set interval.  The default is 120 seconds, but since my Image-Rotator part is only going to be used as eye-candy I want mine to change more often so I am going to set it to 15 seconds.
  • The “Display Order” section is next, and here you can choose to display the images in a random order, or in a sequential order move from one to another on down the list.  I like to mix things up a bit so I am going with random.
  • You can even choose a “Progress Icon”.  This is a small image that displays when a picture is loading to show the progress.  You can use the built-in gears icon, no progress icon at all, or choose your own image by providing a URL where the image is stored.
  • Want to be alerted if there is an error with the Image-Rotator?  Then check the “Debugging” box to get alert messages on errors.
  • Finally you need to accept the license terms by Checking the ” I have read, understood, and I agree to the license terms.” box.  This is a free license folks, so no worries about checking the box.

Now that you have agreed to the terms the code for the Image-Rotator, including all the options you select will be visible in the text box at the bottom of the page.  To save the code to a text file click on the “Save To Disk” button which will save the code in a text file.  The default file name is “ImageRotator-2.0.txt”, but you can clear out the name and give it whatever name you like, such as “KentRotator.txt”.

Now we have our code, so let’s put it to use.  I want to replace the standard picture that comes with the default Team site template with my Image-Rotator so first I need to get rid of that picture.

  • Open up the SharePoint page where you want to display the Image-Rotator.
  • Next click on the “Page” tab of the ribbon and then click on “Edit” which will be the very first icon.
  • Click on the image to select it, then press the delete key

Now your site will look like the figure below.  Notice the large picture is now missing, and in its place, we will deploy our Image-Rotator.

Follow the steps below to deploy your Image-Rotator:

  • Open up the SharePoint page where you want to display the Image-Rotator.
  • Click on Site Actions –> View All Site Content
  • Once the “All Site Content” page opens look for Site Assets under Document Libraries, and click on it.
  • Click on the “Add New Document” link, this will open the Upload document dialog box.
  • Click on the Browse button to browse to the location where you saved your code text file.
  • Once the file has been uploaded click on the file to open it.
  • A message box may open asking you if you want to open the file as “Read Only” or “Edit” choose “Read Only” then click OK
  • This will open the file in a browser window.  Copy the URL form the address bar.
  • Then click the back button until you return to your site page.

The next part of deploying the Image-Rotator is to add a Content Editor Web Part to the page.  To do so follow these steps:

  • Browse to the page where you want to deploy the Image Rotator
  • Next click on the “Page” tab of the ribbon and then click on “Edit” which will be the very first icon.
  • Go to the web part zone where you want to display your images and place you cursor where you want to insert the CEWP
  • On the Ribbon, under the “Editing Tools” tab, click on “Insert”
  • Next on the Insert Ribbon, click on Web Parts which is part of the Web Parts group on the ribbon.
  • Under Categories select the Media and Content folder
  • Then under Web Parts select the Content Editor
  • Then click the Add Button.  This will add the CEWP to the page in the same place that your cursor was placed.

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Now you are back on your page, still in Edit mode.

  • Select the Content Editor you just added and click on the down arrow
  • Select Edit Web Part

  • When the Web Part Editor opens paste the URL for the code text file we copied in the Content Link box.
  • Expand the Title section
  • Add in a title that will display above the images.  I am using “Kent State-You Belong Here!”
  • Leave the Height and Width section set to their default selections.
  • And for a cleaner look on the page I have set the Chrome Type to “None”
  • Then click on the OK button to save your changes.
  • You will now be taken back to the page, still in edit mode.  You will see the CEWP with its new Title but no pictures yet.
  • On the ribbon, click on the “Page” tab
  • Then click on “Save” which will be the very first icon

Once the page is saved and refreshed you should start to see your pictures in our new web part.

So we now have a little WOW factor added to our site, something to attract the users attention and get them looking around.  You can easily change things up by adding, changing, or deleting the pictures stored in the picture library.  You can also make changes to the options you selected by returning to the Image-Rotator page in the SharePoint User’s Toolkit and making different selections.  Then save the file to disk using the same name as you did above.  Finally upload the new text file to the Site Assets library, overwriting the original file.  The changes will take effect as soon as you refresh your page.

As we discussed earlier you can use the Image-Rotator part in a variety of different ways.  You can use it to promote new products, make SharePoint feel more like a community by displaying photos submitted by users, or just display picutres from the last office party.  The possiblities are endless!  How will you use the Image-Rotator?  I would love to hear from readers about the different ways you have put the Image-Rotator to use.  And stay tuned for the next installement ” Tracking the What, When and Where-Customizing Contacts and Calendar”

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9 thoughts on “Build Your Own School Site (part IV) -Getting Started

  1. Actually I am working on the next installment this week. I am sorry for the delay but I have been working on setting up a new SharePoint farm that will allow me to make my demo site available to the public for viewing.

    So you should be seeing the next installment real soon.

  2. Trudy,

    Came across the article/page by chance. Spent at least 5 minutes looking to see whether you would have ANY reference to the first three parts. Finally i decided that i needed to point this out and there below the leave reply block was the fine print that reads Part III – How ironic!

    Could you PLEASE make it easier on your readers and have a link at the top and bottom to earlier posts – specially when related or in articles in installments!

    Thanks.

    PS: Great Article – Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for pointing that out, and you are right. I will make a point to try and add links back to other posts at the begining of my articles from now on. The feed back is appreciated.

      Trudy Hutzler

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