FAQ: How to Remove “Show All”, “Hide All” and “Full Screen” in the SPELL Tabs Gratis Version

TabsSections

 

 

Haven’t tried out the gratis version of the SPELL Tabs yet? Fill out the contact form with your company information, and you’ll receive the solution within 48 hours.

The SPELL Tabs interface includes 3 sections:

  • tabs for inline content (bound to Web Parts, similar to the Easy Tabs)
  • tabs for links (navigate to other pages)
  • controls

When I started sharing samples from the SPELL program, last year, the most frequent question I got was: “How can I remove the link to Path to SharePoint from the tabs?”. That’s right, one of the tabs was a link to this blog (cf. above screenshot), a friendly reminder that I brought the solution to your home.

Not so friendly as it turned out, as seeing that tab systematically in any tabbed interface was more than a user can bear. Lesson learned, when I released the gratis version 1.1 earlier this year, I made sure the Path to SharePoint link was removed.

To date, more than 200 companies have adopted or are evaluating v1.1, and I am not getting questions about links anymore… here’s what I get now: “I don’t need the Show All (+), Hide All (-) and Full Screen ([ ]) controls, how can I remove them?”.

 

Why these controls?

First, let me explain the main reason why I added these controls in the first place: printing. Users sometimes like or need paper or pdf copies of the zone content. In such cases, they usually need to make all the Web Parts visible, and sometimes hide the rest of the page. In some cases, I have implemented custom interfaces where the user can pick which Web Parts he/she wants to print. Such implementations are usually combined with stylesheets that include media types.

So think about it before deciding to remove the controls!

 

How to modify or remove the controls?

In the full version, you can manage the controls via the Tabs editor. In the gratis version however, you need to do it manually:

1. Follow the general instructions in the documentation. You’ll end up with a URL that looks like this:

SPELL1.1.0TabsGratisVersion.aspx

SPELL1.1.0TabsGratisVersion.aspx#css.activeBackground=Orange

2. Append the custom control settings

SPELL1.1.0TabsGratisVersion.aspx#controls.viewAll=;controls.hideAll=;controls.fullScreen=

SPELL1.1.0TabsGratisVersion.aspx#css.activeBackground=Orange;controls.viewAll=;controls.hideAll=;controls.fullScreen=

 

Instead of removing the controls, you can also change their look, for example:

SPELL1.1.0TabsGratisVersion.aspx#controls.viewAll=Expand;controls.hideAll=Collapse

 

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Get SPELL Cascading Selects 1.1 from my Office 365 site

Cascading Selects EditorAfter the SPELL Tabs two weeks ago, I am now adding a Cascading Selects package to my Office 365 site.

I already mentioned the Cascading Selects back in November. It was initially created for demo purposes, to showcase the capabilities of SPELL Form, a module designed to enhance SharePoint out of the box forms.

In light of recent events (and in particular this update from the Microsoft Office team), I have repackaged it, and I am making a gratis version available to teams and small businesses. If you are interested, fill out the contact form with your company information, and you’ll receive both gratis versions – Tabs and Cascading Selects.

These packages are end user solutions, and come with an “editor view” (cf. screenshot). The full versions are more sophisticated, with tools for power users and front end developers. SPELL works in SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013, and Office 365 (version 16).

If you are one of the 100 users who already registered their company to get the Tabs, the link to the Cascading Selects should already be in your mailbox!

Trick or treat? Group items by month

OrderedMonthsIt’s that time of the year again when the unnatural becomes the norm, so let’s continue the tradition started last year with the SPELL program. Our goal today will be to display list or library items grouped by month, as shown in the screenshot.

The deal is that we don’t want any custom code or workflow here, just the regular out of the box UI features. We’ll be creating two calculated columns, called Year and Month, where we’ll insert the appropriate formulas. I chose the “Modified” column for my sample formulas, but of course any other date column would work too.

The YEAR and MONTH functions

YearNumber

A quick review of the SharePoint date functions gives you YEAR and MONTH that should fit the bill:

Year:  =YEAR(Modified)
Month: =MONTH(Modified)

The result is less than satisfactory though (see screenshot), as the year is displayed with a thousands separator. and months are displayed as numbers.

The magical TEXT function

MixedMonthsFurther exploration will take you to the TEXT function. It is not very well documented in SharePoint, fortunately you can rely on the Excel documentation and come out with the following formulas:
Year:  =TEXT(Modified,"yyyy")
Month: =TEXT(Modified,"mmmm")

Still not happy with the result? Right, the months are displayed in alphabetical order, not sequential order, not yet an ideal experience for our end user.

So let’s pull our last trick, and use the following formula for the calculated month:
Month: =REPT(" ",13-MONTH(Modified))&TEXT(Modified,"mmmm")

You can see the final result live on this page.

What’s the trick? We are still relying on the out of the box alphabetical sorting, but to force the order, we are adding a bunch of white spaces before the month name. The calculated Month actually contains the following values (each _ represents a white space):
____________January
___________February
__________March

__November
_December

Now, why don’t we see these spaces on the Web page? What makes the magic work is that when you insert multiple spaces in a Web page, the html specification says that

user agents should collapse input white space sequences

That’s it!

If you want to get really fancy, you could even use the zero-width space character. The best part is that people who edit your formula won’t even understand the trick, as the zero-width space won’t be visible (there’s however a good chance that they break your cool formula).

To take this further

You can apply this trick to other situations. A typical example is a color code. The alphabetical order will give you Green-Red-Yellow or Amber-Green-Red, you can address that by adding the appropriate leading spaces.

Be careful with this technique though: even if the rendering looks fine, the spaces are indeed stored in the field, and this might break other customizations. So this trick is better kept in a calculated column that will be exclusively used for rendering purposes.

Quick Demo: Process Navigation for SharePoint Forms

ProcessSteps

This month I am releasing version 1.1 of the SPELL library, with two major module rewrites. One of them is the SPELL Form module, which allows to enhance the out of the box SharePoint forms, and now includes features such as cascading selections and inline navigation. I’ll have more code to share next month, but for now let me just share a quick demo.

When we refer to inline navigation, we usually think tabs, like what we’ve been accustomed to with the Easy Tabs. The SPELL Nav and SPELL Form modules will render tabs by default, but beyond that they also have the ability to integrate other designs. For today’s demo, I have chosen a type of navigation often found in forms, and usually referred to as “process navigation” or “process steps”, where each “tab” is displayed as an arrow.

Click here for the live demo. Note that such designs rely on css properties that might not work in older browsers.

For the record, I had to fake the form, as you cannot display the out of the box forms on an Office 365 public site (!).

Quick update: more pocketSOAP testing

RetrieveWebPartsThe other day, someone on twitter made fun of the name I chose for my demo library, pocketSOAP. That’s ok, and I am actually glad that the name matches the intent. As I have already said, pocketSOAP is just a toy to experiment with SharePoint Web Services.

Something else that sounds funny: people sometimes ask me which services are supported by pocketSOAP (see for example the twitter link above), and my answer is… I don’t know. At the end of the first pocketSOAP article, I listed a number of existing libraries that abstract SOAP services. All those libraries follow the same technique and hardcode the service call. pocketSOAP and its parent library SPELL are radically different: instead of having the information hardcoded, they go and fetch it on SharePoint. That explains why the libraries are so lightweight. By the way SPELL is the smartest of the two, and when it learns a new service it memorizes it for next time.

In the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to do more testing based on users’ requests. I confirmed that my libraries worked fine for the following calls:

  • Lists.asmx:
    • GetListItems: retrieves items from SharePoint lists
  • WebPartPages.asmx:
    • GetWebPartProperties2: collects the list of Web Parts present on the page and their properties
    • SaveWebPart2: saves changes made to the properties of a Web Part (e.g. its title)
  • Workflow.asmx:
    • GetTemplatesForItem: collects the list of workflows for a given list
    • StartWorkflow: allows to trigger a workflow

The code for WebPartPages and Workflow is more intricate than what I posted in my previous pocketSOAP articles, so I am not sharing it here. If you have registered to the SPELL interest list, you’ll receive two entry level demos with the August newsletter:

  • a Web Part Page Quick Editor (features the WebPartPages service)
  • a button that triggers workflows (features the Workflow service)

So far so good, all the services I have tested have responded just fine. Now waiting for the next challenge!

More pocketSOAP examples: Pie and Bubble Charts

A couple weeks ago, I introduced pocketSOAP, an experimental JavaScript library that facilitates interactions with SharePoint SOAP services.

Today let me share two more examples built on SOAP and the templating engine, combined with Google Visualization Charts, to render charts from SharePoint lists.

If you have subscribed to the SPELL newsletter, you’ll find pocketSOAP in your mailbox this week. Keep in mind that it is an experimental library, only the full SPELL library is meant for production environments (cf. disclaimer in the previous post).

I am not expecting you to be impressed by the screenshots below. After all, I’ve been publishing client side charting demos in this blog since 2008, and since then many others have followed. The real kicker here is how compact and versatile the code is. Even if you are not interested in client side scripting for a production environment, a tool like SPELL/pocketSOAP could prove really useful in a prototyping phase, and save you many hours of hardcore (re)programming!

Example 1: Pie Chart
PieChart
For this first example, I used the same SharePoint list as in the previous post, with two columns:

  • the default “Title” for the item name
  • “Priority” as a choice field with 3 options (high/medium/low)

The code:

<div id="results"></div>
<script type="text/javascript" src="pocketSOAP.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.google.com/jsapi"></script>

<script type="text/javascript">
// Load the Google charting library
google.load("visualization", "1", {packages:["corechart"]});
// Get items from the Projects list
var promisedItems = pS.soap({
 // Service info
 site:"https://usermanaged.sharepoint.com/TestZone",
 service:"Lists",
 operation:"GetListItems",
 // Service parameters
 listName:"Projects",
 viewFields:"<ViewFields><FieldRef Name='Title' /><FieldRef Name='Priority' /></ViewFields>"
});
pS.when(promisedItems)
.then(function(request){
 // When ready, run the charting function
 google.setOnLoadCallback(function(){drawChart(request);});
});
 function drawChart(request) {
 // The templating engine formats the data string according to Google format
 var dataString=pS.applyTemplate({
 template:'[["Project","Priority"][<|,["|Title|","|Priority|"]|>]]',
 prefix:"ows_",
 data:pS.byTagNS(request.responseXML,"row","z")
 });
 var dataTable = google.visualization.arrayToDataTable(JSON.parse(dataString));

// Group by priority. Priority is the second column (index = 1)
 var data = google.visualization.data.group(dataTable, [1], [{'column': 1, 'type': 'number', 'aggregation': google.visualization.data.count}]);
 var chartOptions = {'title':'Priority','width':400,'height':300,colors:['red','#FFC200','green']}; // #FFC200 is the color code for amber
 var chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById('results'));
 chart.draw(data, chartOptions);
}
</script>

The SOAP call is almost the same as in the previous post. The only difference is that I have explicitly told SharePoint which fields I want to retrieve, via the viewFields option. This is not mandatory but it will reduce the size of the dataset and improve performance.

The use of the templating pattern (pS.applyTemplate) to convert data formats is unusual – as a matter of fact I have never seen this used elsewhere. I am not advertising it as a best practice, and more traditional object manipulation could be used here to the same effect. But I really like how templating makes the code easier to maintain.

Templating is a very popular pattern in modern JavaScript, and can be found in many libraries, like jQuery, mustache, handlebars and others. The SPELL/pocketSOAP flavor might not be as powerful as those big names, but in just 1 kb of code it still has a lot to offer, and – as you would expect – it is well adapted to work with SharePoint Web Services, for both XML and JSON output (to use it with JSON instead of XML, simply replace the [< >] notation with [{ }]).

Example 2: Bubble Chart

BubbleChart

For this second example, I created a SharePoint list with 5 columns:

  • the default “Title” for the product name
  • “Risk” as a choice field with 3 options (low/medium/high)
  • “Cost” and “Revenue” are numbers
  • “Profit” is a calculated column:
    [Profit]=[Revenue]-{Cost]

The code:

<div id="results"></div>
<script type="text/javascript" src="pocketSOAP.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.google.com/jsapi"></script>

<script type="text/javascript">
// Load the Google charting library
google.load("visualization", "1", {packages:["corechart"]});

// Get items from the PMO list
var promisedItems = pS.soap({
 // Service info
 site:"https://usermanaged.sharepoint.com/TestSite",
 service:"Lists",
 operation:"GetListItems",
 // Service parameters
 listName:"PMO"
});

pS.when(promisedItems)
.then(function(request){
 // When ready, run the charting function
 google.setOnLoadCallback(function(){drawChart(request);});
});

function drawChart(request) {
 // The templating engine formats the data string according to Google format
 var dataString=pS.applyTemplate({
 template:'[["Product","Cost","Revenue","Risk","Profit"][<|,["|Title|",|Cost|,|Revenue|,"|Risk|",|Profit|]|>]]',
 prefix:"ows_",
 data:pS.byTagNS(request.responseXML,"row","z"),
 sanitize:function(string){return string.replace(/float;#/,"");}
 });

var dataTable = google.visualization.arrayToDataTable(JSON.parse(dataString));

var chartOptions = {
 title: 'PMO',
 width:500,
 height:400,
 colors:['green','#FFC200','red'], // #FFC200 is the color code for amber
 legend:{position:'top'},
 hAxis:{title: 'Cost',maxValue:100},
 vAxis:{title: 'Revenue',maxValue:100}
 };

var chart = new google.visualization.BubbleChart(document.getElementById('results'));
 chart.draw(dataTable, chartOptions);
}
</script>

Note in the template the difference between text fields (for example “|Title|”) and number fields (for example |Cost|). Also, this time I had to include a sanitize function to remove the weird “float;#” string that SharePoint prepends to calculated columns.

The above code samples could easily be tweaked to work with other client side charting libraries, like Dojo, HighCharts, or [name-your-own]. If you are interested in a demo, leave a comment with the name of your favorite charting tool!

SPELL Tabs: commercial and free versions now available

This week, the SPELL framework is reaching version 1.0.0, and I am releasing the first component of this new version: the SPELL Tabs, successor of the Easy Tabs.

SPELL is not just about new or upgraded scripts, it also introduces a new way for end users to manage their solutions. In the past, the advertised, end-user friendly way to include solutions in a page was to link to code through a Content Editor Web Part. This is still an option in SPELL, but the default method is now to use… a Page Viewer Web Part! This offers end users a no-code experience, where each solution behaves like an “app” and comes with its own, client side edit menu.

Here is what the SPELL Tabs edit menu looks like:

TabsEditMenu

The commercial version is distributed by User Managed Solutions LLC. SPELL is a tentacular program, so feel free to contact me with your questions or to schedule a call. For now, SPELL is still in “early adopter” mode, and the final blocks – shopping cart, forum, videos – will be added in the next 2 months (early adopters naturally benefit from an extended subscription period).

For those who are migrating to SharePoint 2013 and are just looking for a way to fix the broken Easy Tabs, I am also making an entry level version of the SPELL Tabs available at no charge. As you might expect, features, terms of use and support are limited compared to the full version. If you are a subscriber of the SPELL newsletter, you’re already familiar with it, as it is the evaluation version you’ve been playing with in the past few weeks!