Having Trouble Importing a Custom Data View in SharePoint 2007?

The data-view web part is one of the more powerful tools in the SharePoint arsenal, allowing you to completely customize (and control) the data displayed by a basic list-view. I was rather taken aback when I discovered that in SharePoint 2007, I seemed to lose my customizations when I imported my customized web part to a page.
The good news is the SharePoint Team is very aware of the issue and it is being considered for a future fix. They were also kind enough to let me in on a little secret for getting around this issue.

The problem lies in the fact that the view is using the full tool bar. If you have the “FULL Toolbar” enabled when you export your data-view web part, you will lose your customizations when importing it. The trick then obviously is to ensure you have only the minimal, or no toolbar enabled before exporting your web part.

Hope it helps

Free WSS V3 Application Templates (20, of the Fab 40) now available …

I awoke this morning with some good news from Lawrence Liu, 20 of the 40 Application Templates are now available for download.  For those of you wondering what an application template is, it’s a site template which has been carefully planned out according to a common business practice.  Not only do they save you time, but they’re FREE!

Direct copy from Microsoft/SharePoint Blog:

   The 20 Site Admin templates are now available for public download via the links below:

Board of Directors

Business Performance Reporting

Case Management for Government Agencies

Classroom Management

Clinical Trial Initiation and Management

Competitive Analysis Site

Discussion Database

Disputed Invoice Management

Employee Activities Site

Employee Self-Service Benefits

Employee Training Scheduling and Materials

Equity Research

Integrated Marketing Campaign Tracking

Manufacturing Process Management

New Store Opening

Product and Marketing Requirements Planning

Request for Proposal

Sports League

Team Work Site

Timecard Management


   Site Admin templates are custom templates that are easy for any SharePoint site administrator to install into the template gallery without requiring server administration access. Simply download and plug into a SharePoint site. The other 20 (Server Admin) templates are scheduled to be available within the next 4-6 weeks. More information about all of the application templates is here.

   [Update: Read-only demo sites created with the 20 Site Admin templates are available at:


http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/sharepoint/templates (U.S.)

·         http://www.wssdemo.com/application (Australia)



   In addition, we have published the “Creating Shared Hosting Solutions on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0” whitepaper based on the lessons learned from the Hosted Application Templates for SharePoint (HATS) pilot that was conducted over the past several months with more than a dozen international hosting partners, some of whom are listed at http://www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/directory/wssv3.mspx.


New graphicalwonder.com Features

While I wish I had the time to respond to every question and comment I get, it’s not always possible.  Sometimes the more popular posts take on a life of their own and people from the community help to answer questions.

Unfortunately about 50% of the time someone posts a comment/question on one of the posts, they don’t always remember to come back and check up on it.

To ensure you stay updated on any comments you leave, you can use one of the two following options:

  • You can subscribe to the posts individual RSS Feed.
  • When leaving a comment, you will also now see a check-box which you can select to be “alerted” when a new comment is added to the post

WSS 3.0 Master Pages and Content PlaceHolder’s: A Desktop Reference Companion

One of the most powerful tools for customizing SharePoint 2007 is master pages. One of the most common stumbling blocks is understanding the many content placeholders and what they’re used for.

There have been several articles published detailing the placeholder which has been a huge help. For those that deal with SharePoint Customization on a frequent basis, I’ve created a desktop based on the placeholder articles which you can set as your windows desktop and use as a quick-reference. (The descriptions are not the greatest so I’ll update it again with better descriptions later). The following desktop outlines the default placeholders on a WSS 3.0 Master Page:


Best Intranets of 2007 …

Information property of Jakob Nielsen, Usability Expert. 

This year’s winners emphasized an editorial approach to news on the homepage. They also took a pragmatic approach to many hyped “Web 2.0″ techniques. While page design is getting more standardized, there’s no agreement on CMS or technology platforms for good intranet design.

The 10 best-designed intranets for 2007 are:

  • American Electric Power (AEP), United States
  • Comcast, United States
  • DaimlerChrysler AG, Germany
  • The Dow Chemical Company, United States
  • Infosys Technologies Limited, India
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co., United States
  • Microsoft Corporation, United States
  • National Geographic Society, United States
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), United Kingdom
  • Volvo Group, Sweden

Technology Platforms

The 10 winners used a total of 49 different products for their intranets’ technology platforms. Clearly, intranet technology continues to be an unsettled field.The most-used products were: Windows Server, Google Search Appliance or Google Mini, SharePoint, SQL Server, Google Maps, Omniture, and Vignette.

Read the entire (2007’s best Intranet’s) article over at Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox

Enforcing Consistent Workspaces with Preferred Templates and Page Layouts

This is a topic I have not seen a lot of discussion on so perhaps it could fall under a “did you know” category.

In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you can specify preferred templates, and page layouts.  Basically what this means is you can tell your site to allow only specific site templates, and page layouts, when creating new sub-sites, or pages.

This is a great way to enforce consistent workspaces in an otherwise free-for-all situation. 

You can configure the site templates, and page layouts to use by visiting: Site Actions -> Site Settings -> View all Site Settings -> Page Layouts and Site Templates.

The rest is very intuitive.  Good Luck!

Internet Explorer Toolbar Beta 3 Released.

I stand by the fact that one the best tools available for SharePoint Customization is the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar.  This tool has recently seen a new version released (BETA3).

The IE Dev Toolbar let’s you do things like quickly view your pages in different resolutions, outline divs, images, or table elements.  One of the more useful features allow you to inspect the DOM by clicking on an element on the page to see what properties are applied to it, things such as what CSS class.

You can read all the juicy details or download the Internet Explorer Developer Toobar BETA3 here. 

For those that have asked, when testing pages in Firefox, I use Firebug another very useful tool.

Take advantage of the Manage Content Tools

I just realized how little I’ve been utilizing the “Manage Site Content and Structure” tool available out of the box with MOSS 2007.

While working on my most recent project I had templated a list w/ content types which I needed to roll out to a significant number of sub sites.

Using the Manage Site and Content Structure tool I have a birds eye view of all sites/sub sites where I can quickly roll out the lists.  The only minor quirk is it redirects you to the list/library you create afterward which makes sense most times.  In the event you are in mass creation mode however it would be nice to be able to set an option to remain in the tool.  None the less, it’s an awesome way to manage your sites!

You can access it via:
Site Actions, Manage Content and Structure.

Enable Friendly Error Messages

A pet peeve of mine has long been the undescriptive errors SharePoint shovels out by default.  You know, when you change a line of code and now your page renders only “An unspecified error has occured”.  Pretty annoying right?

Turns out you can turn these into descriptive error messages which will actually help you identify the problem, what a novel idea.

Turns out I missed Tyler Butler mention this on his great post about his experience recreating his website using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Luckily for me, Andrew Connell brought this to my attention just a few days ago as I was ranting about useless error messages so I figure this deserves it’s own post.

To turn on friendly error messages in your web applications web.config (found via INETPUB).

  • Disable Custom Error Pages by setting this web.config entry:  customErrors=off
  • Enable Stack Traces by adding this property to the SharePoint SafeMode tag also in web.config: CallStack=”true”

Sorry for the lack of braces, my blog is not acting friendly to code display today.  SharePoint Safemode are tags, as is customerrors.