Tag Archives: CSS

Branding SharePoint using Application Customizers

I’ve been a SharePoint designer now for over 10 years. By designer, I mean changing the look and feel of SharePoint. Not just adding simple themes, but making SharePoint, “not look like SharePoint”.

It’s a common request for companies and schools to have an intranet or communication portal which reflects their brand and identity. Although Microsoft have come along in leaps and bounds in this area with out-of-the-box options, it’s still a common requirement for some deeper unique branding.

The ways in which we apply design customisations have changed over the years. From MasterPages and themes to custom actions, the landscape has been ever-changing but moving slowly towards JavaScript and client-side customisation.

The most recent SharePoint UI (modern experience) gives designers the opportunity to deploy custom headers and footers to all new SharePoint pages. To make these customisations, we need to use the new SharePoint framework. Projects are built using web stack tools and libraries such as Node.js, Yeoman and Gulp. I’ve provided an overview of these on previous blog posts last year:

Getting started with the new SharePoint framework

Creating a picture library slideshow using jQuery cycle



In the video above, I show how design has changed over the years and I create a new Application Customizer SharePoint framework extension using TypeScript and SASS for design purposes.

It’s an exciting time to be a SharePoint designer and the quicker these extensions are released as general availability, the better! We can then start updating customisations and switching clients over to the new pages.

Creating a picture library slideshow using jQuery Cycle2 and the SharePoint framework

In this post, I wanted to show how you can modify the SharePoint framework Hello World web part and add other custom JavaScript libraries to create a simple slideshow.

spfx

Prerequisites

I’m going to start my tutorial after following these steps:

Setup SharePoint Tenant
Setup your machine
HelloWorld WebPart
HelloWorld, Talking to SharePoint

Once that is all working fine, you should have something that looks like this:

spfx-slideshow01

Note: In the solution below, I have removed some of the HTML rendered in the SolutionNameWebPart.ts file (optional):

this.domElement.innerHTML = `
<div class="${styles.solutionName}">
  <div class="${styles.container}">
    <div id="spListContainer" />
  </div>
</div>`;

Pull in images from SharePoint picture library

Create a picture library in your SharePoint site called “Slideshow”. Upload a couple of images into this library for testing purposes.

Inside your project, open up SolutionNameWebPart.ts (found inside your WebPart folder). Change the REST API call so that the picture library item URLs are fetched. Currently the REST query (found in the _getListData function) is pulling list and library names, change it to:

this.context.pageContext.web.absoluteUrl + "/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('slideshow')/Items?$select=EncodedAbsUrl"

This will return the picture library item URLs.

Add the EncodedAbsUrl as a string to the ISPList object:

export interface ISPList {
  Title: string;
  Id: string;
  EncodedAbsUrl: string;
}

In the “_renderList” function, change the item loop to this:

items.forEach((item: ISPList) => {
   html += `<img src="${item.EncodedAbsUrl}" alt="image" />`;
});

This will now use the EncodedAbsUrl as the image location. Running this using gulp serve should now show the images from the picture library. You may want to add in some mock data for local tests.

spfx-slideshow02

Making it responsive

The images are rendered at their actual size. Some CSS is required to make the images responsive. Add the class ${styles.cdbImage} to the image tag.

html += `<img src="${item.EncodedAbsUrl}" class="${styles.cdbImage}" alt="image" />`;

Open the SolutionName.module.scss file and add the following code inside the last brace.

.cdbImage{width:100%;height:auto;}

Serve the files again and the images will now be responsive.

spfx-slideshow03

Adding jQuery and Cycle2

Download using Node Package Manager

When adding common JavaScript libraries to projects, Node Package Manager is an excellent tool to quickly bundle items. Run the following nodeJS package manager commands:

npm install jquery

npm install jquery-cycle-2

Two extra folders are now created under “node_modules”.

Install TypeScript definitions

In order to use these libraries in TypeScript, a definition file is required for IntelliSense and compilation. jQuery can be added via the TypeScript definition tool in the nodeJS command line:

tsd install jquery –save

jQuery Cycle2 is not available via this command line but can be downloaded from here:

Github jQuery TypeScript

Download it and add it to a new folder called jquerycycle under the “typings” folder. The typings folder contains all the TypeScript definition files. jQuery has automatically been added here. However we need to manually add the Cycle2 definition.

In the root of the typings folder, open the file named tsd.d.ts. This file controls all the definitions which are used in the project. jQuery has already been added, manually add a new line for jQuery Cycle2.

/// <reference path="jquery/jquery.d.ts" />
/// <reference path="jquerycycle/jquery.cycle.d.ts" />

Add libraries to project

Open the config.json file (under the config folder) in the project. This lists all the external references. jQuery and Cycle2 need to be added here so they can be used in the project. In the “externals” section, add:

 "jquery": "node_modules/jquery/dist/jquery.js",
 "jquery-cycle": "node_modules/jquery-cycle-2/src/jquery.cycle.all.js"
 

The libraries can now be included in the project. Go back to the solutionNameWebPart.ts file and add:

import * as myjQuery from 'jquery';
require('jquery-cycle');
 

The object myjQuery should be a unique name for your project to avoid conflicts. jQuery cycle is added using require as it has a dependency on jQuery.

At the end of the _renderList function in the web part class, add the following code to initialise the slideshow:

myjQuery( document ).ready(function() {
    myjQuery('#spListContainer').cycle();
});
 

Refreshing the page, should now give you a responsive slideshow.

spfx

The future of SharePoint

The future of SharePoint event took place last night live from San Francisco. It was a live online event open to all which was watched by thousands of SharePoint fans across the globe. Microsoft renewed its commitment to SharePoint and the SharePoint brand by announcing the renaming of the sites tile in Office 365 to SharePoint and the release of a new SharePoint mobile app.

SP2016mobileteamsite

It was a very exciting glimpse into the future of SharePoint (both on-premises and online). A completely new revamped UI for team and publishing sites and a slick editing experience. One of the flaws with the current SharePoint experience is the inheritance of older SharePoint site templates and libraries which has only incrementally improved over time. Frustratingly this has left users with a poor mobile experience and a clunky, more complex editing process. Even the current SharePoint 2013 mobile site looks more like an ancient WAP site designed for a Nokia 7110. Below is a sneak peak as to what the new team site may look like. Above is a preview of the new SharePoint app.

SP2016teamsite

New document library experience

This has already rolled out to some tenancies. It gives a fresh look to document libraries which puts them in-line with the OneDrive experience and the SharePoint mobile view. The classic view will still be supported if you are using JS client side rendering, workflows or specific custom views. One downside to the new experience is the loss of any branding, however you could add document libraries to pages if you wanted to keep this. Users can pin files to the top of the page and get really nice previews of documents. Administrators can override end users to choose either the classic or new view of document libraries (see details here).

Design and development

The new improvements in the interface mean not only a fully responsive design but also a mobile app experience on iOS, Android and Windows. SharePoint is also moving away from the iframe app part model allowing more fluid and responsive web parts. For designers and developers there is now a new SharePoint framework (to be released later this year) which doesn’t depend on Visual Studio or any server-side development. Using JavaScript open source libraries we will soon be able to create design experiences which apply to both the browser and mobile apps.

There was several indications that design was moving this way over the last few years. Check out my earlier posts on moving from custom master pages to JS actions and client side rendering. Using these client side technologies was the first step in preparing ourselves for the new client side rendering experience for the next generation of SharePoint portals. I’m very excited to get stuck into the new SharePoint framework technologies (please release it soon Microsoft!). If you can’t wait to get started, you can start by learning the new technologies which will be used to develop against the SharePoint framework such as nodejs, Yeoman, Gruntjs and all the open source JavaScript frameworks which interest you. There is a good post on how to get hold of all these applications and packages on this blog post by Stefan Bauer. You can also view the full development lifecycle processes that Microsoft recommend in their latest video previewing the new framework below.



Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is a new tool in the SharePoint toolbox. It’s a new way to get data into SharePoint and perform workflows using custom logic. It doesn’t replace InfoPath or SharePoint Designer but I can see many uses for it in a business process environment and sales. It extends workflow functionality out of SharePoint using templates or custom written apps. For examples you can have a flow which picks up tweets from Twitter and puts them into a SharePoint list. Very interesting to see how this product develops with SharePoint. You can find out more on the flow website.

Microsoft PowerApps

Create your own mobile apps in a few simple steps from lists and libraries in SharePoint without having to write any code. This could be a mobile app or just a web app. In fact you can do this from the browser from any list in a few simple steps. This could be a SharePoint list view or a web part. The PowerApps will be available from within the SharePoint app. I’m assuming you will be able to pin these apps to your start screen like you can with OneNote notebooks and pages. You can find out more about Power Apps on the website.

More updates to come…

Class site templates in SharePoint

As part of my work for Cloud Design Box, I have been working on class templates for student and teacher collaboration in SharePoint. My templates are using lots of display templates and are provisioned automatically from MIS data using the Salamander provisioning tools. Each template combines, out-of-the-box lists and libraries with custom content types, search web parts and JavaScript display templates. It’s available in both SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online. The video below goes through some of the features available for the class sites. Each class template is customised on a per school basis with a responsive design so that it will work on all devices.

For more information or an online demo, contact me by clicking here.



Client-side RSS feed viewer using JavaScript

There are plenty of server-side RSS feed viewers out there but very little in the case of client-side JavaScript based viewers. Below I will go through the steps of creating a simple JavaScript based RSS feed viewer. Please note that this will only work with RSS feeds on the same domain. JavaScript does not allow cross domain scripting. You may find ways round this by using some of the Google API.

RSS Viewer
Create HTML Container

First begin by creating a HTML div container with a unique ID.

<div id="myDiv"></div>

Make a XML HTTP Request

The following function returns the data from an RSS (XML) page. As far as I am aware there is no way to use this cross domain, so you will have to look for a server-side script to work cross domains.

function httpGet(theUrl) {
			var xmlHttp = null;
			xmlHttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
			xmlHttp.open("GET", theUrl, false);
			xmlHttp.send();
			return xmlHttp.responseXML;
		}
var rssFeedData = httpGet('http://www.tonyishere.co.uk/RSSExample/rss.xml');

Loop through the data and retrieve tags by name

Once this data has been stored in the variable as an object, we can use the “getElementsByTagName” function to pull out a particular tag (title in this case). Looping through all the tags called “title” will go through all of the XML from top to bottom. While looping through the tags, we can store the title and description in arrays to use later.

			var i=0;
			var allTitles = [];
		var allDescriptions = [];
			// loop through all of the items and put them in arrays
			while (rssFeedData.getElementsByTagName("title")[i])
			{
					allTitles[i] = rssFeedData.getElementsByTagName("title")[i];
					allDescriptions[i] = rssFeedData.getElementsByTagName("description")[i];
					flag=i;
					i=i+1;
			}

Loop through the arrays and render the data

Looking at the structure of the XML, you should be able to pick out the child nodes. In this case, each item is the first node (numbering starts from 0).

This can then be rendered as HTML and inserted into the div created earlier. In the example below I have decided to store the description and call an onclick function to show the description.

for (i=0;i<flag;i++){
				titles[i]=allTitles[i].childNodes[0].nodeValue;
				descriptions[i]=allDescriptions[i].childNodes[0].nodeValue;
				document.getElementById('myDiv').innerHTML = newHTML;
				newHTML = document.getElementById('myDiv').innerHTML;
				newHTML = newHTML + "<div class=\"titlearea\" id=\"title" + i + "\" onclick=\"showdesc('" + i + "');\">" + titles[i] +"</div><div id=\"desc" + i + "\"></div>";
				document.getElementById('myDiv').innerHTML = newHTML;
			}

Show the description

When the onclick function to display the description is run, the function below inserts the description stored in the array into the desc div. The array position was called as an argument to the function. This enables us to display the correct description in the div.

function showdesc(idc){
			var idcdesc = "desc" + idc;
			document.getElementById(idcdesc).innerHTML = descriptions[(idc-1)];
		}

Starting point for RSS feed viewer

Click on the link below to see the full code working. This is a very simple example of what can be done with RSS feeds using client-side scripting only. Hope this is of interest, please contact me on twitter for feedback and questions.

RSS Viewer Example

Design Manager in SharePoint 2013

There are a number of options available for visual designers and information architects. One of the great new features in SharePoint 2013 is the Design Manager. You can locate this by going to the settings menu and selecting “Design Manager”

Screen 1

Design Manager is a series of pages and links to take you to the design libraries similar to those found in SharePoint 2010. From welcome page you can import wsp packaged designs or pick from a pre-installed master page.

Screen 3

“Manage Device Channels” is a new feature which allows you to change the look and feel of a site based on the client’s device or browser. This is great for optimising the rendering of the page in mobile devices.

Screen 4

The “Upload Design Files” is a link to the _catalogs folder which was also used in SharePoint 2010 and MOSS to store the Master Pages. It recommends that this is mapped as a network drive.

Screen 5

“Editing Master Pages” is a link to the _catalogs folder which was also used in SharePoint 2010 and MOSS to store the Master Pages.

screen 6

“Edit Design Templates” is another new feature in SharePoint 2013. It allows customisation of the way content is displayed. This might be used to customise search results by defining fields but also presentation. More information can be found here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj163942%28v=office.15%29.aspx

screen 7

“Edit Page Layouts” is another shortcut to a library which was also used in SharePoint 2010 and MOSS. It displays the page layout content types from the master page gallery.

screen 8

The page shown below reminds the designer to publish all of the files before applying the design to the site. A handy link to apply the Master Page is provided.

Create design package allows the design to be exported and used on other sites. This is really useful for taking a design from a development environment to the live site. To create this package previously would have required creating a solution or feature in Visual Studio and deploying it to the server or site collection. This is a handy tool to do this for you.

All of the features below are described in more detail on Microsoft’s site.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj163942%28v=office.15%29.aspx

While the design manager is more of a guide than somewhere an experienced designer will actually upload there designs to (SharePoint Designer will be the main tool), it does make the design process clearer and provides some neat tools for the new functionality about to be released in Microsoft SharePoint 2013.

SharePoint 2013 Design Manager

Styling SharePoint 2010 Lists using XSL

XSL (EXtensible Stylesheet Language) styles the XML output of SharePoint 2010 lists. It allows easy customisation without any server side code.

For example, this is a standard Tasks Web Part.

SharePoint 2010 Task List

After having an XSL stylesheet applied, it transforms the way the list is rendered (see below).

XSL Task List

In the example below, the template is called for each item depending what the “Status” field contains.

<xsl:for-each select="dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row[contains(@Status, 'In Progress') or contains(@Status, 'Not Started') or contains(@Status, 'Waiting on someone else')]" >
        <xsl:sort select="@Created" order="descending"/>
        <xsl:call-template name="row"/>
      </xsl:for-each>

If the status is “In Progress”, “Not Started” or “Waiting on someone else”, the template named “row” is called. Each item is sorted by the Creation date.

In the row template, the image src attribute (location of traffic light colour image) is selected using an if statement on the status field. For each status a different image is displayed.

<img>
				<xsl:attribute name="src">	
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Completed'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/green.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'In Progress'">
						Style%20Library/XSLT/amber.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Not Started'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/red.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Deferred'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/grey.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Waiting on someone else'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/grey.png
					</xsl:if>
				</xsl:attribute>
			</img>

The complete code below with some CSS applied generates the customised Tasks list view.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt" >
  <xsl:output method="xml" indent="yes"/>
  <xsl:template match="/">
    <div style="padding: 5px 8px 5px 5px; display:block;">
      <span class="tasksGroups">My Current Tasks:</span>
      <xsl:for-each select="dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row[contains(@Status, 'In Progress') or contains(@Status, 'Not Started') or contains(@Status, 'Waiting on someone else')]" >
        <xsl:sort select="@Created" order="descending"/>
        <xsl:call-template name="row"/>
      </xsl:for-each>
    </div>
    <div style="padding: 0px 8px 0px 0px; display:block;">
     <span class="tasksGroups"> My Completed Tasks:</span>
      <xsl:for-each select="dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row[contains(@Status, 'Deferred') or contains(@Status, 'Completed')]" >
        <xsl:sort select="@Created" order="descending"/>
        <xsl:call-template name="row"/>
      </xsl:for-each>
    </div>


  </xsl:template>
  <xsl:template name="row" match="dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row">
	<div class="TaskBox">
		<div id="infoleft">
			<img>
				<xsl:attribute name="src">	
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Completed'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/green.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'In Progress'">
						Style%20Library/XSLT/amber.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Not Started'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/red.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Deferred'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/grey.png
					</xsl:if>
					<xsl:if test="@Status = 'Waiting on someone else'">
						/Style%20Library/XSLT/grey.png
					</xsl:if>
				</xsl:attribute>
			</img>
			<xsl:value-of select="@Status" />
		</div>
		<div id="infomiddle">
			<span id="core-tasks-title"><xsl:value-of select="@Title" /></span><br />
			<span id="core-tasks-body"><xsl:value-of select="@Body" disable-output-escaping="yes"/></span><br />
		</div>
		<div id="inforight"><xsl:value-of select="@PercentComplete" />
		</div>
		<br style="clear:both" />
	</div>
  </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

Using XSL and CSS provides a large opportunity to customise SharePoint frontend design of lists without any custom solutions or server side code. This technology will become more important as users move to hosted SharePoint solutions like Office 365 with limited access to server side customisation. It also allows for easier upgrades to future versions of SharePoint.

SharePoint Master Page for iPhone HTML 5 Web App

iPhone Web AppIn my last post, I showed how to create an iPhone web app using HTML5. Recently I have been working on constructing a HTML5 SharePoint Master Page that also works as an iPhone web app.
I managed to do this by downloading Randy Drisgill’s Starter Master Pages Download Here
I then removed as many tags as possible without breaking the publishing Master Page. Changed the doc type, added the meta and link tags (see previous post). This allowed me to create a HTML5 compliant SharePoint Master page which also worked as an iPhone web app. Further customisation is needed to convert the TMG/ISA login form to a mobile friendly smart phone page if you are using an authenticated SharePoint 2010 site.

Creating a HTML5 iPhone Web App!

iPhone App Icon

First create two images which will be vital in creating the iPhone web application. The first image is for the app’s icon. This is the icon you will see when you add it to your home screen. Make sure your image is 57px by 57px and save it as a JPEG or PNG file.

iPhone icon

Startup Screen

The second image is for the app’s loading screen. When the icon is selected, the app will start in full screen mode and display a loading screen while it loads the HTML page in the background. This image should be 320px wide and 460px high.
Startup Screen

HTML 5 page

HTML5 does not yet work in any desktop browser fully yet but more mobile web broswers are supporting it.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
	<head>
		<meta charset=utf-8>
		<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=0"/>
		<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">
		<title>tony is here iPhone web app</title>
		<link rel="stylesheet" href="html5css.css">
		<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="images/tony-icon.jpg" />
		<link rel="apple-touch-startup-image" href="images/tonystartup.png" />
		<!-- Prompt user to install on iphone if accessed through mobile safari -->
		<script type="text/javascript">
			if (window.navigator.standalone) {
				// fullscreen mode
			} else{
				alert('Install on iPhone by pressing Add to Home Screen')
			}
	</script>
	</head>
	<body>
		<section id="wrapper">
			<header>
				<h1>Tony Phillips SharePoint and Web Design Blog</h1>
			</header>

			<article>
				<section>
					<button type="button" name="Blog" class="css3button" onclick="parent.location='blog.html'">Blog</button>
					<button type="button" name="Linked In" class="css3button" onclick="parent.location='linkedin.html'">Linked In</button>
					<button type="button" name="Facebook" class="css3button" onclick="parent.location='facebook.html'">Facebook</button>
					<button type="button" name="Twitter" class="css3button" onclick="parent.location='twitter.html'">Twitter</button>
					<button type="button" name="Email" class="css3button" onclick="parent.location='email.html'">Email</button>
				</section>
			</article>
		</section>
	</body>
</html>

You may notice a few differences in the example above from a standard HTML page. There are two link tags to provide the iPhone with the icon and loading screen location. These are the two graphics created in the first section of this post.

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="images/tony-icon.jpg" />
<link rel="apple-touch-startup-image" href="images/tonystartup.png" />

The two meta tags below scale the site to the mobile device’s screen and enable adding as a web app on the iPhone.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=0"/>
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">

The only new tags in this example are the section, header, article and button tags which all make it much easier to create websites in HTML5. HTML5 is worth a google!

JavaScript

You can also detect if the site is being accessed through the web browser or if it has been loaded from the home screen. If it has been opened in the browser, we can notify the user that they can add this site as a web app. All you need to do is add the following JavaScript in the HEAD section of the HTML.

// Prompt user to install on iphone if accessed through mobile safari
if (window.navigator.standalone) {
// fullscreen mode
} else{
alert('Install on iPhone by pressing Add to Home Screen')
}

Make sure you take full advantage of CSS3 when styling your site. Rounded corners and shadows look great on buttons without the need for background images or jQuery!

To see this example working go to the following URL on your iPhone and add it to your home screen. In my next post I will explain how this could also be a SharePoint MasterPage!

http://www.tonyishere.co.uk/mobile

SharePoint 2010 Centered MasterPages

I spent a lot of time creating centered MasterPages for SharePoint 2010 using Adventure Works and Minimal MasterPages as starting point.

There was a number of issues when using these pages (as starting points). I struggled to get the QuickLaunch to appear on the adventure works MasterPage without distorting the content and also struggled with compatibility with IE7 and other random combinations of browsers. Starting from scratch with the minimal MasterPages creates a huge amount of work rewriting all of the CSS (although this would be the preferred method if I had time!)

In the end I went back and started to make my MasterPage based on the V4 master. Here is how I managed to get it to work by using CSS and very minor changes to the MasterPage itself. I based it around blogs I had read by Randy Drisgill and a few of my own trial and error experiences http://blog.drisgill.com/2010/12/my-real-world-branding-with-sharepoint.html.

I set the class s4-nosetwidth to the workspace div (this stops SharePoint setting the width automatically). We can then wrap our content in a table (single cell) or a div. This will be the container for the page. The reason we dont set a width to the workspace is because this would put the scroll bar in the center of the page.

<div id=”s4-workspace” class=”s4-nosetwidth”>
<table class=”s4-workspace-maintable”>
<tr><td>
<div id=”s4-bodyContainer”>

In the CSS file, you just need to set the width and centering of this table….simple! I have also included a fix for IE7 which crops content. This is a bug found in the standard V4 master. You may still find some issues using IE7 with this MasterPage but much less than using the Adventure works master or using the V4 master with the alternative method of centering.

CSS

/*——————-Browser Fixes ———————*/
/* fixes IE7 cropping*/
.ms-rte-layoutszone-outer
{
float:none!important;
}
/*—————End of Browser Fixes ——————*/

/* —————width and centering——————-*/
.s4-workspace-maintable{
background:white!important;
/*Fixed width*/
width:95%!important;
/* Center the page */
margin: 0 auto!important;
}
/* ———end of width and centering——————*/