The CodePlex Corner: SharePoint List Field Manager

The link to the Project is https://listfieldmanager.codeplex.com/

This edition of the CodePlex Corner turns its attention to a product called the SharePoint List Field Manager. At the time of its launch, it was created as a value-add product for CorasWorks customers and has been developed by their VP of Technology, Adam Macaulay. In May 2010 the company decided to release the product into the SharePoint community via CodePlex. The List Field Manager currently comes in three flavours: –

  1. SharePoint 2007
  2. SharePoint 2010
  3. SharePoint 2010 Sandbox

The List Field Manager does one thing but it does it very well. It allows you to set the Boolean properties on any column within a SharePoint list or library. In plain English, it partially addresses one of the perceived gaps of SharePoint. That’s the lack of granular permissions insofar as column/view level security is concerned. Once this product is installed and activated it allows you to configure, on a field by field basis, the following settings: –

  1. Hidden: This sets whether a field can be displayed in the list
  2. Read Only: This controls whether a field can be modified by the users
  3. Show in Display Form: This controls if a field is displayed in the DisplayForm.aspx
  4. Show in Edit Form: This controls whether a field is displayed in the EditForm.aspx
  5. Show in New Form: This controls whether a field is displayed in the NewForm.aspx
  6. Show in List Settings: This controls whether a field can be modified via List Settings
  7. Show in Views: This controls if a field is visible within List Views
  8. Allow Deletion: This controls whether a field can be deleted or not
  9. Show in Version History: This controls whether a field is displayed within an items Version History

These properties can also be accessed and changed in PowerShell and the SharePoint Manager, as seen here. Their only configurable options (in true Boolean style) are True or False. The List Field Manager simply provides a more accessible interface for accessing them.


More information on the Field Properties is available on MSDN on this link.

Let’s think about some of those options for a moment and the power that they provide. What other major SharePoint technology gives us the alternative to work with columns in such a way? InfoPath forms. Whilst the List Field Manager isn’t (and was never intended as) as a substitution for InfoPath, it does provide a great “no cost” alternative. This means that you can use things like calculated columns for various effects (such as calendar colour coding) and hide them from various .aspx forms and views. This allows either the Foundation or Standard versions of SharePoint to be extended and manipulated in simple but powerful ways.

Post installation the List Field Manager is available in the Web Part Gallery and allows you to select any list from a provided URL once it’s been activated. You can then select the field and set as appropriate. Compare some of the options below to the earlier screenshot from SharePoint Manager and you’ll see the same properties.

I was also curious as to whether this worked with the forms generated with External Content Types. So I set up the AdventureWorks Community samples, built an external content type and an external list from the customers table. All the typical CRUD operations were defined with the end form looked like this.

With a few grammatical tweaks to the labels this would make a workable list but that Demographics field really doesn’t serve any purpose being surfaced within SharePoint. The List Field Manager picked it up just fine but wasn’t able to tap into any of the properties that we can manipulate with SharePoint Lists.

Link to SharePointReviews.com product review

The link to the SharePointReviews Product category is to be located under Content Management à Lists and Libraries on the following URL: http://www.sharepointreviews.com/sharepoint-lists/1988-sharepoint-list-field-manager

“End User – Developer” scale

Working on the basis that an Administrator will have installed this web part in the appropriate fashion; the List Field Manager is fairly straightforward to use. I can see this product presenting an acceptable alternative to InfoPath form development. On that basis, I’m rating this product at Power User level. Administrators & developers shouldn’t have that many problems with the List Field Manager in return for the functionality it provides them.

Potential pitfalls / problems

I’ve only been able to test this version against SharePoint 2010 so I can’t comment conclusively on any problems that the 2007 edition might encounter. The only potential problems that I could see for this are: –

  1. Limitations of Sandbox Deployment: Sandbox 2010 Deployment doesn’t allow cross site list management (this is referenced in the CodePlex documentation however)
  2. Settings not added to Site Settings: As this is a web part, not a link in the site settings, an administrator might potentially forget where this web part has been deployed. In a potential workaround, you could possibly set up a dummy view page called Admin, delete the list view and add this web part to it
  3. Hidden vs. Read Only Fields: The differences between the Hidden & Ready Only properties are confusing. Read-Only won’t surface a column but then lock it for editing, it removes it from the form.
  4. Internal Content Types Only: Doesn’t work on external content types

Conclude and add any relevant links

In closing out the article, I think this is a great tool. It provides an awful lot of utility and is something that can conceivably be farmed out to well-trained or experienced users which removes a small dependence on IT or the SharePoint professionals.

The links below are my reference list: –

  1. CodePlex List field Manager
  2. Corasworks Community: List Field Manager
  3. Field Properties
  4. SharePoint Reviews: SharePoint List Field Manager
  5. AdventueWorks Community Database
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Tutorial: Adding a Deep Zoom Image to a SharePoint 2010 Site

In my previous blog entry (part of the CodePlex Corner Series) I mentioned that I’d write a tutorial on how to add a Deep Zoom Image to a SharePoint site with the Seadragon Viewer web part. These are the notes I’d taken when I was playing around it. I’ve tided them up and they will guide you through the process of web part installation, image creation and how to bring these together.

Applies to

  • SharePoint 2010 (All Editions)

Scenario

You’ve got a large image that you want to distribute to some colleagues. But the image size makes it unwieldy to distribute via email. Instead, you’d like to provide an online capability where your users can interact with the image without losing image integrity. An example of Deep Zoom technology in use can be seen on the SharePoint 2013 architecture diagrams. This solution has a few components, namely: –

  • Seadragon Ajax Viewer Web Part (hosted on CodePlex)
  • Deep Zoom Image Composer
  • A large resolution image

Downloading and installing the web part

First we’ll begin by downloading and installing the web part. We won’t worry too much about configuring it at the moment; all we’re concerned with is getting it onto your servers. These steps should be done from one of your WFE Servers: –

  1. Navigate to the Downloads page of the CodePlex project. The SeaDragonViewer.wsp is the recommended download at the top of this page
  2. Create a folder on your C drive called C:\Web Parts and download the WSP file to this directory
  3. Open the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell via Start à All Programs à Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products à SharePoint 2010 Management Shell. Right-click on this and select the Run as Administrator
  4. Once this has loaded. Run these PowerShell Commands. The first command installs the solution; the second command deploys it and makes it available for selection within your SharePoint installation.
    1. Add-SPSolution “C:\Web Parts\SeaDragonViewer.wsp”
    2. Install-SPSolution –Identity SeaDragonViewer.wsp –WebApplication http://YourSite –GACDeployment

Please note that the http://YourSite should be replaced with the URL of your own SharePoint Web Application. Once these steps have been completed, you’ll have the web part ready and installed for use but no image to plug into it. To prepare these, it’s necessary to step back from SharePoint for a moment and to use another Microsoft Tool; the Deep Zoom Composer

Creating DeepZoom Images for use within SharePoint

In this next set of steps we are going to obtain a high resolution image and use a special image utility to prepare this for use within SharePoint. We will then manually tweak the output of the tool to make sure that it’s compatible with the web part that you downloaded and installed earlier.

  1. On your desktop, create a folder called “Sea Dragon Images”
  2. Next, in your browser of choice navigate to morguefile.com. This is a free photo archive that you can use images fairly freely from.
  3. In the search box, type in London and hit enter
  4. Pick an image on the search results page and click on it. You’ll get a properties box that describes the attributes of the file you’ve chosen
  5. Click on the Download button on this attributes page.
  6. This will prompt you to open the file, save it or to cancel the download. Click on “Save” and save it to the Sea Dragon Images folder that you made earlier

At this point, you should now have a folder with one high resolution image contained with it. To make use of this image we are going to install a piece of kit called the Deep Zoom Composer. This is a facility that takes high resolution images and then transforms them into the appropriate format.

  1. Download the DeepZoom Composer from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24819
  2. The download process is quick and painless. Double click the exe and start the installation process. Accept the terms and conditions and follow the wizard through to completion
  3. Launch the Deep Zoom Composer from the start menu. Start à All Programs à Microsoft Expression à Deep Zoom Composer. You’ll be greeted with this screen
  4. Click on New Project
  5. In the New Project Dialog Box that pops up, name the project “London” and save it to the Sea Dragon Images directory that you created earlier and click OK
  6. With these settings in place, the dialog box will disappear and you’ll see a blank canvas. This has also created a London directory within the Sea Dragon Images directory that you will be investigating later
  7. Back on the canvas, look at the top right of the Zoom Composer and you’ll see an “Add Image” button
  8. Click on this and then navigate to the image that you downloaded earlier. Select it and press Ok. You’ll then see the image selected at the centre of the canvas and on the right hand side of the screen under a thumbnail strip
  9. On the toolbar at the top of the page, click Compose
  10. This will take you to the second stage of the composition process. You will see a blank canvas again but this have the London image from the previous step loaded in the thumbnail strip at the bottom of the screen
  11. Drag the London image from the thumbnail to the canvas. It is beneficial here to use the “Fit to Scree” command to make this easier. Do this via
    1. Edit à Fit to Screen
    2. Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + O
  12. Once this is done, you should have a screen that looks similar to the below
  13. Click on the Export Tab
  14. This will take you to a new export page where the various export settings can be inspected. On the export settings on the right hand side of the screen select Seadragon Ajax from the Output type options.
  15. Give your export a name and select the export location. By default this will be a folder called “Export Data” within the project directory that was created when the project was initialised
  16. Click Export once you are happy with the settings. You’ll see these options at the end of export process
  17. Click “Preview in Browser” to see how this will look in your SharePoint site
  18. Once you’ve done inspecting your work in the browser, click on the View Image Folder. You’ll see something similar to the image below. The file path will be …/Exported Data/London/GeneratedImages

Let’s inspect these files before moving on. Some changes will be needed to them shortly but it always helps to know what these are before altering them

File / Directory Name

Notes

Dzc_output_files

Directory containing the zoom images

Dzc_output.xml

XML file that dictates the zoom template size and format

Scene.xml

XML file containing the instructions and calculations for the images

SparseImageSceneGraph.xml

XML file that stipulates the zoom ratio, image path and background colours

 

The two items that we want to pay attention to here are the dzc_output_files directory and the dzc_output.xml. These are the files that the Seadragon Viewer web part needs to talk to. These next steps will show you how to combine your image output and the web part.

  1. In the Generated Images directory generated by the Deep Zoom Composer rename the dzc_output_files directory and the dzc_output.xml to London.
  2. Once these files have been renamed upload the entire directory and the xml files to a SharePoint document library. Right click the London.XML file and copy the shortcut
  3. Back in your SharePoint environment, navigate to the root site of the web application that the web part was installed to
  4. Access the Site Collection Features via Site Actions à Settings. This will load a new screen
  5. On this new screen, look for the Site Collection Administration heading and click on the Site Collection Features under it. This will also load a new page
  6. On this page, search for the SeaDragonViewer Feature1 and activate it. This adds the web part to the web part gallery for all sites within this site collection
  7. Now that the part is available, navigate to the page or site where the Seadragon viewer is to be added. When selecting the web part it will be grouped under the Innovation category
  8. Once the web part has been added, enter the configuration options (Edit Page à Edit Web Part) and look for the miscellaneous section. This will have three configuration options: –
    1. XMLPath: This is where the URL for the renamed XML file needs to be placed
    2. WPWidth: Setting for the Web Part Width
    3. WPHeight: Setting for the Web Part Height
  9. Paste the link of the XML file that you copied earlier into the XML Path field and press Apply / OK
  10. You will now have a web part with a high resolution image that you can zoom into and pan around without any loss of quality

That’s