SharePoint Basics

Working with Data in SharePoint 2010

This video shows the most common ways how you will work with data stored in SharePoint 2010.

It includes Web Parts, Controls, Event Handler, Workflows, Timer Jobs and Application Pages.

 
 

Video Transcription

This video shows the most common ways how you will work with data stored in SharePoint 2010. Therefore it’s a basic element which every developer, administrator and end user needs to understand.

Storing information at one place is important. Retrieving Information is also important: Even if you store information at one place you need to find them in time in a way that’s helpful. SharePoint offers different functionality like search to find content or people with the needed expertise and skills. Information and data is retrieved, used or visualized by the following components…

A Typical SharePoint Page

A typical SharePoint page reveals a lot of different components… Controls, Web Parts, Workflows or Event Handler attached to a document or list item or Timer Jobs. Not everything can be seen on the website e.g. Timer Jobs run in the background. But you will notice the effects they have…

Last but not least there are application pages like the settings of a library or list.

Web Parts

Web Parts are everywhere and the most common component you will work with.

There are List View Web Parts displaying the content of a SharePoint list or library.

A List View Web Part can also be used to interact with external data stored in a database for this example.

List View Web Parts can also display content using different views to better display its information. In addition to text and tables there is a Chart Web Part which can display content in a graphical way.

Displaying Visio files is also done using a Web Part...

The Content Editor Web Part allows adding content like it’s done using Word.

A lot of different sites use Web Parts to read and display information...

... or to update them.

One of the most important Web Parts are located on the search results page like the Search Results Web Part. If you want to interact with content Web Parts are a powerful way to that.

A user can add, move or delete Web Parts and manage those using Web Part properties.

  • From an end user’s point of view: Web Parts are flexible to add / position and can be configured using the UI.
  • From a developer’s point of view: Web Parts are often your starting point if you need to extend SharePoint.
  • From an administrator’s point of view: IT still has full control regarding available functionality, which code runs on a server and sometimes how many resources it can use.

Controls

Controls are all over the place like Web Parts and can be used to interact with data too.

Although providing a lot of functionality controls are just there and aren’t as flexible as Web Parts.

The part of a website which stays the same like header, navigation or search box is built using Controls whereas the part with the content is kind of ‘designed’ using Web Parts.

Event Handler

Event Handlers aren’t that obvious if you work with SharePoint.

As you know pages are actually documents stored in a document library... and so you can delete them. Since the ‘default.aspx’ was selected as the first page you’ll see when you open the search center (welcome page) it is protected. You can delete every other page but if you try to delete the welcome page an error is shown.

Another use case would be automatically adding metadata to a document if you add it to a library. So Event Handler usually can’t be seen on the UI since they do their work in the background but you may see some kind of result.

Workflows

SharePoint allows you to automate business processes using Workflows.

You can automate the request for approval: If you have a document a Workflow can be started manually or automatically. In this case you can manually select the document approval workflow and set properties like the list of approvers or the due date. After the workflow has been started a task is assigned to the approver with information like status and comments. It’s possible to accept or reject the document and to request changes or to reassign the task.

You can reuse existing Workflows in SharePoint or create your own matching the business processes in your company.

Timer Jobs

Timer Jobs are like Event Handler from an end users point of view…

...you can’t see them and they do their job in the background. In contrast to Event Handler they are more powerful and normally used for infrastructure tasks related to the SharePoint farm.

In this case there is a Timer Job related to the Web Application which is clearing the recycle bin. If you ever wondered about disappearing documents you know that it was an automated task.

Timer Jobs are essential:

  • They clear recycle bins.
  • They send an e-mail notification if content has changed.
  • They publish or unpublish content.
  • They monitor the health of the SharePoint components.

Just for the completeness and for SharePoint administrators: Timer Jobs can be viewed inside Central Administration using the monitoring link.

There you will find a list with dozens of Timer Jobs with a schedule.

If you click one of them you can see the properties.

Application Pages

The last component allowing you to interact with data are Application Pages.

If you edit the settings of a list or library you will see an Application Page. This kind of page is essential if you want to have a basic understanding of SharePoint since they can be seen as the contrary of a (content) page.

Site pages are used to store content and can be created and customized by end users. Site pages are stored in a document library and usually contain Web Parts allowing you to interact with data. Since you can change the content there will be hundreds of different site pages and each of them will be unique.

Application pages can’t be created or customized by users and they are not stored inside SharePoint. They are stored on the Webserver and each of the pages has a certain purpose. The example before showed the settings of a library which are always presented the same way across all libraries no matter where they are created.

One important thing that’s new with SharePoint 2010 is Service Applications. From a very basic point of view they provide a lot of functionality and greatly enhance the way you can work with data. E.g. the search functionality in SharePoint Server is provided by the search service application.

Summary

Information Workers these days have problems to make decisions based on too much information or because of insufficient information. Information is usually stored at different places, can’t be found or accessed. The goal is to work more easily and more efficient and to securely store, manage and retrieve any information from anywhere.

Storing Information at one place is required. Microsoft offers SharePoint as part of a solution where you can store information using items, documents, lists, sites and Site Collections. You can group them into logical units to represent teams, departments, partners or projects.

Retrieving Information is also an important requirement. Even if you store information at one place you need to find them in time. SharePoint offers different functionality like search to find content and people with needed expertise and skills. Information and data is retrieved, used or visualized by Web Parts, Controls, Event Receivers, Workflows and Timer Jobs.

SharePoint is a business solution… it’s Web-based and it works for small teams as well as the huge enterprises. Users can collaborate and they can enhance the way they do it. They have access to applications and its data within the same environment and they can recreate their processes inside SharePoint and streamline them. Everything is done using one infrastructure which can be scaled out or extended with new capabilities.

SharePoint is about working with information and it’s made more effective.

The videos gave you an overview about the problems we have in our daily working environment, what SharePoint 2010 is and how it helps to solve the problems.

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