The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me. Mainly due to getting more requests from users that wanted new features implemented and content deployed. I was so freakin’ busy I hadn’t even had time to check any of my Google Reader feeds for the past 2 weeks! I thought I’d try to catch up with my blogging by posting some of the SharePoint lessons I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks.

InfoPath forms

  • They’re OK, easy to use and easy to implement.
  • Having all your forms depend on Forms Services is a pain (my end users don’t have the InfoPath clients installed).
    • Can’t save to computer, can’t email.
  • Good for short and sweet transactional forms.
  • Not good for forms that might take a few sittings to finish like the ones from HR  *cough* performance appraisals *cough* .
  • XHTML rendering is pretty cool.
  • XHTML rendering puts a big dent on browser rendering performance.

MasterPages

  • Are not my friends.
  • For some reason, if you’re using SharePoint as a collaboration tool there are lots of little quirks if you use anything other than default.master.
    • Some examples: Vertical picture libraries, layouts aren’t always cross-browser compatible, stuff moves on hover when it shouldn’t.
  • It’s much easier to use the default.master and either create your own theme or do what I did and just use a custom CSS file.

CSS Customizations

  • Not so hard to do, I was able to change every style used for default.master in 2.5 days.
  • Use the IE Developer Toolbar!
  • Do not change any of the styles in core.css
  • Make a copy of core.css and edit the copied one.
  • On the MasterPage settings page, use the CSS override feature to apply your custom CSS so you can always revert back to the original if you need to.

SharePoint Designer

  • Oh lordy, I think this software is worse than FrontPage sometimes.
  • Great tool for customizing SharePoint pages  and content data.
  • The Data View web part is awesome!
  • Damn thing crashes every half hour.
  • Crashes every time there’s bad HTML that it can render in design view.
  • I can’t seem to get undo to work on any SharePoint pages after saving it. Works fine for CSS files.
  • It gets really confused sometimes and can’t figure out if a file is checked-in or out.
    • Sometimes I’ll have to go into the MOSS content management to check-in documents in order to check them out in SharePoint Designer.
  • It gets really confused if you change the welcome page on your publishing portal and then rename the file in SharePoint Designer.
    • I haven’t found any fixes or workarounds for this yet – I’m basically screwed and can’t reuse names that have already been used like default.aspx.

Custom Default.aspx Pages

  • For publishing portals, you can’t just replace default.aspx with your custom code.
  • From the Top Level Site > Site Actions > Site Settings > Look and Feel > Welcome Page > Change the path to your custom page.

Ajax for SharePoint

Now to catch up on some reading…

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