Tuesday, 28 April 2015

SharePoint 2013 : Creating a Composed Look

With SharePoint 2013, many new features has been introduced by Microsoft like Device Channels, Cross Site Publishing, App Model, JS Link and many more. Among those many new cool features, one is Composed Look which has brought a revolution around the previous concept of themes. 

Before we actually dive into the Theming engine, let us understand what themes actually are and after which we will talk about Composed Looks. 

As quoted from MSDN “Themes give you a quick and easy way to change the look and feel of any site in SharePoint 2013. They are predesigned collections of web page elements, such as fonts, color schemes, layout, and background pictures that come with SharePoint 2013.

From an end user perspective, this is a very powerful feature as the users can select an OOTB available design and change the color, font, background image and layout etc. as well as create a new design altogether. We will get on to how to achieve this in a little while.

With the advent of SharePoint 2013, there has been great improvement around the Theming Engine. Now we are not required to make themes in the Office client anymore. A new feature has been introduced by Microsoft namedComposed Looks.  If you browse to the Site Settings > Look and Feel there you can see a link to Change the Look. Clicking on this link will land you on a page where you can see all the available composed looks that you can select from. 

In SharePoint 2013 the theming engine has been revamped keeping into consideration the power users so as to facilitate them with a simple solution in the form of an interface where they can change the theme of their SharePoint 2013 site so that it gets aligned with their corporate branding standards in terms of color, fonts etc. without investing much time into it. It is indeed a very powerful feature when it comes to the enterprise. 

With composed looks, you can offer your Power Users with a list of branded looks and also give them the flexibility to do some modifications around the layout, color, fonts and images.

To read the complete post click click on the link here


Sunday, 15 February 2015

SharePoint 2013 : An Introduction to JSLink

Client Side Rendering (CSR) is one of the new concepts introduced by Microsoft in SharePoint 2013. With the help of this new feature you don’t have to write XSLT to style SharePoint elements like list views, fields etc. Using this technique you simply have to make use of HTML and JavaScript to change the user interface.

As cited in MSDN “Client-side rendering provides a mechanism that you can use to produce your own output for a set of controls that are hosted in a SharePoint page. This mechanism enables you to use well-known technologies, such as HTML and JavaScript, to define the rendering logic of custom field types. In client-side rendering you can specify your own JavaScript resources and host them in the data storage options available to your farm solution, such as the _layouts folder.

Client side rendering is like a templating mechanism that you use to customize the UI. 

When we talk about client side rendering, then there are two things that requires a mention here are:
  1. Display Templates
  2. JSLink

Display templates are used in webparts that are based upon search technology. They are used for handling the rendering of the search results on the page. We can customize how the search results will appear to the end user.

The second one i.e. the JSLink, is of our interest in the scope of this article. JSLink is one amongst the many cool features introduced by Microsoft in SharePoint 2013.
It is a property that is available on many SharePoint objects like content types, lists, views, fields and web part properties. We simply point this property to a JavaScript file that will do a magic on our page.  In other words, will simply transform our page into whatever way we want to render all at the client side.

You might have encountered scenarios where your customers have approached you to display lists with a custom look and feel without writing any piece of code. Consider for example you have a list holding contact details of the users that needs to be displayed in a card like manner as opposed to the traditional screen. And all this has to be done without writing any server side code. Though this might seem to be tricky but it can be achieved very easily using a simple mechanism and i.e. JSLink.

JSLink has tremendous power. It can transform your entire site into an attractive piece without writing any server side code.  It is like an on-off switch. If you don’t like it, you can simply remove the value of the jslink property and you will get back the original default behaviour.

To see the actual strength of this property, let us actually dig some code and cover some scenarios.

To read the complete post click click on the link here