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Expression Blend SketchFlow 4 integration with SharePoint

Expression Blend SketchFlow 4 integration with SharePoint

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One of the new features that were just announced about Expression Blend SketchFlow 4 is the integration of SketchFlow projects with SharePoint. What does this mean? It allows you to publish SketchFlow prototypes to a SharePoint library and manage stakeholder feedback directly in the SharePoint library.

Knowing that hosting the prototype and having your stakeholders send e-mails back and forth with feedback is not always straightforward, I think this is a really nice and useful addition to SketchFlow.
Let’s have a look at how this integration works.

For showing how this works I’m using one of the prototypes that comes with the Expression Blend 4 samples, in this case the "MockupDemonstration’ solution.

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Once I’m ready to publish this SketchFlow prototype, I can choose “Publish to SharePoint…”

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I’m using my personal SharePoint “My site” since I don’t have an external full SharePoint server available.

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At this point the SketchFlow application is packaged and published in the “MockupDemonstration” folder on my site. After publishing the app I can open the library and and copy the link for distribution.
When I browse to the SharePoint library I will get a new folder as requested, with a new sub-folder for this version of the project. Inside this folder you will find the .XAP file that contains the prototype as well as a TestPage.html.

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As expected, opening the TestPage.html will load the associated .XAP file from the same folder. And that’s it: for hosting the prototype nothing more is needed.

Integrating feedback

SketchFlow’s SharePoint integration would only be half useful without the capability to integrate feedback.

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Because the prototype is being accessed through the SharePoint library, uploading the feedback directly to SharePoint is also available as a choice in the player. After entering your initials, the feedback is uploaded to SharePoint. Several reviewers can give feedback which is all saved into the SharePoint library corresponding to the prototype version.

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Content of the feedback folder:
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The next step is getting that feedback into Expression Blend 4. To do this I activate the SketchFlow Feedback pane (if not visible, activate it by going to Window > SketchFlow Feedback). You will see in this pane that left to the + icon to load feedback files there is now a image  icon to refresh feedback from SharePoint. After synchronizing the latest feedback, Expression Blend will show you the details as you would get in Expression Blend 3, ordered by revision.

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Further iterations will generate new versions on SharePoint and new revisions. This allows you to keep feedback linked to a certain version correctly structured in SharePoint.

Have fun with sketching and SharePoint collaboration!

  • Really nice new features! I see that you're using it with Sharepoint 2007 or WSS 3.0.

    Do you know if it's also running with Sharepoint 2010?

    Also, the way to write a feedback seems to remain the same as before, not easy if you don't have a Tablet PC...

  • Seems like a great feature, but it's not working for me.  I get the following error, despite having pointed to an existing document library:

    "<project name> was not published successfully.

    The location specified is not a document library. Please select an existing document library."

  • @Rénalt: Yes it works with SharePoint 2010. Correct, no changes to textual feedback I'm afraid.

    @Dave: Do you have enough permissions on the document library?

  • @katriend: Yes, assuming it uses my Windows login credentials.  Blend creates the folder for the project in the SharePoint document library but doesn't place any files there.  I can definitely create/upload files manually.

  • @Dave: Can you verify you're pointing to a Document library as a publish destination and not a SharePoint site?

  • @katriend: Yes, if I understand you correctly, I am. That is, I am pointing at the folder without the added "Forms/AllItems.aspx" etc.  It is what appears as the location when I open the document library in Windows Explorer.

    After some investigation it appears to be a permissions problem.  Even though I have access to read/write to the specified document library, it doesn't appear to be enough.  I was able to publish to a new SharePoint site where I am an administrator.

  • @Dave: Good to hear it worked

    Regarding permissions: you also need 'design' permissions in order for this to work.

  • Dave: can I ask you to contact me through the "Email blog author" link on top so I can send email to you directly on this subject? Thanks!

  • @katriend: I figured out my problem.  The document library has an exclamation mark in the name.  I verified that I can in fact publish to another document library on the same site if it does not have an exclamation mark in the name.

  • Hello, how come it does not accept URL's with port numbers? Is there a workaround for this? Thanks :)

  • Hi... I keep running into the same issue even though I have design permissions and I confirmed it is a document library I am trying to upload to. Any ideas why? thanks.

  • Hi there, i've just published a sketchflow project to sharepoint shared library, even though i can access sucessfully the . xap fron the default.htm and i can see tha images in the project had also published in sharepoint library i cannot see the images when im browsing the project from shared library....

    Any suggestions? Thanks a lot :)

    Lluis G.E.

  • Hi,

    I'm not sure which images you mean? Can you browse the SketchFlow application by opening the TestPage that should load the XAP?

  • Does this only work with Silverlight projects, or can it be used with WPF? We use WPF and the ability to export to SahrePOint is greyed out. Visual Studio 2012 and Sharepoint 2010

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