Training Site Template - Part 1: Introduction

Training Site Template - Part 1: Introduction

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Sean Hi folks,

Sean Gabriel here. I'm a Program Manager for the SharePoint Designer team, and I work primarily on our application building experience. I'm definitely looking forward to sharing my knowledge here - so if you have topics in the app building space that you'd like to see covered in this blog, don't hesitate to ask.

You may have heard of the Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, a set of recently released SharePoint site templates that are designed to solve 40 common customer scenarios. I had the pleasure of building one of these templates myself, and I want to show you how to do it using SharePoint Designer 2007 - from start to finish!

  

The template I'll be discussing is Employee Training Scheduling and Materials. The best way to understand it is to download it and try it out yourself, but here's a quick overview of how it works:

Two types of users can visit the site, instructors and students (learners). When an instructor has a class to teach, he/she adds it to the Courses list, specifying things like the date, location, and number of available seats. Students can then browse through the list of upcoming courses and sign up for anything they are interested in - and the app keeps track of the registration list, reminds users when a class is soon to start, and collects student feedback after the class is over. At a glance, both students and instructors can view a personalized dashboard of their trainings on the site's home page.

These behaviors are achieved through the use of workflow and a few specialized instances of the Data Form Web Part (DFWP). Here's the battle plan for how we'll build out the app:

  • Design the key lists - Courses, Registrations, etc.
  • Add sign-up and reminder logic with workflow
  • Override default list views and forms to control app behavior
  • Create dashboard page with aggregate views across multiple lists

For most of these items we will be using SPD, but the first bullet is something we need to do through the browser for now. So today let's walk through the list design to set us up for building the DFWPs next time.

List Schema Design

If you browse to "View All Site Content" on the training site, you'll see the following list of lists:

The heart of this app is the Courses list. A course is a lot like an appointment - which has a title, location, start and end time, etc. - so a great place to start is with the built-in Calendar list. On your blank SharePoint site (you're following along, right?) do the following:

  1. Click on Site Actions > Create
  2. Choose Calendar under the Tracking column
  3. Name it "Courses" and supply a description

SharePoint has taken care of providing us the calendar-like view that you see in the training site under "Upcoming courses" (sidenote: and this works because Courses are now using the Calendar content type). But the schema isn't quite right yet. Let's tailor our new list around courses specifically - so, from the calendar view where you are now:

  1. Click on Settings > List Settings
  2. Click Create Column for each line item below, and fill in the following info (use defaults unless specified):
    1. "Instructor" :: Person or Group :: OK
    2. "Filled Seats" :: Number :: Yes to Required :: Min Decimals 0 Default 0 :: OK
    3. "Total Seats" :: Number :: Yes to Required :: Min 0 Decimals 0 Default 0 :: OK
  3. Click on the name of each existing column and modify it as specified:
    1. Title :: Rename to "Course Title" :: No to Required :: OK
    2. Description :: Rename to "Course Description" :: OK

Now our Courses list has an instructor associated with it, and placeholders for calculating the number of available seats in the class (which we'll get to later). Don't worry about the views on this list yet, we'll be going over those next time as well.

Since I walked you through the Courses list in detail I'll trust you to be able to follow quickly through the rest of the lists. Next up is Course Materials, which will hold any documents related to the courses. Sounds like a document library works, but each doc will need a pointer back into the Courses list so we know which course it's associated with. Here's how to do it:

  1. Click Site Actions > Create :: Document Library
  2. Name it "Course Materials" and suppy a description, we used "Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentation" as the doc template
  3. Click Settings > Document Library Settings
  4. Add column "Course" :: Lookup :: Yes to Required :: Get information from Courses :: In this column Course Title :: OK

We also want to collect course feedback from students after they've taken the class. Here you can be as broad or specific as you want, but these are the steps for creating the Course Surveys list you see in the training site today:

  1. Click Site Actions > Create :: Custom List
  2. Name it "Course Surveys" and supply a description
  3. Click Settings > List Settings
  4. Click Title :: Rename to "One-line review" :: No to Required :: OK
  5. Add column "In-depth review" :: Multiple lines of text :: OK
  6. Add column "Course" :: Lookup :: Yes to Required :: Get information from Courses :: In this column Course Title :: OK
  7. Add the following 3 columns as... :: Choice :: Yes to Required :: Supply choices* :: Radio Buttons :: Empty default :: OK
    1. "Effectiveness of the instructor"
    2. "Usefulness of the course materials"
    3. "Satisfaction with the course"

* = fill in the answers to the survey, you can see them in the picture on the right (or try adding a new item to Course Surveys in the template).

Additionally, we need to keep track of registrations for each course, and while there are many ways to do this, the model we used for this template was a separate list that essentially stores (Name, Course) pairs. We'll enforce the seating requirement both in the front-end views and back-end workflow. So for now, lay the foundation with this Registrations list:

  1. Click Site Actions > Create :: Custom List
  2. Name it "Registrations" and supply a description
  3. Click Settings > List Settings
  4. Click Title :: No to Required :: OK
  5. Add column "Course ID" :: Lookup :: Yes to Required :: Get information from Courses :: In this column Course ID :: OK

Now do the exact same thing to create the Past Registrations list (but change the name, of course). From here you can create the (optional) Announcements and Links lists, which you'll find in Site Actions > Create under the Communications and Tracking columns, respectively.

Well done! You now have the 7 lists that house all the data in the Employee Training Scheduling and Materials site. The 8th list (Tasks) will be on its way shortly, as next time I'll show you how to create the workflows for registration and reminders I mentioned earlier. That's the key to providing rich application logic behind our SharePoint site here. Until then -

Best,
Sean

  • Can some one please tell me how to add extra colomns to the list for courses... i have added the coloms... when i go to list settings, the colomsn are visible... but they wont appear when i click new on teh calender list.... are tehy hidden???, please can you ell me how to unhide them????.. Please Please Please

    Thanks.

  • Hi Sean,

    I am using  Cousre list(claendar list) having title,location,sdate, enddate and some more column.

    I want to add one more  column in this list i.e Businees unit dropdown column,but i tried lot to insert column but in vain. Again i  tried through XSLT in SPD but no use, i am getting error.  It's very mandatory for me to use one more column in that list(NewForm.aspx of Cource list) to fulfill my requriment.

    Please tell me, how can i overcome this problem.

    (Template: Employee Training Scheduling & Materials)

    Thanks in advance

    arun

  • Hi arun... I had the same problem.. i couldnt edit the Emp Training site at all... So i managed to create a replica site.... I dont this it is possible at all to modify this site.

    You might be able to do some modifying in SharePoint Designer, but not in SharePoint it self.. In In sharepoint designer, go to Insert...SharePoint Controls..........then Custom List Form.... this allows you to edit any Display Form, EditForm or NewForm..

    Alternatively.. join up to the SharePoint User Group UK.... I have a few blogs on there if you are interested, and there are some really helpful people on tehre aswell..

  • Thanks Vishan,

    I tried lots to add columns but in vein.so aim searching for other options.

    Can u tell me how you resolved that issue.

    Thanks & Regards

    arun

  • Arun..... you cant edit that training site, its copyrighted or proteced.

    I managed to create a list that copied item to another list and make it work that way, its not the same thing, but for what i wanted .... its ok!. lol

    Do you ahve sharepoint designer 2007...?., i managed to create something similar to that site, but not quite exactly the same... I need to know how to decrement the number each time a course is enrolled etc, but im still working on it...

    There is an interesting blog on teh sharepoint user group UK.

    What i did was create a custom list (called e.g. LIST 1) with the colomns that i needed, then attahed a "Copy list item" workflow to that list.. so whenever someone fills in that list.... all the items are copied to another list (CALLED LIST 2)

    then in sharepoint designer, open up list 2, locate the newform.aspx page, and insert...sharepoint controls... then custome list form and insert list 1 into list 2 as newforms.aspx.

    that will then display all items

    Sorry arun, that probably dont make sense.... but you should give it ago... and read up on the blogs on Shareuser groupUK

    Thanks.

  • Hi Arun and Vishan

    I had the same problem and i found the solution in the link below.

    It all has to do with content types....

    http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/list/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.sharepoint.design_and_customization&tid=4bccd943-5ad6-476b-8fad-12f1dd20da05&cat=&lang=&cr=&sloc=&p=1

    Katerina

  • I would like to have someone else (Bosses) be able to register peolpe for course and have the individual recieve the email.

  • I'm trying to implement this, and I don't know how to create a registration. How do you connect Courses and Registration list? Is there a button in Course NewForm? How do can I do that?

  • Is it possible to connect the employee training thingy to my current calendar ?

  • Hi everyone, This is Sean (I know, finally!), blogging to you with the next part of the training site

  • Sorry for the lengthy delay on replies, hopefully some folks browsing these comments will find this useful.

    Handaman: you should be able to set this up using the Compare list field condition, just use the column you added as the date. If you're having trouble, try setting it to some minimum date you can control that wouldn't be used, ex. 1/2/1934.

    Yannis: you'll probably want to re-enable the edit view for admins - did you try removing item-level permissions in the Registrations list (List Settings > Advanced Settings)? Part 3 has some suggestions on how to accomplish this.

    jwillman: just make use of the 'recurrence' field - it's hidden on the views and forms because of the way the DataFormWebPart was placed on those pages. To unhide it, remove the style='display: none' attribute from the relevant <tr> tags - also covered in Part 3.

    Matt: this will probably require re-architecting the template a bit, since the items in the Registrations list are keyed off of the Created By field, a system field you can't arbitrarily set. One ide would be to add a new column to the Registrations list, and set it by default to Created By, but give admins a security-trimmed data form (try using the ddwrt IfHasRights function) that allows access to that field.

    S Lim: I'll try to cover this in part 4, basically you just need to change the filter criteria for that DataFormWebPart and remove the condition that checks Created By == [Current User] for the items in Registrations. Also, more details about the workflows in the template are available in part 2 of this series.

    Vishan: check out part 3 for some information about the 'hidden' fields in the default forms, and an explanation of how the DataFormWebPart used in each page is not schema agnostic. Also, the workflow logic for seating is covered in part 2.

    Neo: from the calendar view of the Courses list, click Actions > Connect to Outlook, then confirm in the dialog that appears.

    Thanks,
    Sean

  • Took me long enough to get this post up, but it&#39;s finally done (hopefully - please let me know if

  • 原文地址:http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner/archive/2007/03/10/training-site-template-part-1-intro...

  • Hi there Sean

    I have a few questions for you?

    1.       Make a field so that it cannot be altered (the name of an uploaded file)

    2.       Remove the Title Column or make it a mandatory field

    3.       Add a link to a choice of a drop down to then load another filed once this choice is selected.

    Thanks

  • Hi Sean,

    I'd really like to see somebody do a similar group of articles on the Help Desk template; covering Knowledge Base as well.

    Thanks a lot for these great posts.

    Cheers

    Tim

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