When creating or modifying a web page, one of the handy new features in SharePoint Designer 2007 is the Tag Properties task pane. It not only shows you the values for properties you have set, it shows you the other available properties and for certain types, the other available values.
The Tag Properties task pane also works for web controls, including web controls that you can add to basic WSS. For web controls, the task pane shows the various properties that actually exist on the .Net control, and allows full setting of the properties. Getting the properties of custom controls to show up, though, requires a few properties beyond those needed to get the browser rendering of the control to work.
Let’s look at a sample web control that has a property to express a latitude value.
public class ExampleWebControl : WebControl
private Coordinate _latitude;
public Coordinate Latitude
if (_latitude == null)
_latitude = new Coordinate();
_latitude = value;
public class Coordinate
private int _degrees;
public int Degrees
_degrees = value;
private int _minutes;
public int Minutes
_minutes = value;
private float _seconds;
public float Seconds
_seconds = value;
Once this control is installed on WSS, there are still two issues. First, the Latitude property won’t show up in the Tag Properties task pane. To make it show up, you’ll need to update the Latitude property with the Browsable attribute:
[Browsable(true)] public Coordinate Latitude
However, that is not enough. The Coordinate type is not a native .Net type, and the .Net Framework on your machine running SharePoint Designer does not know enough about this type in order to properly set and unset values. Therefore, there are three more attributes to add:
One more on the Latitude property
[DesignerSerializationVisibility(DesignerSerializationVisibility.Content)]public Coordinate Latitude
And a little further down in the file, two attributes on the Coordinate class:
public class Coordinate
These enable the type to be marshaled correctly as well as for the property grid in SharePoint Designer to understand how to serialize the web control.
There are two more points of note. First, both the web control and the custom property type are public, and have public constructors that have no parameters. Both of these are required for it to work properly within the SharePoint Designer property grid. Both are essentially also required to make the web control behave properly on the server. Second, once you’ve started working with the control in SharePoint Designer, if you find that you aren’t getting quite the behavior you expect, be sure to clear the proxy assembly cache. This is the same as clearing the cache of workflow activities.
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Can someone please explain why SharePoint Designer isn't using the Visual Studio IDE like all of the other designers? Expression makes sense that it's not because it uses various timeline and animation controls, which arguably could also be ported to the Visual Studio platform.
The HTML editor, the intellisense, and the slew of other features provided by visual studio are far more suited for working with SharePoint than SharePoint Designer (aka: Frontpage). I just feel like the performance, user experience, and designer support are subpar when compared to that of even Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition (even 2005 for that matter).
If businesses are dropping 20k on a SharePoint development, shouldn't they get the same world class development tools to create their forms layouts, etc.? Didn't Content Management Server used to include Visual Studio Designer support for the same stuff we have to fight with in SharePoint Designer 2007 today?
Don't take it personally but SharePoint Designer 2007 is painful for basic users and power users. it makes it more difficult to do the simple things and goes one step further to prevent advanced users from accomplishing the developer tasks. The fact that MS has tried to branch the whole UI forms process into SharePoint Designer, and InfoPath forms designer is about the ugliest business decision I have seen MS make.