Take control of your SharePoint alerts
Alerts have been one of SharePoint's main selling points since the very beginning (at least since 2003 version, I don't even remember what 2001 had). Whenever you wanted updates to be pushed directly to your mailbox, you used alerts. No need to manually check for updates, let the server do it for you.
SharePoint itself evolved greatly over the years, but the basic functionality of the alerts has not changed that much. Anyone familiar with the process in SharePoint 2003, will feel right at home even in 2010. Just click on Alert Me, fill out a couple of settings (all optional) and you are good to go.
Alas it is not that simple in the real life. Adding an alert on a frequently updated list (or document library) will often cause a tsunami of useless notifications with just a few of them really of any value. The alert mechanism does not allow you to specify conditions what and when to send, so every item will generate an alert. Moreover, the email that you get is a generic one, you still need to go to the item itself to find out what you are supposed to do with it.
These are just some of the problems we considered when we began to design Smart Alert Pro. our alternative alert mechanism. We wanted to create a tool that would allow you to get just the alerts you want, in the format you want. The following brief list describes some of the main advantages of Smart Alert Pro:
As you can see, we offer you a wealth of features that will make the alerts so much more meaningful. Now you can make sure you will only get the alerts you truely want. Get your free 30-day trial version now!
Student Scholarship Process using Ultimate Forms
As you already know we offer a bundle of 7 of our forms –oriented products, the Ultimate Forms Bundle. With Ultimate Forms Bundle you can create an easy and simple data-driven system directly from your browser, which can be ideal for various business processes.
The Ultimate Forms Bundle is your solution if you need to implement workflows involving stages, conditions and various users.
Here is an example of a Scholarship Application process ,which has three main funds: Assistance Fund, Excellence Fund and Glenn Miller Fund. Each fund has its own criteria and scholarship amount, when the Assistance Fund gives the biggest scholarship, then Excellence Fund and finally Glenn Miller Fund. Assistance Fund approves scholarships based on socioeconomic background, Excellence Fund based on academic achievements and Glenn Miller based on academic major.
First the students fill out the scholarship application form with all personal and academic details as follows:
Then, the form application transferred to one of the three funds.
Our data-driven system works in a way that the student will receive the most valuable scholarship, for example if he/she doesn't meet Assistance Fund criteria and has high grades he/she will be transferred directly to Excellence Fund for approval, if he/she is rejected by an Excellence Fund and his/her major is Art, Music or Animation his/her application will submitted to Glenn Miller Fund.
How we did it ? Here is the answer: We build a list containing all the necessary columns for all stages of the process. With the help of Smart List Pro we divided all the list columns into five different tabs: Application Form, three Funds and Supervisor Approval, for each tab we defined criteria to approve/reject the application.
Application Form Tab:
Now we need to add conditions that will control the visibility and editability of the tab.
Application Form Conditions:
Assistance Tab Conditions:
Now you ask me how does it work?
Here is an application of Caroll who is eligible for both Assistance and Excellence Funds, with the help of Smart List Pro product her application is first routed to the higher scholarship approval, if it's approved, the process ends, if not, her request is submitted automatically to Excellence Fund. Each manager can edit the request only within his/her responsibility.
To streamline the procedure we used our Electronic Signature Field, the manager signs in the proper fields using user name and password and ends the process, as simple as this.
Furthermore, using Smart ID Pro product we manage the master status of applications submitted to us. Whenever the apllication is updated Smart ID Pro changes the status due to its conditions.
Smart ID Pro Conditions:
So after the form application has been filled out and routed to a certain fund according to its criteria and been approved/rejected by a relevant manager, we want to see a list of all our scholarship applications, only not just to see them but identify them by their approval status, for this particular task we used our Color Choice Field and its looks like this:
View enhanced by Color Choice Field:
In order to create this view you need to include the Color Choice Field column in a view. We added the status column with three different values: Approved (red), Rejected (green) and In Process (white).
Color Choice Field:
As you can see we manage to create a pretty complex process using just our browser.
Our Ultimate Forms Bundle provides you the means to do the hard work in a simple and fluent way.
Copy SharePoint items with Item Copier Field
How many times did you need to create a SharePoint list item or document that was almost identical to an existing item/document and you had to copy everything manually? Wouldn't it be great to create a copy with a click of a button and just make small changes to it?Now you can! Introducing Infowise Item Copier Field, a custom field that can do all that. It copies items, documents, attachments, event item-level security, and all that with a touch of a button!
Look how easy it is:
This is it, an easy-to-use solution for the everyday need.
SPSecurityTrimmedControl or "How to hide stuff from people"
This convenient control has been around since the old good MOSS days, but was never given enough attention..
So i would like to explain what it is good for and how you can use it in your site.
SPSecurityTrimmedControl will basically hide all its content from users that won't meet a given security definition.
Unlike the previous solutions (style.display='none'...), the content will be hidden on the server side!
For Example: recently i was asked to show the top ribbon only to users with Manage rights.
What i did, was:
Open the site's Master Page in SharePoint Designer
Find a div with id= s4-ribbonrow, its content is actually the top ribbon
Wrap this div with a SPSecurityTrimmedControl, like this:
Useful attributes of the control:
(possible values: CurrentSite, CurrentList, CurrentFolder, CurrentItem or RootSite)
(possible values: All or Any)
(possible values are from the enumeration SPBasePermissions:
(possible values: AllUsers, AuthenticatedUsersOnly, AnonymousUsersOnly)
save, check-in, publish and there you go!
Building a business process in SharePoint
UPDATE: you can now download a self-installing site template here. The package will install trial versions of all the required Infowise products automatically.
If you keep track of our product line, you are probably aware that we offer a bundle of 7 of our forms-oriented products, called the Ultimate Forms bundle. The bundle allows you to build complex business processes in SharePoint using just your browser. Such features as different tabs for different stages of the process, simplified data entry and relationships between items, to name but a few, turn any regular SharePoint list into a complete data management system.
We've created a business process for demo purposes, called Vehicle Reservation Form. In this process, an employee can reserve one of the company cars, the manager approves the reservation and the vehicle supervisor handles the order, you can even administer special requests within you reservation, such as preparing a gift basket for an important guest or supplying winter tires. Watch the video now to see how it works:
As you can see, this is a pretty powerful capability, but it took us just over an hour to build, using nothing but the browser!
Let me show you how it is done:
This is basically it, the process is ready for testing. We used no custom development, we did not even open up SharePoint Designer. The whole thing can be done in both 2007 and 2010 version, using the same tools. One last thing you might want to do is to define a dashboard as the system's Welcome page, using OOTB list view web parts. Isn't it really easy and fun?
See you next time!