SPSNY: Mark Miller on ‘Enhancing the SharePoint Interface with jQuery Solutions’

Mark Miller presents on "Enhancing the SharePoint Interface with jQuery Solutions" at SharePoint Saturday New YorkFor my final session of the day at SharePoint Saturday New York, I selected Mark Miller's session on "Enhancing the SharePoint Interface with jQuery Solutions."  Mark is the man behind EndUserSharePoint, and as the name of his site implies, he's a tireless champion for SharePoint end users.  Speaking as an end user, I admit that seeing the words "jQuery solutions" in the title of Mark's presentation had me a little bit concerned ("isn't that code-speak?!"), but I trusted that Mark would be keeping his core audience in mind with his session, and that's exactly what he did.

With an overarching goal of demonstrating the creation and usefulness of a jQuery resource center within SharePoint, Mark demonstrated several powerful (and free!) jQuery solutions for SharePoint – solutions that will work in 2003, 2007 and 2010 versions of SharePoint. 

Early in the presentation, Mark brought his nine-year-old son Orion onstage to define SharePoint for the crowd, and Orion obliged with the following definition: "SharePoint is when you save stuff and you get back to it really quick … because sometimes you can't get back to it … and that's why my dad invented SharePoint."  Needless to say, this brought an enthusiastic response from the crowd, which in turn prompted a somewhat sheepish response from Mark: "Yes, I am the inventor of SharePoint."  Too funny.

In discussing the benefits of setting up a jQuery resources center, Mark explained that one of the benefits of using these resources within a SharePoint page is that they're not deployed on the server.  Free downloads of the jQuery library are available at the jQuery Project, and Mark recommends just dropping that sucker into a SharePoint document library and starting to point to it.  Other than configuration of the individual solutions to suit your needs, it's seemingly as simple as that. 

Mark also created a wiki site to complete his own resource center in SharePoint, and suggests structuring the setup to include areas for: jQuery, Scripts, Images, and Charting.  The purpose of these pages is to document the resource center itself.  Mark further recommends placing the resource center / document library at the highest possible level of your site collection, and as a read-only library so that it's readily available for all users to access and point to.

Mark used the bulk of the session to provide demos for five jQuery solutions, free downloads of all of which are available at EndUserSharePoint:

  • The Easy Tabs Interface, which looks at the content of a Web Part page and exposes each individual Web Part within its own tab.
  • The Anything Slider, which allows you (without Silverlight) to scroll through "any kind of content that can reside in a Web Part," including images, video, text, etc.
  • The Dashboard Preview Pane, which, upon mouseover of a link, dynamically surfaces metadata associated with that link within a dashboard.
  • Killer Calendars, which offers a mini-calendar experience, surfacing metadata associated with the color coded calendar events upon mouseover of the event.
  • Mini-Charts and Graphs, which through the use of custom columns, allows you to surface whichever graph type you desire (pie chart, bar chart, etc.) in each column of a given chart.

Sometime after next week (read: following my trip to, and coverage of, SPTechCon in San Francisco), I plan to begin tackling the implementation of some, if not all, of these jQuery solutions myself.  I'll be documenting those efforts over in SharePoint Blank, so please check back after President's Day for some jQuery action in the pulse-pounding SharePoint Blank manner.

In the meantime, Mark's got a whole series on jQuery solutions up at EndUserSharePoint, so you needn't wait for me to tackle them in SharePoint Blank if you're anxious to embark upon your own jQuery adventure.

Read the entire SharePoint Saturday New York series:

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