SPTechCon 2014: Bringing Even More Sexy Back to SharePoint with Dustin Miller and Heather Solomon

Last August, I had the pleasure of enjoying Dustin Miller and Heather Solomon of The SharePoint Experience present on Bringing Sexy Back to SharePoint. While I wasn’t quite ready for the level of developer jargon, HTML, and CSS that was involved in the session, I’ve spent the last eight months brushing up on my geek speak and felt ready to take on the advanced Developer Essentials session this time around.

In Bring Sexy Back to SharePoint, Part II, the focus was on creating animations that utilized XSL and XML to, in layman’s terms, do really cool stuff in SharePoint 2013. Why use XSL when creating content and pages for your SharePoint site? According to Dustin and Heather, it’s a great tool that can easily be used to transform your data into something rich and dynamic for your users. Much like CSS creates rules related to design, XSL allows you to instate a rule that transforms data from one format to another; there heightening the visual impact of your sites. XSL, once learned, is not only easy to use; it can help you create custom views for your SharePoint list data.

The highlight of the presentation was the step-by-step instructions on how to create an image slideshow in SharePoint. In order to take it up a notch, and indeed bring back the sexy, Dustin and Heather added 3D transformations and music to their slideshow.  How did they do it you may be asking?  Not with jQuery or Visual Studio!  Our SharePoint rebels harnessed the power of JavaScript, XSL, and CSS3 to create their compelling (and quite entertaining) animation of “sexy images” featuring Justin Timberlake.

As an added bonus for attendees, Dustin and Heather introduced their handy “Magic Data View Builder.” This tool, which Dustin created, provides a web-based editor that you can write XSL into. Although this blogger may not be jumping to use it right away (I’m still learning what a </div> tag is after all), for those looking to create an intelligent XSL template that you can upload to your SharePoint site, this tool is definitely for you.

Want to bring more sexy back to SharePoint? Make sure you check out The SharePoint Experience blog. Dustin and Heather not only provide the instructions they used to optimize SharePoint 2013 sites, but they explain it MUCH better than this blogger could.

So what are you waiting for? Get your [SharePoint] sexy on!

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