Things have been quiet around here as I have just gotten home from a trip back home (yes I have two, my beautiful Amsterdam, and the relaxing Adelaide). Spent 3 weeks in Australia, visiting family and friends, and then 3 more weeks catching up on everything that went on while I had been away.
Anyway, it’s time for me to get back into the series of posts I kicked off before I left:
Anatomy of a SharePoint Solution: Employee Blogging Platform
Anatomy of a SharePoint Solution: Blogs Home Screenshots
In the first post I talked about the overall solution and some of the requirements. In the second I drilled down with screenshots into the Blogs Home page, where people go to see what people are blogging about. In this post we drill down with screenshots into the individual blog itself, looking at the small but important additions we made.
Below you will find one of the standard CKS:EBE blog themes (“Blue World” by the talented Heather Waterman) which has received a couple of small, but important customisations. In the following sections we will look at each of these in detail.
The first thing you will notice is the addition of a “Search” box, this has been added to each blog using our CKS-EBE Search Feature (walkthrough).
Subscribing to the Blog
Most readers of this blog will probably have trouble remembering what life was like before RSS, and of course no blog is complete without providing support for RSS readers, however most people out there are still to grasp this amazing technology. The customer we were working with also had locked down desktops running Office 2000 (!!), and therefore a RSS reader was impossible even if they were keen to use it. Subscribing to a blog however is incredibly important, so to make this possible, and one-click easy, we built the Quick Alert Web Part
After clicking on Subscribe a SharePoint Alert is created which generates and email every time a new Post is added.
Our solution added support for “Contributors”, in addition to “Owners”, a feature which I’m pleased to see has made it into the next release of the CKS:EBE. We felt it was important that information about the blog, including who the owners and administrators are, is displayed right there on the home page. The information you see displayed here is automatically generated based on site permissions.
While a Tag Cloud is included in the CKS:EBE we opted to use the one created for the Blogs Home page for one important reason, it supports the generation of the cloud based on the values from multiple fields. The tag cloud here is generated based on both the “Categories” field, and a new field we added “Tags” (see below).
I will be looking to wrap this up in a nice reusable web part over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
People love to watch their Blog Stats, and of all the stats, the one they watch most is the number of “Views”. While all SharePoint sites come with the Usage Analysis feature, for a number of reasons it didn’t quite give people the feedback they were looking for. To meet this requirement we created a very simple View Tracker, a component that simply writes away a record to a list each time someone accesses a post. We also track the number of times the blog home page is accessed using a counter in the property bag. Notice below that when an owner or contributor access the “Posts” lists they can quickly see just how many views each post has had, this is also rolled up as one of the key statistics on the “Blogs Home” page.
The “Views” list:
The CKS:EBE has provided us with a great place to start building our our blog functionality, which amount to a number of small but important addition.
A big thanks to all the developers behind it, and I look forward to the next version.