Chatter for SharePoint 1.4 – More New Features

Good evening everyone. I wanted to share with you the latest new features and some additional screenshots of the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Version 1.4 is shaping up to be one of the most significant updates to-date. I was just about finished with the scheduled updates for this version when an idea came to me in the shower (seriously. I have a lot of my ‘eureka’ moments in the shower for some reason).

As useful as the web part is – it’s still just a web part on a page. If you’re not on the page with the web part, you can’t use it. Since the purpose of this solution is to provide integration points from SharePoint to Chatter, I’ve come up with a new one: a way for the feed to be accessible from any page without any additional configuration. I’ve achieved this with the addition of a custom web part page and a custom action in the user-control:

Users can now click on the user-control at the top of the page and choose ‘Chatter Feed’ to instantly collaborate on Chatter:

A new modal window will appear with the Chatter Feed web part. This integration will allow for even greater collaboration as it doesn’t require users to be on a given page to view or post to their feeds.

In addition to the new Chatter Feed action, I’ve also added a new feed filter to the navigation: ‘To Me’. This filter will show feed items that are targeted to you.

Also squashed a number of bugs, including one big one where under certain conditions users would get an Access Denied message when opening the modal windows from the ribbon if they did not have read permissions on the root site.

I am hoping to have the new version ready by the end of the week – if time permits.

Thanks for all of the feedback!


PrintIt for SharePoint

It never ceases to amaze me that every iteration of SharePoint (thus far) lacks a method to print list views, items, calendars and forms in a printer-friendly format. I’m even more amazed at what some vendors charge for this ‘feature’ – I’ve see them as high as $800! (See Bamboo Solutions) There is also no shortage of JavaScript hacks or free solutions on CodePlex floating around – but none of those could handle all of the list types I was interested in. It’s precisely this reason that I wrote my own solution which I’m pleased to present to you at no charge.

Yep – Free. Why pay for a feature that should be in SharePoint to begin with?

The solution is pretty simple. You get a shiny new ribbon button on your Lists, Libraries and Display forms that allows you to print views and list items – without all of the SharePoint chrome and branding. It can print Calendars – Day, Week and Month views in a print-friendly format. It can even print InfoPath-enabled forms and all of your custom lists types.

(The Print View icon on the List ribbon)

(The Print Item icon on the Display Form)

(Example of a printed Announcement item)

You can download the solution here:  Documentation is included in the ZIP file.

I hope you find it useful. As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Also – I will be at the SharePoint Conference 2012 (SPC12) in Las Vegas this November. If you are attending and would like to chat about all-things-SharePoint let me know. Take care.

Chatter for SharePoint: Version 1.1 Released!

Hi Everyone – Late night here at SharePoint Snapple but for a good cause. Version 1.1 of the Chatter for SharePoint solution just went live on the blog. You can download the updated bits and documentation right now.

As promised – this version contains the much anticipated SharePoint Foundation support and the new Federated Search with Chatter feature. V1.1 also includes several usability fixes and improvements. Be sure to check out the All New User Guide – every section has been updated with new information, tutorials and screen shots to make your experience with the solution the best it can be. I’m also finishing a video that I’ll post to the blog shortly which demonstrates the installation, configuration and use of the solution.

So please go download and install the new version while I get some much needed sleep. Please continue to send me your feedback and suggestions. I hope you enjoy using the new Chatter for SharePoint!

Chatter for SharePoint – Updated Features

Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you the really awesome enhancements to the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Your feedback has been terrific and has helped make this solution even more useful. Version will be posted shortly on the blog is now available! Get it right here. Existing users can retract and add the new solution to get all of the updated features.

So – what’s new?

SharePoint Ribbon Integration

You can now share pages, list items, and documents within SharePoint from the ribbon! For sharing pages, click on the ‘Page’ tab and you’ll see a Chatter icon in the ‘Share & Track’ grouping:

For Lists and Libraries, the Share on Chatter link will appear in the ‘Share & Track’ group in the Items/Documents ribbon:

When clicked, a modal window will appear with the selected object to share and a space for your comments:

And the result is visible in the Chatter feed:

Browsing within the Chatter Web Part

Prior to this version if you clicked on a user or group name within the feed window it would open a new browser session to SalesForce Chatter. Now, you can browse and post across groups and users within the web part!

A new breadcrumb trail shows your current feed location and gives you one-click access to the All Chatter feed. Also new is the ability to refresh the feed by clicking on the feed in the breadcrumb trail.

New Progress Animations

When you post or update feed items you now get progress indictors while the server is processing the request:

The animations will appear for the following actions: refreshing the feed, posts, like/unlike, and comments. The animations also appear relative to the item being updated – cool.

Web Application Settings

The solution now stores default properties in the web.config AppSettings. This was necessary to support the Ribbon Integration and allows any instance of the web part to use the configuration and license information so you have less to configure when adding the web part to other sites/pages.

Other Stuff

This version also includes a bunch of fixes and tweaks to the user interface, including:

  • Fixed issue where posting to group was being sent to the All Company feed
  • Fixed issue where jQuery undefined message would appear on some browsers
  • Fixed issue where posts on user feeds would appear with a group icon in the All Company feed
  • Fixed alert banner colors
  • Tweaked feed parent/actor display properties
  • Updated some help text and debug messages

Still in Progress

I am still working on the SharePoint Foundation version of the solution as well as Search integration — wanted to get the usability improvements done first. Look for these and more updates in a future release.

Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas – helps me make better solutions for you.

Coming Soon: Yammer for SharePoint

Just a quick update on some of the projects I am currently working on for SharePoint Snapple. First, I am pleased to announce that I will be releasing a new web part to integrate Yammer into SharePoint. The web part will have identical functionality as its Chatter counterpart. In addition, both solutions are getting some new features, including SharePoint Ribbon integration and (by popular request) support for SharePoint Foundation. Look for both of these updated solutions in the coming weeks.

SalesForce Chatter Integration to SharePoint

UPDATE: Click here to download the Chatter for SharePoint solution.

Hi everyone – sorry it’s been awhile between posts but got really busy at the end of the year. This article continues my series on SunGard’s corporate Intranet and the custom development we’ve done. As we were designing the branding we had some challenges around where to put some of the native controls and ribbon elements – especially two in particular: ‘Tags and Notes’, and ‘Like’. Since we effectively hid the ‘Browse’ tab, those default ribbon icons were MIA – but we didn’t want to lose that functionality. Another tab in the ribbon seemed the most logical place, and would serve as way to integrate other social aspects into SharePoint.

Being new to working with the SharePoint Ribbon, I looked on the net for examples – and found a great one on CodePlex: . This project helped me create the new ‘Share’ tab on our intranet and relocate the ‘Tags and Notes’ and ‘Like’ buttons. The tab also contains other sharing options, like ‘Email’, ‘RSS’, and ‘SalesForce Chatter’.

Above: The Share tab open on the ribbon.

When SunGard standardized on Chatter as their social platform, the focus became integrating Chatter into SharePoint as seamlessly as possible. We’ve approached this process in stages. The first stage was basic integration – common authentication, status updates, and shaing pages, documents, and list items. The first phase was achieved with the Share on Chatter feature in the ribbon, and a custom web part for posting status updates (detailed later in this post).

Above: Clicking on the Chatter ribbon icon opens a modal window with the selected page, item, or document as an embedded link. Users can add comments and share the item on Chatter.

The Ribbon enhancement and the web part use OAuth and the Chatter REST APIs to communicate with SalesForce. The user’s token and secrets are stored in hidden fields within their profile. Once they authorize the KnowHow Application on Chatter once, they can use any of the Chatter integration features we design.

Users can also post status updates simultaneously to both SharePoint and Chatter by means of our Status Update Web Part:

This web part is placed in everyone’s Sidebar (see: for details on the Sidebar) making it quick and easy to post updates. The user’s posts are sent to their SharePoint profile as well as posted on their Chatter feed.

The second stage, which is underway now, involves bringing the many different feeds in Chatter directly into SharePoint. Doing this has proved challenging, since only this weekend has the Chatter v24 API been rolled out in our Org. Our Feed web part will leverage the above common authentication and will allow site owners to place feeds directly on their sites. The web part uses the REST API to pull down feed data as a JSON array ( and then parses that data into feed-items and their components. Then, with some CSS and markup, we format that data into a wall view. Properties in the web part control what feed is shown (personal, company, or group) and options for supplying default credentials for Chatter, which can be used to authenticate users that do not have a Chatter profile or have not authorized the site on their profile yet. In that mode, all feeds are read-only. The web part also leverages Ajax to provide dynamic updating of the feeds without the need to repost the entire page

Our Status Update web part will then get an overhaul – adding the user’s personal feed view right in their Sidebar.

I personally would have loved to see true threaded discussions, micro-blogging, and a wall-like interface in SharePoint natively (maybe v15) – would have saved me a lot of work. But we’ve been able to do some really cool things with these two platforms and while getting them to place nice is a challenge, our end users really enjoy the experience and this helps us drive more traffic to SharePoint now that they can seamlessly collaborate on our external social platform.

Up next – our take on Exchange and Outlook integration with SharePoint.