SharePoint, addendum

Just a quick little addendum on SharePoint. As part of my document library woes from before, I discovered my problem. It seems that there are differences between sites and webs, and in some cases, SharePoint blurs the lines between them, and in others, the lines are very clear. For instance, a Document Library site (or web — see, I'm already confused) that exists under the main site at http://localhost/Docs is not the same site as http://localhost/. Although some features are accessible through the web services located at http://localhost/_vti_bin/*.asmx (such as finding a document by URL), some features are not unless you use the services belonging to the specific site (e.g. http://localhost/Docs/_vti_bin/*.asmx, such as creating a folder).

It doesn't help that, when you add a web reference in Visual Studio to a subsite's services by directly entering http://localhost/Docs/_vti_bin/Dws.asmx, it adds the value to the app.config/web.config file at the root http://localhost/_vti_bin/Dws.asmx level, and if you're not expecting this, you're using the wrong services.

Not that all my problems are solved. Apparently, the web services aren't letting me get information on an empty folder, which sucks, so I dropped that possibility and moved on. (Compared to the object model, the web services are pathetic.)

Recently, I created a custom view for a document list. To create this view, I had to download and install the newest version of FrontPage of all things, called the SharePoint Designer (because Visual Studio refuses connect to a SharePoint web site with an explicit message saying so — more evidence at the lack of support in SharePoint for developer tools). I did this because I needed to remove all the "chrome" from the list view (it's being embedded in an IFrame from a CRM site), and the only way to do that is to customize the .aspx code itself, and the only tool to do that is FrontPage (by whatever name they call it), apparently.

With it all created and working great on my local development machine, all that's left is to migrate it to the servers. I have yet to figure this part out. Although we do have manifests and such set up for web part and event listener deployments, we do not have anything for a custom view template page, and so far Googling has failed to reveal anything that might help.

Again, I iterate how frustrating and ridiculous this all is as a developer. I should not have to waste hours of time trying to find out how to move my work from one server to another. It's possible to point my local copy of SharePoint Designer to the server (with some hosts file editing, since the URLs are only created local to the machines), but this kind of manual copying, essentially duplication of work, is also pretty dang frustrating.

I did come across tools that promise to migrate whole lists, but that's not what I want to do at all. That would overwrite content, which would be bad. I just want to migrate changes, update a view (actually the template for a view), and preferably without installing or pointing a development tool to each server in turn for each change. (And I wasn't able to determine if the solutions I came across would migrate views anyway...)

I'll try to keep these posts updated with any solutions that I find to this and other problems as they come up... >:(

1 comment:

Yakko Warner said...

I've been directed to a pretty good SharePoint resource on the web. Andrew Connell's blog has quite a bit of useful information about the problems — excuse me, the challenges of SharePoint. Specifically, this post has a lot to say about deploying layout pages that should help me with the latter half of my post.