Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Dynamic Page Layouts in SharePoint 2013 - Part 2

Persisting Page Configuration

James Strugnell

05/09/2016

​This is another article in our series explaining how we built a Dynamic Page Layout system in SharePoint 2013. For an introduction please read here​. In this post I'm going to cover how we persist the page level configuration for our Dynamic Page Template. i.e. how each row in our Dynamic Page is configured, and ordered. 

To recap, each row is configurable to use a specific template (i.e. Full Width, 2 columns, 3 columns etc.). In addition to the template used, we also need to store where on the page the row should go (a positional index), if it should have a background colour, top/bottom margin and top/bottom padding and any other required Row-level configuration options. So we needed a place and method to store this configuration as part of every dynamic page. 

Our plan was to use a JSON object for the data and then store it somewhere within each page, as part of that page. We could then enable an editor interface, within the page, that would allow content editors to add, edit and delete rows as needed. Thus when they save the page, they will save the configuration data along with it. We would then be able to read this configuration out on page load, loop over it, and render the required Templates (which are essentially User Controls) and then run some code over each row template to initialise the child Web Part Zones with unique IDs (a problem covered in a later post).

That was the concept, how could we do it.

Where and How to Store the JSON Configuration

Firstly, how could we store the JSON object within the page. My first thought was that we could leverage the Property Bag for the page. If you aren't aware of the Property Bag it is a SharePoint concept where almost every type of object (container) in SharePoint (Farm, Web App, Site collection, Site, List, Item etc.) has an associated "Property Bag" which is a Key/Value pair storage area. It is normally ideal for configuration data, however I had a better idea for this scenario.

Given that we are working with Publishing Pages, we have access to "Fields" within each page. For the project we were working on we had access to a "Base Page" Content Type from which every Publishing Page type inherited. So I added a new field called DynamicPageConfiguration to the Base Page Content Type. This was a multiline text field of type "Note", configured to use 20 rows. As the field was always likely to exceed 255 characters we also had to set the property "UnlimitedLengthInDocumentLibrary" to "TRUE".

So we now had a field available to us on every page in which we could store text (JSON) data. I added this field to the Dynamic Page Template and it showed up on the page as an editable textbox field. You can see in the following code how we wrapp it in an EditModePanel so that it only rendered in the page while in "Edit" mode (funny that). We also set it to be hidden using CSS so that it wasn't actually visible on the page. We didn't want Content Managers to edit the field directly, we would build an interface that then read and wrote to this field in the background.

The beauty of this approach was that SharePoint would save the data in this field for us, without us having to anything. It was just a field on the page. You might notice that the field has an additional CSS Class of "js-DynamicPageConfiguration". This is the selector used from JavaScript when a user edits the page configuration through a popup form. I will go into more detail on that process in my next post.

To help understand the configuration data being stored on each page, here is an example of the JSON stored in this field, as viewed using the ever useful online JSON Viewer tool:

Dynamic Page Config JSON.png

Hopefully the concepts are coming together for you now, and perhaps even making sense (?). Later in this series you will see how we added a control on the Dynamic Page template that iterates over the JSON configuration data above and loads the associated User Controls to render the required columns. Content Managers then interact with this page in edit mode, adding and editing rows of Web Part Zones, and then adding Web Parts into those zones. Here's a sneak preview of how that looks. In the screen grab below I've just clicked to edit an existing Row (using the Cog icon in the top-right of each row). You can also see the option to "Add new dynamic row" along the bottom, which initiates the same form.

Dynamic Page Row Form.png

We'll cover how the above form works in the next post. Until then, thanks for reading.



 About us

Fuse Collaboration Services is a Cloud Solution Provider and Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in delivering SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Azure cloud-based solutions. Based in Northampton, UK.

Microsoft Gold Partner Logo showing 5 competencies

Read more

 Latest Tweets

 Latest Blog

 

 

Better Mobile 4G and the Portable Office3089<p class="lead">​​<img class="img-responsive float-right" src="/ourblog/Blog%20Site%20Images/OneDrive-for-Business-App.png" alt="OneDrive for Business App" style="max-width&#58;300px;margin&#58;5px;" />Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to roll out 4G across the London Undergound network are continuing apace, with the <a href="http&#58;//www.cityam.com/287267/tfl-moves-step-closer-offering-4g-mobile-coverage-tube-2019" target="_blank">recent news</a> that this will likely include the new Elizabeth Line (aka CrossRail) and the planned C​rossRail 2 and Northern Line extension projects.</p><p>Suppliers and interested parties have had until July 6th to submit a selection questionnaire, which will then be evaluated before a more thorough tender goes out in early August.</p><p>City AM reports that companies will be competing to construct a commercial fibre optic network and the provision of a public WiFi service in specified TfL stations. The plan Is for the first stations to get connected during 2019, taking the capital one step closer to being a fully mobile working environment.​</p><p>WiFi already exists in some Tube stations, as it does on large parts of the train network across the country – even if the actual internet speeds vary widely depending on whereabouts you are!</p><p>Both TfL and the train companies will be heavily promoting the virtues of this type of connectivity for both leisure and work use, and it is popular here in the East Midlands, where we have a mixture of commuters heading into either London or Birmingham and companies who have to travel to see their clients.</p><p>But in the same way as nothing can beat the quality of a film that is already downloaded to your device, you need to make sure you have the processes and protocols in place for your mobile working to make sure you do not lose​ work unnecessarily. After all, there is nothing more frustrating than concentrating hard for an hour, only to see your work disappear because the saving process has not worked properly!</p><div class="well well-lg bg-color4 lead"><p>Here are Fuse’s top tips for your mobile working&#58;</p><ol><li>Make sure you have OneDrive syncing in place, so that when you save your document to your device it will automatically update onto your online OneDrive folder as soon as you are back online, thereby ensuring that your company work remains up-to-date<br></li><li>Do not get too reliant on having internet connectivity when you are on the move. Access to online resources may not be available for the duration of your whole journey, and even if your device is connected to the on-train WiFi the actual internet speeds will vary depending on whereabouts you are, or if you are in a tunnel<br></li><li>Have processes and checklists in place – even if they are just your own individual way of working, not official company policy – to ensure that you always download what you need onto your machine before you travel<br></li></ol></div>​ <p class="lead">Here at Fuse we believe that having the wherewithal to work effectively on the move is an integral part of the modern office. This includes OneDrive syncing being set up on all your machines, working with you to develop robust working practices for all your staff, and proactively making sure that your IT provision works to meet your needs, not the other way around.</p><div class="well well-lg"><p class="lead">Get in touch to find out how we can make sure that you have the great IT provision your organisation deserves! Call 01604 797979 or <a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=4fc45909-2b6d-48b9-bcf9-a446e9d472d6&amp;TermSetId=c98895cd-d37f-4406-9cff-5480b4f829b6&amp;TermId=218eb0be-10f6-490a-82a7-a7fd47c8de90">send us an enquiry​​​</a></p>​ </div> | Chris Wearmouth | 693A30232E777C6675736563735C632E776561726D6F757468 i:0#.w|fusecs\c.wearmouth18/07/2018 23:00:002018-07-18T23:00:00ZAs better 4G rolls out across the nation how are you going to make your office truly mobile?As better 4G rolls out across the nation how are you going to make your office truly mobile?17/08/2018 04:36:222038htmlFalseaspx

 Contact us

Our address
12 Brookfield, Duncan Close
Moulton Park, Northampton
NN3 6WL
P: +44(0)1604 797979
Contact Us