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

 

 

How to use SaaS solutions to identify sensitive data1497<p class="lead">​​​​​​​​​​​This article is going to look specifically at how we implement the use of software (SaaS) to enable your organisation to become ready for the GDPR quickly and easily, without interruption to your end users.</p><p> <strong>The first step in getting ready for the GDPR is to know what data your organisation holds</strong>. At the time of writing this article, the new legislation is only <strong>268 </strong>days away and the four main questions you n​eed to be able to answer to ensure your organisation is ready are&#58;</p><ul><li>What data does your organisation hold?</li><li>Where is the data kept?</li><li>Why do you need to use or keep the data?</li><li>Do you have consent to use the data?​</li></ul><div class="thumbnail"> <img class="img-responsive" alt="A padlock on a background of binary data" src="/ourblog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-to-use-SaaS-solutions-to-identify-your-data,-ensuring-your-organisation-is-ready-for-the-GDPR/shutterstock%20Data%20protection%20GDPR%20blog.jpg" style="max-width&#58;500px;" />​</div>​ <h3>What is defined as sensitive data under the GDPR?</h3><p>In terms of the GDPR, sensitive data is defined as personal data, but goes further than the Data Protection Act and includes online identifiers such as an IP address. The GDPR applies to both automated personal data and manual filing systems. You can be held responsible for breaching the GDPR by allowing personal data to be compromised either by&#58;</p><p>Misuse - using data for purposes other than that defined and recorded&#160;consent given for;</p><p>or </p><p>for data breaches, even if the breach was a malicious act (hacking), if you can't prove you had adequate data security measures and processes.&#160;​</p><div class="row"><div class="col-md-6"><h4>Will my company have GDPR sensitive data?</h4><p>Data that can identify any individual, such as a name, National Insurance number, passport, IP address or even biometric data - a soon as this is recorded in any system, in a file, a database record, or even on paper - that data then falls under the remit of the GDPR. As every organisation has staff records, every company will be affected by GDPR to some extent. </p><p>However, the more individuals you deal with, and the longer you hold that data for, the more prone you are to breaches of the legislation. Companies that perform data processing, even on behalf of other companies, and particularly those that use personal data records for multiple purposes (for example re-marketing) are at most exposure to GDPR.</p></div> <div class="col-md-6"><h4>​Examples of who will be most affected&#58;&#160;</h4><ul><li>Retailers – High street shops and online retailers storing customer profiles</li><li>Health Sector -&#160; Hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, scientific research organisations, pharmaceutical companies, with patient records</li><li>Education sector - Schools, colleges and universities, storing current and past student records</li><li>Financial sector – Banks, mortgage and insurance providers, with customer accounts</li><li>Recruitment companies - candidate records</li><li>Charity organisations - records of donors and recipients</li><li>Estate Agents - vendor and client records </li><li>Legal profession – Solicitors, CPS and courts - client records.</li></ul> ​</div></div><hr />​ <h3>​How to identify data and ensure all your data is GDPR compliant?&#160;</h3><p>There is an easy and quick way to find out what data you hold and you will be relieved to know we work alongside companies that are currently releasing SaaS solutions that are designed purely to scan, discover and analyse your data, to ensure you only hold data that is GDPR compliant.&#160;&#160;<br></p><p>Our Partners have solutions that use metadata to scan and analyse data which has enabled the migration of data to SharePoint for some time. It’s this technology that’s enabled these new solutions to be <strong>created specifically for the use of identifying what data you have and if it is GDPR compliant</strong>. Using NPL (Natural programming language) such as “name”, “address” or “credit card number”) this process can be done in days not months and can easily identify documents in unstructured databases, file shares and SharePoint. </p><p>The discovery phase of the SaaS tool is an important part of the new solutions as they are designed around common datatypes that can be tagged easily e.g. names, addresses, age of document, author of document, credit card numbers, postcodes IP addresses. The solution we use comes with predetermined taxonomies which can be edited easily, to reflect the sector that your organisation works within. Dashboards are then accessed with detailed data analysis which identifies the data that will not be compliant with the GDPR. Additional columns appear alongside your files with a “true” or “false” label showing whether the files are compliant with the GDPR and our team of consultants are experienced in using this technology and can advise you depending on your specific IT infrastructure.</p><hr /><h3>Hype around the GDPR&#160;</h3><p>There is a lot of hype around the new GDPR coming out in May which appears to be fairly negative but instead of viewing it as a tiresome challenge that your organisation must overcome, I would advise viewing it as an excellent opportunity to gain a competitive edge within the market. Whatever your opinion is and I doubt there are many companies that relish the additional resources that will be needed to comply; from a customer’s perspective, it <strong>must </strong>be a good thing. The trust in any business relationship is one of the fundamental reasons why you have a successful company. In an age where we frequently see headlines describing yet another data breach, damage to a business’s brand and reputation is an expensive result of avoiding being compliant with the new regulations.</p><hr /><h3>What to do right now!&#160;</h3><p>The key decision makers in your organisation need to be made aware of the GDPR. They need to know that the first thing they need to do is to find out what data their organisation holds. This is where we come in.</p><p>Although GDPR isn’t an IT issue as it will ultimately fall to the responsibility of who is currently responsible for your Data Protection E.g. Compliance Managers, Data Protection Officers, Data Controllers and Office Managers, the team at Fuse will be able to provide a technical solution to determining what data is held.</p><p>Before any amendments to existing internal procedures, policies or customer facing documentation such as websites and application forms can be changed they must know what is relevant to the GDPR. It may be the case that a lot of the data you hold is ROT and this can simply be deleted. If you have a completely unstructured filing system and want to take the opportunity to improve the efficiency of your business we don't just offer technical expertise, we are experienced in developing proofs of concept, functional and technical specifications. We can either then take responsibility for delivering the project or work alongside your IT departments providing a technical lead.</p><p>It doesn’t matter whether you have an inhouse IT department or not as we can work alongside existing IT managers, Compliance or HR managers. An IT consultancy needs to be your first port of call as they can advise you as to which is the best SaaS solution for your business depending on the size of your business and your budget. Having expert knowledge of your IT infrastructure and how it works is important to ensure that the right solutions are used. The benefits of using SaaS is that your end users are not interrupted and your IT departments are not impacted either. </p><p>You need to weigh up the cost of using an IT consultancy who can implement the right tools against the extra resources it will take to trawl through and analyse your data manually. This can seem daunting, but it’s a great opportunity to get your data in order and have confidence that your organisation can be proud of its commitment to protecting the data of its employees, customers and suppliers.​</p><div class="well well-lg"><p class="lead">If you want further advice or a quote on how we can help you get ready for the GDPR call Fuse today on 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">contact us​</a></p></div>​l.ozier@fusecollaboration.com | Louise Ozier | 693A30232E777C6675736563735C6C2E6F7A696572 i:0#.w|fusecs\l.ozier28/08/2017 23:00:002017-08-28T23:00:00Z Ensuring your organisation is ready for the GDPR21/09/2017 23:16:131811htmlFalseaspx

 Contact us

Our address
12-14 Brookfield, Duncan Close
Moulton Park, Northampton
NN3 6WL
P: +44(0)1604 797979
Contact Us