Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Creating a Blog Suite as a Feature (Intro)


So, I was asked to create a blog-like suite of components that could be added as a feature or series of features to an existing site or subsite. The suite was to have a blog, a contacts list, an events(calendar) list, a quicklinks list, and a component that allows users to submit a future blog topic and allows them to vote on a series of topics to blog next. So this to me is a Blog Suite or as the customers wanted to call it an electronic communications suite. The customer will get their wish ;-)

The customer came prepared in this case with a fully working prototype of the look/feel they wanted in an access database. My job is to create a Sharepoint solution that mimics this access solution. I felt a challenge was coming and it was exciting.

So, I started thinking about what I wanted to do to make this as seamless as possible. Initially I created a blog site using the OOB sharepoint template and looked at some of the things that it does and how it looked. This was not going to work the way the customer wanted and I could not just make it a subsite. However, I could use the Sharepoint Solution Generator tool or the (SPSource) tool to pull out the list schemas of the blog site. Or I could create custom lists in a temp site and do the same thing.

I decided that I needed three lists for the blog part and then a separate list for the contacts, quicklinks, and events sections. So in total there will be 6 lists for this solution. My first task was to decide if I wanted to use list templates as mentioned above or if I wanted to create the lists programmatically. I opted for the latter in this case. I decided that I will create a feature in Visual Studio using the VseWss 1.3 extensions. I will add the feature with a feature receiver and this feature receiver will do most of the work in programmatically creating the lists that I need and adding the fields that I need to make it work. I decided to also add a module that would add a webpart page to the root of the site where the feature is activated. This page is going to have a custom webpart that I will add later.

In my next post on this, I will post my first steps in creating the feature and the lists.

First Test of adding html code

<title>Blogger Code Test</title>

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