Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Everything is a List

If you take one of my SharePoint classes, there’s a couple of things that are guaranteed. You’re going to hear corny jokes. You’re going to hear obscure references to 80s movies and pop culture. And you’re going to hear me say the following phrase ad nauseum: “Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.”

While this is a slight oversimplification, there’s a method to my madness.

SharePoint is a very large, very flexible, very configurable product. There is no “one size fits all” implementation of SharePoint. As a result, whenever I teach SharePoint my goal is to talk about the technologies, talk about what each item does, and try to arm my students with the knowledge needed to go back to their desks on Monday morning to make decisions that are right for their environment. And that phrase is one of the biggest tools in my tool belt. That phrase answers many, many questions.

Consider the blog site.

When you create a SharePoint blog site, SharePoint creates a few lists. In particular, the big three are Posts, Comments and Categories. Let’s touch on a few common questions about the blog site and see if the phrase “Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item” answers the question.

BlogSite

Q: How do I customize the categories for my blog posts?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

Your categories are stored in a list named, conveniently enough, Categories. If you wish to add, remove or otherwise customize the categories that are available simply navigate to the Categories list and modify the items.

Q: How do I control who’s allowed to create posts?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

All blog posts become items in the Posts list. If you wish to add or remove blog authors, change the permissions of the Posts list.

Q: How do I control what users are allowed to comment on blog posts?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

All comments are list items in the Comments list. To grant or revoke a user’s ability to create comments modify the permissions of the Comments list.

Q: Can I get an alert whenever a new blog post is added?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

Create an alert for yourself, or other users, on the Posts list.

Q: Can I enable approval of comments?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

To enable approval of comments, open the List Settings page, choose Versioning Settings, and then choose “Yes” for “Require content approval for submitted items?”.

Q: Can I create a workflow for comment approval?
A: Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item.

Because comments are stored as items in a SharePoint list, you can create and bind whatever workflow you need to the Comments list.

Notice the common theme here[1]. Every question was answered by simply applying our knowledge of lists to each scenario. To meet the goals, the answers were to modify permissions, work with list items, and modify list options. Everything in SharePoint is a list, and everything in a list is a list item. Once you’ve got that, quite a bit of SharePoint falls into place.

[1] It’s sort of hard to miss. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Perfect timing for me, Chris - keeping this in mind for my class tomorrow. Thanks!
    -Sharon Fry

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