Friday, September 21, 2012

Wikis and Web Pages in SharePoint 2010

By EPC Group's Sr. SharePoint Architect Timothy Calunod

One of the interesting changes to Wiki Pages and related technologies in SharePoint 2010 is how much more like a Publishing Page Wiki Pages have become. In fact, in SharePoint 2010 they take on more characteristics and features of a Publishing Page since their inception in SharePoint from the previous version. However, they continue to maintain the simple, ad hoc nature of easy web page creation, editing and publishing that they had when they were first created.

The growth of a Wiki Page into a Publishing Page, while not entire, has become a benefit for content authors who may still prefer working in simpler, more familiar client environments such as a Business Productivity application. Additionally, content authors can take advantage of the improvements made to make Web Page collaboration another tool in their content generation belt.

Up until this post, we have been examining how we can take the Wiki-based technologies and create a web-based organizational manual that continues to take advantage of collaboration, document management and web publishing. Once our Wiki-based infrastructure was created and put in place, the real work of creating and managing Wiki Pages began. At this point, many of the Web Content Management pieces related to publishing web pages can now be leveraged to enhance the already useful collaboration features we have configured for this scenario. We have discussed the generalities up until this point, and now we can engage in the particulars of the effort.

Creating the Employee Handbook


Once the Subsite has been created, the process for making the manual follows with each library, web page and the content itself:

1) Create the Handbook Structure

Each Wiki Library will store the pages of each Chapter, with each page being a separate Section. Once the Libraries are created, additional configurations such as Required Check Out, Content Approval, and Comprehensive Versioning should be configured to support the drafting and publishing of each page. Additional features such as a Publishing or Approval workflow could be added as well.

The first page of the Library, which is Home.aspx, will become the Chapter Table of Contents that will be written first. Because Wiki Pages use a simple Wiki Link feature that allows the content author to create additional Wiki Pages on click, each Section page will be created by the double bracket method surrounding the Section name.

A broken underline will indicate that a page does not exist yet, but upon clicking it a page will be generated. Additionally, by separating the page name and the page title with a simple bar (“|”), the page will automatically be named by the text to the left of the bar, while the link text will be the text to the right of the bar. If there is no need to separate the page name from the page title, such as a simple single word page title, the bar will be unnecessary.

WikiWebWikiPage-TOCWikiLinkBraces WikiWebWikiPage-TOCWikiLink

Each Section page can thus be easily generated from the Chapter Table of Contents and quickly create the content needed to populate the Library. Each Chapter Library can generate the base content pages in this similar manner. Once the pages are created, they can be populated with content. Then the standard drafting and approval can manage the content.

2) Create the Section Pages

Now that the Sections Pages are created, additional configurations can be applied to the page, in particular, hyperlinks to create a simple navigation experience for the reader. First, we can configure bookmark links for each Section heading for quick navigation. We can configure this by inserting a normal hyperlink but adding text into the Bookmark field in the Format tab of the Link Tools Ribbon tab. When referencing this bookmark, we need only to add a #bookmarkname tag at the end of the page URL in the Link Tools tab of the Ribbon.

WikiWebPagesLinkBookmark

Additional hyperlinks for navigation will be placed at the bottom of the page to provide previous/next navigation, as well as links back to the top of the page and back to the Table of Contents for the Chapter. The links for the previous/next section navigation as well as the navigation to the Table of Contents can be done using Wiki Links, but because we require the precision to return to the top of the page, we need to configure a bookmark link at the top of the Section page. The Wiki Linking technology automatically presents available Wiki Pages in the Site and also allows browsing through other Wiki Libraries to locate specific Wiki Pages as well.

WikiWebPagesBottomPageLinks WikiWebPagesPageLinks

Furthermore, the Table of Contents for the Employee Handbook can also use the Wiki Links to create links for each page once the entire set of Wiki Pages are created.

3) Configure Web Parts

Several Web Parts particular to Web Content Management can be useful here in the Wiki Pages for each Section and Chapter page. In particular, the Content Editor Web Part, the Content Query Web Part, and the Summary Links Web Part.

Content Editor Web Part


One of the benefits of a Wiki Library is a special Quick Launch section called Recently Modified, which displays links to the last five edited pages at the top of the page over the Quick Launch. Unfortunately, the presence of the Recently Modified view disrupts the Chapter Navigation created through modifying the Quick Launch navigation, as well as displays the Page Names rather than the Page Titles. This is a known issue and is easily solved through a small bit of code linked to a Content Query Web Part to hide the Recently Modified view.

The code can be placed in a text file and stored in the Style Library of the Top-Level Site and linked to the Content Editor Web Part. Because this issue will repeat itself on every Wiki Page, we can export a configured Content Editor Web Part and add it to the Site Collection Web Part Gallery, making the adding of the Web Part per page easier.

WikiWebWikiPage-HideRecent

Content Query Web Part


The function of the Content Query Web Part allows content from various locations throughout a Site Collection to be viewed and thus present the content in an aggregate view. The Web Part can be configured through the browser to focus on a specific level in the Site Hierarchy as well as configure how the content will be presented through the Web Part. To display a navigation scheme for each Chapter and Section, Site Columns for both Chapter and Section as well as Chapter Name and Section Name will be attached to the Chapter Libraries. The Query is adjusted to focus only on the Employee Handbook Subsite, but the Filter is configured to show only the items in a specific Chapter and grouped by Section.

The Presentation is configured as preferred.

WikiWebWikiPage-CQWPQuery

WikiWebWikiPage-CQWPPresentation WikiWebWikiPage-CQWPPresentationTitle

Summary Links Web Part


The Summary Links Web Part provides a contained group of hyperlinks that are not bound to a source list like a Links List. Many of the Presentation configurations found through other Web Content Management publishing features are also found in this Web Part as well. This Web Part can be configured to link to Chapters, Sections or, in the Top-Level Site of the HR Site, it can act as a link highlight for manuals and other important resources.

WikiWebPagesChapterTOCPage

Observation


As we see here, the content authoring process can be enhanced to complete our organizational manual scenario. Along with the Web Content Management publishing features, such as the three mentioned Web Parts, the Wiki Libraries create the foundation for the Employee Handbook building process. This simple collaborative structure joined with web publishing provides a functional system for developing the content and thus our content development system has everything it needs to be simple, functional and useful.

Because we can take advantage of Web Publishing with Wiki Sites as well, in the last post in this series we will examine how Content Deployment can be leveraged for an authoring and publishing infrastructure.