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The agenda at TechEd Europe 2014 included a presentation on dynamic diagrams and SharePoint on-premises or online

Visio is usually seen as the successor to SharePoint Designer. The common understanding is Visio represents the “next generation” of workflow design tools. But it’s very important not to forget Visio is, if nothing else, a diagram tool.

During Microsoft’s TechEd Europe 2014 event, last month, Ian White, EPM and Visio Technical Lead at Microsoft in the UK, led an hour presentation titled Interactive Visual Dashboard Solutions with Visio Services. It’s worth noting the venue for displaying these “visual dashboard solutions”, and providing dynamic data for them, is SharePoint on-premises, or SharePoint Online, Office 365.

White points out how some of SharePoint’s out-of-the-box features add substantial value to any effort to implement Visio Services for dynamic (meaning interactive) dashboards:

  • “Central Location”
  • “Version Control”
  • “Backup”

White also cited the ubiquity of “modern browsers”, which require “no configuration” and are readily “device accessible”. These clients provide a “consistent UX” across a range of hardware form factors.

Using SharePoint as the publishing method for these diagrams also allows persistent data communications with data sources like SQL Server to provide a periodic, automated refresh to ensure users are consuming a current view of these diagrams.

White mentions web services, Javascript, and web parts as vehicles for the data communications required between Visio Services and data sources across SharePoint (he also mentions OneDrive as a method of publishing the diagrams).

Data sources can include “multiple external data sources”, which are “configured using the ‘data linking wizard’ of the Visio Services client”.

SharePoint-Videos has recently published a video tutorial set on working with External Data in SharePoint 2013. The set is led by Fabian Williams, a SharePoint Server MVP and is titled SharePoint 2013: Working with External Data​ in SharePoint 2013 using BCS and Workflows. This set of video training looks to be a complement to White’s technical presentation. The set can be purchased for individual, or unlimited viewing across an organization. Please contact us for further information on our set.

White also reports on a couple of changes in Visio 2013. These include publishing all diagrams as .png images (Silverlight is no longer used).

Dynamic, truly interactive diagrams are “accessible only via SharePoint” (either on-premises via Enterprise, or in the cloud, Office 365 via an E3 or E4 subscription).

©2014, Ira Michael Blonder & Rehmani Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved