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Building Composite Solutions for SharePoint 2013 with the Browser – Part 2

This is the second installment of our comments on a presentation by Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP, MCT and President of Rehmani Consulting, Inc. from the SharePoint Conference, 2012 on Browser Based Process Development for SharePoint 2013. In this post we present a definition of composite solutions along with a first example of this type of solution built with only a browser.

As an introduction to our working definition of composite solutions, it is useful, first, to depict a context, within which our definition makes sense. The background for our context is our assumption that ” . . . SharePoint is a platform and a tool to build solutions” (quoted from Asif Rehmani’s presentation, SharePoint Conference 2012).

With this background in place, we think it makes sense to look for a strong casebusiness use case. As Asif Rehmani remarks, ” . . . [t]he business use cases are a must” Once we have identified a compelling business use case, then we think about ” . . . how do we solve that using SharePoint?”

With a background in place, and a rationale that justifies expending resources on development, we can then proceed on building a solution. Our method, as presented in the title of our presentation is to utilize a composite approach to develop software without code, and, specifically, with no more than a web browser as a tool.

Asif Rehmani defines composite solutions as solutions ” . . . made up of distinct building blocks.” (ibid) Examples of these building blocks include:

  • SharePoint Sites; for example, team sites or publishing sites
  • Lists and Libraries (now called apps with SharePoint 2013)
  • Pages
  • Themes
  • Search
  • Web Parts
  • Site Columns
  • Content Types
  • and Security Management

The first example of a composite solution built with the browser is a search web part designed to expose only PDF file types. Site Owner privileges are required to recreate this example. In his presentation, Asif Rehmani demonstrates how to put together this web part from the results sources tool included with SharePoint. In fact, our highly specific search query, that will only expose documents in PDF format, becomes a “pre-defined results source” once our work has been completed.

Our work starts with a click on the SharePoint 2013 gear icon (only available to Site Owners and SharePoint Users with higher privileges) and then a click on the “Site Settings” option. From the Site Settings page, we then select “Result Sources” option below the “Search” heading. Asif Rehmani then demonstrates how to configure this “Result Sources” tool to execute a boolean query on SharePoint 2013 Document and List Apps to expose data in .PDF format. Once we have configured this pre-defined results source, we then incorporate this feature into a search web part.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.