Thursday, December 16, 2010

Upgrade or downgrade?

I’ve been testing the limits of SharePoint Designer of late as I work on an automated vacation calendar that I’ll be making available soon. If you didn’t already know, here are some interesting issues I have found with SharePoint Designer so far.

 

Firstly, you can only use the latest version of SharePoint Designer with the latest version of SharePoint. Thus SharePoint Designer 2007 only works with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 while SharePoint Designer 2010 only works with SharePoint Foundation 2010. The same applies to the bigger SharePoint Server versions as well. So, if you are like me and need to work with both versions of SharePoint you need both versions of SharePoint designer installed on a machine. Couldn’t have the newer version supported the older version of SharePoint? I know it is completely new technology but….really?

 

Now, the thing that really has my nickers in a knot is the fact that Microsoft seem to have deprecated (read removed) a feature that I make extensive use of. In SharePoint Designer 2007 you can send an email as part of a workflow. Thus an email like this:

 

image_2_684419C8

 

allows you to also embed HTML so that the result looks like:

 

image_4_684419C8

 

This allows you a great deal of formatting flexibility to improve the presentation ability to end users.

 

BUT try exactly the same formatted email using SharePoint Designer 2010 and this is the end result:

 

image_6_684419C8

 

that is, HTML is no longer rendered. What the hell? How come this was removed from a NEWER version of SharePoint Designer? I can’t see it being because of the newer SharePoint 2010 technology, because all it is doing is sending an email.

 

This makes it very difficult to format professional looking emails from SharePoint 2010 now doesn’t it? I find it interesting that Microsoft touts SharePoint Designer 2010 as the tool for creating workflows yet it removes this sort of basic functionality.

 

There are a few places on the Net where a potential work around is provided for this but that usually requires modifying the web server configuration files on the actual SharePoint server, something not generally possible on hosted SharePoint now eh? What’s the bet that isn’t enabled with the Office365 version of SharePoint when it becomes available either? (Pretty high I reckon).

 

So, the only solution seems to be to design with Visual Studio but that means I gotta go out and buy, install, and learn how to code before I can do something as simple as format an email!

 

Surely there has to be an solution to this, surely?