HTML Calculated Column: minor update… and some advice
I am publishing today a minor update (v 2.1.1) of the TextToHTML script:
You’ll find the updated files under the “download” tab.
Why this update?
First, I am responding to comments from readers on the EndUserSharePoint.com blog. Several months ago, Jim Bob Howard posted an example using my method. His post offers detailed step by step explanations, and is very popular. However, a few readers reported issues with the calendar week/day views, which didn’t render the colors in some configurations. The code I posted today aims at fixing this issue.
I am also taking the opportunity of this update to propose two separate scripts:
- a light version, for both SharePoint 2003 and 2007, that applies the rendering to displayed items only.
- a full version, SP 2007 only, that applies the rendering to displayed and hidden items (grouped views, preview pane, etc.). Be aware that this version encapsulates some of the SharePoint OOTB code.
Tell me again, what is this “HTML Calculated Column”?
If you are an end user, the HTML Calculated Column is a simple yet powerful method that allows you to enhance your SharePoint sites. Even if you don’t plan to use it, you should at least be aware of its capabilities. It many situations, it can replace or even do better than other SharePoint options, like the Data View Web Part, Excel Services or the KPIs available in MOSS. To give you an idea of what you can accomplish, take a look at these examples:
- indicators for lists
- color coded calendars
- KPI roll-up
- some other applications…
For more explanations, read the original article.
To be fair, the method also has its flaws. It leverages the OOTB calculated column, but also relies on a client side script to render the HTML on the page. If you don’t feel comfortable with the “hack” part (TextToHTML script), note that you can avoid it if you use the method with a Data View Web Part, a Content Query Web Part (see above link: KPI roll-up), or an XML source (RSS, URL protocol, Web Service).
Why two different file formats, .dwp and .txt?
I am releasing the code in two formats: Web Part (.dwp) and text (.txt).
The .dwp file is for your convenience, if you only use the method sporadically, or for the first time. Simply import the Web Part to your page and you’re good to go. It is just a Content Editor Web Part containing the script.
If you plan to use the method on a regular basis, you should grab the text file instead: store the code in a central location and point to it. This will greatly facilitate future updates. For more details on this “best practice”, read this article.
A couple reminders
- Remember that the Text to HTML script must be placed below the lists you need to modify.
- The HTML you create via the calculated column must follow the HTML standards. For example for calendar views you’ll need to use inline elements (“span” for example), not block elements (like “div”).
I am currently working on version 3 of the script, which will make the method work on column filters, and headers of grouped views. Some people have already received intermediary versions, and I am waiting for their feedback.
I am also listening to feedback on the current version (big thanks to the readers who shared their findings!). For example, the use of the method in discussion lists, blogs or wikis will require more investigations.
How can I be informed of upcoming releases?
The preferred way is to subscribe to the RSS feeds, either for this blog or for my SharePoint downloads library. If you don’t use RSS, feel free to contact me, and I’ll send you an e-mail when v3 is out.