Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001 Resource Kit

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Overview of Web Part Catalogs
Summary

After you build or collect a set of Web Parts for your company, you can make them available to your users for use in a digital dashboard for Microsoft® SharePoint™ Portal Server, Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000, or Microsoft Exchange 2000. To do this, you can create a corporate Web Part catalog. This chapter explains how to set up a catalog using SharePoint Portal Server or the SQL Server dashboard that is included in the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit (DDRK) 3.

Overview of Web Part Catalogs

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This chapter uses the following terminology:

  • Web Part catalog. A library of Web Part definition (.dwp) files that you can import into an existing dashboard. 

  • Gallery. A collection of catalogs from which you can import Web Parts into an existing dashboard. 

  • Dashboard server. A server that is running the digital dashboard engine. For the purposes of this chapter, the server is a computer that is running SharePoint Portal Server or a computer that has the SQL Server dashboard installed. 

  • Local Web Part catalog. A Web Part catalog that is stored on a dashboard server. The SQL Server dashboard includes a local catalog as part of its default installation. You must set up a local catalog on a SharePoint Portal Server computer. 

  • Web Part catalog server. A dashboard server that is dedicated to the task of hosting a Web Part catalog. An organization typically deploys a Web Part catalog server as a central distribution point of Web Parts for multiple digital dashboard servers. 

Figure 22.1 shows a list of catalogs from which you can import Web Parts to a digital dashboard.

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Figure 22.1 Catalogs of Web Parts 

Whether you deploy a local Web Part catalog or a dedicated catalog server, use the instructions in the following section. In addition to setting up your own catalog, you can populate your gallery with two additional online Web Parts catalogs.

The Microsoft Web Part Gallery is a public catalog that is available on the Microsoft Web site and contains a variety of Web Parts authored by Microsoft. You can access the Web Part Gallery only from the Contents page of a digital dashboard, by clicking the Web Part Gallery link. SharePoint Portal Server and the SQL Server digital dashboard are both linked to this catalog in the Contents management page by default. There is another Web Part Gallery that is available from Microsoft, which includes Web Parts from third-party companies. The Microsoft Web Parts in this gallery are in a self-extracting compressed format. You must download, uncompress, and import these Web Parts into your local catalog or catalog server, or directly into your digital dashboard. For more information about public catalogs that are available from the Microsoft Web site, see Appendix B, "For More Information."

Creating a Catalog

This section outlines the following steps to create a custom catalog:

  • Create and collect the Web Parts 

  • Choose a catalog server 

  • Populate the catalog and make it accessible 

Create and Collect Web Parts

You must assemble a collection of Web Parts for your catalog. You can do this using either of the following methods:

  • Creating. You can build a set of Web Parts. For more information about tools and instructions on creating Web Parts, see Appendix B. 

  • Collecting. You can collect a set of Web Parts. There are hundreds of available Web Parts that you do not have to create. Before you create a new Web Part, check the Microsoft Online Gallery to look for an existing Web Part. For more information about available Web Parts, see Appendix B, "For More Information." 

You can associate a Web Part with multiple files. A Web Part includes an Extensible Markup Language (XML) document with a .dwp file name extension, and associated resources, such as Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) files, Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) files, and, style sheets, if they exist. When you collect Web Parts, verify that you have all of the associated resource files. The resources usually reside in the webpartname_files subdirectory. In the code of the Web Part, you should see the start <resource> tag, the end </resource> tag, and a reference to the resource files. When you import a Web Part, the Web Part automatically imports the resource files and stores them in the proper location. If the RESOURCE elements exist in the Web Part, confirm that the corresponding files are in the proper location.

Choose a Catalog Server

You can designate a SharePoint Portal Server computer or a computer with the SQL Server dashboard installed to act as a catalog server. A computer with the SQL Server dashboard installed includes a local catalog by default. You must create a local catalog for SharePoint Portal Server.

The advantages and disadvantages of storing the catalog in each location follow:

SharePoint Portal Server. Although you can use SharePoint Portal Server to set up a catalog server quickly and easily, it does not offer categorization of Web Parts. Figure 22.2 shows a catalog setup on a SharePoint Portal Server computer.

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Figure 22.2 Web Part catalog on a SharePoint Portal Server computer 

SQL Server Digital Dashboard. Offers categorization of Web Parts. This allows you to group them in meaningful categories such as accounting, personal, Internet, and so on.

You can mix and match catalog servers with dashboard servers. This means that you can use a catalog server (using the SQL Server dashboard) with your SharePoint Portal Server and vice versa. Your needs determine which deployment is most appropriate. If you are setting up a computer that is running SharePoint Portal Server for a small group of users and want to quickly give them a custom catalog, it is easiest to create a local catalog on the same server. If you are setting up a single, large catalog server with hundreds of Web Parts for thousands of dashboards and users, you may want to consider setting up a catalog on a computer with SQL Server dashboard installed because of the increased flexibility of categorization.

Populate the Catalog and Make It Accessible

After you choose a catalog server, you need to populate the catalog and make it available to users. For more information about catalogs, see Appendix B.

Modify Catalogs on a Computer Running SQL Server Digital Dashboard

You can add, modify, or delete the list of Web Parts that are displayed in the local catalog or a custom catalog of a computer with the SQL Server dashboard installed.

To modify the catalog, edit the Wplist.xml file that resides in the Web folder that contains the Web Parts. This file determines which Web Parts are present in the catalog. It also defines the categories that group Web Parts together. You can edit the Wplist.xml file to add new categories or to modify the list of Web Parts that appear in a catalog.

To create a new category, define a new CATEGORY element for it. To add or delete a Web Part, create or delete a WEBPART element.

About CATEGORY Elements

A CATEGORY element defines a specific category that you subsequently use to group Web Parts. It is also a container for the following elements:

  • ID. The identifier of a category. 

  • DESCRIPTION. A longer string for the category. The value of this element is visible in a dashboard Contents page. 

The following example shows the CATEGORY element for Administration Web Parts:

<Category>
<ID>Administration</ID>
<Description>Dashboard Administration</Description>
</Category>
About WEBPART Elements

A WEBPART element defines all of the Web Parts that are contained in a catalog. It is also a container for the following elements:

  • TITLE. Defines the Web Part title. The value of this element is visible in the Web Part Catalog page that is displayed when a user opens a catalog page. 

  • DESCRIPTION. Defines a long text string that contains information about the Web Part. The value of this element is visible in the Web Part Catalog page. 

  • FILENAME. Defines the Web Part definition (.dwp) of the Web Part. 

  • CATEGORYID. Defines the category in which the Web Part appears. The value of this element must be one of the values defined in the CATEGORY element. 

The following example shows the WEBPART element for the Dashboard View Web Part in the Administration dashboard:

<Webpart>
<Title>Dashboard View</Title>
<Description>The Dashboard Folder View Web Part
displays the hierarchy of dashboards and folders on
the administration dashboard. An administrator can
remove dashboards or create new ones.</Description>
<Filename>Dashboard%20View.dwp</Filename>
<CategoryID>Administration</CategoryID>
</Webpart>
To edit the Wplist.xml file:
  1. In the Parts folder, right-click Wplist.xml, and then copy the file to your desktop. 

  2. Use a text editor to edit the file. You can edit the file by adding, modifying, or removing the CATEGORY and WEBPART elements, and then saving the file to the desktop location. 

  3. Copy the file back to the Parts folder. You can also move the file from Internet Explorer to Windows Explorer by using the drag-and-drop feature. 

Make the Catalog Available to Users

The Contents management page of a dashboard renders the local catalog and Web Part Gallery catalog based on XML definitions by default. In addition to these predefined catalogs, you can add custom catalogs that organize Web Parts in different categories, or link to third-party catalogs.

Add and Delete a Catalog on a Computer with the SQL Server Digital Dashboard Installed

To add a new catalog, create a new Web folder in the DAVCatalog root folder. Similar to the Parts folder, use this folder to store the Web Parts you want in the new catalog, and then update the Catalogs.xml file to point to the new catalog. The catalog entries appear in the order in which they appear in the Contents page.

To delete a catalog, remove the definition from the Catalogs.xml file. To modify the contents of the local catalog of a computer with the SQL Server dashboard installed, edit the Wplist.xml file as described previously.

About WEBPARTCATALOG Elements

The WEBPARTCATALOG element defines a specific catalog. It is a container for the following elements:

  • CATALOGNAME. Defines the catalog title. The value of this element is visible in the Contents page. To create a new catalog, type a new catalog name. 

  • HREF. Defines the source of catalog contents. The source can be the Partcatalog.asp file or another implementation that you provide. If you are creating a new catalog, provide the name of the Web folder to the Partcatalog.asp file. 

  • DESCRIPTION. Defines descriptive text. The catalog does not expose the value of this element by default. 

The following example shows how the Catalogs.xml file defines the Local Catalog through the WEBPARTCATALOG element:

<DDF:WebPartCatalog>
<DDF:CatalogName>Local Catalog</DDF:CatalogName>
<DDF:href>partcatalog.asp?FolderID=_stPortalServer_/_stPortalVRoot_/Parts/</DDF:href>
<DDF:Description>Parts available in the Local Catalog.</DDF:Description>
</DDF:WebPartCatalog>
Edit the Catalogs.xml File

The Catalogs.xml file is a dashboard factory file that determines which catalogs are present in the Contents management page. You can use any XML editor to modify this file.

To edit the Catalogs.xml:
  1. Open the Catalogs.xml file. By default, this file is located in the C:\Program Files\SQL Server Digital Dashboard\Factory folder. 

  2. Edit the file by adding, modifying, or removing the WEBPARTCATALOG element, and then save the file. 

Create a Local Catalog on a Computer Running SharePoint Portal Server

SharePoint Portal Server also supports catalog modifications. You can add Web Parts to a catalog on a computer running SharePoint Portal Server.

To add Web Parts to a catalog:
  1. Create a personal dashboard to provide the equivalent of a catalog, and then import the Web Parts that you have collected or built. Notice the URL of the new dashboard. For example, a personal dashboard named "Gallery" has the following URL: http://*server\_name*/*workspace\_name*/dashboards/gallery

  2. Open the Catalogs.xml file. By default, the Catalogs.xml file resides in the http://*server\_name*/*workspace\_name*/Portal/Resourc folder in the workspace. 

    Note You must be coordinator of the workspace and enable viewing of hidden files and folders to see the Portal/Resources folder. 

  3. In the file Catalogs.xml, add a URL to the dashboard site. This URL should include the cmd=catalog parameter as shown in the following example: 

http://server_name/workspace_name/dashboards/gallery?cmd=catalog

When the ?cmd=catalog parameter is added to the end of the URL, a catalog view is displayed instead of a dashboard view. 

The following example shows an entry in the Catalogs.xml file of a SharePoint Portal Server computer referring to a catalog server that uses the SQL Server dashboard:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<DDF:CatalogInformation xmlns:DDF="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:dashboardfactory:">
<DDF:WebPartCatalog>
<DDF:CatalogName _locID="L_WebPartGallery_Text">My Company's Internal Catalog
</DDF:CatalogName>
<DDF:href locID="L_CatalogHREF_Text">
http://webparts/dashboard/partcatalog.asp?FolderID=http://webparts/DAVCatalog/Parts/
</DDF:href>
<DDF:Description _locID="L_GalleryDesc_Text">
A collection of sample parts for use with Microsoft's Digital Dashboard
</DDF:Description>
</DDF:WebPartCatalog>
</DDF:CatalogInformation>

Summary

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This chapter explains how to set up a catalog using SharePoint Portal Server or the SQL Server dashboard included in the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit (DDRK) 3. After building or collecting a set of Web Parts for your company, you can make them available to your users for use in a digital dashboard for SharePoint Portal Server, SQL Server 2000, or Exchange 2000.

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