SPD = SharePoint Designer, currently in the 2010 version.
In my previous post about using Office 365 as a learning platform for SharePoint, I briefly mentioned SharePoint Designer. But, we could have spent a lot more time talking about it than that – hence this follow-up post.
In the previous post, I mention using Office 365 because its very inexpensive and easy to spin up for any user, giving you the ability to learn and try things you might not be able to in your production environment. Well, is even more true with SharePoint Designer.
Creating new sub site, new lists, tweaking list columns and playing with views are all things you can do in your SharePoint environment and they are *mostly* non-impacting on your production environment – if you play with them the right way and don’t affect your users. SharePoint Designer has a little higher risk level, can be a little more invasive/impacting on uses, and some environments have it disabled – so you’re not even able to use SPD in your current sites.
Enter Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Now you not only have a great way to use and ramp up on out of the box browser-based capabilities, but you have a fully-functioning site that SharePoint Designer can plug into – without risking your production environment and content. You can now build and demo functionality that you can show your colleagues, bosses and IT/SharePoint team to demonstrate the value that can be had with SPD created solutions.
Top things to check out with SharePoint Designer using your new Office 365 account (in my humble opinion):
- Conditional Formatting – If this value is lower than X, then display this field with red text, show this funky icon, etc…
- Data Views – Format list views in ways you can’t with the browser-based configuration capabilities.
- Condition/Action Driven Workflow – Create basic and more complicated workflows that aren’t available in the pre-created workflows.
- Adding and Editing forms – Very quickly add or edit NewItem and EditItem forms. For example remove fields or reformat the form to make it more intuitive for users.
- ‘Designery’ stuff. – Yea, not my bag, but can’t talk about SPD without mentioning it’s capabilities of managing and tweaking the site design.
There is more, but that’s these are the top items that come to mind for me and deliver a lot of value in the business cases I’ve seen.
Plus – SharePoint Designer 2010 is free. So check it out.