Friday, 22 March 2013

SharePoint Designer 2013 - No Design View But a Solution Exists

Yes, it's true, people. The Design View has been removed in Microsoft's latest release of SPD - and there's no plans to bring it back. The developer team offer the following explanation:

With SharePoint Server 2013 embracing new web standards for client side rendering of pages such as JavaScript, JSON, and OData, there is no longer a need to support a visual web page editor within SharePoint Designer.

Excerpt from Changes to the Design View in SharePoint Designer 2013

When you consider that SPD was the ONLY product that EVER understood and could show design-time visualisation of SharePoint components, this decision simply beggers belief. And it's not like this has made the application more stable or stopped it from randomly re-writing your source code either!

The Bad News

So front-end designers no longer need a design view, huh? We'll just hand-code our dataview webparts I suppose. :\ But wait. It gets worse. Gone too are the ability to add connections, change query scope, and add conditional formatting via the GUI! Embracing new web standards while ignoring the XML/XSLT transformation and CAML query pain us poor end users have to go through. Thanks - not!

The Good News

So what's the solution? I'm glad you asked.

While it may not be supported - and probably won't be possible with future versions of SharePoint - you can still connect to an SP 2013 site using SPD 2010. Yup, you heard me. What's more, you can still visually add and modify your DVWPs in the manner to which we've all grown accustomed. There is one trick though.

If you try to open a list form directly, you'll get a blank design window. The trick is to create an aspx page first and then add your Data View(s) to that. Bingo!

I prefer to add an Empty Data View and then connect to the required Data Source. This gives you more control over what to insert and how to insert it. Configure your web parts as you usually do, then export and upload them to your wp gallery for re-use across your site.

In my next post I'll walk through an Online Learning site that I built which takes advantage of many customised list forms and multiple form submissions within modal dialogs.

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