Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Transforming SharePoint radio buttons to appear horizontal

Recently I was at SharePoint Fest DC.
While I was at KWizCom's booth, one of our customers approached me with a question: He had a list form with lots of radio buttons.
They each had just a few choices, but the form didn't look very nice since they all stretched out too long and narrow.
See, SharePoint always renders radio button choice fields vertically...

He wanted to have these choice columns render in a horizontal layout instead of the OOB vertical one. (side by side instead of under each other)

In other words, from something that looks very much like this:
Into something that looks like this:

(Due to privacy of his content, I can't share his exact form layout - but he had a few more of them spread around the form)

So, you might notice the customer was already using our forms solution and had the form render in a 2 column layout and with the column captions above the controls.

Because of that, the change he requested was very simple to implement so I was happy to do it on the spot with him, on his laptop.

It took about 2 minutes to complete, he was very impressed, but I must admit - this wasn't a very challenging request if you know your way around CSS.

All he had to do was:
1. Create a CSS file with a new class that targets the table in radio buttons choice columns
2. Change the rows of the table to display inline instead of breaking row like it usually does in HTML
2. Save the CSS file in site assets
3. Get our Forms solution to load this new CSS file and all done!

Here is the CSS needed to make this change, it should work on SP2013, SP2016 and SharePoint online in classic UI:

table[id$='RadioTable'] tr{ display: inline; }

Note: if you don't use KWizCom Forms, you will have to load the CSS some other way to the page, but this solution should still work.

Note #2: this wasn't tested on modern UI, but on classic. It might require some minor tweaking to work in modern UI, let me know in the comments if this is something you need and having trouble achieving.


Friday, March 9, 2018

Recent breaking changes in SharePoint Online

If you ever wondered why SharePoint online apps/add-ins/products are sold almost exclusively as subscription - here is your answer.

We at KWizCom run full automated testing on several production tenants as well as on our own fast-ring release tenant every night, as well as after every build is pushed to fast ring or to production.

More often than we'd like, we see glitches or breaking changes pushed to production that make some or all of our code stop working as intended.

Here are a couple of stories from the past 48 hours:


Product manager sets up a live demo of our forms solution. EVERY THING breaks. Pages load with no settings, after a refresh - with only some settings and on other times normally with everything working.

We investigate and notice that SPO (SharePoint Online) is returning a JS file we store under the site assets with a different content every time.

We cancel all caching, open the file in the browser - and you won't believe it! We get a different file every time!

We rename the file, so the file in that URL doesn't exist anymore. Is the problem gone? No - it's worst. Now it comes back in 3 different versions as well as a 404 not found error occasionally.

I'm freaking out, calling on all my Microsoft contacts to investigate. Within 6 hours the problem is gone like it never happens.

Was I dreaming? NO! I got the video to prove it:

Now, obviously I can't reproduce it so I can't give Microsoft additional information, there is no way to know what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

(Sounds to me, like a new caching feature was being tested out and pushed to production, then later pulled back).


You thought the first story was strange? try this one. We have a provider hosted app that customers are required to install in order to get our products working.
We literally had this app for YEARS with no problems.
Two days ago we get a support call that no one can install our provider hosted app.
We check and see that our app has an install and uninstall remote event receivers - and that event receiver is throwing error 500.

This event receiver code hasn't changed in years, so what happened?
Well, a built in method that visual studio project auto-generated for us that gets the clientContext used to work, or return null if the app was not trusted.
In the last 48 hours it now stopped working and was throwing an exception blowing up our event handler.

Fun times.
In the first case, we had nothing to do but wait, in the second - it was a simply easy fix. But you get my point as to why we need to constantly monitor and push updates for our products?

Now, you might better understand why I am a strong advocate of allowing vendors to update apps remotely without forcing each user to install a new package (like they try to make us do in the new SPFx eco-system).

We literally push hundreds of updates and fixes every month for all our products without bothering the users to install them - I can't imagine we would have happy customers if they would need to install hundreds of updated packages every month...

Now, if you are wondering why we need so many updates, and boasting about your single app that was built X years ago and working until today - ask yourself what does it do. My guess: not much more than saying "hello" or showing the current time and weather... ;)

Hope this provides some insight to those who are looking to support SPO or any cloud service in their products. Sound off in the comments if you have more to add!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Speaking Engagements 2018

ust FYI, my speaking engagements for 2018 are posted here, If you are around – come see me!

If you were in one of my sessions, you can find links to the session code and presentation below.

Also – if you have any comments on my session – feel free to post it here!

February 21, 2018 - Toronto SharePoint User Group - SPFx: An ISV Insight to Microsoft’s latest customization model

March 26, 2018 - SPFest DC - Who Said You Have to Be a Power-User to Create Dynamic Forms in SharePoint/O365?

April 14, 2018, SPS Twin Cities - Who Said You Have to Be a Power-User to Create Dynamic Forms in SharePoint/O365? + Introducing KWizCom SPFx web parts

May 29, 2018 - European Collaboration Summit - SPFx: An ISV Insight to Microsoft’s latest customization model