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Sharepoint Calendars, Forms, and general understanding

At work we are trying to sell the management team on Sharepoint.  They in turn have asked us to build an example using Sharepoint Foundation server that we can use for scheduling, if it simplifies how we do our work then we will adopt it and invest in the server version.  CUrrently I am the only person on the project who has any true type of development/IT experience.  The other guy on the project is our Graphics guy who suggested the idea.  As you can see this is going to be a tricky project.

I was able to install it just fine and we set up a couple team sites, one for each part of our business.  Now our problem has to do with Calendars and how to schedule things.  CUrrently our company uses a shared folder calendar for scheduling.  After looking at how we do the scheduling we discovered that we schedule five main items (Video Conferences, Production Shoots, CLE's, Depositions, and webcasts).  Our current process is we create a new event in outlook and give it a title i.e. Webcast: DATE + EVENT NAME, and then in the notes section whoever enters it hopefully will type in all the required information.  As you can imagine this it not ideal.

What we want to do is basically have 5 sepperate forms with differnet fields and whenever someone wants to schedule one of these events they simply choose the correct form for the event type then enter in the required information.  However you cant have multiple forms for adding a new event in Sharepoint Foundation, at least I dont know.  That got me thinking that maybe this is not the correct way to do it.

I was hoping someone could shed some light on my problem.  Anything that really explains how to use Calendar style lists would really help.  Also anything explaining how to deal with multiple event types for lack of a better word would also be ideal.  
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joeyfaz
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The below article explains how to integrate Oulook with Sharepoint. Also, In Outlook you can create custom forms, this should give you the solution your looking for.

http://www.outlookexchange.com/Articles/JasonSherry/sherry_c24p1.asp
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TEEDA

There are several ways to manage mueltiple event types in SharePoint calendars, depending on your needs.  Do you need multiple event types in a single calendar? Or separate calendars for each event type, that can be viewed simultaneously?
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SOrry for they delay in responding what I think I need is multipkle event types on a single calendar.  THe problem I run into is how to display different Add/Edit/View forms for each event type.  So far what I end up with is I get one ADD/Edit/View form with all the column types from every event.

Hmmm...if you create distinct content types for each event type with the appropriate columns for each, you can have multiple events in one calendar. So when you add a New Event, you get a dropdown to choose the event type from. You can even create views for each event type if need be.

 What I'm not certain of is whether that will allow you to have a different NewItemForm for each type. But I can play with that and let you know the outcome (I doubt it, though). Even if not, it is possible to create several different versions of the NewForm, EditForm and DispForm and provide links to them for creating a new item.  That's providing you have SharePoint Designer.

If it were me, I'd create a calendar for each event type, and then use a Content Query Web Part to roll them up (it displays a list rather than a calendar though).  If you need the traditional calendar view, that's tricky, though the Lightning Conductor Calendar Roll up does a great job, if you can get third party add ons.

If you are not familiar with content types, check out this:

https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/Pages/endusersharepointcom-a-beginners-guide-to-content-types.aspx

A quick internet search tells me that for the single calendar with multiple event types to work, the calendars have to have common columns. Otherwise you're stuck with custom forms for each type and cannot use the New Item menu in the calendar - there are ways around it, but it gets complicated. If you're interested in pursuing it, let me know and I can give you an overview of how I would tacke it.

It may also be possible to populate a "master" calendar from multiple calendars using workflows created in SharePoint Designer.

So I would recommend separate calendars, aggregated using a CQWP (or the Lightning Conductor add on for a pretty calendar view - Kwizcom might have one as well).  The advantage here is that users can connect one or more of the calendars to their Outlook and overlay them, view them side by side, or view the aggregated calendar on the SharePoint page.

Good luck!




Im am interested, if you have the time that is, if you could explain both methods as I am not sure which is the best one to implement.

My problem is that I have had to learn sharepoint all by myself and my company does not want to invest anything until they see a return.  I really belive it could help as a whole but I am having a hard time learning it as it is not something I have ever worked with before.

Can you give me any recommendations as to how I could learn more about what I am trying to do as I do not even know if I am truily asking the right questions.
Oh, my - they are asking a lot.  So first question is what is your background web designer, programmer, networkmadmin? Also are you using SP 2007 or 2010 and iare you allowed to use SP Designer (free).

Apart from that, I would advise you to create a calendar for each of the events and show them how you can connect them to their Outlook - they can view side by side or overlay them to see conflicts.  That blows most end users away and they may be happy with just that. Create the calendars on the same site (you can display them on separate pages or display each one in a calendar web on a single page) just in case you do need to use a workflow to update a master calendar - but you will need SP Designer for that.

Secondly, you have a steep learning curve ahead and it might be best to get a book like the Shepherd Guide for end users just to get your head around the capabilities of SP which are amazing, even without customization.  Then you'll have a better overview of which features will be useful in your company.

If you decide to display all calendars on one page, try the Easy Tabs web part from Pathtosharepoint to display them as tabs within the page.  Give me a shout out if you need any guidance.




Past Dev experience with SQL, PHP and older C++ (not c#).  Also have worked some with AJAX and PHP but not any of the MS Web products i.e. asp/aspx, C#, VBscript (worked with in non web based ways).

Yes I am using Sharepoint  Designer and we are currently using Sharepoint Foundation 2010 in a Farm setup.  

I read through what you suggested and basically it sounds good but the fact that the calendars are seperate will be "annoying" to management, as they tend to be very picky.  Currently we use a shared folder in Exchange to handle all our scheduling basically they want to copy that but customize it to address each one of our specific scheduling types.   For example we schedule Video Conferences and Webcasts (plus a few others this is just an example) all on the same calendar.  All of these have seperate required fields but currently we simply throw it all into the description section when we create the event through outlook.  In an effort to improve our processes I want to have seperate line items specific each even type.  That is why I wanted customs forms for custom content types.  Yes technically they are all events but they all have different requirements when it comes to information.  All of these events wil ideally be displayed on one calendar to the end user.  Just like we have it now but with custom forms for each event allowing better management of the information.

I hope that makes sense please let me know what I can do to make this easier.
It does make sense, but it's going to be tricky because of the custom form requirement, although I understand why you would need them.

I'm trying to think of a way to have a single NewItem,EditForm and DispForm for all events but show only those fields that are relevant for the event type.  I do something similar on a form I use - if the status (or in your case, the event type) equals a certain value, then the field shows - otherwise it is hidden.  I do this using conditional formatting in a custom form.  

So to start with, create a calendar, and add a choice field with dropdowns or radio buttons for the different event types.

Now you'll need to copy the default NewForm.aspx (never edit the default one!) hide the original web part and insert a custom list view in the same zone (very important). You'll find that list view under Insert,SharePoint Controls.  You can show the fields common to all events, and hide the custom fields unless the event type equals the type the field refers to.

You will also have to associate the custom forms with the list by right clicking it in SPD and under properties, direct it to your custom forms.

Good luck!  I dont know why companies think they can launch a major new technology without providing some training/resources for those expected to implement it, but I sympathize - it happened in my company too.

There are some good resources out there that you will find helpful - Laura Rogers, Cristophe Humbert, and you can search for specific topics on nothingbutsharepoint.com and also try sharepointelearning.com.  For branding, you can't beat Heather Solomon. Another great blog is Erik Swenson.  My expertise (what little I have) is in 2007, but we're moving to 2010 soon, so here comes another big learning curve.
So we have gotten to the part were I copy the NewForm.aspx and then go to hide the original web part.  By hide do you mean to "comment out" using "<!--" and "-->" or do you have another meaning?

Also I do not see anything that says "custom list view" I do see the option to insert a "List Form" or a "Custom List Form" where I reference a list then select an event type associated with that list and insert a "New",'Edit" or "Display" form.  If you could please clarify I would appreciate it.

I wanted to thank you for taking so much time with this I really do appreciate everything you have done.  
No problem, I've been in the same situation!

I misspoke - it is a Custom List Form.  When you've inserted it, click inside the original web part and choose Web Part properties.  Under Layout, there is a check box for Hidden.

You have a fair amount of discretion with the fields in the Custom List View and it is here that you can click a field and apply conditional formatting to show/hide depending on a condition.

Hope that helps.
Hi, there.  I chatted with a buddy of mine who has done lots more than I have with content types and she figures if you do create content types for each type of event, you can then do a custom NewForm, etc. for each one and associate it with the content type (just as you would associate the single custom form we've talked about).  So when you choose New Videoconference for instance, from the Add menu in the calendar, it should pop up the appropriate form.  I havent done it that way myself, but she says it can be done.  So there's another way to tackle the problem.  
I was trying to do that yesterday and was having trouble yetnow it appears to be working.  Let me finish it and I will report back.  Again thank you very much for all of your help.  Il let you know what happens shortly.
SO I did what you suggested and yes it worked well however I am now trying to customize the forms and I cant seem to figure out just how to do.  For example what I did was this.  I created a regular calendar with the def. content type Event.  I then added 5 custom content types to this new calendar.  From there i could view the calendar in the sharepoint site and if I went to "Events" and chose :"New Event" I could then choose to create a new event for any of the 5 conten types!  Great, however I wanted to change the order of the fields as of right now they are in the same order as they were if just looked at all fields in the content type.  

So I opened the list in SPD and went to forms then choose "New Form" with the specific content type I wanted to change.  I did this for two and even went so far as to create Custom Action Add Buttons via SPD for each new form.  However when I go view the list in the sharepoint site its still the same and I see no way to get to my custom form, does this make sense?

Thank you very much for everything so far I really do appreciate it.
I'm away from my computer, but let's try selecting the list in SPD and right clicking it, then choosing proprerties. One if the tabs allows you to choose the supporting form (hopefully for each content type) and browse to the appropriate form. If that isn't correct (I hate trying to do this from memory!) then let me know and I will look at it when I get back home tomorrow evening.

TTYL
I am sorry but I feel slightly dumb because I am not getting this.  I open up SPD and click on "Lists and Libraries".  From their I select my List and when I right click mhy only options are "rename", "Delete" and "List Settings".  If I select "List Settings" It is the same as click on the list name itself.

Now I do see a froms section in the list settings where I can create and edit forms based on content type however it does not allow to me specify whether it is applied to the content type and I can not figure out how to access them after I create them.

Thank you again for your time and working through this with me I really appreciate everything.
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TEEDA

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TEEDA - I can not begin to thank you enough for all the help you provided to me.  If there is anythign I can do for you please let me know.  I really appreciate you taking the time to walk me through everything.

What was funny is that it was right there infront of me the whole time and I somehow could not see the solution till you provided screen shots.  

Thank you again for your help.
You re very welcome! Have fun with SharePoint.