Me & My SharePoint [FrontEnd]

© Christian Stahl – All about SharePoint branding & customizations

Comment functionality for news pages – Part I — June 30, 2012

Comment functionality for news pages – Part I

If you want to implement comment functionality into the news pages in SharePoint Server 2010, a no code solution with Data Views and portion of jQuery could be a perfect option for you. Alternative you can use the OOTB Note board web part or even use a blog site to get comment functionality but these options limits you if you need to customize such solution in comparison to data views powered with XSLT, jQuery and CSS.

My concept for this is basically to use two connected lists. In the following example I’ll use the Page library in the root site and a custom list called NewsComments. The NewsComments lists have a lookup column (PageID) that connects the ID column in the Pages library. You can do this at a news sub site as well if you prefer.
I am using a data view form web part for the comment textbox in a page layout that sends the comment text, the current page ID, the page title and the page URL to the NewsComments list. Into this Page layout that serves as a template for the news pages, I have created a DVWP that displays all comments related to the current page. Do get this relation I use a parameter with a server variable and a XSL filter that matches current page name to the column in NewsComments list that stores the page names. I do also use some jQuery to grab and populate information on the page and the list.
When you connecting lists with a lookup it gives you the possibility to join content from both lists in a Data View Web Part (joined subview), this can also be useful if you want to create a news rollup that shows the latest news including the number of comments per news item. I’ll write more about such web parts in the next blog.

First step – create the list and a page layout

  • Create a list in the root site of the site collection by the type of Custom List named NewsComments. Create following columns:

    • A column named PageID by the type Lookup. Select Pages in ’Get information from’ and select ID for ’In this column’. Set it to required and click OK.
    • A column named PageTitle by the type Single Line of Text and click OK.
    • A column named Comments by the type multiple lines of text with 5 rows, specify this as Plain text and click OK.
  • Open SPD and create a new page layout and give it the name ’NewsPages’. Don’t forget to give the file a Title. You can copy an existing page layout. Open the page and add or remove the content fields you like the page to have, you can use just Page Content and Title. Add some additional markup; give the elements class names that the jQuery functions needs. Download my example files down below and copy the markup. In my example I have created a Page layout based on the Article Page layout, if you are using a content type like the Enterprise Wiki you have to add tag prefix in the top of the page layout that match the fields you put on the page.
  • Save and publish the file in _catalogs > masterpage folder at the root site. Make sure that it’s available at the root site as a selectable page layout so you can specify this page layout when you create a new page in the root site.
  • Now use the browser and create some pages at the root site, for example name the first on to test1 and the URL will be /Pages/test1.aspx. Use your new page layout as template.

Next step – create a comment in the list

Open the NewsComments list and create a new item, type the URL name of one of the pages you have created in the tile field, for example test1.aspx. Type the filename of the page in the Title field, select the ID of this page, type the title of the page in the PageTitle column and create a comment. You’ll need to do this just to make sure the comments can be connected.

You have now created the basics and were now move the two DVWPs that will display the comments for the pages and make the comment box available. Download my example files if you get stuck, you can just copy the DVWPs and the jQuery and paste them in your page layout.

Next step – create a Data View Web Part that only display comments related to the current news page.

  • Open SPD and the page layout that you just created with SharePoint Designer. Create a DVWP (display Item Form) that get the information from the NewsComments list. Add this DVWP at the bottom of the page just below the last content field. Use no paging, show all objects and show only the column Comments.
  • Create a new parameter as in the image below. The parameter is required to match the current page’s URL name to what caught up in NewsComments list’s Title field.
  • Change the dsQueryRespoinse/Rows variable. If you have a language other than English don’t forget to change name of Pages. Locate the following line:

    <xsl:variable name="Rows" select="/dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row"/>

    change to:

    <xsl:variable name="Rows" select="/dsQueryResponse/Rows/Row[@Title=substring-after($ReferPageURL, 'Pages/')]"/>
  • Save the page and verify that only the comments appear per page according to what you entered in the NewsComments list.
  • Clean up the DVWP, och add the some markup for presentation.
  • Verify that everything works so far.

Next step – create a form web part

  • Add a DFWP (New Item Form) below the other data view, that get the information from the NewsComments list.
  • Use only following columns: PageID, PageTitle, Title and Comments

Clean the DFWP and give it some markup. As for the other DVWP, it’s important that you use the appropriate markup when jQuery and CSS makes use of class names.

Next step – create the jQuery you need for the comment box in the page layout

The purpose of the following jQuery is to get the page’s ID populated in the dropdown and to populate the Page’s title and URL into the select fields. I have also included a function that show characters left and set a limit to 140 characters.

<script type="text/javascript">
// Limit characters
function limitChars(textid, limit, infodiv){
var text = $('#'+textid).val();    
var textlength = text.length;
if(textlength > limit) {
$('#' + infodiv).html(''+limit+' limit reached');
return false;
else {
$('#' + infodiv).html(''+ (limit - textlength) +' characters left');
return true;
$(".FormFieldNewsComments > span > textarea[title='Comments']").keyup(function(){
limitChars(".FormFieldNewsComments > span > textarea[title='Comments']", 140, "LimitInfo");
$(document).ready(function() {
var loc = window.location.href.substr(window.location.href.lastIndexOf("/")+1); // Get the page filename
var PageTitle = $('.PageTitleDiv').html(); // Get the page title
$(".FormFieldNewsTitle > span > input[title='Title']").val(loc); // insert page filename in a CSS hidden formfield
$(".FormFieldPageTitle > span > input[title='PageTitle']").val(PageTitle);	// insert pages title in a CSS hidden formfield
var HiddenInput = $("input[title='PageID']").attr("optHid"); // Lagrar ID till attributet optHid
$("select[title='PageID']").val(_spPageContextInfo.pageItemId); // If less than 20 items i Pages bibl, lägger in ID nr som en selected i DD
$("input[title='PageID']").val(_spPageContextInfo.pageItemId);  // If 20 or more items in Pages lib
$("input[id='" + HiddenInput +"']").attr("value",(_spPageContextInfo.pageItemId)) // Set ID as selected if 20 or more items in Pages lib

Next step – add a few more functions

I added a few additional functions in this example which I think may be helpful and that is the ability to remove own comments and to show number of comments for the page. If you download my example files, this is already included in the DVWPs.

Show the number of comments

<xsl:if test="count($Rows) = 0">No comments yet..</xsl:if>
<xsl:if test="count($Rows) = 1"><xsl:value-of select="$dvt_RowCount" /> Comment</xsl:if>
<xsl:if test="count($Rows) &gt;= 2"><xsl:value-of select="$dvt_RowCount" /> Comments</xsl:if>

Add the following parameter to your XSL style sheet

<xsl:param name="UserID" />

Create these parameter for the rowview template

<xsl:param name="KeyField">ID</xsl:param>
<xsl:param name="KeyValue" select="ddwrt:EscapeDelims(string(@ID))"/>
<xsl:param name="Mode">view</xsl:param>

Match the author to the logged in user

<xsl:if test="@Author.title = $UserID">
<a href="javascript: {ddwrt:GenFireServerEvent(concat('__cancel;__delete={',$KeyField,'=',$KeyValue,'};__commit'))}">DELETE</a>

If you want to create a link to the comment list that only administrators should see you can use the DDWRT:IfHasRights() function with an appropriate value

<xsl:if test="ddwrt:IfHasRights(33554432)"><a href="/Lists/NewsComments/AllItems.aspx"><img src="/Style Library/Branding/Images/EditIcon.gif" alt="" /></a></xsl:if>

Next step – branding

The functions for this are now completed and it’s time to give this some visual awesomeness! Download my example files where you find CSS and an image that should get you going.

More to do

There are a lot of things to keep in mind to get this up and I hope you can take this as a base for your own solution and find inspiration. There are many ways to extend this and maybe I’ll publish this to Codeplex for the support and possibilities to further extensions. Maybe it could be an idea to integrate this function with my friend Marc D Anderson’s SPservices SocialDataServices

Download the files

Download my example files here

Part II

In the next blog I’ll show you how to create a news rollup out of this, a joined DVWP that displays the latest news and the number of related comments.