Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adding and Linking Documents to Tasks - Part III

We've been exporing the new IntelliGantt Web Part feature that let's you add documents to a Shared Documents list via dragging and dropping from your computer onto a task item. In Part I we showed how to set up the lookup column to enable this feature then dragged a local file and dropped it onto a task. In Part II we showed how you can link tasks to existing documents in your document lists via in-place editing with auto-completion boxes. In Part III we will show how documents linked to tasks work with templates.

We left off with two documents associated to two tasks. With better naming, one could imagine that Folder2 is really a reusable template containing two steps we must do again and again. Furthermore, if the goal is to build a portable typewriter, then the associated document is valuable for every new portable typewriter we build.

With the IntelliGantt Web Part any task or summary task can become a template. First we need to open the tool window so we can get to the pencil.

We select the folder we wish to turn into a template and click the pencil image to write information to you local computer.

When we click on the pencil, a 'Save As' dialog appears that lets us name the file and save it to disk.

This template file with the '.igantt' extension can be used by dragging and dropping onto lists or folders in any IntelliGantt Web Part. Here, though the image doesn't show the mouse cursor, you can see the 'drop arrow' is pointing to the 'Testing' task list.

Once the template is dropped, the IntelliGantt Web Part creates the same group of tasks that seeded the template-- including their assignments and linked documents.

With this feature you can create a library of reusable project fragments that can be dropped onto any IntelliGantt Web Part list or summary task. Common tasks can be templatized such that they also contain starter documents detailing how to perform the work needed. One or more users can be pre-assigned to tasks to reduce the amount of housekeeping work in the day-to-day of a project manager. You can even store these '.igantt' template files on a file server so multiple project managers can all work with the same templates.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adding and Linking Documents to Tasks - Part II

In Part I of this series we showed how you can connect a SharePoint Task List to a SharePoint Shared Documents List with the IntelliGantt Web Part. This covered both setting up the 'Documents' lookup column in the Task List and adding one or more documents via drag and drop onto the task item. Today we will show how you can manage task/document links and work with documents already in your Shared Documents List.

Here is where we left off yesterday. The image file 'igwebpart_128_blue.png' had been dropped onto the 'Item' task in the IntelliGantt Web Part (IGWP). IGWP both uploaded the file to the Shared Documents List, added the cell entry with the document name and created the 'has documents' icon at the far left of the grid.

When you move the mouse into the 'Documents' cell you will see '+' and '-' icons appear around the document. These let you add and remove document links. For example, here we will remove the document link:

The cell entry disappears and the helpful icon indicator does too. But while this removed the visible link in IGWP, the document is in fact still in the Shared Documents List.

We can actually re-link the same document with the same task again by using the '+' icon to add this link:

IGWP will scan the Shared Documents List and provide an auto-complete box for you. This way you easily find the document you with to link by name:

Now the document has been re-linked with the task. It's visible within the 'Documents' column and has the helpful 'has documents' icon once more.

Tomorrow we will look at using this same linking concept with templates in Part III.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adding and Linking Documents and Tasks - Part I

It's been a quiet month on the blog which can only mean one thing-- new feature time!

We introduced a great way to add local files as attachments to tasks by using one of the most familiar gestures: drag and drop. Not long after customers began asking us if we could also use drag and drop to add files to a Shared Library and have it link to the task. The benefit here is then, unlike attachments, documents associated with tasks could support versioning, permissions and other advanced features.

We're happy to say we heard you and are proud to introduce the simplest way to 1) add one or more files to a Shared Documents list by drag and drop and 2) automatically link them to the task you dropped them on.

Here's how it works. Below is the IntelliGantt Web Part visualizing a simple SharePoint Task List. You'll note this SharePoint site actually has multiple task lists, but we used the explorer feature to select as single task list.

Also in this SharePoint site is the common Shared Document list. As you can see we have a folder and a couple documents within the list.

Here is the one plumbing step required for things to work. What we need to do is add a Lookup Column to a Task List and associate it with the Shared Documents list. Here is the lookup column we created. And yes, it does need to be named 'Documents' for the IntelliGantt Web Part to recognize it:

Now we can open Windows Explorer on our local PC, find a file and drag/drop it onto a task. Notice the 'upload arrow' that appears to help identify the task drop target:

Once the file has been dropped the IntelliGantt Web Part will detect if a 'Documents' column pointing to a Shared Documents library is in the task list view. If a 'Documents' column exists then IntelliGantt Web Part will upload the dropped file or files to the defined Shared Documents list. As a result, first you see the document associated with the task visually:

And we can also see the document has in fact been uploaded to the Shared Documents physically:

Since it's in a document list we can checkout, edit and version the file for a more complicated work item. Back in the IntelliGantt Web Part, because the file is linked to the task, you can always mouse over the attachment to quickly navigate to documents. First point...

... then click.

In Part II we will see how IntelliGantt Templates take advantage of these linked documents to create reusable components that can automatically link with existing documents.