Let’s Celebrate and Tie Ribbons Around SharePoint

SharePoint 2010 is coming up to its 2 year birthday, so it worth talking about Ribbons. Too often solutions concentrate on pages, Web Parts, lists, libraries and workflows. A SharePoint solution should be more than this – each of these components should be combined to provide users with a holistic solution, where the components work together and not as discrete entities.

Using Web Part connections and customizing the Data Form Web Part (DFWP) Form Action button to initiate workflows, are examples of how you can achieve this. However, SharePoint 2010 provides other components that can be used to improve the users experience (UX).

Microsoft did much refactoring of the user interface (UI) introducing the Office 2007 client application Ribbon to SharePoint Foundation, targeting standard tasks that users need to compete and reduced the use of tables. In your solutions you can extend the out-of-the-box UI, specifically by displaying links, relevant text and commands on the:

•Server Ribbon


•Status bar

•Notification area


•List Item Menu (LIM), also known by developers as the Edit Control Block (ECB).


In my sessions at the Australia SharePoint Conference (20-21st March) and the SharePoint Summit in Toronto (14-16th May 2012), I’ll concentrate on how to extend the server Ribbon interface and create LIMs, using SharePoint Designer 2010, with no-code. I’ll also briefly introduce how to use Visual Studio to extend the four UI components listed above, and then in conclusion I’ll highlight the pros and cons of using SharePoint Designer as compared to Visual Studio. Along the way I’ll also mention what is possible if you are using SharePoint Online, which is part of Office 365.

The session is based on working at client sites and my investigations whilst writing Chapter 3, “Working with Lists and Libraries”, in SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step and Chapter 15, “Customizing the User Interface”, in SharePoint Foundation 2010 Inside Out. Developers can find more information on customizing the Ribbon, on my blog post, SharePoint Conference: Session SPC402 Ribbon Development and Extensibility.

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