Centralizing Project Detail Page Information: Centralized Links List

In a previous post, I talked about how to generate a centralized list of project status updates using nothing more than a custom list, InfoPath, a Query String Filter Web Part, and duct tape.  For this post, I wanted to talk about a couple more use cases for the same approximate model….i.e. a centralized information repository shared by all projects across a Project Server 2010 implementation. 

The more Project Server 2010 deployments I perform, the more I realize that this model is essentially the one size fits all solution to a number of information management needs.

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This post will talk about using the same implementation model to deploy a centralized link list and a centralized document library.  Why would you want to do this, you ask?  Good question.  My response: count how many of the following items may apply to your particular Project Server implementation.

  • Not all projects are associated with a project workspace, or the ratio of projects to workspaces is not 1:1.
  • Projects have approval documents which may need to get posted before the actual workspace is provisioned.  Perhaps the workflow requires a workspace only after the approval documents have been scanned and loaded to the system.
  • Your project managers have SharePoint sites or external collaboration sites outside of the Project Server farm and would like to include links from Project Center to those sites.
  • You desire to surface a list or library within the PDP pages and therefore piggy back on the Project Center navigation interface by having users click on the project name and then the specific PDP page.

Creating a Centralized Link List

In this scenario, the organization does not maintain a single website for each project in Project Server.  Some projects may not have a site.  Some projects may be linked to sites that exist in other farms.  In an IT governance scenario, each project may represent a potential change for a specific application – where the application maps to a site, and each project maps to a document library on the application site.

The first step, as in the previous post, is to create a centralized list of links.  In the main PWA site, under Site Actions, select the option to View All Content.

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Create a new Links List.  Select the More Options to opt the list out of the Quick Launch Bar.

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Now click on the List Settings option.  We are now going to add a field to capture the Project Unique ID field (ProjUID).

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Add the ProjUID field as a single line of text.

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We now need to modify the input form for the list.  We will do that using the built-in InfoPath form editing functionality.

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The default form should open.

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Right click on the ProjUID row and select the option to delete it.  The field will still exist, but not show up in the form.

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Add a button and configure it to trigger the Submit action.

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In the Backstage View, publish the form back to the list.

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Close InfoPath.  Navigate back to PWA.  Select Server Settings, and create a new Project Detail Page (PDP).

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Once the page has been created, we will need to add three webparts to the page: a query string webpart, an InfoPath form viewer webpart, and the webpart for the custom list we created above.  The results should appear as below.

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Now we configure the query string filter webpart and the InfoPath webpart.  Set the InfoPath webpart to display the customized form from the Master Links List.  Change the default Submit behavior to “Close the Form.”

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Open the tool pane to configure the query string filter.  This filter will pull the ProjUID value from the URL of each PDP page when it is presented.  Enter “ProjUID” in the Query String Parameter Name field.

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Click Apply.  Now, we need to connect the webparts.  The query string filter webpart will now perform two purposes: to populate the ProjUID field in the Master Links List, and to filter the displayed links at the bottom of the page based on the ProjUID field in the URL.

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Configure the two connections.  The PDP should now appear as follows:

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The PDP may now be used to track links to project sites.  When added to a project, here’s what it looks like…

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..coming up next….deploying a centralized document library.

Centralizing Project Detail Page Information: Centralized Links List