Archive | January 2016

How to Configure the Native Chart Web Part in SharePoint

downloadThe chart web part in SharePoint makes it easy for users to create beautiful, interactive charts with different data sources. What’s more – it also allows users to make changes to data sources and see the changes reflected in the charts instantly, making the tool nothing short of a lifesaver during a boardroom presentation. That said, this add-on needs to be configured properly, before it can do its job. Here’s how to go about it.

Adding the chart web part

Before the web part can be used, it has to be inserted into the SharePoint page where the user wants to build and display the chart(s). This can be done using the Chart Web Part control, available under the category Business Data. Adding the web part makes two options available for further configuration:

  1. Data & Appearance Advanced Properties
  2. Connecting the chart to the data source

Under Data & Appearance, there is an option – Connect Chart to Data. Clicking on it opens up a wizard, which allows the chart web part to be connected to one of the following data sources:

  1. Another web part that can provide data
  2. A SharePoint list
  3. An Excel workbook
  4. External content type defined in BDC

Once a source is selected, the same wizard allows the user to connect the chart to the data source. After connecting, the user need to retrieve and filter the data before creating the chart. Data filtering can be done with an existing column used as parameter, or by hitting the + sign next to the Filter Data option and mentioning name, type and value of the selected parameter. Next, the user has the choice to configure the data series, set properties like the fields to be displayed on the X and Y axes, perform analysis on data such as adding a moving average to the data set, and so on.

Determining how the chart would look

To customize the look of the chart, the user needs to click on Appearance & Data and then on Customize Your Chart. Doing so brings up a 3 step wizard. First off, this wizard allows the user to choose the chart type. Once the chart type is chosen, the right hand panel shows a wide range of chart templates for the user to select the most ideal one. Then, the user can select the Chart Appearance Properties, which grants control over the drawing style, appearance theme, size, format, and even the transparency of the chart. Chart element properties, accessible once the appearance has been configured, lets the user define the chart legend, title, grids and axes, hyperlinks, tool tips, markers and labels.

Finally, it is time to fine tune the chart

Clicking on the Advanced Properties presents the user with plenty of options to improve the look and feel of the chart. Available choices include annotations, legends, titles, chart areas, series, toolbar, and even properties of the context menus. As the user chooses each element to configure, the changes show up in the chart area immediately.

Smarter Way to Build SharePoint Charts From Lists, Libraries, or External Data Sources

Building a SharePoint chart is an intelligent way to visualize data from various sources, like SP lists, libraries, and external sources. Instead of staring at an ocean of information, decision makers can quickly make sense of prevailing trends, brainstorm on ways to improve efficiency and profits without compromising on quality, and a whole lot more. Not surprisingly, this makes data visualization an invaluable tool for decision makers in the boardroom.

SharePoint charts can be built from various data sources, including SharePoint lists, Excel worksheets, SQL Server/Oracle databases, and even from many other external data sources via BDC or ODBC connectivity. The following are a few ways that work better and faster than others.

Bringing back chart web part-SP list combo

Anyone working with SharePoint has made use of lists at some point of time, in order to easily collate information. SharePoint 2013 onwards, users have to connect these lists to SharePoint’s Excel services web part to create charts, as the native chart web part has been removed from SharePoint. This can rob the user of a lot of options, as well as varieties of charts, which were present in earlier versions of SharePoint.

However, all is not lost. If a user exports a project that was using chart web part in SP 2010, then the web part will also be exported. Following this step, the user can make use of the discontinued web part without any problem.

Integrating SharePoint library with Excel

A Microsoft Excel workbook can be published directly to a SharePoint library. Once that is done, data from the workbook can be used to create charts and graphs, from a centralized data repository. If the user is working with SP 2013 or later versions, then this step might seem useless as far as creating charts is concerned, since charts will have to be created using Excel services anyway. However, if the chart web part has been exported from SP 2010 beforehand, or a third party tool is being used to create the charts, then this step can really speed up chart creation and simplify data management as well.

Using third party tools to create charts

A third party tool that does not require the user to write codes to create charts can save a lot of time for busy executives. Not only that, these tools often support a wide variety of data sources, allowing the user to choose a data source that he prefers to use – from SP lists to Excel workbooks, and even database files from popular RDBMS suites. Such tools can be used to create/modify charts on the fly, and even update them in real time as the user modifies data sources when necessary.

These are three of the ways to create SharePoint charts and graphs from different data sources, efficiently and quickly. Among these, while exporting the chart web part from SP 2010 can help users, making use of a third party tool is by far the most convenient way for creating charts and graphs in newer versions of SharePoint.

 

This entry was posted on January 17, 2016 and tagged , , , .

Guide For A PhoneGap App Development Company

 

download (15)By roping in web technologies like CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript, PhoneGap or Cordova Apache (recently renamed) has ushered in an era of cross-platform app development. This is a great achievement and was applauded globally. PhoneGap is the recipient of People’s Choice Award 2009. However, there was one major challenge for every PhoneGap app development company in terms of compiling codes to suit different target device platforms, namely, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc.

Thanks to Adobe! PhoneGap app development companies can make use of its PhoneGap Build service to homogeneously and efficiently compile the source code composed of different web technologies. The compiling happens automatically to suit different devices or platforms. Thus, app developers no longer need to worry about the native properties required to build an engaging mobile app. PhoneGap Build is a cloud-based service hosted by Adobe. An app-build submitted here gets compiled using the latest SDK (Software Development Kit) as made available by the native platform owner. For instance, if a PhoneGap build has to target iOS 10 iPhone or iPad, then it would be compiled using the resources of iOS 10 SDK offered by Apple only.

Apart from compiling a PhoneGap build, the cloud service helps with collaboration. Developers can work together from different devices over the Internet and get the job done in a hassle-free manner. The administrator of the project can assign jobs to different developers and keep a track of all. Leveraging its built-in feature called Hydration, the service can also be used to debug and push updates to an existing version, thereby, allowing all team members to work with the most up-to-date version.

Based on their requirements, an app development company can choose the right subscription from the options available.

Free Plan

  • Number of apps: No restriction is applicable as of now. Developers can submit an unlimited number of builds and get the compiling done as per the target platform.
  • Number of private apps: The plan accepts only one private app. In the case of a private app, the coding is hosted in a private GitHub repository.
  • Maximum app size: App size should not exceed 50 MB.
  • Core Cordova plugins: Apps built with using any core Cordova plugins are allowed.
  • Third-party plugins: No restriction on the use of third-party plugins.
  • Plugin uploading: Developers can upload any number of plugins on GitHub and use them in their app as per the needs.
  • Collaborators: There is no limit on the number of developers joining the PhoneGap Build service.

Paid Plan (Starting at $9.99/month)

  • Number of applications: No restriction has been put.
  • Number of private applications: 25 private apps are allowed. In the case of a private app, the coding is hosted in a private GitHub repository.
  • Maximum size of the app: App size not more than 100 MB is permissible.
  • Core Cordova plugins: Apps built with using any core Cordova plugins are allowed.
  • Third-party plugins: No limit on the usage of the number of third-party plugins.
  • Plugin uploading: No upper cap is applicable.
  • Collaborators: Extending the team is not an issue as there is no cap on the number of users.

Adobe Creative Cloud Membership

This is another paid subscription but is a premium membership bringing in some additional Adobe services. This can be subscribed via an authorized reseller of Adobe. A member PhoneGap app development company can submit apps worth 1GB size. All other features remain similar to the Paid one that we have discussed above.

Thus, Adobe has eased the PhoneGap mobile app development process to a large extent. Getting started with the service is quite easy. Simply, a developer needs to upload the app build containing configuration file (config.xml) and web assets file (index.HTML file). The latter contains HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, and other components. A Zip file can also be uploaded in lieu of the index.HTML file. Giving a path of the Git or SVN repository is a must. Thereafter, the Adobe service undertakes the compilation and packaging and delivers the app URLs for the targeted mobile platforms.

 

Which Time Tracker Is Ideal for Your Business

download (14)Automatically tracking your staff’s time by project and task is important whether you bill your customers by the hour or not. Close analysis of your employees’ work activity can reveal potential for eliminating waste and redundancy, streamline time-consuming tasks, and re-allocate funds, all of which helps you in reducing overhead serving your customers better. If you do bill by the hour, a precise and trustworthy time tracker data guarantees that your invoices are accurate and detailed, with proof to your customers.

If you’ve been considering the switch from a paper or Excel-based time tracking, you’ll see that the Internet boasts a big range of standalone and cloud-based time trackers to choose from. Here are just a few things to consider as you evaluate your options.

How a Time Tracker Works?

In terms of its operation, a time tracker will generally fall into one of the two categories: a timer-based system, or an electronic timesheet. While a timesheet is of course better than nothing, there are a few of compelling reasons to consider a time tracker that captures hours worked in real time.

At first, a real time time tracker is more efficient. You have no need to waste 15 minutes in the end of the day to reconstruct your workday by memory, since team members track their time automatically as they work. Second, timer-based solutions provide you with real-time productivity data. Because of it you are able to monitor project budgets and its current status more closely, and make on-the-fly adjustments when needed. You will also see that you’re better equipped to answer customers’ questions as they arise, which helps to build trust and loyalty.

Will Your Staff Use It?

Even the most powerful time trackers can’t do the work if your team members don’t use it consistently. For this reason, it’s critical to find an app that is simple to use and adds to – rather than conflicts with – your employees’ workflow. Web-based trackers that run in a browser are good choice as long as timers continue to run if a browser’s window was inadvertently closed. And because time is money, be sure it only takes a couple of clicks to start, stop an app, or switch between projects and customers.

In order to be efficient, a time tracker must be easier to use than the tool it is to replace, so take the time up front to find the fastest, most intuitive solution for your office.

Can I Afford It?

If you’ve researched the time trackers’ market, you’ve very likely found that a number of the most popular tools are too expensive for small businesses. But don’t be dissuaded. As demand for cloud-based time tracking solutions increases, a great deal of new time tracker vendors enter the market, offering modern tools designed specifically for small to mid-sized business. Although still offered as a monthly payment, these apps are generally quite affordable. If you look among the new name apps, you’ll undoubtedly see something that will work with your business model as well as your budget.

You can also save funds by passing on a time tracker that offers functionality you won’t use like billing, invoicing or project management. If you’ve been in business for a long time, there’s a high probability you already have such systems in the office. Rather than investing in an expensive all-in-one service, opt instead for a streamlined solution that will integrate seamlessly with your current business apps. Concretely, look for a time tracker that will allow you to export the data you need for invoicing and payroll.