Ever since SharePoint 2003 (Yes 2003, not 2013), I have always been a huge fan of the Data View Web Part (DVWP). The Data View Web Part was the Swiss army knife of web parts allowing you to do all sorts of cool stuff with external data sources and SharePoint Lists. Here is a link to a blog showing the Data View Web Part in use with Microsoft Frontpage 2003. http://flylib.com/books/en/188.8.131.523/1/
The DVWP could take a SharePoint list from one Team Site and display it in another with additional styling. You could connect to Web Services, XML Files, RSS Feeds, Oracle and SQL databases with ease and display the data with conditional formatting, aggregate functions, pre-set styles etc. Of course using the web part left you with ghosted pages! But that was really cool, as you could give somebody the official role in your organization of being Chief Ghost Hunter.
The DVWP improved in SharePoint Designer 2007 offering more styling options and was also available in SharePoint Designer 2010 offering the capabilities of connecting to even more external data sources through REST.
Many of the out-of-the-box web parts in SharePoint were based upon the Data View Web Part. Below is a screenshot of a Business Data List web part from Business Connectivity Services open in SharePoint Designer providing the capability to perform formatting of the data, complete control of the display of the data and in addition conditional formatting. You could insert images such as traffic light icons and then hide them based upon a condition meaning that you now had KPI’s on your external data! It was so easy and powerful.
Unfortunately, the Design view has gone! Yes.. GONE! Along with vinyl, cassette tapes, and VHS! But, we do have the memories and will be able to tell our grandchildren the story of how easy it was in the olden days when we used to be able to display data so easily without having to write any code! If you think that story would be a bit dull. You could always inject a personality into it such as “Wonderlaura” who was a Data View Web Part Superhero.
So this is what SharePoint Designer looks like today:
This means we won’t have a tool out-of-the-box whereby we can so easily modify the display of Search Result web parts, BCS web parts, SharePoint Lists and Libraries, XML files, RSS feeds, SQL database tables and more.
But, you will have the Lightning Tools Data Viewer Web Part!
This is version 184.108.40.206 of the Data Viewer Web Part which will work with SQL, Oracle, and SharePoint List/Library data sources and here are its capabilities:
· Connect to Data Sources without code or even leaving the browser
· Display SQL Tables, Views, Stored Procedures
· Display Oracle data
· Display SharePoint List or Libraries from any site collection in any web application
· Full Insert, Update and Delete options
· Sorting, Grouping, and Filtering
· Number/String Formatting
· Aggregate Functions such as Min, Max, Count, AVG
· Conditional Formatting
· Connect to other Data View Web Parts for Parent/Child or Summary/Detail relationships.
You can do all of the above without customizing your page or even entering SharePoint Designer allowing you to connect to your external data in just minutes.
There is also an extensive roadmap which includes more data sources such as OData, BCS External Content Types, REST, XML, ODBC and more.
You can download a trial or watch a video of the web part today: http://lightningtools.com/products/data-viewer-web-part/