The Lightning Conductor Web Part is a similar tool to the ‘Content Query Web Part’ (CQWP) that comes with SharePoint Server 2010. The CQWP is capable of aggregating SharePoint List and Library content from a single SharePoint site collection. If you have the requirement to rollup content from across multiple SharePoint site collections or rollup across Web Applications, you will find that the CQWP cannot provide this. The Lightning Conductor Web Part provides a simple way of aggregating your content from anywhere within your SharePoint Farm including across web applications or site collections.
The Lightning Conductor Web Part has been around since early 2007 and supported users of not just SharePoint Server, but Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and above including SharePoint 2010 Foundations or SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise.
We are soon to release the third version of the Lightning Conductor Web Part which includes some exciting new features such as JSON support for building views and caching for performance benefits when aggregating large amounts of content.
The Lightning Conductor has always provided two ways of presenting your rolled up content. The SPGridView which allows you to build a view by simply checking the columns that you wish to display, and the XSLT view if you want to use one of our XSLT views or build your own XSLT view for branding purposes.
Even with the ability to extend the Lightning Conductor Web Part with XSLT, you will sometimes wish you were using a more familiar or simple language to provide some of your own functionality into our Web Part. The JSON display provider gives users of the Lightning Conductor Web Part to make use of it as a rollup engine and they can choose how to render the content using Client Side coding.
Below is a view built using client side code within the Lightning Conductor Web Part.
The Lightning Conductor Web Part caching provides a way for large amounts of content to be rolled up to the cache for a configured duration to allow subsequent calls to the data to be optimized. Once the cache has expired the next call will retrieve the live data and will once again be placed in the cache until it expires. This option provides great performance benefits to anyone rolling up vast amounts of content within SharePoint. Below you will be able to see a table showing the performance benefit when using the caching option.
We are looking for beta testers to try out this new functionality within your environments. If you are interested in becoming a Lightning Conductor Beta Tester, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Beta testers will automatically be enrolled into a drawing to win a farm license of the product.