Create a new Alert to a SharePoint list

Alerts. That magnificent functionality in SharePoint, that let’s you get a heads-up anytime someone touches your precious documents (so you can go and revert the changes), or changes files in Style Library (so you can go and remove that pink custom CSS they tried to add). They are ancient, quite cumbersome and CERTAINLY not pretty, but quite reliable (and despite my expectations – they were included in Modern SharePoint, too!), so there’s really no reason to still keep using them.

However, every now and then, they’re quite hidden from the GUI. This post describes how to access them on pretty much any site!

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How to show more than 30 categories in SharePoint blog/news sites?

SharePoint doesn't work as intended

Imagine this: you’re using a good old SharePoint blog site, and have a bunch of categories in use. That’s nice and easy – SharePoint offers the categorization functionality natively, and it works decently. Problems arise when you have a lot of categories, though – not all of them will be shown. Even if you tweak the web part to show more items on a page, this isn’t reflected on the whole blog site!

This post article explains how to fix this.

Problem

For background info – the category listing is actually an XSLT list view web part. It’s not obvious just looking at it, but to change its view you’ll need to modify the list view it’s attached to.

With low numbers of categories, this works quite nicely.

SharePoint blog

SharePoint blog with categories

By default, however, SharePoint only shows 30 first (alphabetically ordered) of your categories. Weirdly enough, it doesn’t show any paging for them – and it doesn’t even indicate in any way, that it’s not showing all of the categories! This is a bit annoying, so luckily there’s a way to change this.

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How to fix Twitter embed in SharePoint

MFW another API just stops working without returning any errors

Twitter has always been good for developers, except for those who’d like to embed anything – hence making it possible to interact with their contents on other sites than Twitter. I guess it’s understandable, but they seem to hate anyone trying to embed feeds, searches or anything on their sites. And they express their hate by making the developers’ lives more difficult… This time by silently breaking the embed script in a way, that’s tricky to work around.

The Problem

In February 2018, Twitter announced that their widgets will start rendering fallback markup on IE9 and IE10 “in the near future”. Since SharePoint 2013 and 2016 are locked in document mode of IE 10 (i.e. using IE on SharePoint sites causes the user agent to be roughly that of IE10), that means trouble for SharePoint admins. Basically everyone, who’s using Twitter embeds on SharePoint, will be seeing empty feeds henceforth.

Well, save for SharePoint Online users, since SharePoint Online renders in whatever mode Microsoft chooses that week! For them, Twitter feeds will act like erratically, and I feel bad for whomever has to debug the behavior!

Anyway – that change’s immediate effects were surprisingly small. Widgets still rendered, until roughly 2 weeks ago (early May 2018). We started getting reports of Twitter being utterly broken – the embed being completely empty without any fallback rendering whatsoever. What’s worse, the embed fails silently, without any errors anywhere. Looking at the code, it looks like it just checks the user agent and ends the execution – thanks a lot, Twitter, much appreciated!

What’s even worse, is that it applies to IE11 users, too – if they’re in SharePoint, or on a site that’s running in compatibility mode (such as all sites on “intranet” zone). And since IE seems to be most actively used in large organizations, especially on internal communication channels, Twitter just decided to block the majority of IE users in the world from accessing their service via embeds. 

Great.

Luckily, there’s a dirty hack for this situation!

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How to show any page in a pop-up in SharePoint

This ages old trick deserves to be published – since it makes it easy to quickly show info from pretty much any another page on pretty much any classic SharePoint page (in a SharePoint-compatible pop-up). So, here goes:

Using SharePoint’s JavaScript library to open an arbitrary pop-up

Yes – SharePoint contains all the functionality out-of-the-box, and you almost don’t have to do anything yourself! Let’s see how this works.

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