Friday, July 13, 2007

Are you ready for this? Lotus Connections person card in Sharepoint

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Alright, so I finally got the BusinessCard from Lotus Connections Profiles integrated into Microsoft Sharepoint!  How??  Well, that's for me to know and for you to find out!!!  I'm actually bribing management right now to see if I can get at least a $30,000 pay raise.

Ok, I guess I should stop daydreaming, huh?  Let's talk about how this works.  First, as I mentioned in my previous post, most of the HTML for Sharepoint sites is generated by a Windows DLL.  I, of course, got really frustrated that I would have to code my own DLL in order to get this going.  I immediately started to use my network to see if there were any Sharepoint resources within IBM who could help me do this.  I eventually ended up with Jeff Calow, who is an STSM for Composite Application development.  He suggested that instead of doing .NET development, I instead use JavaScript and the DOM (document object model) to parse out the resulting HTML and inject the necessary JavaScript.  I wasn't too happy with the idea, but I figured "this is a POC and we just need something quick-n-dirty" so this should work.

Suneil Berajawala had provided me with a test page that quickly explained how to expose the Business Card in a typical web page.   All that's required is the user's email address and 2-3 lines of JavaScript.  One of those lines of code, has to go in an HTML's HEAD element.  The problem is that Sharepoint doesn't provide a way for me to insert a HEAD element (every time I did, the server would crash because it wasn't able to compile the ASPX page).  Anyway, after pinging Suneil for a while, I found the following tag in the page:

<asp:Content ContentPlaceHolderId="PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead" runat="server">

and I asked myself:  "Could this be the place where I would insert stuff that would typically go in an <HEAD> element?".  I gave it a try and it worked!!!!
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