SharePoint Learning Kit 1.8 Released

SLK 1.8 is now officially released We’ve got customers who have been running on it for over a year so the earlier functionality is pretty stable. The beta was released in April, and I’ve fixed a couple of bugs since then, and one new piece of functionality – markdown syntax for urls.

Download from CodePlex.

SLK 1.8 is supported on SharePoint 2010 and 2013, both Foundation and Server. There’s install documentation in the release zip file, but other than that all documentation is on this blog:

http://blog.salamandersoft.co.uk/index.php/tag/1-8/.

In addition to a load of bug fixes, the main changes are:

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Markdown link syntax supported in SharePoint Learning Kit assignment descriptions

Following on from enabling links in an assignment’s description in SLK, we had a request to turn urls to OneNote pages more readable. A typical link to a OneNote page is

https://tenancy.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc={e2ea84dc-5bef-4d1d-9788-35f30cc8f4c5}&action=edit&wd=target%28%2F%2FSLK.one%7C17b5d14c-d903-4a96-8137-904b2c1ddb22%2F1.8%7Cd72c4f32-9f99-4a5e-a4f0-286bab08b1e1%2F%29

which is really not very pretty. This links to a page 1.8, in section SLK in the Shared Notebook OneNote on SharePoint 2013.

To resolve this I’ve added support for manually adding a title for the link, to hide the link details from view. To use this I’ve used Markdown syntax which is of the form

[link text](url)

So

[Shared Notebook/SLK/1.8](https://tenancy.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc={e2ea84dc-5bef-4d1d-9788-35f30cc8f4c5}&action=edit&wd=target%28%2F%2FSLK.one%7C17b5d14c-d903-4a96-8137-904b2c1ddb22%2F1.8%7Cd72c4f32-9f99-4a5e-a4f0-286bab08b1e1%2F%29)

would be output as

Shared Notebook/SLK/1.8

which is much nicer in a description. The full Markdown link syntax also includes an optional title attribute

[link text[(url “title”)

this is not supported, and neither is any other Markdown syntax.

Standard urls not in Markdown syntax will display at before, so

Update this notebook [Shared Notebook/SLK/1.8](https://tenancy.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc={e2ea84dc-5bef-4d1d-9788-35f30cc8f4c5}&action=edit&wd=target%28%2F%2FSLK.one%7C17b5d14c-d903-4a96-8137-904b2c1ddb22%2F1.8%7Cd72c4f32-9f99-4a5e-a4f0-286bab08b1e1%2F%29)

and another link www.salamandersoft.co.uk
www.microsoft.com.

Will display as

Update this notebook Shared Notebook/SLK/1.8
and another link www.salamandersoft.co.uk
www.microsoft.com.

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SharePoint Learning Kit 1.8 Beta Release

I’ve now release SLK version 1.8 to a beta release. We’ve got customers who have been running on it for over a year so the earlier functionality is pretty stable, but I’ve added functionality in up until last week, so that will be less tested.

Download from CodePlex.

SLK 1.8 is supported on SharePoint 2010 and 2013, both Foundation and Server. There’s install documentation in the release zip file, but other than that all documentation is on this blog:

http://blog.salamandersoft.co.uk/index.php/tag/1-8/.

In addition to a load of bug fixes, the main changes are:

    Any problems just report them on the CodePlex discussion page.

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SharePoint Learning Kit 1.8 supports Office Mix and Sway

SLK 1.8 now supports Office Mix and Sway. In addition to enabling the links in the description field, if it detects that there is a link to an Office Mix or a Sway then it will embed them in the lobby page. This enables the learners to view them directly without having to follow the link.

So for this assignment linking to a Mix:

mixInstructor

then this is what the learner will see on the lobby page:

mixLearner

Similarly when creating an assignment linking to a Sway

swayInstructor

the learner sees

swayLearner

It will even support multiple Mixs and Sways in the description, embedding them all in the page, one above the other.

So, this is a great reason to start using Office Mix and Sway in your assignments, you get the rich functionality of these new Office components with the ability to assign them easily to your learners.

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Enable Urls in Assignment Properties Description field–SharePoint Learning Kit 1.8

SLK 1.8 automatically turns urls in the assignment properties description field into hyperlinks. So if you create this assignment:

slkUrlInstructor

The when it is displayed to the learner, the url www.salamandersoft.co.uk will be turned into a link, giving

slkUrlLearner

This is on by default and automatic, so no configuration is required.

It’s a fairly simple implementation using a regular expression to find the urls, so it won’t work in all cases. The urls which are supported start with:

  • http://
  • https://
  • file://
  • ftp://
  • www.
  • ftp.
  • mix.office.
  • sway.

and the rest of the url is validated as well.

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Support for custom assignment fields in SharePoint Learning Kit

In version 1.8 I’ve added support for adding custom fields to an assignment, If you’ve ever felt the need to add more details for an assignment, you can now do it.

Here’s an example of an assignment with four extra properties:

customPropertiesInstructor

This assignment has four custom properties:

  • String Value: A simple one line of text.
  • MultiString: A text value over multiple lines.
  • Choice: A drop down list of values.
  • Url: A url.

Here’s the student view of the same assignment:

customPropertiesStudent

Implementation

The implementation is based on storing the custom properties in a list on the site the assignment is assigned to. You configure the name of the list in the SLK settings, then SLK will look for a list of that name in the site. If it finds it, then it adds the columns in the default view as custom properties.

The name of the property is the name of the column and the columns types supported are:

  • Single line of text
  • Multiple lines of text
  • Choice
  • Hyperlink

These will be rendered as above, with the url type rendered as a url to the student. All other column types will be ignored, as will the Title property.

If there isn’t a list in the site with the configured title, then assignments for that site won’t have any custom properties. This allows you to have different custom properties for each site.

If the column is marked as required in the list, then the custom property will be required.

SLK will handle access to the list so you don’t need to give your users permissions to access it, in fact it’s probably preferable for them not to have access to it directly.

The ordering of the custom properties is controlled by the order of the columns in the view. So if I change the view to:

customPropertiesView

then the student view will be

customPropertiesStudent2

and the instructor view will change similarly.

Setup

To set up and enable custom properties:

Download and install the latest version of SLK 1.8.

Set the name of the list which will hold the properties in SlkSettings.xml and update it in Central Administration. This is set in the CustomPropertyList attribute on the root Settings element.

 customPropertiesSlkSettings

    Here it will look for a list called SLK in the assignment’s site.

Then create the lists in each of the sites where you want the assignments to have custom properties. Add a column to the list and default view for each custom property you want, and order the view to get the desired display order. Set required on any columns that you want to be required.

And that’s it, from now on the custom properties will be added to every assignment in those sites with appropriate lists.

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