Friday, July 27, 2012

SharePoint 2007: Implementing Simple Tagging

This blog post just covers a very simple "tagging" example that I've been using in our SharePoint 2007 Reporting Services server to allow the sharing of reports between different areas. For example in Finance we have a simple report that gets GL Journal Entry lines for a specific Account Code combination that is useful to many of the teams in Finance so they all want access to it. Using tags each team can have it's own view of reports that include the "shared" report.

Let's start with looking at how our current environment is configured. Basically we have a single Document Library (Reports LIVE) which contains all our reports and we've added various additional fields to the SharePoint library such that when you edit the document it looks like this;

Report Properties (SharePoint 2007)
As you can see we had a slight disagreement on how we should work. I championed the "tag everything, categorise nothing" position and sadly had to compromise on "Categorise on Business Process, and Tag Teams Within The Process" - of course we quickly had to turn the categories into a multi-select but otherwise it seems to work just fine (of course I still think I was right - but doesn't every software engineer?!).

The field I'm going to be storing tags in is the "Keyword(s)" field, as you can see it's not mandatory (as sometimes a Process is so distinct that after you've defined the process category then tagging is just irrelevant) and for the report specified above it's actually blank - we're going to change that.

I've picked an Expense report (from Oracle Internet Expenses) deliberately as I know that it is used by two teams; expenses, and accounts payable.  At the moment all the teams in Finance (General Ledger, Purchasing, Inventory, Audit, etc) all have the report visible in their lists.

The first step is to enter some keywords. I'm using ";" as a separator so I've entering "expenses;payables" (note the lack of a space);

Adding Keywords To The Report
Now that the changes have been saved go to the drop down at the top right of the document library and choose "Create View". I'm going to create a view called "Finance: Payables" that will contain any report that has been tagged with "payables";

New View for Finance (Accounts Payable)
Select the columns you'd like to display and then scroll down to the Filter section and choose to show the items when column "Keyword(s)" contains "payables";

Building a View Filter
Now save the new view and you should see the report you've tagged. To properly implement this you then need to create a new view to pick up the reports tagged with "expenses" - then you'll see the same report appearing in both views but not, if you continue the example further and create views for other groups, in those views.

Of course you're totally reliant on everyone spelling (and typing!) everything correctly - something that's far from guaranteed - but it does give you a way of dynamically categorising your items and sharing them between different groups. Something using folders won't let you do.

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