PPS Planning – How to display and launch assignments from SharePoint

SharePoint has rapidly become the preferred platform for team collaboration in the enterprise. It provides a central place for information, tasks, documents and much more of the business related content that users need to access every day.

One of the common requests we hear from customers is that they want to display PerformancePoint Planning assignments in SharePoint and allow users to launch the assignments from there. Assignments can be accessed via the Excel Add-in and email notification can be enabled for users to get notified, but there is no out of the box support for the SharePoint scenario.

We have released a code sample that demonstrates how you can display PerformancePoint assignments in SharePoint via SharePoint lists.

The sample uses the SharePoint list infrastructure to display PerformancePoint assignments in SharePoint and enable users to launch them in the Excel Add-in from there. The sample includes the source code and documentation on how to use and deploy the solution.

You can access the sample from here:  http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/PPSP2007Assignments

The sample includes 2 projects:

  • A standalone console application that connects to the PerformancePoint application database (AppDB) and reads the assignments out from open cycles. Then it connects to SharePoint and creates/updates/deletes list items from a SharePoint list, securing the list items with the same security enforced by PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel.

  • A web project containing an ASP.NET page that is used to launch PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel for a specific assignment. This page is used by the SharePoint list items.

This is a different approach from other solutions that I've seen to achieve this. While most solutions focus on creating a web part to show the assignments, this sample uses a regular SharePoint list for that. The good thing about this is that all the list features (like sorting, grouping, filtering, creating views on top of the list, and so on) are available for both administrators and end users to customize the way assignments are displayed. Also, the interface that users see for working with the assignments is no different than other SharePoint lists. Trying to develop this functionality in a custom web part would be a huge task.

As with any sample, there are things that can be customized and extended. Some of the ones I can think of are:

  • Expose more fields: Right now, the console application only copies some of the assignment fields to SharePoint. If more fields are needed, they can easily be added.

  • Convert the launch link into a list Custom Action: Right now, the link to launch the assignment is created using a link column, but with some work it can be easily converted into a SharePoint list custom action. This will make the launch link more SharePoint-like. There are many samples online on how to create custom actions.

  • Add a look and feel: The ASP.NET page used to launch the assignments can be customized to match the company's look and feel (or any other desired look and feel).

  • Add/Modify views: Add your own customized list views and customize the default view. Add grouping, sorting, filtering and use as many list features as you need.

Give it a shot.... I'm sure you will like it!

Pablo Barvo - MSFT

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