My list of SharePoint tools

I thought this post might serve me as a central location where I could add all the nice SharePoint/web development tools developed by those smart SharePoint gurus. BTW I like to take this opportunity to say big thank you to all of them:
U2U CAML Query Builder for SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint 2007 (Windows Version)
SharePoint development: handy little utility to get GUID’s and Attribute names
U2U CAML Query Builder Feature
2009 SharePoint Toolbox Review
Hammerhead – web page load tester tool
Intranet Factory
SharePoint Tools (commercial & free)
WSS Demo SharePoint Tools and Utilities
WSS 3.0 Site Top Navigation
CKS – Development Tools Edition (Foundation)
CKS – Development Tools Edition (Server)
CAML.NET Intellisense for Visual Studio 2010
Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Power Tools
LINQ to SharePoint DSL Extension for VS2010
SpugDisposeCheck – VS Addin for validating Sharepoint 2007,2010 dispose objects


Building Dynamic BI Using Excel/SharePoint List Data – part 1

Recently I got a request from a client, which reads as “…currently, we track our budgets and spending for the work units using a series of linked Excel spreadsheets. Admin support enters invoice information into these spreadsheets and the information gets categorized according to pre-defined budget and program codes. We need a Dashboard for our SharePoint that would allow us to present summary information for our spending (budget against spending to date) by extracting information from the spreadsheets..”

A common business issue is the inability to display meaningful Business Intelligence (BI) information in a cost-effective, efficient manner. In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, we can generate powerful graphs through Performance Point, Excel Services, and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) but these technologies can come at a high cost. The costs make sense for many large companies that are setting up their own SharePoint farm and running extensive analytics. However, this may be overkill for smaller businesses who only want to generate a few basic charts.

In the coming few days I will be blogging as to how I tackled this issue by using Excel 2007 as data source then sync the Excel data to a SharePoint list. Later create a visually appealing chart using SharePoint designer 2007 and Visifire charting control. For today I will show you the end result of my solution which potentially met this client’s requirement.