My life was once filled with fancy server-side scripts, but now I'm just another SharePoint consultant.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why Folders are Evil and other nonsense

I'm awestruck by new solutions that somehow adapt into old, tired methods, as if there was a genetic reason behind the mechanics. (First sentence written without coffee.) This is the reason why I'm considering developing my own certification system for people that want to be SharePoint site administrators or owners.

I'll give someone the honor and right to manage their site structure, to add lists and libraries, and before I know it, they're thinking hierarchically. The dreaded "drill-down". There it is on their aging network K: drive, why not recreate the same structure in SharePoint? On the other hand...

There's a reason why the Microsoft SharePoint devs put in the the ability to "Specify whether the 'New Folder' command appears on the New menu" within the advanced document library settings. They were, no doubt, trying to get people to think categorically. The MOSS doc lib can be extended -and- filtered and sorted -and- grouped and tweaked, all depending on columnar data. Use the columns, they are your friends.

Look at Gmail... You can't make a folder in Gmail, but you can flag items with "labels" to help sort and filter specific items. I have a flag for my wife's mail items, yet I really could easily find all of her mail by a "From:" filter. The label column in the Gmail database is a special construct that allows multiple categories per item. I remember when I first got my 4GB web-based mailbox, I was pissed that I couldn't create a new folder! I'm over it...

(The only reason to have a folder in a SharePoint document library is to be able to throw permissions on it... Even then, don't do it!)

So, here's my argument... One of my site admins accidentally deleted the "Explorer View" viewport or the link to "WebFldr.aspx" from the Views: drop down menu. I say "the link," because "WebFldr.aspx" is still there in the virtual file structure and it still works. I've looked everywhere for a solution to repair the linkage to this view, and I decided it best just to create a new document library and do a "Content and Structure" move from the old library to the new.

The problem is FOLDERS! The move operation fails because, as SharePoint elegantly errors out, you can't move leaf objects within folders. I need to shake somebody... I'm going to become a pro wrestler...

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Chicago, Illinois, United States