SharePoint Forms Reality Check

As is often the case recently, inspiration for this post came from a thread over at the MSDN SharePoint – Design and Customization forum.  In this particular thread, I suggested using the PreSaveAction (see my post entitled Validation on SharePoint Forms – Part Four for details on how this works) and some script to do some validation on a form.  The reason in this case was that the form was very long (due to a large number of columns) and users weren’t seeing the error messages higher up on the page when they clicked "OK".

Hmmm… that should work, but it means I need to add this javascript to every list I make and change the content of the script based on which fields need to be validated. Unless there is some neat little way for Javascript to figure out which of the fields require content? I can’t imagine so.
From a usability point of view Sharepoint is implementing a pretty bad default way of validating forms here. Well, just gotta work my way around it.
Thanks for the help.

I think you always need to put SharePoint through the 80/20 mental test.  The way the out of the box forms work is absolutely fine for [at least] 80% of the use cases.  IMHO, Microsoft is interested in selling seats to the development community and keeping that ecosystem up and running in a healthy way.  That’s where the other 20% comes in.  The other thing to consider is that these default forms are pretty amazing in that they just work, and they work regardless what types of columns you throw at them.


  1. “The way the out of the box forms work is absolutely fine for [at least] 80% of the use cases” – I’m finding that its the other way round : OOTB Forms are fine for only 20% of the cases! Your blog is a great help for the 80% cases I need to address ;)

    • Dave:

      I wrote this post a long time ago, but I think that the 80/20 rule still holds for most people. It all depends on what types of applications you are building in SharePoint. Glad I can be of some help when you need it.



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