SPServices v0.7.2 is Almost Ready for Beta

It’s been a bit too long since I’ve released a new version of SPServices. It was mid-February when I released v0.7.1, and I’ve been adding new functionality and squashing bugs since then. At this point, I believe that I have a pretty stable beta ready.

If you have the time and the inclination, I’d truly appreciate any testing you could do. If you’re already using SPServices and could pop this new version into your test environment to look for regressions that would be great. Unfortunately a few regressions crept into v0.7.1 and I didn’t catch them until too long after I released it.

I’m going to release the beta in a few days and this time let it stand as a beta for a few weeks. There are some pervasive changes in this release that I think may be really useful for everyone, but since there have been almost 13,000 downloads of v0.7.1, I want to be sure that I take care of anything that might be a problem before general release – or as Microsoft would say, RTM.

The two impressive things in this release – if I do say so myself, and I do – are caching and a new function called SPFindPeoplePicker.

The caching I’ve added into this version of SPServices is somewhat rudimentary, but at the same time it can save a decent amount of traffic back and forth with the server. It uses jQuery’s .data() functions to cache the XML for each request which has the option cacheXML: true. This is basically brute force. If cacheXML: true, then the returned XML is saved as a data object on the body of the page with the request XML as the key. If you make the exact same call again, then the request is fulfilled from that cache. Note that it’s “exactly the same call”. This means that the request XML has to match exactly.

I’ve set the option to true for some of the internal calls to the Web Services operations to speed things up when you use functions multiple times. For instance, quite a few of the value-added functions make a call to GetList to get details about the current list, and there’s no need to make that call more than once during the page life. If you are creating more than one cascade with SPCascadeDropdowns, for example, you’ll see an immediate improvement.

The SPFindPeoplePicker function helps you find and set People Picker columns. (The documentation is rudimentary at the moment. Don’t worry; I’ll improve it before the release.) These little buggers are problem enough as it is, and selecting them and manipulating them with jQuery is something that a lot of people want to do. Add to that the fact that the People Picker is rendered differently in IE than in other browsers, and you have a challenge not unlike simple vs. complex dropdowns.

There are other goodies in this release, and you can see the full list of enhancements and improvements on the download page. Note the link to the Issue Tracker items for this release. (Issue Tracker is a horrible name – some of this stuff is simply new functionality.)

As I’m getting ready for the release, I’ve been looking back at some of the feedback and suggestions I’ve gotten since the release of v0.7.1, of course. Particularly gratifying are the reviews that people have left for that version. I’ve captured them below. If you’re not using SPServices as part of your SharePoint development toolkit, maybe you should be!

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Have a thought or opinion?