I don’t have much to say about this new tool from Lightning Tools yet, but it sure does looks promising. Lighting Tools makes good stuff in general, so I’m sure it’s going to work well. If I can get my hands on a beta copy and can kick the tires some, I’ll let you know how it looks.
My friend Dan Antion assured me a while back that the The Market Will Save Us when it comes to the missing Design and Split Views in SharePoint Designer 2013, and perhaps this is the first firm indication that he’s right. (Of course he’s right – Dan’s a smart guy.)
In case you aren’t aware, there are Changes to the Design View in SharePoint Designer 2013. Changes in the sense that it’s not there any more. I’ve been whining and complaining about this for a long time, as it removes significant power from the citizen developers who tend to make SharePoint truly useful. All that is basically moot at this point, since SharePoint Designer 2013 RTM is now available and it certainly doesn’t have Design or Split Views. Oddly, it still has buttons on the ribbon that make no sense without these views, like Skewer Click, which is odd since there’s nothing to skewer!
So we have to figure out What’s Next, and tools like this one from Lightning Tools are probably going to be the answer. Who know.s, maybe this was what Microsoft has intended all along, letting third parties effectively take over maintenance of their free SharePoint Designer prodiuct, since it doesn’t generate any revenue for them anymore.
Here are some details lifted straight from from the Lightning Tools site. I’m sure thet they will change – probably for the better – as things move outta beta.
Data Viewer Web Part 2013 (Beta)
The Lightning Tools Data Viewer is a web part that can connect to BCS External Content Type, Microsoft SQL, ODBC, Oracle, MS Access, OData, REST, Classic Web Services, XML, and RSS feeds. Without the use of SharePoint Designer, the web part can be configured within your browser using a configuration wizard. View’s of your data can be built using checkboxes to select columns, Sorting, Filtering, Formatting and Conditional Formatting can all be applied without writing any code. For the coders amongst you, views can also be built using JSON and XSLT.
From:$TBA per web front end+ Support and Maintenance
SharePoint 2013 Data View
The Lightning Tools Data View web part provides you with the ability to create views of data from almost any external data source, insert data, edit data, and delete data (assuming the user has the correct permissions). Users can configure the data view web part without the use of SharePoint Designer 2013.
Using the Data View Web Part for SharePoint 2013, you can configure connections easily using the simple wizard. Simply select the provider and then complete the required fields such as the server name for the SQL server or the URL for the service containing the data.
The grid view for the web part is configured once the connection has been created. Simply check the columns from the external data source that you wish to display, provide a column alias, grouping, formatting, and alignment. Conditional formatting, aggregate functions and sorting are among the many features that can be applied without the use of SharePoint Designer 2013.