SharePoint Saturday Chicago 2013 Follow Up

I can honestly say that I’m sure that everyone enjoyed SharePoint Saturday Chicago yesterday. From the location at the Hard Rock Chicago to the fantastic speaker line up (I snuck in) to the overall convivial atmosphere, it was an event to remember. Kudos go out to Kris Wagner (@SharePointKris), Doug Hemminger (@DougHemminger), Chris Geier (@chrisgeier), and Bryan Gulley (@UXJester) for all the hard work they put in to make it a special event. I know many others worked long and hard, too, but those names are not in my old brain. Thanks to all of you!

IMG_6503[1]Dux Sy (@meetdux) kicked things off with his keynote “Lead the Enterprise Social Revolution”, where we learned that #shifthappens. Yuo can see Dux’s entire presentation in a live recording on UStream or review or download his slides on SlideShare.

There were some other sessions.

My session was about “Designing with SharePoint 2013”, wherein I attempted to describe some of the high level goals one should have in designing for the platform as well as to demonstrate the great capabilities in the new Design Manager.

We had a standing room only crowd in the truly small Firebird room, so we all got a bit more chummy by rubbing elbows and knees. I was able to assist my pal Marcy Kellar (@marcykellar) in welcoming SharePoint newcomer Cara Gail (@caragail) from Indianapolis.

This session will introduce you to the possibilities of design and customization in SharePoint 2013. Tour the newest interface features, learn best practices, and discover exciting new ways to interact with your SharePoint 2013 environment.

While we can still implement designs in SharePoint 2013 the “old way” we’re used to, there are new capabilities that can make the process easier for both designers who are very familiar with SharePoint and those designers who have never worked with SharePoint.

We’ll look at the new Design Manager capabilities and learn how to create and integrate Master pages, Display Templates, and Page Layouts.  Not only does the Design Manager make it easier to create new designs for SharePoint from scratch, it can also help you manage your existing designs after an upgrade. The Design Manager even allows designers to use the tools they know and love like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or any other HTML editor.

I didn’t have any fancy-schmancy live video recording going on like Dux did, but you can see my slides on SlideShare.

IMG_6508[1]After the formalities and a brief SharePint, a bunch of speakers and a few attendees decided to have dinner at The Signature Room at the 95th® (“The Restaurant Chicago Looks Up To”, don’t you know?) You can see the crew in this photo: Lori Gowen (@LoriGowin), Doug Hemminger (one of our most excellent hosts for the event), Kim Frehe (@KimFrehe), Brittany Kwait (@BrittanyKwait), Michelle Caldwell (@shellecaldwell), Chris Johnson (@LoungeFlyZ), Ruven Gotz (@ruveng), and another SharePoint community newcomer Dan Moore. (Dan: Isn’t the SharePoint community awesome? How was the duck hash this morning?)

IMG_6541[1]Finally, I had a little time to walk around this morning and made it to see a few things. Most impressive was “The Bean”, aka “Cloud City”. I’ve wanted to see this sculpture ever since it was first installed, and it did impress. (I really only went to see it to make Dave Coleman (@davecoleman146) jealous, and it worked.)

The jQuery .css() Function versus CSS

Box model in CSS

Box model in CSS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A very smart designer who I respect a lot asked me a question today via IM that I thought would make a good post.

…so I know jquery is great for doing things with CSS – but I think of only using it when I can’t actually get to the tag or it needs to be changed on a particular event – but do you think it is better to make CSS changes in jquery vs CSS – what are the pros and cons here.

Here’s my thinking about this. I would always err on the side of CSS if possible. jQuery should be used to change CSS based upon some sort of user-generated event.

Many people seem to use jQuery to make CSS changes on page load (in a $(document).ready()) when they have trouble getting the CSS selectors right. If the selector is hard to get right in CSS, then it’ll probably be pretty hard in jQuery as well because the jQuery selector syntax is roughly the same as CSS3 selectors. jQuery gives you the ability to traverse the DOM, of course, so it can be easier to find an “anchor element” from which to navigate to the element you want to style.

My mantra is something like:

Ask the server to paint the page. Use jQuery to give it behaviors and interactivity.

Setting CSS with script on page load violates this in that it’s doing part of that initial painting. There’s also going to be at least a small delay until the script loads which can make the page load look “funny” (technical term).
You’ll see a lot of blog posts that show setting CSS on page load with jQuery, but think carefully in each case about whether it makes sense. If you’re doing it just to get around figuring out the right selectors in your CSS, then think again.

I’ll admit that sometimes I cheat on this, especially if I happen to have a .js file open instead of a CSS file. But I also try to make a pass back through my scripts to move things into the CSS that ought to have been there in the first place. You should too!

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SharePoint Design Resources

This post was cross-posted on on 5 April, 2011.

<UPDATE time=”+30mins”>Yes, I’m bound to have forgotten some really important people and sites in this post. I’m already getting pings about it. I wanted to point out the people who are on *my* A-List. Please add comments with yours!</UPDATE>

Unlike most of my posts, the word “design” in the title doesn’t have “er” at the end of it. (SharePoint Designer really is a poor product name. I’ve said it before and it looks like I just said it again.)

Louise van der Bijl (@SynStalker) did an #SPHelp tweet this morning asking for good design resources:

I had a few suggestions, so I figured I’d capture them here. Let me know what else belongs on the list!

My go-to SharePoint design gurus:

There are a few excellent sites out there that many people may not know about, but should.


Christian runs the site, which is an excellent place for people interested in SharePoint design to interact and post content.

I know that Kyle has been working on a site called SharePointDesigNerds, but it doesn’t seem to be live yet. I talked to Kyle about it at SharePoint Conference .ORG and it sounds like it will be an fantastic resource.