Integrating OfficeStatus In/Out Board with MS SharePoint

Today I’m going to show you a simple (yet very effective) means of integrating OfficeStatus electronic in/out board software with Microsoft SharePoint.

Specifically, we’re going to expose the OfficeStatus “public view” (a read-only view that doesn’t require authentication) to SharePoint users. For the purposes of this walk-through we’ll be using SharePoint 2010, but the steps will be similar for other versions of SharePoint.

Enable the OfficeStatus Public View

If you haven’t already, first enable the OfficeStatus public view feature (which is disabled by default). You can do so by logging into the OfficeStatus web interface as an administrator and navigating to Administration | System | Enable or Disable Features. Ensure that the Enable Public View setting is set to “Yes” and save changes if required.

Create a New SharePoint Page

Once you’ve decided where you’d like your read-only in/out board view to reside within SharePoint, create a New Web Part Page at that location. This step is, of course, optional – you might elect to add your OfficeStatus view to an existing SharePoint page (in which case you can skip to the next step).

sharepoint_create_page

Creating a new page in SharePoint

Give the page a name, and choose your preferred layout. In the screenshot above, we’re just using the “Full Page, Vertical” layout to keep things simple.

Add a Web Part

After adding a new page, you’ll be looking at the SharePoint page editor. Click on the Add a Web Part link.

sharepoint_add_web_part

Adding a SharePoint web part

Scroll down to the Media and Content category, and select the Page Viewer web part.

sharepoint_web_part_type

Choosing a web part page type

Configure the Web Part

Now click on the “open the tool pane” link to edit the new web part’s settings.

web_part_settings

Configuring the web part in SharePoint

In the Page Viewer category, leave the default “web page” selected and enter the link to your OfficeStatus public view. The link will be the same one you use to access your OfficeStatus web interface, only with “/public” appended to the URL. For example:

http://my-server/OfficeStatus/public

You can also elect to add one or more URL query parameters in order to control the default appearance and filtering of the OfficeStatus public view. These parameters include:

  • Dept: Enter the specific department you’d like to see in the public view.
  • Location: Specify the location you’d like to see in the public view.
  • Status: Specify the status you’d like to see in the public view.
  • ShowUserImages: Turn this off (“true” or “0″) to disable the display of user images.

Here’s an example URL that uses query parameters:

http://my-server/OfficeStatus/public/Default.aspx?Dept=IT&Status=In&ShowUserImages=false

The above link will, by default, show only IT department members with a status of “In”. User images will not be shown.

You may also want to assign the SharePoint web part a specific height (something like 500 pixels, for example).

With configuration complete, click the OK button to commit the changes.

Final Result & Summary

Now that you’ve established a SharePoint page that contains the OfficeStatus public view, you can configure your SharePoint installation to link to that page in whatever manner best suits your needs.

sharepoint_officestatus_pub

OfficeStatus view within SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is an incredibly flexible collaboration tool, and having a read-only view of your OfficeStatus in/out board contained (and easily accessible) within it can be very helpful to users.

posted by admin at 3:43 pm

Locking Users Within Departments

With the release of OfficeStatus v4.5 comes a new ability to constrain users to the departments of which they are currently a member.

The switch that toggles this feature on/off is part of the administrative user editor. Engaging it will ensure that the user will only see their own department(s). Users that are members of other departments will be invisible.

This feature extends beyond the in/out status board, affecting user messaging, status watches, etc. It can be beneficial in cases where your organization would prefer a higher degree of departmental isolation, limiting and simplifying interaction between users within the OfficeStatus interfaces.

Also, a related change – by default, users can no longer modify their own departmental membership as they could in releases prior to v4.5. If your organization wishes one or more users to have this ability, it can be allowed at the user level.

posted by admin at 4:42 pm

A Closer Look at Status Locks

With the recent release of OfficeStatus v4.5 comes a powerful new in/out board feature – user status locks.

Locking a user’s status prevents it from being changed by external forces such as calendar sync, presence detection features (e.g. “status events”), status scheduling etc. When a user’s status is locked, it can only be unlocked via direct user interaction.

status-lock

So how is this feature useful? Well, it’s actually designed to assist with a number of specific scenarios, but one common one is when an employee unexpectedly calls in sick. That OfficeStatus user may very well have an active status schedule, or may be actively syncing their status with their Outlook/Exchange calendar. In such cases, the user’s status will be automatically updated during sync operations, which is probably not what you want if the user is out sick.

Status locks resolve this problem by allowing qualified users (admin, receptionist, or manager role members) to temporarily prevent status changes for such users. As mentioned above, only a user-initiated status change will effectively unlock it.

OfficeStatus v4.5 also provides a site-wide switch (off by default) that can prevent “normal users” (those that aren’t part of the admin, receptionist, or manager roles) from locking their own statuses.

Finally, status locks can also be observed in user status reports (an additional column has been added for this purpose).

posted by admin at 3:19 pm

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