Join Simon Allardice for an in-depth discussion in this video Opening sites with SharePoint Designer 2010, part of SharePoint Designer 2010: Creating Data-Driven Web Pages.
So I have a SharePoint site open in my browser here. This is just a regular SharePoint 2010 team site from my own SharePoint server. And if I click on the Site Actions menu, I can see I have a lot of different options available. The reason I have all these is because I am a site collection administrator of this site collection, and that's a good permission level to have when working with data-driven pages. SharePoint, of course, cares deeply about permissions, both in the browser and in SharePoint Designer. Now, we get to any SharePoint Site by having the URL--the address of that site--and that will be the same for SharePoint Designer, so we need the address of the site.
But as you know, individual SharePoint site URLs can get pretty long, so the simplest way to find a short address of the current site without all the extra library and page URLs is just hover of the top-level breadcrumb here and I can see that down on the lower-left part of my status bar that the address is ldcsharepoint.com--which is my SharePoint Server--/sites/team. You might have a shorter or longer address. I'm going to just copy that as a shortcut, and I have two options basically to open this site.
If I'm already in the site in the web browser, I could just go to my Site Actions menu and select the option that says Edit in SharePoint Designer. If I wasn't in the browser and I just wanted to do it directly, I go and find SharePoint Designer, which I have installed over here. I'll find it under the SharePoint section, although to make it quicker to get to, I'm going to right-click and pin it to my Start menu. So I'll open it up. Now unlike before, in this 2010 version of SharePoint Designer, we no longer have options to make regular web sites or individual pages.
From now on, the unit that we work with is a SharePoint site. On the right-hand side, I can even see options to create new blank SharePoint sites or new team sites, but most of the time we'll be working with an existing one. So I'm going to click the button that says Open Site and paste in the address that I copied and click Open. After I've connected to the site once, it will save it as a bookmark in SharePoint Designer. And SharePoint Designer will take a few seconds to talk to SharePoint to get information about the site.
And if you need to provide a username and password when you're viewing the site in the browser, you'll probably need to do so in SharePoint Designer, too. So I'm now connected to that SharePoint site. And here's an important concept: having SharePoint Designer does not magically give you any permissions you didn't already have. If you couldn't access the site in a web browser, you won't be able to access it in SharePoint Designer. If you can't make changes to it in the web browser because you don't have the right permissions, you won't suddenly have permissions when using SharePoint Designer.
Now of course, if you don't have the right permissions, it will be obvious. So if you need to have them elevated, contact whoever gave you access to that site in the first place. So we're looking here at the SharePoint Designer 2010 home screen. Now if you've used SharePoint Designer 2007, you'll see that while this might have the same name, it's a very different application. In the past, SharePoint Designer would pretend that your SharePoint site was a regular web site and open up with a list of folders and files, but now with SharePoint 2010, this feels like a SharePoint-focused program, not a web design application.
So it doesn't show you some fake representation of your site; it tells you what this site is made of. The main section over here is this navigation section, and it's really showing you the building blocks here, the lists and libraries in this site, the workflows in this site, the content types. Notice that as I click around, the ribbon at the top of the screen is changing. If I select Lists and Libraries, I have option to create custom lists and new SharePoint lists or document libraries. If I select the Workflows option, we get, not surprisingly, ways of creating new list workflows and reusable workflows.
And I'll see that on throughout the other options that I'm selecting. Now, clicking the icon at the top, which for me says LDC Team, that's just the name of the site, the title of the site. And that takes us to the top-level information and settings of the site. We can even here add subsites or add users and groups. Now some of these options will actually take us back to the browser. If I click the Administration Web Page for example, it's going to open up to the same page I'd get if I had selected Site Actions, Site Settings using the web browser.
Same thing with the Recycle Bin option; it will just take us to the Recycle Bin page in the browser tool. And there is quite a bit of overlap between SharePoint Designer and the browser; you can do many things in both places. I tend to stay in the browser for things I can do in the browser and just use SharePoint Designer for the deeper tasks, but that's completely up to you. Now if you are coming from SharePoint Designer 2007, the closest thing to what you're used to is probably the All Files section here. Selecting that will give me a top-down folder-style view.
We'll use this from time to time, but I don't really use it unless there's no other option. It's much friendlier going through the more specific options above it. So we will get deeper into SharePoint Designer as we go, but we're now connected to a SharePoint site, and this is what we're going to use to create our data-driven web pages going forward.
- Creating new web pages
- Working with existing lists and libraries
- Reading data from an XML file, external database, or web service
- Using Business Connectivity Services (BCS)
- Working with Data View and Data Form web parts
- Filtering, sorting, and grouping data
- Creating master/detail pages
- Displaying richer data with formatting and formulas
- Creating custom forms