The Design View no longer exists in SharePoint Designer 2013. This changes the way we work with (or used to work with) all sorts of visual elements in SharePoint.
I have been meaning to write this post for a very long time, but there is so much I want to say, I couldn’t find the time until now to hunker down and say it all (or at least most of it). So here we go.
Note: I have always been a visual kind of guy and I like to show things instead of just describing them. This post will be no different. Below, I have provided visuals that will be helpful for the reader to understand the impact of Design View removal from SharePoint Designer.
What exactly has changed?
SharePoint Designer 2010 with Design View
SharePoint Designer 2013 without Design View
What the above images mean is that you can only see Code View for any and all pages now in SharePoint Designer 2013. No more Design View (or Split View for that matter) and no more WYSIWYG functionality on any of the following types of pages:
- Site Pages (Wiki Pages)
- List View pages / Library View pages
- Web Part Pages
Now that you know what has changed, let’s look at the type of functionality that is going to be missing in SharePoint Designer 2013.
List View / List Form web parts and Data View / Data Form web parts are inserted and modified in SharePoint Designer 2010 to show data from all sorts of sources including the following:
- Web Services (both SOAP and REST)
If you have time, check out the video below to see a sample of the type of coolness you can produce using these web parts with SharePoint Designer 2010. This video shows creating and modifying a SharePoint List Form in Design View:
Here is a link to this same video on SharePoint-Videos.com:
SharePoint Designer 2013 still has the implementations of these web parts, however, there is no way to visually modify them the way it is shown in the video. You would have to jump into Code View to manipulate the XSLT and XML manually to produce the same results.
Conditional Formatting is one of the most Awesome features in SharePoint Designer 2010. You can use it to conditionally format and/or display data and images on any SharePoint page as shown in image below.
With the absence of Design View, there is no visual way to configure the web parts (List View and Data View) to conditionally format text and other objects in SharePoint Designer 2013.
There is a very easy way in SharePoint Designer 2010 to connect web parts together using web part connections on the same page or even across pages. These connections can pass field values which can then be used to filter data and more.
No way to make the web part connections in SharePoint Designer 2013. You can still, however, make web part connections on the same page using the web browser.
The Formula window (also referred to as the XPath Expression builder) lets us present incoming data using all types of different formulae such as concat, average, count, substring, formatDate and dozens more like them.
In SharePoint Designer 2013, you can still insert the formulae, but it would have to be done directly in Code View since the Design View is required for the Insert Formula window to be presented.
In SharePoint Designer 2010, there are small tweaks that we can perform for web parts that we take for granted currently such as adjusting width of columns, modifying column headings, adding/removing columns etc. This is all accomplished in the Design View of course.
Can’t do any of that stuff in SharePoint Designer 2013 due to the lack of Design View (sorry to sound like a broken record now).
All of the modifications listed above are supposed to migrate seamlessly to SharePoint 2013. However, after the migration, the maintenance of these solutions would have to be a manual code based process.
I’m sure there is stuff that I forgot to mention. I’ll update the post as I think of more things to draw a more complete picture for the readers of this post.
Justification for removing Design View
In Microsoft’s own words:
No comment from me.
My MVP buddies have already started a good discussion thread out on the forums regarding this subject:
The thread contains comments, thoughts and opinions from many highly regarded folks in the industry such as Marc Anderson, Laura Rogers, Jennifer Mason, John White, Tom Resing, Paul Stork, Christina Wheeler, Stephen Cawood, Mike Walsh and more (sorry if I missed you). I would recommend joining the discussion and voicing your opinion on how this change can affect your environment and company.
What should You do?
If you are a Power User who loves working with and creating no-code solutions on SharePoint, you are the one most affected by this change. There is no replacement for the functionality lost in any other product that I know of so far. SharePoint Designer was it and now there is none! In SharePoint 2013, there will be no other built in functionality that will let you manage these no-code solutions visually. If you know of something I don’t, I would love for you to comment about it below.
This decision has created a huge ‘Vendor Opportunity’. I do foresee a vendor creating a solution for this in the future so when someone asks me what they should do now, I can at least say ‘There is an App for that’!