Links are meant to be broken, at least if you move files or change file names of documents in SharePoint.
I had a customer that required links not to be broken when file name was changed or a document was moved. They also wanted to be able to create links to a specific version, current version and latest major version. The idea was by using the document context menu, users would have the option to create these URL’s.
I wrote a post about creating URL handler for document URLs, this time we will focus on how we can reuse that URL handler to create dynamic and static URLs to documents and document-versions directly from the GUI.
Microsoft has implemented a great way to reach documents by the document id, but it seems that they didn’t fully implement it’s potential into SharePoint. Therefor I would like to show you how we implemented a useful way to reach document versions by using the document id.
This implementation requires the document id feature in SharePoint 2010 enabled. It can be found under Site Collection Features.
Creating the context menu feature
Adding a new option to the context menu is quite easy, it’s all XML. Just add a new Module to your project, I called mine CustomContextMenuActions. Then, by editing the Elements.xml, add a new CustomAction like this. By using the query-string IsDlg=1 we tell SharePoint to remove stuff from the master-page that isn’t relevant to the dialog.
Description="Create a dynamic or static document url"
It would create an action like this.
I wrote a post about adding the built in document id to the document file name. Now I will show you another way to use the built in document id when referring to the documents.
Lets say we are in a big project with several baselines . And every baseline requires it’s own version of a document, but the same document. It could be that new requirements have been added along the way or maybe the architecture has changed from one to another. This might cause the document name to change for some reason and that will break the link from a previous baseline.
What if you had a link that:
- Will never break as long as the document or version is not deleted.
- Can point to the current version.
- Can point to a specific version.
- Can point to the latest major version.
Lets say that link would look something like this
Latest version -> Dynamic
Specific version -> Static, kind of
Latest major version -> Dynamic
Microsoft has provided some great functions from the Office API that we can use when we search for the document via the document id.
Creating the application page – URL handler
First of we need to create an application page that can handle the query-strings from the URL. This can be done quite easy, just map the SharePoint layouts folder to you project (I also added a new folder called customapplicationpages) and add an Application Page. In our case I added a page called getdocbyid.aspx. We don’t have to create any markup for this application page, just code behind. So basically, what we need to do is capture the id and the version and find the right document and redirect to the URL. This is how I implemented it, note that the current version of a document is not a part of the document version history.