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LifeInSharePoint – Metro Weather Updated to new API


This is just a quick note that the Metro Weather WebPart has been updated to take into consideration the latest API as the old one was now out of date.  Can you also please check your API keys as many may expire on the 31st August.

Download the new WSP here.

Thanks and sorry for the delay.

LifeInSharePoint – Metro Weather WebPart



Due to an update to the World Weather Online API to a new one, the WebPart is currently having issues raised in the comments. I am working on bringing you an update with the new API and also trying to include time information as well. If you are able to be patient I will bring this asap. Thanks.


After a couple of days tweaking, and adding some additional functionality, I am happy to release the first version of the Metro Weather WebPart. This WebPart was created due to the lack of (in my opinion) good looking weather WebParts available. The WebPart has multiple modes, built in caching, XSLT rendering and a great look. See below for the release and its features.


What it looks like:

Now you know the features how about we show you how the webpart looks when it is installed on the page.


This mode shows the locations horizontally tiled from left to right and when you click on a specific location the forecast will fly out “Horizontally” to the right to show the day of the week, the weather, the temperature (in centigrade or fahrenheit) and the wind speed (in mph or kph).



This mode shows the locations horizontally tiled from left to right and when you click on a specific location the forecast will fly out “Vertically” to the bottom to show the day of the week, the weather, the temperature (in centigrade or fahrenheit) and the wind speed (in mph or kph).


Horizontal Summary:

This mode shows the locations in a single fixed widget displayed “Horizontally” with prev and next buttons to the left and right of the forecast. The weather, the temperature (in centigrade or fahrenheit) and the wind speed (in mph or kph) is shown for each day in the forecast.


Vertical Summary:

This mode shows the locations in a single fixed widget displayed “Vertical” with prev and next buttons to the left and right of the forecast. The weather, the temperature (in centigrade or fahrenheit) and the wind speed (in mph or kph) is shown for each day in the forecast.


How to use:

To use the new Metro Weather WebPart first download and upload the solution to your site collection. After you have activated the feature you are then able to add the WebPart onto the Page and configure the webpart to display the weather information of your choice.

The WebPart has the following properties that can be configured at set:

  • – This is the most complex property to complete. This is a comma and semi-colon delimited string which will configure the location that will be displayed, its colour and if required a different display name.
    • The string should be in the following format: Location{Display Name},Colour;Location{Display Name},Colour
    • Examples from the screenshot above would be: London,red;Las Vegas{Sin City},blue;New York,green;
    • If you emit the {Display Name} then the city name from the xml results will be displayed instead.
    • The avaliable colours are shown in the features above.
  • – This sets the number of days forecast that can be displayed. (The Free API enabled a max of 5)
  • – Before you are able to use the webpart you will need to sign up for an API key at
  • – This is the XSLT path for the WebPart. The default setting should be: http://servername/Style Library/LifeInSharePoint.Weather/xslt/Weather.xslt
  • – Sets the display type of the WebPart. Horizontal, Vertical, SummaryHorizontal, SummaryVertical.
  • – Sets the temperature setting to either centigrade, or fahrenheit.
  • – Sets the wind speed to be displayed in either Mph, or Kph.


To download this webpart please visit our Codeplex site and as always if you like it please leave a review, and if you find any issues or bugs either let me know via this site or the codeplex site.


I really hope that this webpart comes in handy for the SharePoint community. Really hope you all like it :)

SharePoint Metro Weather – Sneak Peak


I would like to just show off a new WebPart that is nearly ready for public release / testing by the community.  After a long time of SharePoint development I have become bored and disappointed at the styling of the various “Weather WebParts” that are available.  I decided to build my own which is not only free, but is styled my much loved “Metro Windows 8″ style.


The Weather displays the current weather and up to 5 days forecast.  I am getting my weather data from which provides a free Weather API which has a 500 requests/hr limit.  Therefore i have implemented caching into the webpart to ensure that this is not an issue.  I hope to finish the WebPart soon and it will also be rendered using XSLT to ensure that it is extensible to your requirements.

Let me know your initial thoughts on the design and the release will be coming VERY soon.

SharePoint 2013 Webinar – Ideas & Suggestions

…an update

Its been well over a month since my last post and after some much needed holiday after a seriously busy period I will be able to get back to updating the Metro Masterpage, releasing a MySite Metro Layout and releasing some new SharePoint 2013 content.  As part of my new content search, I will be creating and setting up some SharePoint 2013 Webinars which will be run through the company I work for (ICS Solutions Ltd).  These Webinars are intended to be more technical than most (although there may be an overview session to start with).  So this is an open call for all visitors to my blog to help come up with some suggestions to what direction they would like to see the Webinars go.  Some ideas that I have on the topics that may be covered are as follow.

  • WCM – SharePoint Web Content Mangement in SharePoint 2013
  • Design Manager / SharePoint 2013 Masterpage customisation – Create great new designs in SharePoint 2013
  • Content Search WebPart Configuration / Customisation
  • Whats new in Visual Studio 2013 for SharePoint 2013 and App Development
  • SharePoint 2013 App Development – Suggestions for an App you would like to see would be great.

These are only some initial ideas that I have on a series of Webinars that will be created over the coming months.  If you like, hate, or have some other great suggestions please let me know.  Once again thank you for all the positive comments I have been receiving regarding the Metro Masterpage which has had over 6000 downloads so far across various versions and thanks to all those who have spotted bugs, as I have tried my best to resolve as many as possible.

Watch this space for some great new content coming soon :)

iGoogle UI for SharePoint – Part Five : SharePoint 2010 Integration


Series Content

  1. Part One – Overview, Concept, HTML Structure & jQuery Basics
  2. Part Two – Dragging, Dropping, Sorting and Collapsing
  3. Part Three – Saving WebPart states using Cookies
  4. Part Four – Control Adaptersc
  5. Part Five – SharePoint 2010 Integration – Current Article
  6. Part Six – Bringing it all together
  7. Bonus – Saving WebPart States using the Client Object Model


In Part Five, we will take the previous posts and show you how to get it into SharePoint 2010. I’ll show how to create the Visual Studio Project, and then deploy the assets into SharePoint to create a working example.

Visual Studio Project & Assets

For this post will be using Visual Studio 2010 as our development platform. As part of my default development build i like to have the following VS plug-ins installed.

For this post, we will be using Visual Studio 2010 as our development platform. As part of my default development build, I like to have the following VS plug-ins installed:

SPI’s & Features

Our project will contain the following SPI’s (SharePoint Item) to deploy the required assets.

The Project will contain only a single feature which will deploy all the assets required for the iGoogle interface. This will be a SITE scoped feature with an event receiver to manage the addition of values to the compact.browser file.

Visual Studio

The first step for this and pretty much every other SharePoint Project is to fire up Visual Studio 2010 and create a new SharePoint 2010 Project. Call the project LifeInSharePoint.iGoogle. On the next screen we would also like to create this as a FARM solution. Sandbox solutions will not work as control adapters cannot be deployed using a Sandbox Solution.

Now that we have a project created, we first need to create some folders to contain our SPI’s. I like to organise my folders in a manner that I feel makes it easier to understand, so I will first create a Common folder which will contain a sub folder called ControlAdapters. NOTE: I do not have spaces in my folder names as visual studio will replace them with “_” in namespaces. I will now create another top level folder called Root and within this I will create another folder called Content. These two folders will contain the module that will deploy the iGoogle.aspx page and place WebParts onto the page. To ensure that we can access the images, js and css from anywhere, we will place them in the /_layouts folder. To deploy these to the Layouts folder from Visual Studio is very simple. Firstly you will need to right click on the project in Visual Studio > Add > SharePoint “Layouts” Mapped Folder.

This will create you a project named sub folder which we can use to place our css etc. Once this has been done your folder structure should look like this.

Now that I have the basic folder structure, I will now create a new a new class file for my ControlAdapter called WebPartRenderControlAdapter.cs. For the info on how to create and what goes into this class file, please see the previous post where I go into a lot more detail. iGoogle UI for SharePoint 2010 – Part Four: Control Adapters.

The next step is to add the CSS, JS, and Image that we created in the first three parts of this blog series. (These will be available at the end of this post) in the supplied zip file.

Adding Content & Pages

Next, we need to create the root content module. This module contains two items. The first is the Elements.xml file which will contain the XML required to deploy our page, and the second item is the default.aspx page which we will provision. This default.aspx page contains the HTML snippets from the first couple of posts in this series as well as the references to our javascript and css which we are storing above in the /_layouts folder. Below is a snippet from within the default.aspx page.

As you can see I have made some small changes by placing our three columns within a table to keep things nice and neat. The script references have also been updated to point to our deployed assets. The elements.xml file is very simple. It takes the default.aspx page and deploys it to the root of the current site creating an iGoogle.aspx page at that location.

As you can see there is not a lot to it. We are setting the name of the deployed file to iGoogle.aspx and the Url in this case is the relative url within the project, NOT the location it will appear on the site, a common mistake I have made many times. If you wanted to place the page in another location you can modify URL and Path attributes in the <module> tag to point to another location. Since we want to place the page on the root, these are left blank.

Adding WebParts

The final addition to this elements.xml file is to add some default WebParts on to the page. For this demo we are going to use some Content Editor WebParts which will have some dummy Lorem Ipsum text within. (You can replace the xml with some other WebParts if you like, as long as you know the XML) The XML element you need to add WebParts on to the page is the <AllUsersWebPart> Node. This node has attributes which we use to define the order on the page, as well as the WebPart Zone the WebPart is to appear in. The Snippet below shows a single item.

You can also see from the code above that we are surrounding the WebPart XML with a <![CDATA[]]> tag which means that the text within will be ignored by the XML Parser.

Creating the Feature

Now that we have nearly all the pieces of the puzzle, the next step is to create a feature in our solution which will deploy the items to SharePoint. You should notice in your project there is a Web scoped default feature called Feature1. We need to rename our feature to something more meaningful, so in the Solution Explorer right click and rename the feature. My preference for naming Features is as follows:


The reason for this is that there is no quick and easy way to know the scope of a feature from glancing at the solution explorer as all icons are the same. Therefore in our solution the feature will be:


The next step is to double click on this feature and it should open the feature management screen on the left side of the window. Within this window you are able to change the Display Title and Description as well as manage the items in the feature. We will call our feature LifeInSharePoint.iGoogle, the description can be what ever you please and the Scope should be set to SITE. Finally add the Root.Content.Pages SPI into the feature and we are nearly complete.

Writing the Feature Receiver

For those who remember the last post, the control adapter requires an entry into the compact.browser file. This entry registers our control adapter for use and it would be very useful if this was added automatically as part of our deployment. To do this we will need to create a small feature receiver to do this for us. To add a receiver, right click on the feature and click the Add Event Receiver link.

We are only going to manage the addition of the code to the compact.browser and not the retraction from the solution. This can be added to your solution if you wish but to save time I will ignore it.

Our first step is to create two string constants which will contain the Control Adapter Type and the Assembly Name of the Solution. The Assembly name will only contain the first part as the full assembly name will be retrieved later through reflection.

The next step is to uncomment the FeatureActivated method and add the following code in.

This code simply gets the current Site Collection from the features property collection and then passes that SPSite object to the UpdateCompactBrowser method which is explained below in the code comments for each line.

If we save all the items in the project, we are now ready to deploy our project to our site. When the feature activates it will run the code above which will make the necessary changes to the compact.browser file and our solution should work as expected.

Deployment & Testing

To deploy the solution we need to build the solution by right clicking on the project and clicking Build. After the project has been built and no errors are found, we can then deploy by again right clicking on the project and clicking Deploy. The default deployment configuration in Visual Studio will automatically activate the feature on the destination site. After deployment, navigate to the site and view the site collection features. We should see our feature deployed and activated.

If we now navigate to the root of the site collection and change the url to http://[SITE URL]/igoogle.aspx, then you should see our newly deployed interface with 5 different CEWP with some Lorem Ipsum text.

You should now be able to drag and drop these WebParts around the page, close, and change the colour. When you have finished and navigate away, refresh the page and the WebParts will remember their states. If you edit the page you will see how the Control Adapter does not render in edit mode enabling you to add new WebParts. You can see below that I have added a new Image WebPart to show how easy it is to create new “Widgets”.

NOTE: It is important to understand that this interface is designed for “Rollup” style WebParts. Due to how SharePoint 2010 and the Ribbon works with WebParts you may find some OOTB WebParts do not function fully. (Calendar WebPart, ListViewWebPart) The reason for some WebParts not working is that we are replacing the Chrome around the WebParts with our custom HTML (ControlAdapter). Many of the required ID’s etc are removed and therefore the Javascript that works with the Ribbon & Ajax fails. I am working on this and will post an update when I find a solution.


In this post we have outlined how to get the iGoogle interface into a SharePoint environment. Using a Visual Studio 2010 Project we have deployed css, images and javascript, created and deployed a Control Adapter, and added a page full of WebParts on to a site. I hope this post gives you a stepping stone on how to implement something similar on your SharePoint Deployments. Below I have uploaded a link to my Solution ZIP file that you can use and test on your environments. I have not done lots of cross browser or different environment testing of the solution so should you find an issue let me know and I will try my best to find a solution. In the next post I will show you how you can use the techniques shown in this series to come up with some innovative designs and implementations.