Looks Great, but Be Careful
This is a promising web part. I've implemented it on the home page of an intranet portal as a way to display high-profile news items and updates. It's very visually appealing and is a nice way to quickly add engaging and interesting content to a SharePoint site without having to do a lot of customization.
That being said, it has a few drawbacks that are preventing me from rating it better:
- The steps necessary to configure it are not well documented (I'll outline how I did it below)
- The web part is not properly saving its properties; if you open the web part's properties, you have to reset its connection to its list every time
- It does not dispose objects properly. This is a very big deal, it is contrary to SharePoint development best practices and could be a performance issue for your environment.
- If you do not include an expiration date for an announcement, it does not show up in the web part.
- The web part is available via CodePlex, but its source code has not been posted by the author. I'm not sure how its still listed there, but it is. Its not a big deal, but its not the most open behavior...
How I got the web part to work:
- I added two columns to the Announcements list in my site, one for the Image and another for the Image thumbnail.
- I also created a custom view and included those image columns in the view. This is the view that I associate with the web part.
- I also overwrote the default images in the web parts folder in the 12/TEMPLATE/LAYOUTS/TheExpertnewsRotator directory so that something relevant is used when no images are supplied.
- The image file should be about 300w x 225h (pixels)
- The image thumbnail file should be about 50w x 42h (pixels)
- A definite upgrade over the stock Announcements list view web part
- Does not maintain properties, the web part's association to its list view can be lost if you modify its properties
- Does not properly dispose of objects!
- Does not handle announcements without expiration dates