Displaying Data More Efficiently with Quest Apps for SharePoint

Written by Didier Danse. Posted in SharePoint Web Parts

review4 (Rating: 4 out of 5)

SharePoint implementations are currently growing. This is because IT teams can leverage scalability possibilities offered and also because end users can completely configure or create applications. Out-of-the-box SharePoint forms are quite simple and cannot be configured without some customizations (using Microsoft SharePoint Designer) or development (with Visual Studio).

Some interesting features are missing in these O.O.B. forms (cascaded lookups, group by multi-valued field and so on).

Quest Software (now part of Dell) offers about 10 web parts* that can be completely configured to leverage global features and reduce time development using the user interface. Quest Apps (formally Quest Web Parts) can fit most of your business needs.

quest-web1
 

Developers can easily configure a lot of things (for a complete overview, please refer to Dell web site. End users are allowed to do the same (depending on users’ permissions) but this can be complex for them to implement all features.

Some interesting features are provided by these Web Parts. For example, there is a web part to export filtered data to Excel (users don’t have to use Excel 2007 in opposition to O.O.B export feature) or another one to display information using graphs.

These basic features are really useful. There is however an exception. List View doesn’t provide filter features as Microsoft did (filter choices on the title of the field). This can be disconcerting for end users who already use SharePoint and did not receive a short training yet.

quest-web2
 
Beside classic forms and views, System Information forms can be used when Business Data Catalog is not available for displaying and modifying data coming from other System Information like SAP.

All the forms can be displayed in different languages depending on the culture of the user using a really simple technique based on a resources list. In the latest version, lookup values can be displayed using the current culture. This is really interesting for displaying some document status or choices in different languages. With these components, SharePoint is really a collaborative platform whatever people language is.

One of the most important features is the ability to extend functionality of Dell forms by adding buttons with custom code. Furthermore, it is up to the developers to code some new layouts (CSS, data display structure and anything related to display) or adding some features in the form.
 

quest-web3


Bottom Line

All these features are really useful, but developers have to be aware that they will have to develop a bit differently. If you are looking for components for a future implementation, do not hesitate. For an existing SharePoint platform, take your time to be sure that you will not have technical issues (List Form behavior has an impact in event handlers implementation, for example).

Because of per web-front-end server licensing mode, global cost can increase rapidly. You can decrease cost by adequate infrastructure architecture and use these web parts only if required.

Last but not least, support team is quick and sends feedback about any issues every time, responds to question or suggestion you send. A new version is released approximately 3 times per year.

EDITOR CORRECTION AS OF 2/24/2013:

  • Quest Software is now part of Dell (name change in the article)
  • Quest Web Parts are now Quest Apps (name change in the article)
  • *Quest Apps now includes more than 20 Web parts (not 10 as stated above)
 
Didier Danse
Author: Didier DanseWebsite: http://didierdanse.net
Didier is a Microsoft MVP since January 2005 & a Senior SharePoint Consultant for C-Services, a Microsoft Gold Partner based in Luxemburg. He specialized in Web Development and especially in SharePoint platform.

Comments   

 
# james2342342 2013-03-29 17:56
Thanks for sharing this iwith us.
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# dan gauntner @Notesmigrator 2011-07-22 13:30
Thanks for the nice write up on Quest Web Parts for SharePoint!

Have you thought about entering into Quest Software's Build Better SharePoint Contest, our search for the best use of Quest Web Parts? We are giving away a free trip to the 2011 SharePoint Conference in Anaheim to the lucky winner. Other prizes include a $1,000 Apple gift card!

You read more about the contest at www.quest.com/BBSPcontest.
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# NicQ 2011-02-24 14:21
I just want to make a few comments about Quest Web Parts
- there are 18 different web parts that are part of the Quest Web Parts product
(there are 4 licensing packages available)
- you can build a complete SharePoint solution using these web parts with no need
to use other web parts (you can easily replace native SharePoint forms (like Edit list item or add new
list item)
- QWP are fully customizable from the look and feel to the logic (search, CAMl filters,
security, form validations, custom actions
- the System Integration package allows the user to display/edit/ad d data from a
wide data sources (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Domino and to custom web services)
- Quest Web Parts talk to each other, you can select data in a drop down list and
send that value to another Quest Web Part (list view). Just think about the
Customer-Orders scenario, you select the customer form drop down list and
right away all his orders come up in a list view (you can set your list view
configuration like sorting and calculations)
- there is no need to be a developer to build you application, just use the Quest Web
parts CBT (available at quest.com for free) or use the QWP Help file
-there is a big community behind the QWP product where customers and Quest developers
answer questions and provide help. See
http://communities.quest.com/community/sharepointforall/app_development?view=discussions&start=0
- QWP fully support SharePoint 2007 and 2010
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# Frank Daske 2009-07-20 03:31
To view external data in "real" SharePoint lists instead of web parts you can also use the SharePoint Business Data List Connector (BDLC) found at:

http://www.layer2.de/en/products/pages/sharepoint-business-data-list-connector.aspx

It is very easy to configure and you can use ALL SharePoint list features without any restrictions, e.g. RSS / email alerts in case of external data is changed!

Just try it out!
Cheers, Frank
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