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  Asked By: Tommie    Date: Mar 26    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 1149

I need to store company and contact data in some repository. Not hard at
all of course if I didn't have to connect the records together.
Companies need to be linked to several other companies, contacts need to
be linked to several companies, companies can have multiple contacts, etc.
On top of that I need to be able to
- link documents, meetings, e-mails, tasks, etc. to contacts and/or
- share the contact and company data with Outlook
- link some of the contacts to SPS users

AFAIK there are two possible repositories to use: Sharepoint contact
list or a separate database.
Using a SharePoint Contact List :
How do I represent the contact list data in a nested tree structure? Do
I need to build a template? HOW?
How can I link this list to other SharePoint functionalities and the
User database?
What are the rules on writing to SharePoint lists from a custom application?
On the positive side, the Sharepoint contact list allows me to upload
documents in relation with a specific contact.

Using an external database
How do I connect my external database to the SPS functionalities like
document repositories, user lists, etc.?

I have started building custom WebParts in Visual Studio using an
external database, but this is pretty time consuming (hand code every
form element). This is the reason why I'm looking at faster
alternatives, aka the SharePoint lists. The lists are easy to use and
fully editable. The nesting and different representation of this list is
the big difficulty though.



3 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Jasper Hatfield     Answered On: Mar 26

It's very easy  to connect  records.

You probably will want to start by creating a custom list  called
Companies. If you need to be able to link  companies to companies
(presumably linking a company  to its parent company), I would add a
column called "Parent Company" and make it a lookup column, telling
it to get the lookup information from the Company column (or
whatever you called it) of this same list.

For starters, add a few companies for testing purposes.

Then create a contacts  list, and add a lookup column
called "Company", telling it to get the lookup information from the
Company field of the Companies list.

This should allow companies to be linked  in groups (one parent with
any number of children), and any number of contacts for each company.

If contacts need to be linked to Users, add a lookup column that
points to the User Information table.

To represent the data  in a tree  structure, you'll want to create one
or more views that use the Grouping facility. You could group all
your contacts by company, for instance. If you want to group your
contacts first by parent company, you will probably need to add
a "parent company" lookup field to the Contacts list.

We're using a lot of inter-related lists  like this and they work
well. If you want to work within the sharepoint  UI, you occasionally
need a bit of redundancy like the extra parent company field above,
but they go together in minutes and work rather effectively.

Answer #2    Answered By: Rashawn Hopper     Answered On: Mar 26

The relationship between companies and contacts  is many-to-many. One
company can have many contacts and one contact  can belong to several
companies. In a regular database  design you would add a link  table to
solve this. How would you solve this in SharePoint?

Another issue I see arising is the synchronisation with Outlook. I know
this is a one way street (SPS to Oulook), but from your explanation I
understand you'd use several lists  to store  the company  and contact
data. Would you sync the contact list  only then?

I assume you are talking about contact lists with added fields. Or are
you talking about real custom  lists?

I'll check out the grouping for the tree  view.

Answer #3    Answered By: Horace Coffey     Answered On: Mar 26

I have to create a list  presentation that is, as far as I know, not
possible with the standard list template  options.
- I need to represent a tree  structure that has grouping greater than 2
- I need to be able to list the same record in several locations in this
tree (same contact  linked to several companies). I do not know
beforehand how many links need to be made.

Can a custom  template be built in VS.Net to create this representation?
The standard templating options are certainly not sufficient.

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