SharePoint Dragons

Nikander & Margriet on SharePoint

A case of "easy": Virto SharePoint Bulk Operations Toolkit

Recently, we took a look at Virto’s SharePoint 2013 workflow activities kit and we were happy with what we saw. As a result, we also decided to take a lok at another Virto product, the Virto Bulk Operations Toolkit. This is a bundle of 8 components that all do something useful with bulk operations and is shipped with a nice bulk bundle price saving you over 40%. This is a feature-packed bundle that is definitely capable to handle some of the questions we or our customers have been struggling with. And, oh yeah, it comes with comprehensive and extensive documentation.

Let’s take a look at the 8 components.

1. Bulk Check In and Approve
As the name implies, this component is for SharePoint multiple files checkin and SharePoint multiple files approval. It allows end users to check in bulk groups of documents and has features such as adding comments to the bulk whilst doing a check-in, publishing or drafting versions if

approval is enabled, or doing bulk discards of multiple checked-out files. The user interface for doing this is a lot easier then what SharePoint is offering ootb. The next Figure shows an example (all pictures are taken with permission of Virto):

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Bulk Check In and Approve has a comprehensive set of features such as:

  • Search support for check in and approve actions.
  • CAML query support for check in and approve actions.
  • Menus that are aware of current user permissions.
  • Default view type setting.
  • Ability to check-in documents in folders and subfolders.
  • Bulk discard of files.
  • Bulk check-in and approve capabilities.

2. Bulk Data Edit Web Part
This is a component for SharePoint multiple files editing. This is a request we’ve heard time and time again (although you have to be careful with this!): the possibility to do SharePoint bulk edit. In other words, to edit the same metadata field for a bulk of list items. This enables end users to specify metadata for a bulk of items in 1 go (supported in all types of lists and libraries)! The ootb datasheet view alleviates the problem somewhat, but it is nowhere near as easy to use as this component. See the following screenshot to get an impression.

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The Bulk Data Edit Web Part has a comprehensive set of features such as:

  • Ability to create new terms.
  • Search support for edit scenarios.
  • CAML query support for edit scenarios.
  • Taxonomy options.
  • Bulk edit for list or site scopes.
  • Editing data of the same field for a group of list items.

3. Bulk File Copy and Move
This is a component for SharePoint multiple file copy and move. The copying (or more often: moving) of large amounts of list items and/or documents is usually something that end users request of administrators, who usually use a high-end migration tool to do the heavy lifting. This component is great in that it places the power of moving larger amounts of misplaced documents/list items in the hands of end users in the form of a separate web part or an additional action in the Action menu. Also check out the Figure below.

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Bulk File Copy and Move has features such as:

  • Support for search for copy & move operations.
  • Support for CAML queries for copy & move operations.
  • Filtering possibilities for copy & move operations.
  • Support for using the same SharePoint views as in source libraries.

4. Bulk File Delete Web Part
This is a component fo SharePoint multiple file deletion. This is also a special one. As you would expect, it can delete multiple list items/documents from any type of list. But this component goes a significant step further in that it allows you to specify which

groups of items to delete via an advanced filtering mechanism (that allows you to delete by view, CAML queries, searches, etc). The Figure below shows an example of search support in deletion scenarios:

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The Bulk File Delete Web Part has features such as:

  • Search support when deleting files.
  • CAML support when deleting files.
  • Flexible max amount of files that are displayed.
  • Filtering possibilities during file deletion.

5. Bulk File Download Web Part
This is a component for SharePoint multiple files download. This component allows end users to download files from a library and store it locally in a single .zip file. Again, it’s easy to select which files must be downloaded. This component has been around since 2007 and was probably more important then than it is now with all the offline capabilities of SharePoint, although we have seen a customer that periodically bundled documentation that was shipped to external partners, in which case this component would have been quite useful. It also works nice in combination with component nr. 6, the Bulk File Unzip Utility. Currently, we’re exploring these components to quickly fill some sites with relevant test data which seems to work out quite nicely. The next Figure nicely demonstrates what this web part looks like:

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The Bulk File Download Web Part has a comprehensive set of features such as:

  • Extensive logging during download.
  • Automatic JavaScript minification.
  • Support for large files.
  • Support for async operations.
  • Choosing specific files for downloading.
  • Download a bulk of files in a single archive.

6. Bulk File Unzip Utility

This is a component for SharePoint multiple files unzipping. This component unpacks zip archives to document libraries, retaining the original structure. For end users migrating to SharePoint from another system, this can be extremely useful. This allows end users to pack their documents, stuff them in SharePoint, and then use the Bulk File Copy and Move and Bulk Data Edit Web Parts to get the documents organized! This is a nice example how the separate components within the bundle seem to enhance each other. The next Figure shows how easy it is: select an archive and click the Unpack button!

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The Bulk File Unzip Utility has features such as:

  • Unpacking archives to SharePoint document libraries.
  • Preserving folder structures after unpacking.
  • Ability to retain original file creation/modification datetime! This is a really cool feature which can be very important in certain legal situations.
  • Auto-deletion of archives aftyer unpacking.
  • Unzip settings are scoped at either the library or site level.

7. Bulk File Upload Web Part
This is a component for SharePoint multiple files upload. In the past, we’ve written stuff about uploading bulk files to SharePoint and even have written our own little tool to do it. The bottom line always consists of the following points:

  • The standard SharePoint tools for uploading files in bulks to SharePoint are not advanced and reliable enough.
  • There are community tools that are better, but offer very limited support which is commonly not acceptable in enterprise scenarios.
  • There are high-end migration tools that do a great job at a great cost.

The Bulk File Upload Web Part has a comprehensive set of features such as:

  • Possibility to add field descriptions.
  • Show overwrite option.
  • The possibility to redirect all requests to the standard upload page to the Virto Bulk Upload (via an HTTP module).
  • Support for Content Organizer rules.
  • Possibility to resize jpeg images during upload.
  • Current user defaults for property values.
  • Maximum file size settings.
  • Allowed file type settings.
  • Upload of large files.
  • Partial uploading of operation is cancelled.

It seems that Virto fills a very nice niche here by offering a professional and supported solution at a very reasonable price (at least, that’s what we think). The next Figure shows an impression.

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8. HTML 5 Bulk File Upload
Last but not least, this is a component for SharePoint multiple files upload. This component is a nice enhancement to the Bulk File Upload Web Part and is completely written in HTML 5. It is very similar to the Bulk File Upload Web Part except that it’s even better! This component is probably our favorite in the bundle. The next Figure shows what it looks like.

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HTML 5 Bulk File Upload has features such as:

  • Uploading of bulk files.
  • Support for custom metadata.
  • Support for uploading files via drag-n-drop leveraging just HTML 5.
  • Ability to overwrite files during upload.
  • Display of file upload progress bar.
  • Restriction of file types that can be selected.
  • Limiting the max file upload size.
  • Support for unlimited amounts of content types and fields.
  • And, as all of Virto’s components, cross browser support for MSIE, FireFox, Chrome and Opera.

So if any of the features of the Virto Bulk Operations toolkit appeal to you, we won’t try to stop you checking it out at http://www.virtosoftware.com/bundles/virto-bulk-operations-toolkit.

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