SharePoint Community Road Trip – Day 14

For those of you just joining the road trip we are all camped out at Mindsharp and are walking around to see what free SharePoint stuff we can find. On day 13 we flipped through some of the free white papers written by the guys and gals at Mindsharp. Today I had planned to lead a guided tour of the software section but as I started out, I soon realized that a single day will not adequately cover the content so we better plan on taking more then a single day for the software tour.

The software section is located in the premium content area at Mindsharp and if you are just joining the SharePoint Community Road Trip be assured that premium content does not equate to paid content. Simply create a log in and join us. The software section is one of a handful of sections in the premium content area. While there is only three available downloads – which is why I thought we could easily do this guided tour in a day – I see that the first software download is deserving of more then a simple -ooh and ah.

Today lets all gather around and take a look at the Deleted Items Document Library Custom List Template from Mindsharp. Okay, that’s a long title for a 1.5 meg download but don’t let the size fool you. This is one of those items that all SharePoint admins, developers and designers should play with. If you don’t end up using this custom list template on your own site, you certainly can get some interesting ideas and worse case scenario a good example on useful documentation.

If my memory serves me correctly Todd Bleeker of Mindsharp is the author of this custom site template and if you can not tell from the title this is a pretty lightweight implementation of recycle bin functionality which we all know is conspicuously absent from WSS 2.0 and SPS 2003. But wait – this custom site template not only allows for a user to restore a “deleted” document it also allows a selection of document templates to choose from when selecting New Document from the document library which if for no other reason you should consider using this template. There are some limitations with this template but I must say that the author and developer lists these out for you so you should not be surprised.

The documentation provided with this download will provide you with all you need to get started so there is no need for me to repeat it. But I will include a few “photos” I took while we were looking this over.

Here’s my team site’s Create page with the custom template installed per the instructions. The template is titled as “Deleted Items Document Library (STS Web)”.

Create page with new custom template
Click for larger image.

I created a new document library based on this new template. The only visible difference at first is two new views that will display your deleted items and deleted folders.

Custom views for deleted items and folders.

One of the nice touches I found was the ability to select what type of “new” document I wanted to create using the New Document Link.

The New Document Link

Deleting a file is simple and I now have the ability to delete and allow a restore or to permanently delete (using the Shift Key). Here is a photo I took using the default Delete (restorable):

Delete (Restorable) link

And now for the reason that we are all so interested in this custom template – restoring a deleted document!

Restore a document using the Restore link

There are a number of reasons that I am impressed with this free custom template. First it is apparent that this was not a simple overnight project. A lot of thought, development and testing must have been put into this project. Second, it is simple to install and simple to use. This took me five minutes to upload the templates and add a new document library. Third the documentation for this free “tool” is great. Not only did the developer provide us with a step-by-step install process but he included items such as “expected usage”, a list of all files used, extensibility options and what I like best of all – a list of limitations. So far I have not seen to date a Recycle Bin or deleted documents solution with zero side effects. With this custom site template solution at least we can make an informed decision with the side effects.