The best thing about Microsoft SharePoint is that you have full control to do whatever you want. Developers can add “web parts” to their SharePoint for specific functionality that may not exist in other businesses’ SharePoint websites.
What is a web part? Also referred as a web widget, it is a modular unit of information and an ASP.NET server control which is added to a web part zone on web part pages by users at runtime.
SharePoint web parts add crucial functionality to modify the content, appearance, and behaviour of SharePoint environment. Several innovative companies around the globe are developing free as well as proprietary web parts.
In this article, we will list down five free and popular web parts that you can try in your SharePoint environment.
1. World clock and Weather Web Part
World Clock & Weather Web Part allows users to display local time and weather for selected major cities around the globe. This free Web Part allows you to show the weather or clock by location with temperature, date, and time. Moreover, it also shows as many locations as you want with the option to scroll through each location. It allows you to choose from analogue or digital clock styles as well as its colours.
You can run this web part on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010. It also has built-in holiday features.
Google Chart web part allows users to chart data contained in a specified Sharepoint List. The charts are created via Google’s public Chart API.
Parameters can also be configured which includes the list containing the data to be visualized, search filters, chart types, dimensions, chart titles, background colours, colour palette and legend. This widget is available both in free as well as a licensed version which provides additional technical support.
The Banner Rotator Web Part rotates the image files contained in the specified Sharepoint Picture Library using smooth transitions between the images. The Web Part can be used with WSS V3, Sharepoint 2007 and Sharepoint 2010.
The following parameters can be configured:
- Optional Library Folder containing the images
- Transparent Text area (can be freely positioned)
- Sharepoint Picture Library containing the pictures
- Rotate banners, show a new banner every day or on every page refresh
MashPoint is a single unified data access platform that can be used to gather data living both inside and outside of SharePoint. It enables accessibility and integration of external data sources directly from SharePoint, visualize and interact with them via Web Parts or custom applications.
Mashpoint includes Data-Viewer WebPart, Chart Plus Web part Calendar Plus Web Part, Virtual Map View Web Part, Tree View Web Part and Mini-Calendar Web part. Moreover, developers can also use the Mashpoint API to author their own .NET Applications to link to proprietary data stores.
5. Facebook Kit
The Facebook Kit for SharePoint (FKS) allows users to leverage on the Facebook Connect APIs
With the Facebook Kit for Sharepoint, developers can build functionalities such as ability to login to Facebook from within Sharepoint as well as showing Facebook status on a Sharepoint page.
The pre-developed web parts included in FKS are:
- Facebook Login Web Part
- Facebook Share Part
- Facebook Profile Picture Web Part
- Facebook Status Web Part
- Facebook Comment Web Part
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