And the final content roll-up web part I examined is Bamboo Solutions List Roll-up Web Part.
This web part is a little strange; indeed, I’m not sure how to describe it. As I understand it, basically it’s a web part to generate a data-view web part, and add it to the page. Sound strange? Well, it is a little bit. Let’s have a look:
As you can see, this is a big web part on page. It’s user interface is much more complicated than the Lightning Conductor. I couldn’t help but notice that to do filtering by metadata column values appears to require writing CAML – which really is a bit much for many users.
This web part then generates an output Dataview Web Part:
(In that example, it’s only aggregating from one list – ‘cos I forgot that gave my lists different names, and then told the view to roll-up by list name).
So, it’s advantages:
- Can consolidate across Multiple Site Collections (which isn’t possible through the Out-of-box options)
- Can consolidate a single site collection, a site and it’s subsites or a specific list.
- Can also consolidate sibling sites – which isn’t something I’ve seen elsewhere.
- Can filter by list type
- Can filter by content type or meta data fields
- Can Group results
- Has user definable sorting
- Has Pagination of results
- Fine control over caching
And it’s disadvantages:
- More complex to use
- More complex user interface
- Probably requires writing CAML
- Costs money (though I think is still a bargain compared to developer time)
- Could be a tough sell to customers (“But SharePoint already has the Content Query Web Part“)
In short: Probably the most powerful and feature rich of the web parts, but not as easy to use as some of the others. Really, more of a developer tool than a user tool.
So, on to the conclusions…