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Author Field in a DataForm WebPart

7 Jun

The other day I was trying to access the Author field in a DataForm WebPart and noticed that it wasn’t listed in the Data Source Details taskpane.  If you are new to SharePoint, you recognize the Author field as the Created By column in a SharePoint list.  Created By is the display name while Author is the name used internal by SharePoint.  There are several great sites that list the display/common names for built-in SharePoint fields:

Link 1Link 2

If you look towards the bottom of your form, you will notice that SharePoint automatically takes care of displaying the Created/Created By and the Modified/Modified By information for you.

SharePoint automatically adds this information to the bottom of any form created.

SharePoint bundles this information into the following server control:

<SharePoint:CreatedModifiedInfo ControlMode="Display" runat="server"/>

Although convenient for SharePoint, it is not very convenient for the developer.  How else do you display the Created By field or Modified By?  Well, after some searches online, I discovered that this tag can be customized using templates which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it is an offspring of ASP.NET server controls.  It is through this customization that you can access the fields shown above in your DataForm WebPart.  After adding the CreatedModifiedInfo server control in the desired location, you need to add CustomTemplate tags, and add a FormField server control between those tags while setting the FieldName to the field you want using the internal name.  Below is some sample code:

<SharePoint:CreatedModifiedInfo ControlMode="Display" runat="server">
      <SharePoint:FormField FieldName="Author" runat="server" ControlMode="Display" DisableInputFieldLabel="true"/>


If you want to display the Modified field, you would replace Author with Editor since Editor is the internal name for Modified-remember to check out the links above to learn more about internal names.  Or if you want to display both fields, you can just add another FormField control on the page and style it any way you want by adding HTML code between the CustomTemplate tags.  One thing to keep in mind is that ControlMode needs to be set according to the type of form you are creating.  In my example, I am modifying a display form so ControlMode is set to Display.

One final note, you could modify the ASCX for CreatedModifiedInfo server code by modifying the templates stored on the SharePoint server.  Of course this is NOT RECOMMENDED, but if you are feeling courageous or curious, they are found under the following directory:


If anything, you will learn just how the control bundles the information you see by default.


DataForm Webpart, XSLT, and NaN

3 Jun

The other night I was playing around with the dataform webpart, trying out different XSLT code to get a better grasp on it.  Where I work, we are only allowed to use SharePoint Designer so I have had to spend a lot of time learning about the DataView webpart, and the more I learn, the more impressed I am.  Now I am less inclined to jump straight into Visual Studio when developing SharePoint solutions.  Anyway, I was playing around with a inventory cost list based on a spreadsheet I found online and I was trying using the format-number function in XSLT.

The function does exactly what it says, format numbers.  You can read more about the function at the following link.  I used the following code to format currency:

<xsl:value-of select="format-number(@Total,'$#.##')"/>

Everything looked fine, until I noticed that cells containing values over a 1,000 were empty.  I tried entering the function using the Formula button in the SharePoint Designer ribbon and noticed that values over 1,000 were turning up as NaN (or Not a Number).

Values greater than 1,000 are not displayed when using format-number function in XSLT.

Since I imported the spreadsheet into SharePoint (for which I encountered a whole other set of issues I will blog about later) I thought that maybe the type of the column was set to Single line of text and maybe that was causing the issue.  Looking at the List Information  screen, the column was set to Number.  Since the values under a thousand were displaying ok, I wasn’t 100% convinced that was the issue.  I did notice though that the column automatically digit-grouped the numbers, adding a comma to values greater than 1,000.  It then dawned on me that the comma must be causing the function to spit out NaN.  I adjusted my formula to the following:

<xsl:value-of select=”format-number(translate(@Total,’,’,”),’$#,###.00′)” />

Sure enough, values over 1,00o displayed correctly.  Basically the translate function takes the first parameter, searches it for instances of the second parameter, and replaces it with the third parameter.  In my case, it took the Total value and replaced the comma with nothing before processing.  The format-pattern in the format-number function adds back the comma in the proper place.   The other thing you will notice is that I replaced the place-holders after the period from # to 0. When it was set to #, I notice that values that ended in zero were truncated.  For example, 60.00 would be turned to $60, or 49.90 would become $49.9, but 59.09 would display as $59.09.   The # place-holder displays 0 as absent when it starts or ends the number and that is why some numbers were correct while others were truncated.

If you have encountered this issue, share how you solved it below.