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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What Are Web Parts?

Web parts are the building blocks of pages in SharePoint. They are components that show data, and they can be placed in certain regions of a page—known as web part zones. A page can hold many web parts, in different zones or in the same zone. They may be one under another in some zones and side-by-side in other zones.

For example, to show on the home page of a site the contents of a list of links, you can use a web part that displays the content of a list. The web part in Figure 1.22 is one that you have already seen in this chapter—it is the web part that shows views of lists and libraries.

Figure 1.22

Figure 1.22 Different web parts on a page.

SharePoint developers can develop web parts, and the data and functionality that web parts offer to visitors of a SharePoint site is limited only by what developers can create.

The following are some other examples of how web parts could be used:

  • To show search results (see Figure 1.23)
  • To show a picture
  • To show the users of a site
  • To show the content of a site
Figure 1.23

Figure 1.23 Search-related web parts.

Although web parts are a part of SharePoint, they can show information that is from outside SharePoint. For example, a special web part may be developed to show information from a corporate application for timesheets or project management. The web part can even offer interaction with the data, allowing users to modify data in the corporate application. In this case, the data itself is not in SharePoint. However, such web parts usually have to be developed, and most of the web parts that come with SharePoint out of the box are used to display data that is stored in SharePoint.

While web parts might be important building blocks for a SharePoint page, other components also make the pages what they are. Not everything you see on a SharePoint page is a web part, but identifying web parts usually is easy—especially if you have the permissions to edit a page, in which case the page editor shows you the web parts that are on the page, with options to remove them, move them around, and add them.

You will learn to use web parts in Chapter 9.

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