02 October 2011

SharePoint: Create an easy "Share page with friend" button

In SharePoint, it's useful to have an email icon that allows users to email the page to friends. Though we could build a popup box, we can also go with a simpler solution that uses the person's email client to do the heavy lifting. In another post, I covered how to fetch some of the server-side variables into a JavaScript array needed for generating this email. Now, let's use the variables and see how we send the email. One key to this feature is to keep it simple; this means, we'll leave the To field of the email blank and use the commonplace "mailto:" HREF attribute. So, let's get to the code:
function generateEmailTo(){
  var body = currentElements.currentUserName + ' has shared a page with you on the intranet.%0A%0APage Title: %22' +
    currentElements.currentTitle  + '%22%0A' + $(location).attr('href').replace('#',''); 
  var subject = currentElements.currentUserName + ' has shared an intranet page with you';
  var mailto = 'mailto: ?body=' + body + '&subject=' + subject;
  var anchor = '<a href="' + mailto + '"></a>';

We can pass the body, subject, and mailto for the mail message. The ?body= and the &subject= allow the main message and the subject to be passed in the querystring. To provide line breaks, we use %0A hex values; so for two line breaks, we use %0A%0A in the querystring value. To pass quotes, we use %22. To pass a blank mailto:, we leave a space in front of it, before the ?body=. More notes on mailto, setting its cc, bcc, and special characters can be found here.

Once we've concatenated the various elements, we pass the anchor variable to the jQuery wrap() function, called on the email icon img tag (with ID of send-email). We call the above generateEmailTo() in the document.ready function. When you click the link, it produces something like this in the generated email (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.):
Alex C has shared a page with you on the intranet. 

Page Title: "My Page Title" 
The subject, not shown, will be "Alex C has shared an intranet page with you". Note that the URL will appear as a clickable link in most email clients. Also note that we can't pass HTML to the body of the message, only plain text.

Hope you find this useful.

Update: Here's the IMG tag that is being referenced in the code above:
<img id="infoweb-email" title="Send this page to a friend." 
  src="<%= baseUrl %>/SiteAssets/media/icons/email-icon.gif"/>
The baseUrl server-side variable is set in the page layout's OnLoad event handler:
<script type="text/c#" runat="server">
protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e)
  base.OnLoad(e); // Required for the SharePoint ribbon bar, etc., to work correctly.
  Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext context = Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.GetContext(HttpContext.Current);
  baseUrl = context.Site.Url;
  // Other code...
For the page layout to allow code blocks, we must make the following change to the Web.config file:
   <PageParserPath VirtualPath="/_catalogs/masterpage/*" 
       AllowServerSideScript="true" IncludeSubFolders="true"/>
Note that this allows all files in the masterpage folder to contain code blocks. If we use Firebug to examine the element in Firefox, we'll see this is the HTML generated by our server- and client-side code:
<a href="mailto: ?body=Alex%20C has shared a page with you on the intranet.%0A%0APage Title: %22My%20Page%20Title%22%http://mysite.org/Pages/mypage.aspx&subject=Alex%20C has shared a page with you on the intranet.">
<img id="send-email" src="http://mysite.org/SiteAssets/media/icons/email-icon.gif" title="Send this page to a friend.">
So the IMG element has been wrapped by an anchor tag which has the properties we set in JavaScript.

1 comment:

web-weasel said...

Hi there - this is exactly what I'm looking for but for us non-developers could you give us a complete snippett for us to have as an example? For instance, the img itself - it'll need to have a href - but of what?

thanks! Dan