02 October 2011

SharePoint: Fetch environment variables and store in JavaScript

For a header text, we needed the current site's name. In addition, to generate a "Share this page with a friend" button, we needed the current user's login name and full name. We could use SharePoint's Client Object Model, which does an asynchronous call from JavaScript to get the information.

However, we needed the site's name to be available with the DOM, not when the page loads; we tried the AJAX call and it took a second or two to fetch the data. During this time, the page had no header text saying which site the user was on.

What to do? We could use jQuery to get the site name from the breadcrumbs generated via the asp:SiteMapPath control, but there could be times when we wouldn't be using this control. Else we could fetch it from the top-left navigation tree dropdown; even that was clunky. So we decided to put the following code in the Page Layout's PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead control; it can also be placed in the master page:
<asp:Content ContentPlaceholderID="PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead" runat="server">
String currentUserName = Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.Name.ToString();
String currentUserEmail = Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.Current.Web.CurrentUser.LoginName.ToString().Replace("MYDOMAIN\\","");
String currentSite = Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.Current.Web.ToString();
String currentTitle = (Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.Current.Item["Title"] == null) ?
 "" : Microsoft.SharePoint.SPContext.Current.Item["Title"].ToString();

StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
sb.Append("<script type='text/javascript'>var currentElements = { currentUserName: '");
sb.Append("', currentUserEmail: '");
sb.Append("', currentSite: '");
sb.Append("', currentTitle: '");


We fetch the current user's name using the SPContext.Current property, which gives us a handle to the current HTTP request in SharePoint. Then we get the various items we need, such as the user's name, login name, web (current site name), and the publishing page's title.

Once we have the values, we plug them into a JavaScript array that we build server-side. When the page loads in the browser, the array will be instantiated with the values we set using C#. We use a StringBuilder object for optimal performance because of the string concatenations.

So what does it look like when the page loads? Here it is:
<script type='text/javascript'>var currentElements = { currentUserName: 'Alex C', currentUserEmail: 'myemailid', currentSite: 'My Site Name', currentTitle: 'Page Title'}</script>
To use any of the array elements in jQuery or elsewhere, just call it via something like this: currentElements.currentSite

A final note: If any of the values will have a single quote in them, just escape the value using a .Replace("'","\'")on the string in C#.

No comments: