List and Views become Layers
A fundamental part in SharePoint is Lists and Views. SMIL consider SharePoint as a platform where various applications can live and use all features from SharePoint, such as document management, issue tracking, integration to Microsoft Office etc. One web site in SharePoint is one application which can be customized and populated with specific data.
SMIL using lists in SharePoint almost as de-normalized tables in a databases and views are just as views in the database. Of course SharePoint cannot replace a database and there are drawbacks from not storing spatial information in a spatial database. However, the framework (Deep Earth and Bing Maps) SMIL is built on gives opportunities to make spatial operations in the client thanks to NetTopolgySuite and GeoAPI.
SMIL’s Layer Panel groups lists that contains geographic data, and shows every view as a layer. The upside of this is that layers are auto generated and published with SMIL’s GeoRss-feed by just creating a view in a SharePoint list. One upside of this approach is that SharePoint do filtering and anyone who has privileges can create new Layers for the users. Another nice thing is that person doesn’t have to be a GIS-specialist and learn a new tool. This approach is great to filter data that are stored in SharePoint as long as you don’t have to bother WHERE things are.
If the user hover the mouse over a SMIL symbol an info window of that item shows. The window first shows, which list, view and item title. In this case Tasks, All tasks, Task 2. Then there are two buttons. One Open button where you can open that particular list item and continue to work with that list item, the list item opens in a new window. Of course, as shown in SMIL Part 1, there are a map in the list item view that showing the position of the item. Next to the Open button there is a Select button. If the web part is connected to another list view web part the list view web part can be filtered by SMIL’s map web part. In this way, the user stays in this window.
In the drop down list, the views that is available in that lists are listed so the user can change view to get more or less information in details-section below.
To sum up, SMIL tries to use as much as possible that is already built in SharePoint by using the concept of lists and views. The upside is that any SharePoint administrator can create new layers with this approach.