Review of Apptex Designer: List styling made Easy!

Review of Apptex Designer: List styling made Easy!

Product analysis by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by Apptex, but thoughts are my own.

One of the big down sides of SharePoint out of the box is that it’s not easy to create a pretty site. Even with all the improvements in SharePoint 2013 and 2016 around HTML5, creating a pretty site in SharePoint is really hard, compared to other platform such as WordPress. Even when SharePoint public sites were still a thing, even the SharePoint MVPs were avoiding it for their blogs, since any customizations to make your site cool, took hours to create. I am not talking anything super complicated but a simple accordion or some cool tiles.

That is where Apptex Designer wants to come in. Apptex Designer is a tool & framework that provides you with pre-built components required to make your sites look fancy with minimum configuration

Apptex

Apptex Designer Review

After easily adding the app from the app store, you can go to the documentation page to learn what you can do and how to do it. For every item you can do, there is a page that shows you a screenshot, supported browsers, as well as everything you need to add it and customize it.

 

Apptex

If you want to see the fields required to do something, you simply look at the Fields section. For the Nivo Slider, I need 4 columns. A title, an Image, a link and a description. As you see in the note, you don’t need to have the exact same field names, you can do the mapping when applying the style, however they need to be of that certain type.

So, I have created a list with those links, added it as a Webpart on the home page and as you can see, it’s not pretty right away!

To create our cool slider, , you simply go in the “Apply” Tab, where you can simply select all the options you want for your slider such as Target Page, Field Mapping ad variables. So, first, let’s select the Page as well as the Webpart on which we want to apply the slider.

Afterwards, I map the Template Field, with the field name in my custom list. I like the fact that we can create a list with more fields and different names then the ones needed by the app and we can map them afterwards.

Lastly, we can choose all the properties such as start slide, animation speed, effect and more! After you are done customizing it,

After you click Apply, your web part will not become automatically beautiful, as some of you might have expected, but the screen will refresh, and Apptex will show you the link to the JS file that will make your WebPart beautiful.

To apply this to your WebPart, you simply edit page, go in Web Part properties, and change the JS Link field to the link Apptex gave you. You then click Apply, save the page and the trick is done!

Your boring SharePoint list is now a cool modern slider with all the properties we selected!

Apptex

It was really easy to create, however one thing I would have loved is to have the option to easily edit the text color, to make it White for example! However, you can easily do this by customizing the templates, which is another cool thing that Apptex lets you do! To customize the template, you simply go in the top right corner, and choose “Template Customization”

You then have to select the template that you wish to customize.

You then have a warning that tells you that what you will change, will only change future styles, and not the ones you currently have in place. Click Proceed to continue customizing.

In my case, I wanted to add some text that tells people to click on the image to go to the news, so I added this:

And I also wanted to make the title White!

I applied the changes, and then I recreated the JS file and applied it to my Webpart on the home page. Result is that I now have the extra line of text as well as the white title!

What else can I add with Apptex?

Apptex covers a lot of the most common scenarios that a Power User would need to make their site cool! You have:

Tabs

Accordions

Google/Bing Map

Really cool Charts!

And what is cool is that those charts only require two fields! Title and Value! After that you can use the same data, to show it in different ways, which is purely amazing!

Testimonials / Quotes

Conclusion

I have really enjoyed playing with Apptex Designer and I was surprised by its easiness. With only basic SharePoint knowledge, you are able to add some cool stuff to make your SharePoint site really pretty, and all the cool effects are supported on all major browsers. The fact that the app is really easy on your field names and data requirements makes it easy for Power Users to create the lists, add the JavaScript to the Webpart, and then any End User can add values in the list, and they will be reflected in the Webpart. The App is currently still in beta, however it already has most of the features a really cool app that I would buy off the SharePoint Store. What I would like it to have is some extra options for simple stuff like text color, However as long as you have a basic HTML knowledge, you can easily update the template and make it fit with your company colors and policies!

You can download the app for free from the Office Store by clicking the logo right under, and you can also look at this video on YouTube!

To learn more about Apptex Designer, check out their site at: http://spapptex.com/

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