Asset Library changes in SharePoint 2013

In SharePoint 2010 a new library type has been introduced called Asset Library. This Library is very suitable for storing rich media content like Audio, Video and Images. The library also contains a view by default which shows thumbnails. In SharePoint 2013 this functionality has been changed slightly. In this post I will mention some changed functionality and also some internal technical changes, which you need to know when using it in custom web templates or code.

The most major change in 2013 is the ability to play audio and video directly from browser. SharePoint contains two players to support that. One is a Silverlight player and the other is a HTML5 player. The HTML5 player uses the audio and video tags to accomplish that. Video’s can be played by using the context menu on a video or audio file and then choose for play. Then the video is played directly from browser:

The video player in SharePoint 2013 which allows to play video's directly from browser.

The video player in SharePoint 2013 which allows to play video’s directly from browser.

The video functionality has been extended more then only playing them from browsers. From now you can also select thumbnails which you want to show in the Asset Library when browsing through all items. When uploading the video the end user can select an option to choose a fragment from the video as thumbnail, upload a thumbnail image or use a picture from the web:

The upload video screen shows the option to select a thumbnail directly from video, image or web address.

The upload video screen shows the option to select a thumbnail directly from video, image or web address.

As seen in the screenshot the video can be played and the snapshot button can be used to select the frame for thumbnail. This is pretty cool functionality which is very helpful for end users to recognize the video’s uploaded other than only the filename.

To make this new functionality possible the inner workings of the video content type has been changed slightly. A new video content type is now added directly to the Asset Library when creating one. The old video content type is now called “Video Rendition”.

When creating a new Asset Library two video content types are associated by default.

When creating a new Asset Library two video content types are associated by default.

When migrating a site from 2010 to 2013 mode it will leave old video’s with the old content type. The new content type is inheriting from Document Set indirectly instead of a Rich Media Asset as with the old content type. This has been done to make it possible to invisible store the thumbnail images for the video. When opening the Document Set indirectly by modifying the URL we can see the actual folder contents of a video:

The video file itself is actually a folder containing some subfolders and the video itself.

The video file itself is actually a folder containing some sub folders and the video itself.

As you can see there is a folder named Additional Content, Preview Images and a file called Wildlife. Wildlife is in this example the video itself, which is called a Video Rendition. One video can contain multiple renditions so its possible to have multiple video’s here. I will come back to that later. The Preview Images folder actually contains the thumbnail images which are uploaded for the video or generated for the video. The Additional Content might contain other files but is most of the times empty. The player page which is opened when opening a video is actually a Document Set Welcome Page which is associated to the Video Content Type. It opens automatically a page called Forms/Video/videoplayerpage.aspx. So if you want to customize something with video’s and players then you can start there already.

Now let’s come back to video renditions. It is a feature to make it possible to provide video’s for users with a lower bandwidth available or doesn’t want to download a high resolution version. For video’s this can be managed from the edit properties page for a video and then on the down left corner you can manage the video renditions.

Video Renditions

The video rendition page makes it possible to upload multiple versions of a video. When the bit rate is specified as metadata then this will be used to automatically show the video with the lowest bit rate. It is also possible to force one version to be shown as default. This can be managed per video individually.

Another thing which is new is that you are able to configure some settings for video processing and playback settings. These settings can be managed by going to the content type settings:

VideoSettings

The settings screen provides the ability to enable/disable automatic metadata extraction and preview image from video’s uploaded. Also preview from video renditions hosted outside SharePoint can be enabled/disabled.

To conclude this post we summarize the most important things changed in Asset Libraries:
– New video content type added
– Playback of audio/video in browser added
– Video renditions added
– Thumbnails for video’s customizable

A side note it that to enable this functionality the Video and Rich Media Site Collection feature needs to be enabled. At least this is the case for some out of the box templates but in our case at a customer this wasn’t the case in a custom web template. Make sure you add the following to your ONET file to the site features section to enable this functionality:

<Feature ID="6e1e5426-2ebd-4871-8027-c5ca86371ead" />

Disable Inline Editing on migrated sites

In SharePoint 2013 a new type of list view has been made available to end users with the ability to search within a list or document library easily. In some cases when you have migrated sites from a SharePoint 2010 farm to a new SharePoint 2013 farm this new list view is not available. This might have to do with Inline Editing settings on your list views.

In SharePoint 2010 there was an option to make it possible for end users to change properties of listitems or documents in a list view. This feature is called Inline Editing and made it much easier for users to change properties with less effort. You can see if Inline Editing is set by selecting a document or listitem in the list and then an edit icon becomes visible:
020114_1215_DisableInli1.jpg

To modify this setting you go to the Library tab in the ribbon and then click on modify view. Under Inline Editing you can select the checkbox to enable it. By default this setting is disabled:

020114_1215_DisableInli2.jpg

When you have lists or libraries in your site with views with these settings enabled you will face issues after upgrading to SharePoint 2013 mode. After upgrading you’ll see the following list view in 2013 mode:

020114_1215_DisableInli3.jpg

At this moment we are not facing issues directly. But we will see that there’s a problem if we want to change this setting. Let’s go to the Library tab in the ribbon and click on modify view. The following options are available and we’re missing something:020114_1215_DisableInli4.jpg

As you can see the Inline Editing option has been removed from the User Interface and it is not possible for site owners or list owners to modify these settings on views anymore. But after some research I found that there’s a workaround for this problem.

To fix it you have several options:

  • Delete views with issue and recreate them with default settings
  • Use SharePoint Manager to delete property manually
  • Use custom code to remove the property

In this post I’ll show the second option. The first option is not feasible in every environment, because you’ll lose all created views with these issues and will need to reconfigure them manually. The second option is only feasible if you don’t have a lot of lists and libraries with this issue but when it’s more work to recreate the views completely. It’s also only an option when having a on-premise farm. When using Office 365 you can’t use SharePoint Manager, so then your only options left is to create a sandbox solution to fix it or create a CSOM tool which fixes this remotely. I will show here the solution in general using SharePoint Manager. With custom code it isn’t that hard, because the principles are the same.

When opening SharePoint Manager we’ll browse to the list view first and see what properties are set:020114_1215_DisableInli5.jpg

As you can see there is a property called InlineEdit on the All Documents View which is set to TRUE. This corresponds to the setting we’ve set when we were using SharePoint 2010 or running in 2010 mode. After some testing I found out that setting to FALSE doesn’t do anything! The only way to disable Inline Editing properly on a view is clearing the value of the InlineEdit property.

Using SharePoint Manager first clear the value and then click the save button in the upper left corner:020114_1215_DisableInli6.jpg

After refreshing the browser your list view has now a new 2013 style look:020114_1215_DisableInli7.jpg

Now you can use also the inline search functionality which is missing when Inline Editing was disabled. This is from my perspective the main reason why you don’t want to use Inline Editing anymore in SharePoint 2013. When disabling the list view property for Inline Editing by using custom code, make sure that you set the property to a null value. Otherwise Inline Editing will not be disabled properly. Hopefully this post will save you a headache when finding the root cause when the new style of list views is not working on all your lists and views.