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In Sharepoint Designer, I have a Data View Web Part which pulls data from a list.

(In a normal situation) if I select a Person or Group field explicitly within the CAML for the Data Source, the display name is shown, however, if I omit the ViewFields node entirely from the CAML (such that the CAML effectively does SELECT * FROM), the Person or Group field returns a full HTML node which displays the online presence and provides interaction through a smart menu.

My issue is that my current DVWP (for this specific list) will fail with a "Non-specific error when trying to get data from the Data Source", if I include this specific Person or Group column (internal name "Sourced_x0020_By"). It will work fine if I omit ViewFields entirely, but shows the HTML.

Is there another way to retrieve only the Display Name for a Person or Group other than explicitly selecting the Field in ViewFields?

Or does anyone know a reason why a DataSource will break if asked to retrieve a Person or Group field?

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Answering my own question! Whatever next?

Well, I figured it out. In the value-of statement which displays the Person or Group field, I simply need to disable "output-escaping", so the web part actually renders the HTML instead of simply displaying the raw text.

<xsl:value-of select="@Sourced_x0020_By"  disable-output-escaping="yes" />
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This is probably another case where SharePoint Designer is getting confused. The common dialogs only take you so far. Are you adding the Sourced_x0020_By column into the CAML manually or via the dialogs?

What I usually do is substring out the user's name from the HTML. See my post over on EndUserSharePoint.com about this.

  • Yes I'm adding the column manually into the CAML. At this stage I'm not relying on UI at all. – James Love Apr 12 '10 at 14:38
  • So I'm a little confused by "f I select a Person or Group field explicitly within the CAML for the Data Source, the display name is shown". If you get the error, then how is it shown? – Marc D Anderson Apr 12 '10 at 15:01
  • I should've made this a little cleared - in that instance, it was for another list & view that I have that displays the PoG field. – James Love Apr 12 '10 at 15:46

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