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Using _layouts for enterprise pages.

  Asked By: Elvis    Date: Aug 02    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 992

I am in the middle of a design of an enterprise application that
will be used to manage different aspects of student information
across a college campus. For example, we will have an admissions
site that will host custom web parts that are used to add students
etc. We also have a registrar application that is used to schedule
students for class. The application business logic is not
housed in sharepoint instead the application is interfaced with
custom web parts that make web service calls to our enterprise
server. So when either the admissions or registrar need to
modify student information we need to link them to an edit page that
has the necessary web parts to do so. The edit page is
either an aspx page that is built into the site template or one that
was added to a web part page library. So the challenge becomes on
the pages that the edit page is linked from. How do those web parts
know where the student edit page is? Well, our initial design was
to have a property in the web part to set where to find the student
edit page. That works great, but causes more setup when a web part
is dragged onto the page.

Another solution that we have is to place the edit page in the
_layouts folder in the "60 Hive". This will allow the page to be
accessed relatively from any site.

To me this seems like a great solution. We now have the ability to
create a page at any time without the need to add it to a library or
having put the page in the template before the site was created.

So the question, what is the recommended way to add pages across the
enterprise? The _layouts seems like the best option to me, but I
would like to hear others' thoughts as well.



4 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Gregg Wilkinson     Answered On: Aug 02

Is there any reason why you wouldn’t have a site  which is the edit  for the student – always and pass in the ID that you want to edit? It could also maintain a return URL to get the user back where they came from when they’re done.

Answer #2    Answered By: Darrel Sexton     Answered On: Aug 02

That is what we are doing today. We do have a site  that is for editing students. That site has pages  built into the site template  which have the parts  necessary for editing a student. We then link  to that site from the web  parts that need it. However, we still need to configure somewhere either in the web config or part  properties where the edit  page is because we cannot reference it relatively. A test, pilot, production environment does not work well with absolute paths.

I see an advantage of placing the pages in the _layouts  folder because they can be referenced anywhere relatively within the same site that they linked  from. Also since the pages do not truly belong to a site it makes it harder to open them in frontpage and unghost the page. From my point of view I cannot see why not to go this route. Except maybe in cases where you want the page  to truly reside in a specific site rather than any site.

Can you think of any disadvantages of using the _layouts method? What are benefits of using the site method you suggest?

Answer #3    Answered By: Tory Sellers     Answered On: Aug 02

You can always put  an entry in the web.config file or use relative paths. (It’s always /sites/students – no matter what server it’s on.)

As for _layouts… it’s not really one of the areas that we’re supposed to be in much from a supportability perspective, so I try to avoid it.

Answer #4    Answered By: Agustin Miranda     Answered On: Aug 02

I agree. This makes it easier to deploy and to package up for others.

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