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Customizing Portal Area Page Templates

  Asked By: Connor    Date: Sep 05    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 1346

I am learning a lot about customizing the look and feel of SharePoint Portal areas and some of the different options available. I'm trying to get a good feel for what is acceptable and what Microsoft says is a no-no.

From there, I want to learn how to better do some of the acceptable things. I am trying to establish some best practices for my company to follow when doing SharePoint implementations.

Can someone verify for me that the following is correct?

1) Individual portal area pages can be edited by opening the page in Front Page and making the changes. This will not change the underlying template, however, it will allow you to manually change an area page created from the template.


· Area pages can be made more unique, because the change is to the page itself, and has no effect on other pages based on the template.

· There is no danger that anything you do will get overwritten by Microsoft.

Disadvantage: However, if you have many portal areas, and you want them all to look the same, you would have to do them one by one in FrontPage.

2) You “could” (although you are really, really, really not supposed to) manually update the template files in the 1033 hive on the SharePoint server. This will change not only the template, but any pages previously created from the template, excluding those that have been previously modified using the Front Page method described above.

Advantage: You can make changes to many portal areas quickly.

Disadvantage: Per Microsoft, this is a big no-no. They don't want you messing with any of their files in the 1033 hive. In the event of a SharePoint Service Pack, there is no guarantee that MS will not overwrite any changes you've made to their files.

3) This is the one I am only recently learning about. You can create new templates for areas by adding a file called WEBTEMPSomethingNew.XML in the 1033\XML folder, which would mirror the WebTempSPS.xml file in the same folder. If you make copies of one or more of the SPS, SPSTOC, etc. folders, you can reference them in the WEBTEMPSomethingNew.XML, and have your own new templates to choose from.


· Ability to customize many pages at once.

· Does not break Microsoft’s rules.

· Supports an unlimited set of templates, so technically, multiple portals running on the same server can all have their own unique templates.

Is all of the above correct? Am I missing anything? Are there disadvantages to this last approach that I should be aware of?



4 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Tory Sellers     Answered On: Sep 05

Option #3, please (stay ghosted, at nearly all costs).

1. Ghosted pages  have better performance (negligible I know).
2. Ghosted pages have "master-page like" functionality.
3. Ghosted pages will _significantly_ simplify a v2 to vNext upgrade.

Answer #2    Answered By: Agustin Miranda     Answered On: Sep 05

My (non-expert) opinion is that there are two reasons to avoid
unghosting: performance (negligible for many deployments including
ours) and what you called "master-page" functionality (to allow cross-
site rebranding)

I don't understand the argument that making  MS-unsupported edits to
the 60 hive will somehow make upgrading to V3 easier. My suspicion is
that the reverse is true; *basic* edits through Frontpage, though
creating unghosted pages, will be supported by all service packs and
likely V3 as well. If you go ahead and edit the hive (as we are doing
for "master-page" functionality) then you may end up with a site
template that doesn't work at all in V3, which could be a real

Basically, I agree with Todd's advice, but I just wanted to point out
that going this route is not going to ensure an easy upgrade. Most
importantly, editing these pages  should be done with the utmost care,
with backups and documentation at every step.

Here a good  guide: http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/27673
I'd appreciate anyone sharing tipsthey've found.

Answer #3    Answered By: Arron Middleton     Answered On: Sep 05

And thus a new question was spawned....

I've seen references on this list to the term ghosting, but I do not
understand what that means and how ghosting is accomplished. Please
explain, or could you point me to somewhere I can read up on it.

Answer #4    Answered By: Vance Hardin     Answered On: Sep 05

Since Ghosting/Unghosting/Reghosting is somewhat of a
soapbox for me I'll give a shot at explaining it in a Blog post soon.
I'll let everyone here know when it gets posted.

In the meantime, read what the master (Maurice Prather) has to say about
it here:

One of my previous students talks about it here:

My mantra, stay ghosted!!! I think that unghosted pages  will be the bane
of many, many unwitting SharePoint deployments when we try to move to
the next release.

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