Join Simon Allardice for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring a basic SharePoint site, part of SharePoint Designer 2007: Branding SharePoint Sites.
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So I expect that you've already made your way around a few SharePoint sites, but in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to look at one from a designer's perspective - what are the things you should be paying attention to? Because there are some parts that will be easy for you to change and some that won't. Now, as a designer, you're probably a little annoyed that most of the SharePoint sites that you see kind of look the same, but really that's a blessing. Once should know how to work with one, you know how to work with the others. So I'm going to show you two very typical SharePoint sites. Neither have been customized, and they are as they'd appeared immediately after creation.
What I'm looking at right now is a Team Site, available in WSS and by definition also available in MOSS, one of the classic built-in collaboration sites. This is a Web site that gives you this homepage that we're looking at. It gives you a place to put Documents, called Shared Documents. It gives you a Calendar. It gives you a List of Tasks. There's also a Discussion Board. Now, if you're clicking around a Team Site and you don't see this menu over here on the top right, the Site Actions menu, the Power menu here, you're going to be unable to do anything significant with customization, because that's where we get to create new parts of the site and change the Settings of the site. But although we're looking here at a Team Site, this site really could be a Document Workspace.
It could be a Blog Site. It could be a Blank Site. It could be any Classic WSS Collaboration Site. They all share a lot of the same features. For example, they have got a section down the left-hand side, which is often referred to as the Quick Launch bar, and there's no particular magic about that name. In older versions of SharePoint, there used to be a graphic along the side of it that said Quick Launch, and that's why it's still called the Quick Launch bar. We also have the Top Link bar, which not surprisingly, is across the top of the page.
Now right now, there isn't a lot on my Top Link bar. You would normally see several tabs here representing links to different sites. So the Top Link bar on the top, the Quick Launch bar on the left. They're both navigation. And navigation in SharePoint is flexible, just like being on a regular Website out there on the Web, the Navigation doesn't have to tell you everything that exists. As a general rule, what you'll find is the top-level navigation takes you between different SharePoint sites, and the Navigation on the left, in the Quick Launch bar, shows you what's in this particular site that you're looking at.
But there's one key link here, if you really want to know what exists in a particular site, you're going to click the link that says View All Site Content, at the top of the navigation bar. This will actually tell you, better than anything, what exists in this particular site. You'll find this link, this View all Site Content Page, on every single SharePoint site that exists. Sometimes you may have to click around to find it. Sometimes it won't be there on the left, but it will exist, for every SharePoint site in your SharePoint Installation.
Now I'm going to come down a little bit in this All Site Content and actually see that there's a section down here that says Sites and Workspaces, and what this really means is are there any other SharePoint sites underneath this one? Now sometimes, if there was, you'd actually see a Link to it on the Top Link bar. We didn't have one, but I'm actually saying that there is one called Annual Report and if I click on that, I'm being taken to another SharePoint site. This is actually called a Document Workspace, and you might say well, is it a workspace, or is it a site? Well, a workspace is a site.
Microsoft decided to call some of their SharePoint Site Templates Workspaces, if the idea was that they wouldn't necessarily live for all that long. So if you are creating a site to work on a Document or site to work on a meeting, those are called Document Workspaces and Meeting Workspaces. But there's really no difference between them and other SharePoint sites. Well, also notice here is that we have got a bit of a breadcrumb going on. Now these breadcrumbs are basically telling us what exists in this Site Collection.
In fact, as we get more into navigation, and you'll see that the breadcrumbs can look very different, but this is trying to tell me where am I and what's above me? In this case, that Team Site is above me. I'm currently in the Annual Report. Breadcrumbs, very much like anything else out there on the Web, can be very useful, but you have to know how they work in SharePoint. Now what I'm going to jump into now is a slightly more complex SharePoint Web site. This one is a Collaboration Portal. This is only available in MOSS and has the Publishing Feature activated, which I can tell just by coming over here to the menu and seeing that I've got multiple Options and not just two or three.
But even though there are a whole bunch of options over here, if I come over to the Quick Launch bar on the left, I see that I've still got a View All Site Content link, that if I click that, it can actually tell me all the lists and libraries that exist inside this site, so we can see the regardless of if we have WSS or MOSS, we're still having the same kind of structure, the same building blocks of SharePoint that exist. Now I am not trying to make you an expert on using these sites. What I'm trying to show you is that regardless of whether it's a classic WSS Collaboration Web site or a MOSS Publishing Website, their internal structure is similar.
All SharePoint Web sites are made of a collection of lists and libraries, and what you see in the View All Site Content page is really telling what the Site is made of. And that's the key thought when customizing SharePoint sites, to be able to change how they look, you need to understand what they are and in the next module, we're actually going to talk about the Building Blocks of all SharePoint Sites.
- Setting site permissions
- Customizing existing CSS files
- Implementing the WCM (Web Content Management) features in SharePoint
- Using master pages
- Designing accessible pages
- Creating a Page Layout template
- Editing and copying themes
- Building out the Publishing Portal
- Customizing navigation