Share Point Customization Best Practices

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    SharePoint

    CustomizationBest Practices

    1-800-COURSES www.globalknowledge.com

    Expert Reference Series of White Papers

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    IntroductionSharePoint is Microsofts document management technology. From the standpoint of IT professionals, it is a setof products that work together to provide solutions to numerous business requirements. In this paper, we aregoing to tackle a subject that has raised many questions and an equally large number of answers. How do wecustomize our SharePoint environment, and what is the best solution?

    SharePoints Major ProductsSharePoint consists of different products that can be used in different combinations to satisfy a variety of busi-ness needs. Microsoft recognizes that not all businesses require the same application solutions and that some-times there is a need for simplicity in design. In addition, SharePoint leverages the functionality provided byother products in the Microsoft lineup in order to provide a complete business solution.Table 1 on the nextpage describes the more recent Microsoft products and how they can be used in a SharePoint implementation.

    Notice that use of Microsoft Office is labeled optional. Thats because users can create new custom contenttypes for SharePoint and, as long as an application exists on the users desktop that knows how to open thatcontent type, data from any application can be stored. That leads us directly into our discussion of customiza-tion. SharePoint can be customized in so many ways that the first and most critical decision may be whichaspects to customize.

    In this white paper, we will define various types of customization and then discuss how each of these cus-tomization elements can be implemented in SharePoint.

    Gale Pomper, Global Knowledge Instructor, Server +, MCSE, MCT, CTT,CNI, CNE

    SharePoint CustomizationBest Practices

    Copyright 2008 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 2

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    Table 1. SharePoint Implementation Components.

    Customization:What Can Be Customized in SharePoint?It might be easier to define whatcannot be customized because almost every aspect of the SharePoint imple-mentation can be customized, including applications, look and feel, and web parts. Some of the more com-monly implemented customizations are identified in the table below. But first, lets discuss one element of SharePoint that cannot be customized the SQL Server database.

    Copyright 2008 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 3

    Product Name Role Required vs. Optional

    Windows SharePoint Services3.0 (WSS 3.0)

    Collaboration; content management; version control;workflows; RSS feeds; wikis; blogs; master pages;mobile device support; calendars; e-mail integration;task coordination; surveys

    Required

    Microsoft Office SharePointServer 2007 (MOSS 2007)Standard

    Enterprise search; my sites; user profile store; page lay-outs; notification service; LDAP authentication provider;Single Sign-On; slide libraries; legal holds; recordsrepository; RSS content syndication; social networkingfeatures

    Optional depending onrequirements

    Microsoft Office SharePointServer 2007 (MOSS 2007)Enterprise

    Data integration; forms services; business intelligence;business data catalog; spreadsheet publishing; ReportCenter; form import wizard

    Optional depending onrequirements

    Microsoft Office SharepointDesigner 2007

    Creation of web parts; master pages; cascading stylesheets; no-code forms; and workflows; customizeSharepoint Sites; build business logic driven workflows;create custom applications to handle data from multi-ple data sources such as XML files, SOAP services, RSSfeeds, SQL DBs.

    Optional

    Microsoft Office (Professional,Business, Enterprise)

    Interact with products developed using Office 2007applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook fromwithin Sharepoint sites. Older versions of Office alsoprovide some capabilities but best performance isachieved using Office 2007

    Optional

    SQL Server 2005 Provides the backend database platform where config-uration and user data is stored.

    Required

    SQL Server 2000 SP4 Can be used as the backend database platform butrestricts DB sizes and does not have tight integrationwith Sharepoint

    Not GenerallyRecommended

    Microsoft Project Server 2007 Allows organizations to perform life cycle project man-agement. Distribute information using the ProjectServers Reporting Data Services and the Report Serverfeature of MOSS 2007

    Optional

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    For now, SharePoint requires the backend database to be SQL Server. This is because SharePoint is written touse SQL Server-specific API calls rather than a generic database interface such as Open Database Connectivity(ODBC). However, you can access data from an Oracle database and present a view in SharePoint through aweb part or custom application. Native content, such as a new word document that needs to be stored in aSharePoint document library, will be stored in an SQL Server content database.In the following table, we list a number of different types of customizations and how these customizations canbe applied. You will notice that most customizations can be created in at least three different ways:

    User customizations using standard SharePoint capabilities No-code customizations using SharePoint Designer Coded customizations using Visual Studio or ASP.Net applications

    Table 2. Typical SharePoint Customizations.

    Now lets focus on manipulating the built-in customization features to change the Look and Feel of yourSharePoint site. In this process, we demonstrate how to go beyond what the tools allow you to manipulateand make truly custom changes to improve the user experience in SharePoint.

    Copyright 2008 Global Knowledge Training LLC. All rights reserved. Page 4

    Customization Type Customization Tool(s) Customization Element(s)

    Look and Feel Sharepoint built-in customizationelements

    Sharepoint Designer

    Visual Studio

    Themes, web part gallery, site templates, logos,master pages, navigation

    Modify Custom Style Sheets, create master

    pages, design page layouts, etc Create Site definitions, page layouts, templates,new custom style sheets

    Web Parts Sharepoint Designer Visual Studio Custom asp.net tools

    Create web part pages Create new web parts Create new web parts

    Workflow Sharepoint built-in workflows Sharepoint Designer Visual Studio

    Customize existing workflows Create no-code custom workflows using the

    Workflow wizard Create code-based Workflows for custom busi-

    ness applications using WSS SDK

    Features Visual Studio Custom capabilities

    Forms Forms Server Sharepoint Designer Visual Studio

    Publish browser accessible forms to sitecollection

    Create no-code forms Create custom code-based forms

    Search Sharepoint built-in site settings Central Administration Site

    Add new search scopes, keywords, best bets, rel-evance settings to the site.

    Add iFilters for each non-Microsoft documenttype

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    Look and Feel CustomizationsSharePoint was designed to give users tremendous independence in deciding how sites should look andbehave. In fact, one of the most important premises of the SharePoint design is to establish a layer of separa-tion between server administrators and the content on the SharePoint site. By design, site security is managedby the content creators, and customizations follow that same model.Although SharePoint is security-trimmed,with the correct permissions, site users can change the themes, icons, web-part placement, and overall sitebranding just by changing the site settings. Later in this section, we will walk through a customization. Butfirst, some fundamentals.

    In SharePoint, everything is arranged on a page. When you choose a site template, that template has an under-lying site definition that tells SharePoint which elements will comprise the site, whether or not there aresub-sites, which elements should go on the web pages, and where on the page they should be located. In fact,if you want to create your own web page, there is a set of predefined templates available that has the webpart zones already laid out in some standard formats.Adding additional web parts to a web part page is onemethod for customizing SharePoint. If you are a SharePoint administrator, or a have web designer privileges,your customization will show up for all users.

    Here is an example of how the Look and Feel of the home page in a site collection can be modified. The typicalCollaboration site does not come with an Announcements list on the home page. Many companies prefer tohave an Announcements list so that the company can position important items of interest on the first pageseen by all users. Companies that are used to the Team site template are accustomed to seeing theAnnouncements list on the home page. If you try to add an Announcements list to this page in the normalway, by editing the page and adding the web part, you find the Announcements list is not in the web partgallery. The following procedure will allow you to add that Announcements list to your web part gallery so youcan add an Announcements list to any page.

    In the site where you need the web part create anAnnouncements List . On the Quick Launch bar, clickView All Site Content. Click the Create button. Under the Communications heading, click Announcements.

    Name it Anno