Customizing SharePoint Portal Server 2003

While browing posts yesterday I noticed an article on customizing SPS 2003

In the article Luis talks about customizing the SPS.CSS style sheet located on the file system.  I just wanted to note that editing default files is unsupported due to the possibility of service pack overwrites etc.  As such, the team was kind enough to leave us with OOTB functionality allowing us to point to another style sheet.  This eliminates the need to edit default files but also allows us to do some of these customizations that Luis has pointed out.  All you have to do is add one easy extra step.  First “Copy/Paste” the SPS.CSS file and rename it.
To point to a new style sheet in SharePoint Portal Server 2003:

  1. Copy/Paste and Rename the SPS.CSS style sheet
  2. Click on site settings
  3. Select Change portal site properties and SharePoint site creation settings (under the “general heading”)
  4. At the bottom you can point to your new style sheet.

It’s great to see people starting to post about SharePoint Portal Server 2003 customization as I’ve had a lot of requests for information on SPS 2003.

I hope this tip helps,

How to live happily with a great designer (By Seth Godin)

For those of you that strive to create a pixel based purple cow each day, you should appeciate this article by Seth Godin dubbed How to live happily with a great designer“.

The only thing I would do differently is bold #8. After almost 15 years of designing professionally for the web I have come to the conclusion that contrary to popular, everyone is not an artist.

Designing yourself into obscurity

Just to show that I hate all technologies equally, I decided to touch briefly on an issue which in my opinion is becoming epedemic across design-land. That is the utter lack of creativity with websites.

From blogs which do nothing but point to existing content to templated platforms like community server, the lack of design is becoming more and more evident. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of community server – I sat through a BOF with Rob Howard and Sean in Boston, great bunch of guys, but I have to agree with Andrew on the lack of creativity.

This is most evident across the land of CSS, where every second site looks exactly the same. Guys, it’s “not” cool to put 1/2 the content in the footer and you don’t have to use the same color pallette.

It seems people have forgotten about design and content usability. I cannot help but wonder how big a factor RSS plays in all this? Why design when your content is 80% consumed through RSS aggregators? Where’s the business value?

One thing that I know for certain is that the more one design is based off the last the less it stands out. For those wise enough to get the message, it should be really easy for you to make your sites unique and stand out.

Vista Website Updated

If you are looking for a benchmark to measure an online user experience, look no farther than the Windows Vista website. It offers near perfect visuals, usability and of course there is just a dash of technology behind it.
This in my opinion in the best designed website so far this year:

During all this Microsoft has managed to release betas of all 3 of their flagship products at the same time, a first for the company.

MSN Goes Standards (CSS) Compliant

As more information creeps in about the long-term benefits of going CSS+Standards based, more and more large scale websites are turning to web standards based CSS design. Amber just pointed this one out to me.

MSN launched a new homepage today that boasts a completely CSS-based layout, accessibility features, stripped-down markup that’s friendly to mobile devices, a theme switcher, and a total of only 2 validation errors.

With this launch, MSN joins a host of other major commercial sites that have embraced web standards, including Yahoo, AOL, ABC News, Wired and ESPN, to name a few.

One notable thing that sets the MSN homepage redesign apart from the others I named is the paltry number of validation errors. I know validation isn’t everything, but still, when you’ve got ESPN topping out the list with a whopping 1910 errors, and MSN has 2? That’s impressive, no matter how you cut it.

Good job guys!

Internet Explorer 7 and Hacks by Dave Shea

Great write-up from Dave Shea, one of my favorite web-standards advocates. This one entitled Stop Hacking or Be Stopped


With the imminent launch of IE7 your usual CSS hacking methods are going to fail. If you want to save web design, as we know it, it’s time to take some drastic action.

Read the full: Stop hacking or be stopped article by Dave Shea