When I started blogging a couple of years back, I made my entry with a very unorthodox way to create a WSS v2 website that looked like “a real website”. I promise I won’t make you endure that length tutorial again.
Staying true to my “designer” root, this article outlines some of the MOSS 2007 terminology, and how they relate to a “regular website”. In the end you should have a slightly better idea on how to leverage the power of MOSS 2007 to create robust and fully customized web applications.
Disclaimer: This is based entirely on my own research using beta 2, not all information may be correct, and all is subject to change.
As with any successful venture, planning is key. Here are a few tips for planning your publishing site in MOSS 2007:
1) Plan your content types and columns: In it’s simplest form, a website is made up of a group of pages, each containing content. Keep this concept in mind when planning your MOSS 2007 content types and columns.
A content type would represent a unique “page” in your website such as an “About Us” page, while the “columns” represent a bit of content on a particular page.
For example: If you had a website with an about us page, this page would likely have a title stating about us, some content about us and perhaps a company photo. In this context, you would create a content type for “About Us” and columns within this content type for “About Us Title” “About Us Content” “About Us Image”.
When you select a column remember that with the power of WCM (Web Content Management) you are able to give users with appropriate permissions the ability to edit these columns from within the browser as they view the site. When you are planning and selecting columns pay close attention to what you would/wouldn’t want editable in a WCM sense. You will notice “publishing enabled” next to the columns that allow this functionality.
To recap, a content type is a unique page within a site and a column is a unique bit of content within a page. Not too difficult when you look at it that way.
2) Planning and creating page layouts: Page layouts are created “based on” content types. In a regular website design scenario, you would likely have a “skeletal” page based on your great design which you can use to quickly create for example sub pages such as “about us”. This is much the same way page layouts work only much, much better.
When you create a page layout, users with proper permissions can select create page from the browser and then select your page layout as the starting point.
The idea here is you decide up front what unique pages you figure you will need (content types) Example: A sub page. Then you decide what type of content should be on there (columns), and which of these should be editable by the user. Then you create a page layout (using the Browser, or SharePoint Designer 2007) by associating it with a content type. That then says this page layout will show up in the gallery for “create page” and when the user selects it they will have that skeletal starting point for a new page.
To really leverage the power of this you want to create a fully customized set of page layouts, taking advantage of master pages and adding your own custom layout and graphics.
In the end you have the power to empower ANY USER to click “Create Page” and have a fully customized UI pop up with editable features and if you wish areas to add web parts. This in my opinion is where MOSS 2007 really shines for a designer.
I hope this article has helped you understand a little better, the terminology of MOSS 2007 and how content types, columns and page layouts relate to one another, and more importantly how you as a designer can relate to them in a “regular website” context.
Have a question? Leave a comment or email me, shane @ my domain