I made a post recently that deals with a major shortcoming in WSS v3 customization, the fact that 1/2 the pages in a WSS v3 site, the “application pages such as viewlsts.aspx, create.aspx etc” are not editable at the site level because they and the master page they inherit from, application.master reside in the _layouts folder on the file system and are shared by “all sites”. Editing one means you change them for all sites.
Long story short, you cannot customize all the pages that make up a WSS v3 site, you would be left 1/2 your site looking default and 1/2 looking customized.
This is a HUGE pain point that needs to be addressed now while there is still time. The community really needs to rally together to voice their concerns on this matter – It’s too late when you have 3+ years to wait for a new product.
If you are not totally aware of what I’m talking about – Create a WSS v3 site. Open it in SharePoint Designer 2007 and add an image or a bit of text inside the first column in the first table in the document. Take a look at your site in the browser and you will notice your changes. Now click on a “view” such as Lists, or create a web part page “anything administrative”. You will notice that even though you changed your “master page”, you cannot see your changes. That’s because those pages inherit from application.master which is not editable at the “site level”.
This is a call to the community to rally together to voice your concerns to the SharePoint Team on this issue (using the appropriate channels), Blog about it, post it in the newsgroups for discussion, try to get it some attention.
I am also looking for nifty ideas from the community on ways to work around this. It would make for a great www.codeplex.com project. Something along the lines of a feature/site definition? Something that allows you to specify a custom master page for the application pages? If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.