Most of the time I always come across common mistakes that has been incurred in the process of sites being branded or customising SharePoint. So here are some common mistakes that should be avoided. I am sure that there are many other best practices. I am keeping this to the context of branding SharePoint (MOSS) when it comes to Intranet sites and Internet sites.
- Use the existing OOTB master pages and style sheets! You should always start with the "Blank Master" from Heather Solomon she has all the information for designers and HTML/CSS integrators for customising and branding. Get the AKS 1.1 Kit if you need to ensure accessibility as part of your design. Or alternatively go to CodePlex ( http://www.codeplex.com/features ) and get the Publishing Site Feature which packages a blank master page and a publishing site free of unwanted code. The SharePoint 2007 Features project has some goodies that you would definitely want to use in your SharePoint deployment. Either way there is no reason why you should spend lot's of frustrating hours trying to use existing master pages and CSS. Start with the blank.master and you will save lots of time and effort!
- Try to use the Content Query Web Part (CQWP) exclusively for all content display and aggregation purposes. The CQWP has it's limits. Ari has the DataView web part covered here. Learn about the DataView web part and how to use SharePoint Designer. Again CodePlex has some more web parts that should be looked at. For example the enhanced content query web part from Ishai Sagi (MVP). http://www.codeplex.com/ecqwp
- Customise Pages in the "layouts" directory! - This is a BIG NO NO. The layouts directory holds SharePoint System Pages. These should never be customised. If you need to customise system pages you will need to get some developer help and apply your changes by adding or inheriting from the existing pages and never customise these pages directly with SharePoint Designer. Consider using the SuperBranding Feature created by Ted Pattison.
If you are customising on WSS then check out this SharePoint skinner tool.
Previously some time ago I also blogged about that SharePoint has no limitations when it comes to being able to deliver dynamic and graphic rich web sites. Some of the Work that I have been involved in the past have included Intranets and Web sites that have used MOSS. These certainly had no limitations on customisations handed down to them when they were built.
Resources for Designers and Developers
Very useful links from Andrew Connell:
Customisation options for WSS and MOSS 2007
Session Resources from SPCAPAC Conference 2007
Posted by Chandima Kulathilake
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