SharePoint Best Practices Posts- Day 8 of 10 Reasons to create ‘Custom Site Definitions’

April 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Best Practices Posts, SharePoint 

Guest Post by Darren White SQL/SharePoint Developer

Note from administrator Mike Herrity: Apologies for the unusual font today. This post was published with this font and despite my best efforts will not be corrected! I love Word Press 99.9% of the time! I did not want to remove it and break a link in RSS.

One session that I attended at the SharePoint Best Practices Conference was titled ‘Designing & Deploying Enterprise Branding Solutions using Custom Site Definitions’ The aim of the session was to address the problem of how to keep a standard look and feel across multiple sites and the simplest way to update and maintain them. A site definition in its simplest form is just a set of instructions about how to create a site, what master page to set and what CSS style sheet to use. It also sets what lists and libraries are put on the page. When you create a custom site definition you can include the master page and CSS style sheet within it.

If a site definition is just a set of instructions why not just go and do these things manually? Well the short answer is time. Imagine you are setting up a site and you need to go and set the master page, tell it what CSS style sheet to use, create all the lists and libraries and them add them to the page.  If you only have a few lists and libraries this might not take to long but if you have 15/20 lists and libraries it will take over 30 minutes. With a site definition this wouldn’t take any time as it will all be done for you as the site is created.

At present I am a novice in this area and will be looking to develop Custom site definitions when we get the post-conference video. I will then blog further on our experience but if you can’t wait until then the following is a wealth of knowledge out in the Blogosphere on how to create Custom Site Definitions:

  1. Todd Baginski’s awesome blog post on custom site definitions
  2. Muhanad Omar with part 1 and part 2 on custom site definitions
  3. TechNet article
  4. MSDN article