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Plan Web pages (SharePoint Server 2010)

 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-10-06

When you plan to publish Web pages in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, you design the appearance of your published content, determine where authors can add content on pages, and control which authoring features authors can use. An effective plan for Web pages helps ensure that each type of content that your organization publishes is designed correctly and is available to achieve your publishing goals.

To help you understand your design options, this article first introduces the elements of publishing pages: master pages, page layouts, content pages, style sheets, Web Parts, Web Part zones, and server field controls. Next, this article contains guidance about how to plan each element of the Web pages in your publishing site. Because the design and configuration of page layouts helps restrict what authors can do on Web pages, this article includes guidance about how to use page layouts to restrict authoring. However, this article does not describe how to create master pages, page layouts, or content pages, nor does it describe how content authors create Web pages.

In this article:

When a SharePoint Server 2010 site user opens a Web page in a SharePoint site, that page is rendered based on a set of elements that have each been planned and designed separately in the Web site. Separating elements of a page in this manner enables site planners and designers to treat different elements of the site in unique ways. For example, a site's branding and navigation can be planned and designed separately from the design of the site's content pages so that the branding can be applied across all site content and can be updated in one location. Similarly, the layout of pages can be designed separately from the content of pages so the same content can be displayed in different ways.

A Web page that is based on SharePoint Server 2010 is an ASP.NET file (.aspx) page that is dynamically rendered out of its constituent parts. The two primary parts of a Web page are the master page and the page layout. Master pages contain controls that are shared across multiple page layouts, such as navigation, search, or language-preference for multilingual sites. Page layouts contain field controls and Web Parts. When you create a Web page, content in the page is stored as list items in the Pages library. This Web page is referred to as a content page, because it contains the content that is displayed to users when they view the page on the Web site. The following figure shows how page layouts and master pages work together to create the layout for a Web page.

Page layout

The following sections describe master pages, page layouts, and content pages in more detail.

A master page defines the outer frame of the Web page. It contains the elements that you want all pages in your site to share, and it provides a single place to control all those elements. Typically, a site uses a single master page, although large Internet sites might use more. For example, a corporate Web site that publicizes more than one product could use separate master pages so that the content for each product is branded correctly.

noteNote
There are two kinds of master pages: site master pages and system master pages. The site master page is used on published Web pages in your site. The site master page is what site users and visitors see when they view published pages. The system master page provides the layout of pages in the site that is used by site designers and authors when they work with the site's user interface. The system master page is also used in some team site templates, such as the Enterprise Wiki and the Document Workspace site templates. This article primarily describes planning considerations for site master pages.

Master pages for all sites in a site collection are stored in the Master Page Gallery in the top-level site in the site collection. Because the Master Page Gallery is a SharePoint document library, master pages have all the features of documents in SharePoint Server 2010, such as versioning, auditing, workflow, check-in and check-out, and content approval.

Typically, master pages include the following elements:

  • Branding elements, such as corporate logos and color schemes

  • Shared navigation elements

  • Shared features, such as search commands and Help commands

  • Links to cascading style sheets. (Cascading style sheets control the page appearance, colors, and fonts.)

The publishing site templates that are included in SharePoint Server 2010 include site master pages that you can use as a starting point in your page design. To customize an existing master page or to create a new one, use Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

A page layout is an Active Server Pages (ASPX) page that defines a layout for a specific kind of content page. When a SharePoint site user opens a content page in a browser, the page layout that is associated with that page is first combined with the master page, which supplies the outer frame of the page, and then the contents of the page are inserted into the field controls on the page layout.

Because a page layout displays content that is stored in the columns of a content type, it must be designed for a particular content type. For example, a page layout that is associated with the Article Page content type would have several field controls, including the following:

  • A Page Content field control to hold the contents of the Page Content column in the Article Page content type

  • A Page Image field control to hold the image that is linked to from the Page Image column of the Article Page content type

Although a page layout must be designed for a single content type, a content type can be associated with multiple page layouts. For example, SharePoint Server 2010 includes two page layouts for the Article Page content type: one that displays the image on the left side of the page and another that displays the image on the right. For more information about content types, see Content type and workflow planning (SharePoint Server 2010).

Along with controls to display the contents of a page, a page layout can include other page elements, including the following:

  • Web Parts   A control that page authors can insert into a Web Part zone on a page and then configure.

  • Web Part zones   A specified area on a Web page that is a container for Web Parts.

  • Field controls   A control that is added directly to a page layout. For more information about field controls, see Field Controls and Control Templates (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=184821).

  • Cascading style sheets links   Cascading style sheets control the page appearance, colors, and fonts.

For example, a page layout for a business article could include a field control that displays a stock ticker. The stock ticker would be displayed together with other page content when that page layout is used.

Like master pages, page layouts for all sites in a site collection are stored in the Master Page Gallery in the top-level site in the site collection. Because the Master Page Gallery is a SharePoint library, page layouts also have all the features of documents in SharePoint Server 2010, such as versioning and content approval. Publishing sites that you create by using SharePoint Server 2010 include page layouts that you can use as a starting point in your content page design. To customize an existing page layout or to create a new one, use Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

All content pages for a publishing site are stored in a single Pages library. Each item in a Pages library is a single Web page. Because the Pages library is a SharePoint library, the Web pages that it contains have all the features of documents in SharePoint Server 2010, such as versioning, auditing, workflow, check-in and check-out, and content approval.

noteNote
Although all publishing pages in a site are in a single Pages library, Web solutions that are based on SharePoint Server 2010, such as intranet sites and Internet presence sites, typically consist of a hierarchy of sites, each with its own Pages library.

Authors create pages by selecting New Page on the Site Actions menu and edit them by selecting Edit Page on the Site Actions menu. When creating a new page, authors enter a name for the new page and then immediately begin authoring content on the page. To change the content type and page layout, authors select Page Layout in the Page Actions group on the Page tab of the page to be modified. To add content, select images, and do other editing tasks, authors use the Format Text and Insert tabs under Editing Tools on the page to be modified.

The columns that are associated with the content type for a Web page contain the HTML content for that page. They also contain links to images that appear with the page and a link to the page layout that is associated with the page.

Each column of content for a page is associated with a particular field control on the page layout that is associated with the page. For more information about field controls on page layouts, see Page Layout Model (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=184822).

Master pages provide the shared framing elements of the page. These include the branding of the site, its navigation features, and other common elements such as search fields and Help commands. The site master page supplies the context of the page and should remain consistent as the user interacts with your site. To ensure that users have a consistent experience when they move from one page to another throughout a single site in a site collection, we recommend that you leave the site master page unchanged. To supply consistent branding and user interface, you can use the same site master page across all sites in your site collection.

You can change the master page that is used in other sites in your site hierarchy to change the branding in some sites. For example, an Internet presence site might consist of multiple sites that each present a different brand of products. You can change the site master page for each site in the site hierarchy to reflect the distinct product brand that each site presents.

Before you plan master pages, you should plan your site structure, as described in Plan sites and site collections (SharePoint Server 2010). To plan master pages, use the Master page data sheet in the Web page planning worksheet.

A page layout defines a layout for a content page by providing field controls into which the contents of the content page are inserted. The field control displays the contents. Each page layout is associated with a particular content type, and multiple page layouts are often available for a single content type. For example, you can assign multiple page layouts to a single content type to provide alternate layouts for localized versions of content or to add or remove the display of certain fields and features from a page layout. You can create or customize a page layout, which includes adding new controls to display content together with additional controls such as Web Parts and server controls, by using Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

SharePoint Server 2010 includes the following set of page layouts for each page content type.

  • Article Page   contains the following page layouts:

     

    This page layout Contains these page elements

    Body only

    A title and page content

    Image on left

    A title, page content, a page image on the left, and areas for a byline, article date, and image caption

    Image on right

    A title, page content, a page image on the right, and areas for a byline, article date, and image caption

    Summary links

    A title, page content, article date, byline, and a Summary Links Web Part in which authors can add a list of hyperlinks

  • Enterprise Wiki Page   contains a single page layout, Basic Page, which contains the content, the page rating, and the categories page elements.

  • Project Page   contains a single page layout, Basic Project Page, which contains the content, the page rating, the categories, , the page contact, and the task status page elements, and it contains a single link to the project Web page.

  • Redirect Page   contains a single page layout, Redirect, which contains a single hyperlink to which users who view the page are redirected.

  • Welcome Page   contains the following page layouts:

     

    This page layout Contains these page elements

    Blank Web Parts page

    A content area and multiple Web Part zones to which authors can add Web Parts

    Splash

    Only an image and two Summary Links Web Parts in which authors can add hyperlinks

    Summary links

    Content and image areas, together with two Summary Links Web Parts

    Table of contents

    Content and image areas, together with a Table of Contents Web Part to display a hyperlinked table of contents of the site

If you are using the page content types and layouts that are included with SharePoint Server 2010, there are no additional planning steps that you must follow. Authors can select page content types and associated layouts when they create new pages. However, if you add new fields to a page content type or if you create new custom content types for publishing pages, you should plan page layouts that reflect the new or changed content types.

You can also change a page layout by adding Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 controls, such as Web Parts and Web Part zones, to the page. For example, you can add a Content Query Web Part, which displays a set of links that are returned by a configurable query, to a page layout. However, if you place a Web Part on a page layout outside a Web Part zone, you must configure the Web Part, and authors will be unable to change its configuration. For example, if you add a Content Query Web Part directly to a page layout, the query that you configure when the Web Part is added is permanently set and authors cannot modify it.

To plan page layouts for content types such as Article Pages, Enterprise Wiki Pages, Project Pages, and Welcome Pages, use the Page layouts data sheet tab in the Web page planning worksheet.

Each content page in SharePoint Server 2010 consists of text, images, and other content that is stored as an entry in a Pages library. Planning the content pages includes the following:

  • Determining the page content types that meet your content needs

  • Determining the columns to use for storing content, for each page content type.

SharePoint Server 2010 includes the following page content types:

  • Article Page   The most common content page type. This page is designed for general-purpose Web page content. It includes the following:

    • Columns for images and image captions

    • A column for page content

    • Columns for links that appear with the page

    • A column for the byline

    • A column for the article date

  • Enterprise Wiki Page   The primary content page type for an Enterprise Wiki site. It includes the following:

    • A column for page content

    • Columns for ratings and number of ratings

    • A column for wiki categories

  • Project Page   A page to provide basic information that describes a project. This content type inherits from the Enterprise Wiki Page content type, instead of the Page content type. It includes the following:

    • A column for page content

    • Columns for ratings and number of ratings

    • A column for a link to the project Web page

    • A column for task status

    • A column for wiki categories

  • Redirect Page   A page to redirect the reader to another page. It includes a column for the redirect URL.

  • Welcome Page   Typically, the home page of a publishing site. It includes the following:

    • Columns for images to display

    • A column for page content

    • Columns for links that appear with the page

Additionally, because all these page content types inherit from the generic Page content type either directly, or through their parent content type, they all include the following:

  • Columns for scheduling the page's start and end dates

  • Columns for describing contact information for the author

  • An image that appears with the page when it is listed in a table of contents or on another list

  • Information for targeting audiences

  • A column for comments about the page

When you plan content pages, we recommend that you use the page content types that are included in SharePoint Server 2010 as a starting point. The Article Page, Enterprise Wiki Page, Project Page, and Welcome Page content types are intended to be generally useful and to apply across various contexts. The primary content column in these content types is the Page Content column, which can hold HTML content. By using HTML and cascading style sheets to control the appearance of their content, authors and site designers might not have to design other content types. Also, by carefully selecting which layout to use for each kind of content, based on the Article Page, Enterprise Wiki Page, Project Page, or Welcome Page, you can introduce more variety in your content presentation without introducing additional content types. For more information, see Plan page layouts.

To plan content pages, use the corresponding data sheet tabs in the Web page planning worksheet.

Depending on your publishing goals, you can restrict how much freedom authors have to format their Web page content or to add items such as images and hyperlinks to pages in your site. For example, in a highly controlled Internet presence site, you might want all formatting to be defined in cascading style sheets that are associated with your page layouts, and you might want to block writers from overriding style definitions by using inline formatting. In contrast, in a collaborative site, you might want to give authors full freedom to format their pages and add other page items, such as Web Parts that provide views of data. For example, in an intranet site that is used to collaborate on product specifications, you might want to enable authors to freely use styles, hyperlinks, images, and Web Parts to maximize their ability to communicate their ideas.

You can put restrictions on page layouts in the following ways:

  • You can set properties on field controls that restrict what authors can do.

  • You can remove Web Part zones to restrict authors from inserting and configuring Web Parts on their pages, or you can set restrictions on Web Part zones to limit how authors can use them.

The following table shows recommendations for restricting page layouts based on three levels of authoring environments:

 

Level of control Typical site Restriction recommendations

Tight

Internet presence

Strict limitations on editing field controls; other field control limitations, such as no hyperlinks from image field controls; Web Parts are put directly on the page layout and not in Web Part zones

Moderate

Enterprise intranet portal site

Moderate or no limitations on editing field controls; Web Part zones that contain Web Parts, but authors are restricted from adding/removing Web Parts

Loose

Divisional or team site or Enterprise Wiki

No limitations on editing field controls; Web Part zones allowed

Use the Page layouts data sheet tab in the Web page planning worksheet to record your decisions about restricting authoring features on content pages.

By opening your site in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 you can edit the tags that are associated with field controls to restrict the kinds of SharePoint Server 2010 authoring features that authors can use when they edit pages in the browser window. For example, on field controls that are bound to columns of the Publishing HTML type, you can enable or restrict the following features:

  • Setting fonts

  • Inserting images

  • Inserting tables

  • Adding hyperlinks

  • Adding text markup, such as bold and italic

  • Adding Web Parts

You can set authoring restrictions on other column types. For example, on field controls that are bound to columns of the Publishing Image type, you can enable or restrict hyperlinks from images.

When you restrict an authoring feature on a page layout in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, the related page editing commands in SharePoint Server 2010 become unavailable. For example, if you restrict table editing in a field control that contains content of the Publishing HTML type, table editing commands, such as Insert Table are unavailable under Editing Tools on the Insert tab.

A Web Part is a server control that authors can insert in Web Part zones on pages. A Web Part zone is a specified area on a Web page that is a container for Web Parts. Web Parts display information based on their functionality, such as presenting site navigation links, list content, or database analytical information.

When a page layout includes one or more Web Part zones, the Web Part zones are available on pages that are using that layout, which enables authors to insert available Web Parts onto their content pages. If you enable authors to insert Web Parts on pages, you reduce your control over users' experience of the site. For example, an author could insert a Table of Contents Web Part onto a page that exposes parts of your site that you do not want users to move to from the current page.

You can restrict authors from adding Web Parts to pages by opening the associated page layouts in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and removing Web Part zones from them or by removing the HTML field controls. Similarly, when you design new page layouts, omit Web Part zones to limit authors' ability to add functionality to the pages that are associated with those page layouts.

You can also include Web Part zones in page layouts but restrict their usage. By setting a Web Part zone's properties, you can populate the Web Part zone with one or more Web Parts and enable authors to edit the properties of those Web Parts but not let them add other Web Parts to the Web Part zone.

Download an Excel version of the Web page planning worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=187505&clcid=0x409). Use this worksheet to record your decisions about what master pages your site needs, columns for specific page content types, and authoring restrictions on page layouts.

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