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Determine how to handle customizations (Office SharePoint Server)

Updated: March 5, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-03-05

If you have extensively customized your Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 sites (by using Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003), you need to determine how you want to handle your customized sites when you upgrade. Your approach will vary based on the extent of the customizations, the complexity of your site, and your goals for upgrading. You can choose to:

  1. Keep the customizations   While this approach allows you to keep the same look and feel, you won't be able to take advantage of the new capabilities available in the new version. If you really want to keep your pages looking just as they did, there are three ways to keep the customizations:

    • Do an in-place upgrade.

      By default, an in-place upgrade preserves customizations and does not reset to the site definition. Some controls, such as the Site Actions menu, may not be available in your upgraded site.

    • Do a gradual upgrade, and keep the site in the previous-version environment (do not upgrade the site).

      This maintains the site exactly as it is, with the previous-version functionality only. This is usually a short-term solution, as most organizations do not want to support both versions over the long term.

    • Do a gradual upgrade and upgrade the site, but don't reset any pages to the site definition.

      This approach might result in an uneven look if you didn't customize every page. Customized pages retain the previous version's look and functionality, while uncustomized pages have the new version's look and functionality. Some controls, such as the Site Actions menu, may not be available in your customized pages.

      NoteNote:

      By default, custom pages are kept as is after upgrade (except for themes).

  2. Replace the customizations   If you are planning a complete site redesign, or if you are significantly changing the information architecture, then the upgrade is your chance to start over with a new look or a new organization. There are two ways to replace your customizations and start with a fresh site:

    • Go ahead and upgrade (either in-place or gradual), and reset all pages to use the default pages from the site definition. For an in-place upgrade, after upgrading, use Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to reattach the default page layouts. For a gradual upgrade, use the upgrade option to reset the entire Web site to use the site definition pages.

    • With this approach, you can start with the new look and functionality, and then decide whether or not to customize the site again. Site owners can reapply customizations when they review the upgraded sites.

      NoteNote:

      If you have added a completely custom page to your site (for example, if you replaced Default.aspx with a completely different file rather than making changes to the existing Default.aspx file), that page has no association with the site definition and therefore it cannot be reattached to the page layout. If you want your custom page to have the same look and feel as the other pages in your site, consider creating a new page based on the site definition and transferring your content to that new page.

    • Start with a new site in the new environment.

      This approach works when you're dramatically redesigning your site and do not need to have either the structure or most of the content in the new site. Create a brand-new site, create a new site design, and transfer your content into the new site. This is not an upgrade path, but rather an opportunity to design your new site from start to finish.

  3. Redo the customizations   This approach allows you to take advantage of the new capabilities, modify your design slightly if desired, and move to a more manageable design. You can take advantage of the new Master Pages model to apply your design, rather than customize each individual page. Converting the customized landing pages to use page layouts instead also cuts down on future maintenance costs, because you can simply change the page layouts instead of each individual page. There are three ways to redo the customizations:

    • Do an in-place or gradual upgrade and do not reset the pages to the site definition version. After the upgrade, modify the appropriate master pages and page layouts of the upgraded site to take on the previous version's look and feel, and then reattach the page layouts to all customized pages. This gives all formerly customized landing pages the same look as the un-upgraded site. You can incorporate the new controls, such as the Site Actions menu, into your new page layouts as part of this work.

    • Do an in-place upgrade and do not reset the pages to the site definition. After the upgrade, open the site and copy the customizations, and then reattach the page layouts and reapply your customizations to the master pages and page layouts as appropriate.

    • By default, an in-place upgrade preserves customizations and does not reset the pages to the site definition version. When you open the site by using a Web page editor that is compatible with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, such as Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can copy the customizations and then reset the original pages to take on the new functionality. Then you can reapply any applicable customizations to the master pages and page layouts. Following this process with an in-place upgrade is somewhat complicated, because you need to copy the customized pages before resetting them. Consider using the gradual upgrade method below instead.

      NoteNote:

      When you perform an in-place upgrade, it does not preserve the previous version of the site. If you want to be able to have the previous version and the new version of the site side by side, so you can transfer customizations from the previous-version site to the new-version site, use a gradual upgrade — or, if you are performing an in-place upgrade, be sure you have a mirrored server or server farm that is running the previous version.

    • Do a gradual upgrade and, in the upgraded site, reattach the page layouts. Then transfer the customizations from your original site to the master pages and page layouts in the upgraded site by using Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

    • This option provides you with the most flexibility. Because you can refer to the original site, you can see exactly how you did the previous customizations. And because you reattached the page layouts, you can see the new functionality and decide which customizations to reapply to the master pages and page layouts and which to ignore.

      NoteNote:

      Again, not all custom pages have an equivalent page in the site definition, so reattaching the page layouts will not work for truly custom pages. If you want your custom pages to have the same look and feel as the other pages in your site, consider creating a new page based on the site definition and transferring your content to that new page.

      For more information about reapplying customizations after an upgrade, see Reapply customizations in the browser and Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

Carefully monitor your use of customizations and Web Parts

Deploy only those customizations that follow the best practices described in the following papers:

Also, monitor Web Parts and page-rendering times. The Colleagues Web Part can be processing intensive. Do not use it on pages that render a lot of other information.

Worksheet

Record any customized site definitions or page templates you are using in the Custom templates and mapping files worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73751&clcid=0x409).

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007 .

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