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Determine how to handle customizations (Windows SharePoint Services)

Office 2007

Updated: December 1, 2006

Applies To: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

 

Topic Last Modified: 2008-03-31

If you have extensively customized your previous-version sites (by using a Web page editor compatible with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, such as 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 an 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 new site:

    • Go ahead and upgrade (either in-place or gradual), and reset all pages to use the default pages from the site definition.

      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 reset to the site definition. 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. 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 of the upgraded site to take on the previous version's look and feel, and then reset all customized pages to the site definition. This gives all formerly customized pages the same look as the un-upgraded site. You can incorporate the new controls, such as the Site Actions menu, into your new master page 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 reset to the site definition and reapply your customizations to the master pages 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 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, such as Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can copy the customizations and then reset the original pages to get the new functionality. Then you can reapply any applicable customizations to the master pages. 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, reset the customized pages to the site definition pages. Then transfer the customizations from your original site to the master pages in the upgraded site by using a Web page editor compatible with Windows SharePoint Services such as 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 reset to the site definition, 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 resetting to the site definition 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.

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.

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).

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