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Plan for large Pages libraries (SharePoint Server 2010)

SharePoint 2010

Published: May 12, 2010

A Pages library is a document library that contains all the content pages for a publishing site. A site that has thousands or tens of thousands of pages stored in the Pages library must consider a unique set of issues that relate to managing these pages, and providing navigation between them in a site.

This article describes the use of large Pages libraries in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 publishing sites, and it provides information to help you determine whether to use large Pages libraries with your publishing solution, and how to plan for them. This article does not describe how to set up rules or page routing to use with large Pages libraries, and it does not discuss how to configure navigation for use with large Pages libraries. For more information about how to set up rules to route documents, see Create Content Organizer rules to route documents. For information about how to plan sites, see Plan sites and site collections (SharePoint Server 2010). For more information about site permissions, see Plan site permissions (SharePoint Server 2010).

In this article:

About large Pages libraries

Pages libraries in SharePoint Server 2010 now support creating folders and storing pages within folders, so there could potentially be thousands to tens of thousands of pages that are stored in the Pages library for a single site. The Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus for a publishing site are directly tied to the Pages library. By default, new pages are put in the root of the Pages library as they are created. If the site has been configured to use auto-navigation, new pages will automatically be added to the Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus. However, pages that are put in a folder in the Pages library are not added to the navigation menus, and they must be added manually. Additionally, there is a limit to the number of links that can be displayed in either the Global Navigation or Current Navigation. If your solution will be using a single site that has lots of pages, you must plan for how to organize your content so that you can manage those pages and configure navigation within the site.

SharePoint Server 2010 provides several ways to manage the site content that is automatically stored in a large Pages library. One way is to enable the Content Organizer feature for a site and create rules that route pages to specific folders based on certain criteria, such as content type, title, scheduling dates, or target audience. For more information about Content Organizer, see Create Content Organizer rules to route documents. Another way is to use the folder partitioning setting in the Content Organizer to automatically create folders after the target location contains a specified number of items. After the target location has reached the maximum number of items, a new folder that has a specified folder name is automatically created, and all new items created will then be put into the new folder.

Although you can manage the organization of your site content manually, using a large Pages library together with the Content Organizer has the following benefits:

  • Automated page organization   The organization of pages can be managed automatically by using the Content Organizer, which allows for folder partitioning and page routing.

  • Lower site maintenance   Site owners spend less time managing pages in the site because the library can be managed automatically. Authors do not have to worry about putting pages in the correct location because the rules-based routing does it for them.

  • Improved query performance   The query load on the content database is reduced when pages are displayed to users because Content Query Web Parts query only a single library in which content is stored.

Determine whether to use a large Pages library

Before you plan to use a large Pages library, you must first determine whether a large Pages library is right for your solution. This will depend on how you intend to organize the content in your site. To decide whether using a large Pages library is right for your solution, answer the following questions:

  • Will the v4.master page be the same for all content in the site?

  • Will page layouts be the same for all content in the site?

  • Will content types be the same for all pages in the site?

  • Will permissions for users who have contributor, designer and approval access be the same for all content in the site?

If the answer to each of these questions is “Yes,” your solution might benefit from using a single site that has a large Pages library. If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you should use separate sites that have their own Pages libraries.

Decide how to manage pages

After you have decided to use a large Pages library, you must decide how to manage the pages that will be created. There are two ways in which you can manage pages for your site: manually or by using rules and page routing. We do not recommend managing pages manually because a large number of pages is involved. Instead, you should use the rules and page routing that are provided as part of the Content Organizer feature.

Before you can use rules and page routing for a site, you must start the Content Organizer feature by using the Manage site features page in Site Settings. After you start the Content Organizer feature, if you want to enable the automatic creation of folders in the Pages library, use the Content Organizer Settings page to turn on folder partitioning. Use the Content Organizer Rules page to create rules to route pages to the correct location in the Pages library.

Although rules can be set up for various criteria, you can use managed metadata to provide even more control over where pages are put in the library. For example, you can create term sets and route pages to certain folders based on the terms or managed keywords that authors assign to pages they create. For information about how to use managed metadata, see Plan managed metadata (SharePoint Server 2010).

When you plan to manage the content in the Pages library, think about the pages that authors will create. Will the content be similar enough that you can use automatic folder partitioning? Do you need to design a more structured library to contain the pages for your site? What folders do you need, and what criteria do you want to use to route pages to specific folders? Will you need to create a custom term store to provide authors a list of keywords to use with page routing?

Plan for navigation

The Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus do not display pages in folders, and the menus have limits on the maximum number of links that can be displayed, so you must plan for how users will navigate among the pages of your site. In general, planning navigation for a site that uses a large Pages library involves the following site elements:

  • Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus

  • Other Web parts for navigation

Planning the Global Navigation and the Current Navigation menus

Although pages that are added to the root of the Pages library are added to the Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus automatically, if your site will have lots of pages, you must decide which pages to display in the Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus. For example, you can create a series of pages that use the Welcome Page template to display a mix of authored content and Web Parts that link to other pages in the site and then only include the Welcome Pages in the Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus.

Use the Site Navigation Settings page in Site Settings to customize the Global Navigation and Current Navigation menus for your site. You can stop the navigation menus from automatically displaying links to sites below the top level site and pages. You can also specify only the links that you want to show to users and the order in which you want the links listed. This makes it possible for you to build a navigation system that is not dependent on the structure of the Pages library. If you do not want to manually update the navigation menus in the user interface, you can also use Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 to build a custom navigation menu for your site.

Planning other Web parts for navigation

SharePoint Server 2010 provides two navigation-specific Web Parts that can be added to Web Parts pages for publishing sites: the Table of Contents Web Part and the Summary Links Web Part.

The Table of Contents Web Part automatically displays site content for the first three levels of a site. However, the Table of Contents Web Part should not be used for publishing sites that have large Pages libraries because it does not display pages in folders, and therefore will not accurately display the content hierarchy for the site. This Web Part is better suited for smaller publishing sites that have only a limited number of pages in their site.

The Summary Links Web Part makes it possible for page authors to create a list of links that can be grouped and styled on a Web Parts page. Although this provides an easy way for page authors to link to other pages, the limitation is that the list is static, and must manually be changed to add or remove items from the navigation. This Web Part is best used for targeting a short list of specific pages in a site, but scaling up to a longer list of Pages library links with many folders and pages could quickly become unmanageable.

You can also use a Lists and Libraries Web Part or a Content Query Web Part to create dynamic, custom navigation links on pages in your site. By using either Web Part, you can help reduce the cost of site maintenance and provide page authors the flexibility of providing dynamic content that makes it easy for users to locate new or popular content without having to manually update the navigation.

You can use a Lists and Libraries Web Part to display a view of any list or library in the site, such as the Pages library. You must first create a view that is configured to filter, sort, and group the content of the Pages library to return the items that you want to display. Then you must select that view in the Web Part on another page to display the library items. The result is a view into the Pages library that is dynamic and that will change when more pages are added to the library.

You can also use the Content Query Web Part to create a custom list of links to content from any list or library in the site, or from any other site in the site collection. By using the Content Query Web Part, you can specify the criteria that are used to display items in the Web Part, such as content type, title, scheduling dates, or target audience. For example, if your site uses page rating, you can create a Content Query Web Part that displays the top rated pages for your site. When the Content Query Web Part is used with a large Pages library, it provides more flexibility than the Summary Links Web Part, because the list is dynamic and reduces the amount of maintenance that is required to update static lists when pages are added or removed.

When you plan the navigation for your site, think about how users will navigate within the site. What are the key pages that must be displayed in the Global Navigation and Custom Navigation menus? What kinds of content does the site contain, and how should the content be grouped when it is displayed to users? Do you need lists of static or dynamic links to content, or a mix of both? When you plan the navigation for a site that uses a large Pages library, you must consider many of the same issues that you would consider when planning the navigation for any other site. For more information about how to plan site navigation, see Plan site navigation (SharePoint Server 2010).

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