Page Model and User Interface

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The page model in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is integrated with Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0, which presents dynamic new ways to customize and manage page design. The SharePoint pages viewed in the browser are constructed primarily through the control templates of master pages and .ascx files. You can create custom templates that override the default templates, or you can use types and members of the Microsoft.SharePoint.Navigation namespace to modify programmatically the menus, treeviews, and navigational areas that are displayed on pages. The Feature framework makes it easy to apply link customizations to specific scopes within a deployment, and the mobile page feature in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 makes it possible to provide mobile devices access to list data.

Master Pages

Master pages are a powerful new feature of ASP.NET 2.0, and they work the same way in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 as they do in ASP.NET 2.0. They allow you to specify shared elements to implement across pages within a site, and together with control templates and content pages, they produce the SharePoint pages that are displayed in the browser.

Master pages make it possible to easily share elements between page definitions because you can make design changes in one place and then propagate the changes to pages that use the master page. You can modify the look and feel of all pages within a site by updating a single master page.

The default.master and mwsdefault.master files for standard team sites and for Meeting Workspace sites, respectively, are located in \\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\GLOBAL. The default master page contains ContentPlaceHolder controls to enable easy customization of page content. You can copy the contents of a default.master file to a custom master page file and make changes in the new file, or you can edit the default.master page in Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. You can also add custom .ascx files to the \TEMPLATE\CONTROLTEMPLATES folder containing control templates that override default control templates used in Windows SharePoint Services.

For more information about master pages, see Master Pages. For examples of customizing master pages in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, see How to: Customize the Display of Quick Launch.

Custom Actions

Through the Features infrastructure you can easily modify the links, toolbar buttons, menu items, and other controls that are displayed in the user interface (UI). You can activate custom actions at Farm, Web Application, Site Collection, or Web Site scope within a Windows SharePoint Services deployment. Custom actions can be deployed to administrative site settings pages, as well as to content pages that are used to work with list data.

For more information about the Custom Action element type, see Custom Action. For an example of customizing actions, see How to: Add Actions to the User Interface

The new Microsoft.SharePoint.Navigation namespace provides types and members that you can use to customize navigation within or between sites. You can manage both the Quick Launch area and the top navigation area, and programmatically perform such tasks as reordering, adding, or removing links.

The SPNavigation object contains all the navigation properties for a specified site, and through its members you can manage site inheritance in relation to parent sites, as well as manage page hierarchies expressed through links. You can use ASP.NET navigational controls provided in the System.Web.UI.WebContols namespace, such as the SiteMapPath, Menu, and TreeView controls, to customize navigational node structures. In particular, you can use the SiteMapPath control to implement a custom data source for the hierarchical set of nodes, or breadcrumb, that is displayed at the top of pages. For more information specifically about implementing an alternate data source for site navigation, see Using a Custom Data Source for Navigation. For general information about navigational customizations you can make, see Custom Navigation and New User Interface Elements.

Mobile Page Rendering

Windows SharePoint Services provides mobile devices with access to its list data, and you can customize the mobile pages used to work with this data. You can create custom mobile pages from scratch and redirect users to these pages, or you can override an existing control template to create a home page or list view page. In addition, you can use type and members of the Microsoft.SharePoint.MobileControls namespace to create applications that customize mobile pages programmatically.

For more information, see Mobile Development.