Monday, August 3, 2009

How to: Create a Minimal Master Page in MOSS 2007

One of the first tasks that you must complete when configuring a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Web site is to create one or more master pages. A master page contains references to elements that you can share across multiple pages in an Office SharePoint Server 2007 site, such as navigation, search controls, logon controls, and banner images. A master page can also contain the cascading style sheet (CSS) and ECMAScript (JScript, JavaScript) references that define the overall look and feel of your site. Commonly, every site—and therefore every page—in your site collection uses the same master page to present a consistent user experience across the entire site collection. Depending on your needs, you can use a different master page for one or for all of the sites in your site hierarchy to distinguish the various areas of your portal.

Master Page Galleries

When you provision a site collection in Office SharePoint Server 2007, the system creates a master page gallery that contains all the master pages and page layouts for that site collection. If the site collection uses either the Publishing Portal or Collaboration Portal templates, the master page gallery includes several master pages that are provided with Office SharePoint Server 2007, such as BlueBand.master. These master pages are located in the path C:\Program%20Files\Common%20Files\Microsoft%20Shared\web%20server%20extensions\12\TEMPLATE\FEATURES\PublishingLayouts\MasterPages\, with other example .master pages. You can use any of these master pages as they are, or you can customize them fully to create unique branding for your site.

Why Start with a Minimal Master Page

Creating and completing a master page to begin your SharePoint site customization takes planning and time. If you can, you want to prevent having to rewrite or back out code you don't need in your master page. This topic shows you how to create a minimal master page that includes only the minimal functionality that Office SharePoint Server 2007 requires so that you have a stable platform upon which to build your own master pages. Creating a minimal master page can help you avoid the time-consuming process of backing code out of a pre-existing .master page such as BlueBand.master, or removing functionality and then building it back in when your customization needs change again.

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