Folder based Navigation in SharePoint

We have a customer who wants a fairly simple site – all it needs to be is a heirarchy of web pages.

Unfortunately, SharePoint Publishing features don’t really do this very well. Yes, in a document library it does breadcrumbs as you navigate through folders – but you can’t really do that with Pages. For a start, you can’t put folders in pages libraries!

So, instead, they’ve got this deep structure of sites – just to get the navigation. The site permissions and features are the same at all levels. This is a real administrative pain – especially if want to change the definition of the content types used in the pages libraries throughout the site.

What would be better would be to have navigation providers which show Folders in the navigation – so that they’re exposed in the left navigation (and maybe the top – I’m not sure). You could then enable folders in your page library. Users would then be able to navigate down through folders and pages. I guess there is a question as to which page should be the ‘default’ for a folder (obviously the folder itself isn’t a page that can be shown) – but perhaps something like just having a convention that the page ‘default’ is shown would be enough. Or maybe make it part of the metadata for a ‘Publishing Folder’ content type.
This would mean that the whole deep heirarchy and dozens of sites my customer is using could be dealt with in one single site. I can’t quite believe that nobody had this idea when they were planning the WCM features for MOSS. I don’t even think it’d be that hard – I just hope that I get a chance to implement this sometime…

Folder based Navigation in SharePoint

4 thoughts on “Folder based Navigation in SharePoint

  1. Andrew Connell has posted about hose this isn’t possible:

    and an article about it on MS Support:

    What this doesn’t tell me is why this is by design? Is there a technology limitation? It seems pretty clear to me that some folks will want deep page hierarchies – and that currently mean a lot of sites…

  2. Sam says:

    Creating subsites upon subsites is just not practical. If you have a topic where you need to nest 2-3 pages under it, it’s complete overkill to create a site for that. The content management system is supposed to work FOR ME, not the other way around.

    If Microsoft wants to limit folder depth on something, why don’t they do something that will keep users from creating file names in a doc library that are too long for the file system to handle (and crashing/corrupting files) and folder structures in doc libraries that are too deep for Sharepoint itself to handle? I find it ridiculous that we’re hamstrung on needed functionality and yet have no options where it concerns *real* problems.

    We should have a setting at the site level (or even site collection level) that limits the length of the name of a folder in a doc library, a setting that limits the depth of nesting you can do in a doc library, and a setting that limits the length of the name of a file (and automatic truncating, replacement of spaces and illegal characters, etc. if set).

    I agree…….I hope they address this. I can’t believe that things like this are so easy to do in programs such as WordPress and SO VERY DIFFICULT and painful in Sharepoint.

  3. Bryan says:

    I definately need a way to limit folder depth! That would help me keep my users under control and maybe even help me push metadata/columns even more.

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