WSS3 Pages – what's with all the sucky layouts?

Okay, so I’m not a huge fan of the out-of-box publishing layouts. I’ll be honest – I reckon that there should be about half of the layouts, and I don’t like the ‘Welcome Page’ as a description. ‘Generic Page’ perhaps?

Anyway, some of them have pretty cacky layouts, often with Summary Links built into the page (why? Can’t I just add a web part?) – but as a rule, they keep the left hand navigation for the site. This is good – users get confused when their navigation isn’t how they expect.

New WSS Pages, however, do not keep the left hand navigation.

This has led to more than one customer asking “where has my left hand nav gone?” Not an unreasonable question – after all, did someone think that users wouldn’t need standard navigation in team site pages? Don’t get me wrong, I like that you can get rid of the left navigation menu if you want – but I think this will be the exception, not the rule.

You can get the left navigation back using SharePoint Designer (and some cynics might suggest it’s a ploy to set SPD licenses, though I don’t think so). However, I shouldn’t have to! Can’t I have a couple of out-of-box layouts that are like, well, the one used in Default.aspx on my team sites? Is there a Codeplex project for such a thing, maybe?

Even better would be if Default.aspx existed inside a library like any newly created pages I build are. I don’t like that it is separate to the other pages in a WSS3 site.

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WSS3 Pages – what's with all the sucky layouts?

4 thoughts on “WSS3 Pages – what's with all the sucky layouts?

  1. Chris says:

    The page layouts in WSS are more page templates. The entire layout gets copied into the body of the new page. Page Layouts in MOSS are actually inherited and merged at runtime.

    The out of box WSS page templates are fixed, so to add your own page templates you have to do a bit of a hack. Here is a good blog post describing how to do it.

    http://wsslayouts.blogspot.com/

    I agree with you – it is absolutely retarded that the out of box page templates don’t include quick navigation.

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  2. Fred says:

    I absolutely agree with Andy. I was wondering all the time whether I was too stupid to deal with the subject, or they were too stupid to deploy a product which gives consistent navigation options to their users (without fiddling with SPD, that is).

    I was also wondering by the way, what Master Pages are for in WSS3. You can upload them to some doc library, but I didn’t find any setting where I could use them…

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  3. Andy says:

    You can add them programatically or with SPD you can set one to be the default masterpage for the current site (SPWeb).

    It doesn’t work so well in WSS3 though because when you start creating sub-sites (more SPWebs under the top level site) they return to the default. The best solution I have found for this problem is to create a custom site definition where you specify the masterpage you want and can create all future sites using this template. Here’s a good description of how to do it:

    http://www.sharepointblogs.com/tigirry/archive/2007/07/03/custom-site-definition-with-custom-master-page-for-sharepoint-portal-server-2007-moss-2007-and-wss-3-0.aspx

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