I just had a really weird error – I’d built some search pages for a customer. There was a custom results page, and a custom ‘Advanced Search’ page. When I went into Edit mode, to change the web parts, they didn’t have a title bar – including the ‘Modify this web part’ link. WTF?
Well, they’d been customized using SharePoint Designer, so I figured I’d copy their code from the customer system into a VM of mine, and check that the pages broke on my system. They didn’t. WTF x2 ?
So, the page page code, inside the same master page, in two different systems works differently. To check I wasn’t going nuts, I tried a WinMerge compare on the two files – and found this chunk of XML in my non-working version on the customer site:
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml>
<o:PublishingContactPicture msdt:dt="string" dt="string">, </o:PublishingContactPicture><o:PublishingContact dt="string"></o:PublishingContact>
Yes, although I’d cut and pasted the code, it was different. I came to the conclusion that this code is created or used by SharePoint Designer itself. I decided to delete it, save the changes to the customer’s page, and refresh my pages. It worked; now when I edit the page, lo, there are titles and the ‘Modify this web part’ menu. I have no idea what this XML is about, but I’m about 70% confident that it’s the culprit. I reckon that there’s a 30% chance that it was just being customized in SharePoint Designer again that fixed it, but I couldn’t see anything else related to the code that was likely to be a problem.