Publishing Navigation without the Publishing…

Recently, a few of our customer’s systems that I’ve looked at have had the Publishing Infrastucture site collection feature activated, but purely for the top navigation. That seemed quite a heavyweight approach to me.

The Publishing Infrastructure converts the editing experience for the top navigation from this:

Into this:

And allows all sorts of things, like showing links to particular Audiences, showing subsites, etc.. It’s pretty useful.

Unfortunately, the Publishing Infrastructure does a lot more than change the navigation. It will create libraries for styles, and add columns, content types, page layouts, XSL files, and all sorts of stuff. That’s quite a lot of extra weight and complexity just for the navigation.

However, when you turn on the Publishing Infrastructure feature it actually turns on a number of hidden features. Could there be one that just deals with the navigation?

Well, it turns out that yes, there is. It’s called the “Navigation” feature in the FEATURES folder. Looking inside it, you can see that all it does is add and hide some custom actions (related to the link to the Publishing Navigation Administration page), and use some delegate controls to replace the navigation data sources.

So, can we activate just this feature? Not through the user interface – it’s hidden. But through STSADM or powershell, then yes. The Feature’s name is Navigation, and it’s GUID is: 89E0306D-453B-4ec5-8D68-42067CDBF98E

stsadm -o activatefeature -name navigation -url <url to site>

I’ve not tested it extensively, but this seems to work okay from the bit of testing I have done. I couldn’t help but notice that the ‘Pages’ checkboxes on some of the settings were also greyed out:

To me, this suggests that someone actually designed this navigation to work without the rest of the Publishing Infrastructure, so hopefully, it should be okay by itself.

Publishing Navigation without the Publishing…

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