So, we finally managed to carve out enough time between customer projects to update our own website, and bring it onto MOSS.
Below are some screenshots of the site, as well as some mock-ups I produced whilst planning the site and working with management here.
So here are my top tips for creating a MOSS website:
1. Avoid restricting SharePoint functionality
Try to always work with SharePoint, not against it. Of course, there are times when custom elements need to be brought into the site, but use standard functionality where possible. If we can re-brand or customise SharePoint elements rather than bringing in new ones it means we’re reusing the same skill sets, both for developers and content authors.
2. Be consistent
Content authors are not ‘SharePoint people’ and they probably have no intention on being one. Their job is to create content, so we should create a system that caters for them, and allows them to reuse the same authoring skills throughout.
3. Remove the Name.dll message!
If you’ve been using SharePoint already, you may well have not noticed the warning message IE users will get when viewing an un-trusted website trying to run an ActiveX control. MOSSMan has a great and simple workaround.
4. Re-use page layouts
Can we make page layouts flexible enough to cater for varieties of content? This really depends on how much time the development / design team have, and how technical the content authors want to be. Simple layouts could be created and the authors told to insert web parts to customise pages etc. Or – a page layout for every imaginable type of content could be created, and content authors are channelled into selecting one and sticking to it. I would suggest a balance is required, and will be different in each implementation.
5. Remember SharePoint is a CMS
Even if we need to use custom site elements – custom forms / flash / silverlight forms – can we store the resulting data collected from users in SharePoint? Again, it’s one set of skills for everyone to reuse.