SharePoint 2007: Pointedly unskinnable

~ 24 October 2007 ~

Remember all that clamor about skinning SharePoint with standards?

Well, it turns out SharePoint 2007 isn’t nearly as customizable as I (and others) were led to believe. Not even close in some cases. Given the amount of exposure my original article garnered, I feel obligated to share what I’ve learned since.

There is a fundamental distinction that must be understood when implementing SharePoint: SharePoint can be used primarily as a CMS or primarily as a collaboration tool. However, try to use it as both in a single implementation and you’ll entangle yourself in a strenuous skinning effort.

Let me attempt to explain why.

At its core, SharePoint is a robust content management system (CMS). Just about any flavor of web content can be built and maintained by it — public or internal, small scale or large. One site referenced often throughout our initial skinning effort was the public site for Hawaiian Airlines, powered by SharePoint. In this scenario, typically one or very few individuals access admin screens, while the majority of users merely consume published content.

Complementary to its core, SharePoint is a massive collaboration tool. It can facilitate the many activities common to any workplace — intranets, document sharing and versioning, project tracking, and much more. The most common of these is probably “team sites.” In this scenario, you have many site owners accessing admin screens. In reality, nearly every user can simultaneously be a site owner and consumer of content.

Here’s where things fall apart: Any changes made to Master Pages (i.e. templates for the CMS) will not carry over to the admin screens. Apparently this is intentional, but I consider it a major UI flaw. (See comments #56 and on from the original post for more info.) This is all perfectly fine in the CMS scenario, as only an infinitesimal fraction of your users will switch between published screens and admin screens. However, in the collaboration scenario, nearly any user can, and will, switch between published screens and admin screens to complete tasks. Because your skinning won’t be reflected in the admin, what should otherwise be a continuous visual flow for users instead becomes a jarring transition from your beautiful theme to SharePoint’s vanilla theme and back again.

No one ever made the above distinction, and thus “Hawaiian Airlines did it, so can we!” became our rally cry, not realizing the difference between CMS skinning and collaboration skinning. The ensuing deep dive into customizing images and markup for our team sites led to an unsuccessful skinning effort that was eventually scrapped. This inevitably begs the question: Is SharePoint completely unskinnable when used as a collaboration tool? No. It’s still possible to skin the interface using CSS overrides, but not to the extent which we were customizing it.

In summary, if your organization plans to use SharePoint 2007 primarily as a CMS, evaluate it as you would any other CMS. I think we can all agree that pretty much all content management systems are crippled, but at least you’ll be able to customize the entire experience — interaction, design, markup, and so forth.

If using it as a collaboration tool, treat it as licensed software with minimal branding customization. Or better yet, avoid it like the plague and convince your organization to go with Clearspace or even Basecamp.

Lastly, and most importantly, my greatest concern for customizing SharePoint was the hope that I’d not only be able to paint the app but customize the interaction workflow, as well. Not a chance. In fact, I feel it worth your time to warn you that the out-of-the-box user experience is downright horrible in many areas. Sally User needs to change the logo on her SharePoint team site? No problem. She’ll just need to navigate away from the site customization screen to find the image gallery, locate the image she wants, click it, copy the URL in the address bar, navigate back to the customization screen where it asks for a customized logo, paste the URL, click submit. (No joke!) Sadly, much of the built-in interaction in the app functions as awkwardly as this.

Alas, what more can one expect from something that looks like a cow, swims like a dolphin and quacks like a duck?



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1   Chris Goldman ~ 24 October 2007

It’s disheartening to hear that not much has changed from previous versions of SharePoint. I was the sole developer on an extensive customization project for a large company that wanted to use SharePoint, MS CMS, and Groove integrated to provide CMS and collaboration tools for both internal users and vendors.

It was, of course, a nightmare. The extent of customization, both of templates and stylesheets, and .NET code for specialized WebParts was incredibly daunting. The client would have been much better off either accepting the out-of-the-box functionality or using a platform that lent itself to true customization, such as a vanilla Perl-based CMS, whose source code we could review and modify as necessary.

You have my sympathy.

2   Jared ~ 24 October 2007

My heart sinks every time I’m asked to design on a SharePoint project, because I know that all it will involve is lots of handicapped, cosmetic skinning and lots of “you can’t do that with SharePoint” feedback from the (equally beat-down) developers. SharePoint makes everyone sad.

3   Isaac ~ 24 October 2007

So… Um… What if you want to do both? Two installations of SharePoint? Two shared service providers? Any pointers for those of us who are definitely using it for collaboration and evaluating it as a CMS platform?

Or, can someone point me to a good, stable CMS with workflow integrated in for a fairly large site? Nice markup a plus :)

4   Terry Apodaca ~ 24 October 2007

He’s already answered, tell them one or the other, not both.

5   Isaac ~ 24 October 2007

Dang. Well, I’m fairly certain SharePoint’s cemented as our collaboration tool of choice. On to searching for a content management system! I can’t wait…

6   Chris ~ 24 October 2007

Wanted to mention that ThoughtFarmer is a .NET-based behind-the-firewall collaboration alternative to SharePoint.

It was born out of a failed attempt to skin SharePoint. Just about drove us crazy, until someone said, “Hey, why don’t we just build it from scratch?” That was three years ago, so it was a few thousand hours more difficult than anticipated, but man, does it skin nicely.

7   mahalie ~ 24 October 2007

Thank you for this article. Two courses (one on ‘customization’) on Sharepoint and hours of testing and research have resulted in me running away very afraid. Because it’s powered by the MS marketing machine it comes up over and over and I now keep a repository on all the pros, cons, issues, etc to hand over when some one starts bugging me about it.

As a developer, know that touching the DB causes a complete void in Warranty and support from MS. Nuff said.

8   Ben Bodien ~ 24 October 2007

This whole product is just a complete write-off as far as I’m concerned. It’s a typical Microsoft style over-engineered solution to what is really just a basic set of problems.

I’m currently battling with Microsoft SQL 2005 Reporting Services. It is impossible, I repeat impossible, to lay out reports in accordance with any design or IA best practices. It is so mind blowingly infuriating to place all your content on a grid (the designer has a snap to grid function, and renders a dotted grid pattern to facilitate this), just to have the renderer completely ignore everything you’ve done and move it all about.

From my experiences with SharePoint, the two are very similar in this respect. They’re products suffering from feature bloat due to too much input from too many focus groups getting what they ask for. The end result is a ton of stuff that’s too complicated to use, and doesn’t work like you’d hope when you eventually do figure it out with the help of 50 people on some forum.

I’m sick of it all, and I think in the future I’ll just refuse to touch any of Redmond’s bloated products such as these.

Man I needed that rant.

9   Liam McDermott ~ 25 October 2007

Personally I develop on a CMS that is an absolute joy to use and develop with. Drupal. I can understand people using Sharepoint for a document portal, but a CMS?! Why on earth would anyone choose that rubbish over Drupal for a CMS mystifies me.

It’s good enough for Adobe, Google, Warner and many of their artists. It’s got good commercial backing, but is Free software. Honestly, it’s a no-brainer.

I won’t go into detail but Microsoft’s business practices are getting worse, and so is their software! I’ve trialled Sharepoint but would never use it due to the Microsoft infiltration of the ISO and the BBC. They’re evil! :)

10   Justin ~ 25 October 2007

It is interesting to me to read about the shortcoming for skinning Sharepoint. I can’t put my finger on it but there seems to be something inherently bad about this product like non else I’ve used. Maybe because it seems so rigid to me as a hand-coder that I feel like I’m developing in tar whenever I use it.

It also seems inherently difficult to make consistent and logical navigation in Sharepoint. I’ve seen several corporate implementations of it and I always find myself searching for content rather than following a logical path in the site navigation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Microsoft hater, I enjoy many of their products, but to me Sharepoint seems like a bunch of Word pages loosely gathered together.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s a factor of the people who generally approve and add the content (management) than Sharepoint itself.

I’m wondering if it’s the Flash of CMS. I feel the same way about Flash. I can count on one hand the truly useful Flash pages that I’ve seen. Flash in and of itself isn’t bad and it does have it’s place, it’s just that so often it is misused. I understand that under the hood Sharepoint has some foibles, but could it be exacerbated by the people who manage the content?

Anyway, Just my 2 cents.

11   AC [MVP MOSS] ~ 25 October 2007

The fact you can’t “skin” application.master was a deliberate decision by the product team… and while you can question it as a design decision (which is completely valid as do I), there are ways to accplish this that don’t require much work. First, themes will make their changes effective within the _layouts directory… and you can do quite a bit with CSS & images. Granted, that will only take you so far. You can also do another technique that dynamically switches the application.master out using an HTTP module. While this isn’t supported, it’s not a big deal because it’s a piece of cake to undo (remove a single web.config line and no changes are persistant). Check out for a demo of how to do this.

Also you mention that you have to use it either as a CMS OR a collab site… FYI: you can use the collab stuff (Team Site templates for example) within Publishing (CMS) sites. The templates are just removed by default, but you can still add it back with zero code… just some simple clicking around Site Settings.

12   Sean Fraser ~ 25 October 2007

Sharepoint 2007 is disturbingly provocative. I’ve spent the passed two months working on a site that attempts to integrate the collaborative and CMS elements. I didn’t find the CMS skinning - particularly - difficult and the collaborative half has been mostly abandoned by the client.

I did a Web Standards complant prototype site - from Illustrator comps - with MODx, handed the prototype over to the programmers and watched all of the out-of-the-box code reduce compliance to rubble because of the generated byzantine markup. SharePoint will never be complaint.

It’s brilliant MS marketing, e.g., you want forms integration, get the Forms Server. Or, “you need five servers for the full effect.” I - Especially - like the portal customization: Black Band, Blue Band or their Easter colors.

13   Ty Hatch ~ 25 October 2007

I’ve run into the same thing, but with IBM’s WebSphere. It’s been painful and difficult to work with. (Of course it doesn’t help that I’m working with a nearly 4 year-old version.) Every thing’s wrapped in nested tables, has a custom tag library and the auto generated CSS file’s nearly 3000 lines long with crazy selector names…

The kicker for me is that they get away with charging such obscenely huge licensing fees. Blows my mind that so many smart people can make such horribly difficult to modify software.

14   Jared ~ 26 October 2007

It’s nice to know through your and everyone else’s experience that my frustrations are not unique. My company is currently in the process of implementing SharePoint to function as the CMS for our public site. Frankly, I’m a bit horrified. I could get into details, but I wouldn’t want to say anything that could potentially bite me in the arse down the road.

Has anyone had any problems with checking in or approving multiple files with SharePoint 2007? The ability certainly seems capable, but apparently it is a problem that Microsoft did not address before production. At least, that’s what I was told.

15   Jose Antonio Morales ~ 28 October 2007

Hello, I would like to show you what we achieved with SharePoint. We made a CMS that works directly on the skin.
I can show you a fast made flash animation so you could see it in action or maybe I could even give you a username and password to play around.
My company is looking for expanding operations and looking for partners.
I made a few days ago a web community in Wordpress in order to offer our CMS and integrate it with design templates. We are not so good at design :)

Kind regards, from Slovenia

16   Cameron Moll ~ 29 October 2007

Has anyone had any problems with checking in or approving multiple files with SharePoint 2007?

To be honest, I never completely figured out the SharePoint Designer file check-in and approval. It seems we would check files in but only the person who checked them in (and signed into SharePoint with the same credentials to view changes) was the only person who could see the changes. Until they were formally approved, no one else could view the changes.

17   chollie ~ 30 October 2007

Seeing the misuse of the term “begs the question” when “raises the question” is what is meant makes me doubt the credibility of any writer, speaker, poster, etc. This chaps me arse. The logical fallacy of presuming the conclusion of an argument within the premise of the argument is an important concept that should not be thrown aside because people are too lazy to worry about correct usage. That supposed computer geeks wouldn’t care about logic is really alarming. Is it because this is related to inductive reasoning? I mostly hear politicians misuse this term and I think we all know what morons they are.

18   Cameron Moll ~ 30 October 2007

chollie, I appreciate the observation and correction. I reference the following not as rebuttal but as encouragement to have patience with those of us who post to our blogs without the same care we might have when sending a manuscript to an editor: Conversations with grammarati

19   Techticles ~ 01 November 2007

As with previous version, it would take a great skill to make customizations, let alone comples ones on SharePoint 2007.

That is the world we live in. thanks for the article.

20   Jake ~ 05 November 2007

Loke to ready

21   Rob Mayor ~ 07 November 2007

Well, Sharepoint turned out to be a great disappointment for my company too. It’s no better than MS Project. Where’s all that collaboration? There are many web-based tools that offer much more for a small team like ours. I personally dislike Basecamp. We use Wrike. It’s lightweight, smart, agile and totally customizable.

22   Rob Mayor ~ 07 November 2007

this link doesn’t seem to be working. Here is the right one, just in case you want to check it out

23   darrel ~ 09 November 2007

Oh man. SharePoint.


I’ve been spending 6 months fighting this beast. Starting with a week on the phone with Microsoft to get it installed, to today, where I’ve finally accepted the ‘SharePoint way’, got drunk, and said STANDARDS BE DAMNED! FINE…NESTED TABLES IT IS!

You have come to the same conclusion that I have, Cameron.

SharePoint, specifically MOSS and the CMS features are no different than most over-priced, bloated, poorly designed CMS systems on the market. You either accept the way the templates are, and pick a new color, or you fight it to the death. And note that you’re usually the one that dies.

Up to this point, when I mention sharepoint, I hear colleagues mention “oh yea, what’s-his/her-face quit their last job because of sharepoint”. I used to nervously laugh it off, but now COMPLETELY understand this.

Now, back to the topic at hand…

I don’t quite agree with the post. I would NOT call MOSS a robust CMS system.

It’s an ‘well, if you already OWN MOSS, ya might as well use it’ CMS system.

It took me a while, but once I grasped the concept that the CMS aspects of MOSS are really just a handful of add-on features, it began to make sense.

Yes, the ‘templating’ system is a nightmare. Masterpages, page templates, themes, solutions, features. It’s crazy. And nearly everything you put into a template can become co-opted by nearly any admin on the site so it no longer is part of the system and maintanable down the road.

My best advice for anyone working with sharepoint (both for the client’s sake and the designer’s sake):

- Pick a default template that is ‘close enough’.

- Don’t care about semantics, accessibility, or valid markup (if you do, you shouldn’t have picked MOSS)

- Plan ahead as much as you can, as Sharepoint does NOT make it easy for you to change your mind later.

- Once the site is built, leave it. Don’t try to upgrade your templates to any major extend later. When the time comes, just re-write the entire thing and hope that SharePoint 2011 is somewhat tolerable.

(I do hope you keep posting about SharePoint, Cameron…we need more people that are focused on the front end to REALLY call Microsoft on all the failing of this product. My recent gripe about Microsoft not even comprehending what an unordered list is in MOSS:


24   darrel ~ 09 November 2007

“So… Um… What if you want to do both? Two installations of SharePoint? Two shared service providers?”

Among the many, many failings of SharePoint is a complete lack of tangible best practices and pragmatic case studies. Everyone is lost. Everyone is randomly throwing darts at the ‘SharePoint Setup Option Matrix’ and hoping it randomly works.

We’re building two sites in MOSS…our intranet, and our collaboration portal. I read a lot about integrating it into one portal, where you have top level sites as the ‘intranet’ and deeper sites as the protected collaboration sites.

Aside from all of the technical nightmares of that setup, I found that the biggest issue would likely be end-user comprehension of what is public vs. what is private to their own group.

As it is now, we have internal employees sending intranet links to customers not realizing that, it being out intranet, no one else can see it.

So, in the end, I chose the split system. One web application for the intranet, read-only to most anyone, and a separate web app/domain for the collaboration portal.

For the intranet, I’m hacking together a template as best I can. For the collab. portal, I don’t care at all…I’m not customizing anything and users can do whatever they want to their own sites.

We are splitting them into two SSPs, but only because the collab. portal will be shared externally with business partners, so it was a security issue for us. Probably isn’t a need for two SSPs unless you need to segregate the search/permissions between the two sites.

“Or, can someone point me to a good, stable CMS with workflow integrated in for a fairly large site? Nice markup a plus :)”

Well, you do have a point. Perhaps the once ‘killer’ feature of MOSS’s CMS is workflow (only since WSS has it built in).

I do think SharePoint is a great out-of-the-box document management and collaboration tool. It just really sucks as a web CMS. Then again, most web CMS systems with the word ‘enterprise’ stamped on it suck.

Ironically, we really have no use for workflow on the CMS end of things. We have a policy that “if you have permission to post content, we assume you know what you’re doing so do it” which seems to work well thus far. Maybe not so well for a corporation that has lots of proprietary data/IP.

25   dgftest ~ 10 November 2007

invaluable advice.

26   Paul ~ 12 November 2007

Great, insightful article and I wholeheartedly agree with the post.

I have a couple of things to contribute. First, even if you manage to convince people not to get all caught up in branding for collaborative work, they can still make the mistake of a records management approach to document libraries (which makes branding issues seem like a walk in the park)

But more to the point, I’ve written a series of articles on how to make best of branding in collaborative oriented SharePoint sites. I thought it would be three articles but its gonna finish at 7!

27   davidinark ~ 12 November 2007

“I thought it would be three articles but its gonna finish at 7!” - That about sums up Sharepoint right there….

28   Jason ~ 29 November 2007


I’ve been consulting for a school who, through a series of unfortunate events, ended up using Dot Net Nuke as an intranet system. Aside from a few specific module glitches it seems ok (although I would think seriously about using DNN again) but the catch is they also want to give users external access.

Only problem is, DNN doesn’t play with their network proxy and so they couldn’t get it to the outside world. After almost a year of hammering at DNN (and it does kind of work now), they are asking me to give a recommendation on the viability of SharePoint as an alternative.

They need it to allow editing of content and pages by staff and viewing by students, all securely accessible from home. Another big feature requirement is document control (ideally with versioning) so assignments can be uploaded by teachers and downloaded by students while the admin staff want to be able to upload policy docs that will be downloaded by board memebers - all with restricted access of course. It has to marry in with the current network and Active Directory user base and on top of that, the user proficiency varies wildly from “keen-enthusiast” to “intimidated-non-user”.

From what I’ve read (and this blog is about it so far - I think it’s all I’ll need) the report I’m generating pretty much reads, “Stick with the devil you know.” The only obvious advantage I can see is that because everything here is MS-centric, Sharepoint would at least play nicely with the other kids.

I realize this is quite a general request, but… any advice?

29   Nicole Tedesco ~ 04 January 2008

Part of the problem of branding lies in understanding — truly understanding — the programming model Microsoft has provided, which is not easy. Then again, programming any integrated system with as many features as SharePoint is not easy (as alluded to with the WebSphere comments). SharePoint is designed the way it is because its feature set goes beyond collaboration and CMS, as it extends into the IT management space as well. Microsoft folks (bless their hearts) are trying to lower our overall management (and even development) costs with what they have built into the .NET and SharePoint environments. Many of these features, unfortunately, get in the way of each other. Such as life with complex software that tries to solve many problems with feature implementations that, though simple on their own, become complex when combined (for the sake of integration). Time goes on and this equation never changes, as that is the curse of the state of the art of modern computing technology. There are always trade-offs. Always. Microsoft in collaboration with many of their customers chose the ones we now live with.

Remember that a dedicated collaboration system, or a dedicated CMS system, has a better chance of doing its thing much better than the integrated systems like SharePoint. Can you integrate the entire zoo of systems however? Is your overall cost of ownership lower with an integrated system versus forcing disparate systems to “play nice” with each other?

One the other hand, perhaps many SharePoint customizers have been playing with PHP or Java for so long that they forgot how long it took to them to really master the development spaces they now find so comfortable. After playing with SharePoint for, nay, 6 months I have figured out how to do almost anything I want with the system. Then again, I have been tackling difficult programming problems, multiple architecture paradigms, and a plethora of development metaphors for a quarter of a century now (God, I’m feeling old). This doesn’t mean that end-users will find it easy to customize their SharePoint sites to the extent they want (implementing a Popfly-like solution natively to SharePoint could be an interesting trick though). This also doesn’t mean that less experienced developers, or those with less patience than I, will find Nirvana either and will probably in fact give up and go running, screaming into the night.

You know, given all of the features of the new SharePoint, given all of the trade-offs compared to other enterprise systems, and given the goals of various clients of mine, SharePoint is not a bad solution — overall. Then again I have not found an overall perfect solution anywhere, and I suspect I never will. Ever. Software systems grow organically, like real life plants, animals, fungii and other life forms. Nature has been optimal. Nature has made plenty of compromises throughout billions of years of evolution. I don’t think software will ever fair any better.

Still frustrated? Increase the expected level of complexity of your deliverables a little, just a little, and you will find frustration all over again. Really. It never gets any better. If you want it “easy,” then you can quit this profession (like I had threatened to, plenty of times), find a job which your choice of technologies and levels of complexities never change (and you are never challenged), or learn to “chill” (which means learning how to convince your superiors not to get too upset if you can’t accomplish everything you are supposed to). Sorry, those are your only options.

(Ain’t I simply a joy to be with at this late hour, eh?)

30   Vladimir Kelman ~ 04 January 2008

Here’s why our company decided to give up and to develop our future version of Intranet in plain good ASP.NET 3.5:

It is so monolithic and inflexible (all-in-one machine) that we couldn’t find a way to implement our business rules in MOSS.

31   J Fleet ~ 26 January 2008

“The only obvious advantage I can see is that because everything here is MS-centric, Sharepoint would at least play nicely with the other kids.

I realize this is quite a general request, but… any advice?”


The Microsoft version of playing nice with others makes ‘Skinning Sharepoint’ pale in comparison. Integration of Microsoft technologies like Sharepoint, SQL (SSRS has been mentioned here), Exchange, Project Server, and CRM will leave you curled up in a ball crying for anti-depressants, your mother, or both. Not to mention the HUGE dent in your budget.

Like Nicole I have been doing (what is now called) IT for decades. I fully appreciate the complex nature of systems architecture, application spaces, etc. They are neither simple or for the faint at heart. The huge influx of ‘paper dragons’ and the resulting fallout over the last few years will testify to that.

What does this mean to you, the person who is tasked with implementing technology at a small to medium sized organization?

Do your homework, as the big guns call it, Due Diligence, Or by it’s real name CYA! If it needs to be a Microsoft (and don’t be surprised at the capabily of the Microsoft marketing department to overwhelm any reasoning abilities in your client) solution then if nothing else, Microsoft has a HUGE presales organization.

Get your project plan in place, particularly scope. Then go to them and say ‘We want this, can you deliver?’ Then after the obligatory, ‘Sure, No Problem!’, have them provide the implementation part of your plan. Get your legal department (or whatever you can dig up as a legal department) to put a ‘Performance’ clause into the purchase agreement. Two key featues of the Performance clause should be A) It works like you said, and B) It works like you said without us needing to purchase X other Microsoft technologies.

If you are not at the top of the food chain at your organization ask others in to help with the plan. This will do two things for you. 1) It provides ‘buy in’ from management and peers. 2) It REALLY makes you look good. (Suave, debonair, really light and fluffy hair that blows around just right in the wind)

This comes from experience, I have personally red lighted half a dozen Microsoft infrastructure upgrade projects (and their associated staffs) over the last few months due to those exact issues. Ranging in scope from 10 server implementations to a 400 server data center.

In conclusion, the execution of technology implementation is often as complex as the technology itself. When you launch plan A, you should already have plan B scoped, budgeted, and approved. The relatively few dollars, and hours, spent now, will save both money, and most likely the A in CYA.

Sorry for the digression, and it’s out of date, but he asked.

33   Leon ~ 05 February 2008

Hi Cameron! I felt like throwing my two cents in and weighing in on the conversations. My thoughts can be found here:

Thanks for starting the dialog on SharePoint. Good or bad, I’m glad people are talking about it.

34   Jeremy Sublett, MOSS MVP ~ 07 February 2008

I think Leon’s article (above) really does a good job in diffusing some of the issues you may have run across with SharePoint.

I’m a long-time ASP.NET developer and have used that technology to develop good software for the web very quickly. Becoming proficient in ASP.NET didn’t happen overnight, however. I had to endure the pain of trying to forget the ASP and VB/COM that I worked with years prior.

Similarly, I believe the shift from plain old ASP.Net apps into SharePoint is a huge leap for most developers. Also, learning how to skin/style the site is something that just has to come with more experience and time. Right now, we have a great product to work with that is wonderful for the end-user and not so great for the developer. Developers have to use multiple, non-integrated tools and a lot of command-line tools that make it look like we’re taking a step back in terms of the development experience. And you have to dig through blogs to uncover a lot of tricks (especially with skinning). However, you need to keep in mind that the benefits of starting with SharePoint as a foundation are so much better than starting from scratch (pure ASP.NET). In my opinion, that outweighs the headaches (and there are some) with styling the site.

Another thing to keep in mind is that since SharePoint is just an ASP.NET 2.0 application, you can use a master page to drive your layout. You can also render and transform list data to whatever HTML desire.

I can relate to the frustrations, but it’s not an impossible task.

35   Tony Jones ~ 20 February 2008

I was actually the technical lead that implemented the new on MOSS 2007. You’re right - skinning MOSS is difficult to say the least. After doing it, it has become a lot easier for me because I know the pitfalls already. Skinning should be a lot simpler, and Web 2.0 and XHMTL compliancy should be implemented in ANY CMS solution (but MOSS misses this in quite a few areas)

You really have to design around some of the deficiencies - and we had to create a cookbook on how to do this.

The task isn’t impossible - just difficult without a seasoned Front End Technologist and Sharepoint Guru!!

36   Steve ~ 21 March 2008

Haha I gotta vent and comment on this great post! I’m working on my first MOSS 2007 project and keeping a consistent look across the site, application pages and mysite is much more difficult than it shoudl be. And the nested table markup blows!


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