Saturday, February 11, 2006

Global Templates Explained

This is an answer I gave in MSD2D forum for a question that is frequently asked. Original question is preety confused, but here it is: "I'm a Sharepoint newbie and am having some problems understanding the relationship between WSS and SPS. We have created a Sharepoint Portal which provides a tab for sites. I also have been able to create Sharepoint sites directly from within the SPS. However, I would like to add some site templates other than the ones shown. When I am in WSS mode, I am given the ability to Manage Site Templates. I can't find the equivalent within the SPS environment. I was given a suggestion to use stsadm.exe for this, but it strikes me as odd to have to use a command-line utility for what I would expect to be a built-in option like WSS provides." And here is my answer: The advice you were given was accurate up to a point. there are actually two ways to do what you want, and I prefer the second way. Let me explain: Quick overeview: WSS is built in the form of a "Site collection" that hold "webs". what you see as a site is actually a "web" inside the "site collection". The root site is the top level "web" in the site collection. It may or may not have sub webs under it. This is true when the wss sites are under a portal. every site you create from the portal is actually a different "site collection" with a root "web". The portal itself is a site collection on its own, with the "home" area as its root level "web". The fact that you create sites from the portal doesnt mean they are actually under the portal. they are infact stand alone site collections with root webs. WSS site collections have a template gallery you can upload templates to and then use those templates in all webs under the site collection, but you cant use them in other site collections on the same machine unless you install the template globally. How to install templates globaly If you have a template you want to be available globaly there are two ways to achive your goal: Save the web you want using the method you described ("save as template" in the site settings) and then download the stp file to the hard drive and install it with the stsadm command line utility (stsadm -o addtemplate) Create the new template as a site definition. Option number two is harder, since you dont get to just create a site, change it to look like you want and just save it. Instead, you have to manipulate aspx and xml files on the hard drive, and define everything manually. The benefit of the second option over the first is that the sites you will create from the new definition will stay connected to that definition. This means you will be able to change all sites at once if you want to change something in the way they look (not add or remove web parts, but change the layout of the home page). It is also easier to change the template itself when needed. I suggest you read about it in the link above, and ask here if more info is required.

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