Sunday, May 06, 2007

When not to use SharePoint Designer (AKA Microsoft FrontPage)

SharePoint designer is a great tool to edit SharePoint sites and pages without detail knowledge of ASP.NET or HTML. But like everything else in life this is not the perfect tool for everything, specially if you are modifying an aspx or a master page from "_layouts" folder.

In SharePoint the relative path to the page is represented using tilda (~) sign e.g. ~/_layouts/simple.master, which means the ~ will be replaced at runtime with appropriate site name. This is where the problem begin, when you open a page which is on a file systel e.g. _layout folder, SharePoint tries to resolve all relative path to the site (thinking its a "Ghosted" page) and end up replacing with "_layouts" . You don't get any error until you start using that page. At runtime, SharePoint will try to resolve all path to "absolute" _layout folder - which does not exists, as oppose to a relative ~/_layouts path . Wish there was a better way to handle this. I ended up editing these page the old fashied way - e.g. Notepad . Hopefully in SharePoint 2007 Service Pack1 this might get resolved.

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