Miles and Miles of SharePoint Files ...

December 17, 2004 01:30 by keithkaragan
I've been working with SharePoint more and more over the last year, in a variety of capacities. With WSS and SPS 2003. Today I was working on a job today, when at some point I just cracked and said to myself “This is a joke” - not the product itself, but the disjointedness of SPS to WSS and the amount of configuration files involved with the product, and state of the information contained within these files.
You have onet.xml files and schema.xml files and files with default views and blah, blah, blah ... all repeated and nested upon each other. Some of the CAML code is HTMLEncoded, some is not. Some customizations create XSL embedded, other conventions used don't care for that ... This gets crazy.
This reminded me of Site Server 3.0 (a product I knew really well) and all the time it took to become truly deep on that product, and how useless all that knowledge became immediately after Commerce Server 2000 came about, and why. Why? because the product matured, and these files became objects, and data in tables that were somewhat more easily identified and managed. And further down the line in CS2002 this got even tighter. This is good news for SharePoint, since it is popular, and a newer version is likely to happen in the future. For tech consultants though, we have to play with the cards we got. So we'll be learning the ins and outs of these files and will/have found all kinds of unforeseen tweaks, hot-rods, and other means to various ends to use this application for the basis of other solutions.
The obvious danger is that the consolidation will negate most of those wonderful hacks when an upgrade path is beginning to be considered, and longevity of the solution if the main concern.
For today, I bit the bullet and did the right thing and moved all the customizations into CAML in a custom area template, and custom document library templates contained in those area templates. A hell of a lot of work for some simple changes.
I also noticed that in the CAML for some of the views I was changing there was code snips in the CDATA[] sections that were also enclosed in square brackets (”[ ]”). These were simple references to the LCID, but I'm wondering if that's a means to 'sneak in' active C# code through to the SafeMode processor? I'll have to try that.
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