Home > SharePoint > Branding woes… how to cope.

Branding woes… how to cope.

I’ve been doing a lot of MOSS 2007 branding lately and have ran across some defects that were kindof suprising.  Some parts of the page would render inconsistently or expand the page width out very much.  While I was researching these issues…I couldnt find anything that would help me solve my problem.  So, in the end, I used a couple of good ol’ techniques to help me solve my problems.  Below are some tips that helped me and can hopefully help you too!

Test and re-test

Each of your CSS selectors should contain only the necessary elements to style the target elements/classes.  Once a style has been completed, check the page in the browsers your targeting and move on.  This is especially important with global elements (think .ms-vb).

Always use good layout techniques

Whether building a fixed or fluid layout , make sure that your layout is properly implemented to avoid nasty bugs.  Recently, I did not separate out the Top table with the Middle table and when I would add and <IMG> to the page, the layout would render far to the right.  Once separated, it worked like a charm.   Your HTML layout is very important when working with SharePoint styles/controls.

There are some exceptions for SharePoint however…when testing branding in Datasheet view of a list… if you have a footer below the Datasheet, it will cause a memory leak in IE.  The best way to get around this is to either not have a footer or implement some Javascript to restrict the height of the Datasheet view

Use developer toolbars

I frequently will use Notepad++ Compare add-on to compare source versions of a page to find a specific error.  Additionally, I use Firebug/IE Dev Toolbar to find exact containers/tags to see what is wrong.  These tools solve problems so frequently and quickly!  Don’t forget about Fiddler =)

Properly deploy branding

Your branding solution should be properly packaged as a solution and contain stapling features to the site definitions you have targeted to brand.  This ensures that whenever an administrator creates a new site collection, that branding is automatically applied.  Additionally, branding in this fashion creates the branding files that are ghosted (versus branding via SP Designer..).  Also, you will want to make the type=”GhostableInLibrary” to cache files on the WFE and make visible through the library (so your master.page can reference them there, instead of the file system).  This will help when upgrading MOSS2007 to SP2010.

Thanks for reading!

-Matt

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