Problems with IE8 Standards Mode, SharePoint menus, and DocTypes 11

With the official release of Internet Explorer 8, many people are starting to test their custom SharePoint branding in the new browser. IE8 is an interesting animal in that it decides its rendering engine based on certain criteria in your code (in SharePoint’s case, the master page): If IE8 sees a valid DocType declared it will attempt to render a site in IE8 Standards Mode. If IE8 does not see a DocType it will attempt to render a site in quirks mode (otherwise known as pre IE7 rendering mode).   One nice thing about IE8 is that it includes Developer Tools (click Tools > Developer Tools) which will actually show you which rendering mode is currently being used (the last tab at the top of the Developer Tools window). You can also use this tab to test the other rendering modes, selecting them and observing the result in the refreshed window. Now, on to the ...

Microsoft released 10 new SharePoint themes (Updated with Screenshots and WSP) 16

These new themes are pretty darn good, I especially like “Construction”, “Contoso”, and “OARP”. I could see them being changed up and used for a lot of company intranets. I do wish they would have packaged them as a WSP or something rather than just give us a solution file and have us make one ourselves.Download them from MicrosoftUPDATE: Daniel Brown made a WSP for easy installationHere is a screenshot of all of new themes at once and then each one individually full sized. Click for larger versions:

Fixing the Enable Quick Launch menu setting in custom master pages 1

One thing that I have never fully understood was why the Enable Quick Launch menu item doesn’t actually disable the quick launch menu in any master pages other than the default.master (To find this menu click Site Actions > Site Settings > Modify All Site Settings > Tree View). Yesterday, my buddy Nik Molnar helped me track it down through some creative sleuthing on his part. Turns out the key is this tag from default.master: Microsoft’s BlueBand.master omits this tag, as well as many of the minimal publishing master pages that are available from the community. Without this tag surrounding the quick launch code, SharePoint cannot hide it via that Site Settings menu item. To add one, simply surround your with the completed tag.

SharePoint Designer to be a free download after April 1st?

Could this be a cruel pre April fools day prank? I don’t have specific details, but apparently it was casually mentioned in an official Microsoft webcast today that SPD was going to be free for download after April 1 and that development is continuing on it and the next version will be included with the vNext version of SharePoint. I have no inside knowledge of this event, but I’m just reporting it for those that have not heard. If this ends up all being false info… don’t blame me.

I’m in an “I’m a PC” video

Check out the “I’m a PC and I’m an MVP” video on the Microsoft Videos site. I’m the tiny pixel on the far right. If you listen carefully you may hear a familiar voice yelling louder than all the others (via microphone). Any guesses who it is? I’m a PC Video

New article “Creating a Custom SharePoint Theme” is up on the TPG member download area 1

The article covers the ins and outs of actually creating your own theme in SharePoint. To get access to the article you will need to create a member account, but the process is fairly painless. Here is the intro paragraph: When it comes to branding in SharePoint, few things are as important as the effective use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This is because CSS is the primary mechanism that Microsoft gives us to override their out of the box look and feel. One excellent way to use CSS to style SharePoint is to use a theme. SharePoint themes take advantage of the CSS concept of “cascading”. The basic idea is that styles that are loaded last on a page typically override styles of the same specificity that were loaded earlier on the page. SharePoint themes are mostly made up of CSS that is overriding already defined out-of-the-box SharePoint branding. That familiar light blue and ...

Microsoft’s Live Writer is pretty hot 2

See my previous post where I tested posting to Google’s Blogger service. I think its actually easier to blog from Live Writer to Blogger than to use Google’s own web interface, which is both sad (for Google who is usually top notch) and awesome (for Microsoft for supporting several blogging services).

VisiFire Open Source Silverlight Charting in SharePoint 10

I was doing some research on Silverlight charting solutions for SharePoint when I stumbled across VisiFire an open source self contained charting solution built with Silverlight. If you haven’t seen VisiFire before, it’s worth checking out, their gallery page shows a number of really slick animated charts that are dead simple to use with XML data (without writing any Silverlight code). Also, I’m not sure what rock I was under when the SharePoint Designer team posted this blog entry on integrating the Data View Web Part with VisiFire using XSLT. Their example uses the 1.0 version of VisiFire, so I decided to do a little poking around to see if I could get the 2.0.9 Beta version (hopefully my XSLT will also work when the official 2.0 version is released). Here are instructions for getting it to work in SharePoint (influenced HEAVILY by the original post by the SharePoint Designer Team: Download the 2.0.9 Beta ...

Adding robots.txt to SharePoint 2

Friend of mine asked me about this today and I had to look it up because its been a while since I have done anything with robots.txt. Turns out its not as easy as just adding the robots.txt file to the web server root. SharePoint likes to block access to the file, so you will need to add a managed path from Central Admin. Here are the steps: Open Central Admin and navigate to Application Management > Define Managed Paths Select your specific web application from the drop down Add a new path for /robots.txt Switch the type to Explicit inclusion Click OK Run IISREST This is all you need to do, but if you still get a permissions problem, right-click on robots.txt and give “Everyone” Read permissions to the file.

Two SharePoint design books from Wrox 2

Just wanted to make a quick post to take care of two birds with one stone: First, congrats to Woody Windischman and his co-authors for finishing their Wrox book Professional Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure its an excellent addition to any SharePointer’s bookshelf. Second, I wanted to point out that my book has a very similar name and is also published by Wrox, its title is Professional SharePoint 2007 Design. As you can see, Woody’s book title is quite similar to mine. So whats different between the two and why did Wrox need both? I’m glad you asked. My book focuses on the actual design process for branding websites with SharePoint (which includes a chapter that discusses the product SharePoint Designer). Woody’s book on the other hand focuses entirely on the ins and outs of the SharePoint Designer product. So, which should you get if you are ...