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One of the major issues that we encounter in the implementation of SharePoint within organizations is that organizations want modifications to the visual and functional design that are almost impossible to implement without a major overhaul of the standard files and templates provided with SharePoint. SharePoint is constructed as a kind of standard product that is best used out of the box. Some design can be applied by specifying themes (for team sites) or by modifying CSS stylesheets (for the portal). The possibilities here are limited however, and changes to the actual HTML that is rendered results in changes to hundreds of the standard files.

When implementing customer requested visual modifications, one of the big problems that we encountered in making extensive modifications to the files and templates delivered with SharePoint was that the rendering of the same HTML is implemented differently by different pages. Some pages contain the actual HTML that is outputted and can be easily modified. Other pages contain server controls that do the rendering of the same HTML. These pages are almost impossible to modify. Another problem is that modifications must often be made to hundreds of pages.

The approach that MacawSharePointSkinner takes is two-fold:

Text Replacements – MacawSharePointSkinner lets SharePoint render the final HTML, and just before this HTML is sent to the browser MacawSharePointSkinner makes the needed modifications to this HTML. This is done in such a way that no modifications are needed to the internal files of SharePoint, so it is non-intrusive. Another advantage is that it will survive service packs (although the output HTML may change in a service pack!) and template modifications.

Url Redirections – MacawSharePointSkinner can translate requested url’s into other url’s. This allows you to redirect standard SharePoint url’s to your own url’s.

MacawSharePointSkinner is implemented as an HttpModule that provides functionality for url replacements and powerful replacements in the HTML output rendered by SharePoint.

I will not describe the inner workings of an HttpModule, for more information have a look at

Last edited Aug 29, 2006 at 10:59 PM by svdoever, version 3


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