More About SharePoint 2007 Content Types

Submitted By: Bob Mixon, MSD2D Community Manager/Managing Director of ShareSquared, Inc.
Posted On: 10/30/2006

Last week, I touched on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 content types. This week I continue that topic and further explore these features. Before going too far, I want to define content types.

This definition of content types comes from "Using Content Types in Windows SharePoint Services (v3) and SharePoint Server 2007."

“In Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services v3 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, content types enable you to define and organize your items in a more meaningful way. A content type is a reusable collection of settings you want to apply to a certain category of content. Use content types to define and manage the metadata and behaviors of documents and list items in a centralized and reusable way. Content types also enable you to store different types of content in the same document libraries and lists.”

One of the new content types in MOSS is designed specifically for publishing information, such as pages, articles, news, and more. I'm going to walk you through the steps of creating a site, then activating the Office SharePoint Server Publishing feature so you can see exactly what's happening behind the scenes. Then you can choose to use any of the built in publishing templates to create sites that already have this feature activated.

Creating a New Team Site

From your portal, create a Team Site. This is where we will be doing all our work, so a good place to do this might be your own personal My Site.

Now let’s determine what content has been created for us by using the standard Team Site template. In the left navigation bar, select View All Site Content. You'll see that a new Shared Documents Document Library, Announcements, Calendar, Links, Tasks and Team Discussion have been created.

Activating the Office SharePoint Publishing Feature

To add publishing features to this site, you simply need to activate it, and Microsoft has made this very easy. In the upper right corner, select Site Actions then Site Settings.

The Site Settings page displays a wealth of configuration settings. From these settings, choose Site features.

You should now see the Site Features page (as the figure below shows). Here's where you can activate and deactivate various feature packages that your administrator has installed.

Note that some features are already active (e.g., Team Collaboration Lists feature). This feature provides team collaboration abilities. Also note that the Office SharePoint Server Publishing feature is currently inactive.

Click the Activate button to the right of the Office SharePoint Server Publishing feature. This will activate the feature, which, in turn, will automatically create new Document Libraries and Lists on your site. In addition to the libraries and lists, all the necessary approval-processing workflows have been created and bound.

Return to view your entire site content, and you'll see that activating this feature has created a Documents, Images and Pages libraries and a Workflow Tasks list. At this point, your site has all the necessary content types to begin publishing various types of pages and articles.

Creating a New Article Page

Now let’s put all our hard work to use and create our first article. From the All Site Content page (as the figure above shows), select the New Pages library. Click New. By default, a new Page content type will be created. Give your new article a Title, optional Description, and choose the Page Layout. For my demonstration, I selected the Article page with image on left Page Layout. When you're satisfied with your entries, click Create.

You should now be back at your Pages library and you'll see a new entry—the page you just created. Click it to open the page in your browser. A modified view of the page will be displayed, giving you the ability to manage it (e.g., edit the page, check it in, publish it). Click the Edit Page button. Here is your first view into the “real” content editing abilities built into MOSS. You now have the ability to edit the page in place; go ahead, give it a try!

The Page Layout contains field edit controls that are bound to the content. This specific Page Layout has a number of fields for placing pictures, article date, byline, and page content, all of which you can control and style to your specific needs.

After you enter the page field information, click the Publish button at the top of the page. At this point, your article will be available for users to read.

Other Options to Publishing

In the above example, you published your article after you made your edits. In most “real world” scenarios, this will not be the case. You can take advantage of many other features such as saving your work or starting an approval workflow process. If you plan on displaying articles on another page or site using the Content Query Web Part, I recommend going back to the item properties and updating the Description field. The Description is what the Content Query Web Part uses during its rendering process.

In this article, I demonstrated the fundamentals of how to use the Office SharePoint Server Publishing feature to automatically create content types designed specifically for publishing purposes. All the document library, lists, page layouts and workflows could have been created by hand. But as you can see, simply by activating this feature much of the work was done for you.

If you are following along with this article series, keep the Team site you created. Next week, I'll build on what we've learned and demonstrate how to create your own page layouts.

Additional Resources

While I continue down this path of describing content types, I'll continue to refer you to additional resources with relevant information.

JOPX on SharePoint 2007 (MOSS and WSS v3), Office and SOA - Joris Poelmans (Blog/RSS)

Joris has a three-part series that's similar to what I'm writing. However, I thought I would list it because sometimes a different writing style works better for some people. In addition, he may have covered something I overlooked or haven’t covered yet. Great job on the articles Joris!

·         WCM with MOSS 2007 – Introduction (Part I)

·         WCM with MOSS 2007 – Getting started with Web Content Management (Part II)

·         WCM with MOSS 2007 – The inner workings of Web Content Management in SharePoint 2007 (Part III)

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