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Custom Navigation and New User Interface Elements

Windows SharePoint Services 3

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Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides exciting new features for navigation that enhance user awareness of site context. Two new breadcrumb controls located in the upper left and central regions of the page provide users awareness of the site structure above and within the current site. The top navigational control is now located beneath the banner and uses a tab-like structure for display. Both top navigation and the Quick Launch area (left navigation) are now highly customizable through the user interface or through the object model. All these new features improve the navigational experience of users, providing both power users and developers robust mechanisms for customizing navigation.

As in the previous version of Windows SharePoint Services, the contents of navigational controls can be changed by modifying the NavBars element in the Onet.xml file of a site definition, or by modifying the controls through Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. However, in the new version you can also modify the controls through the user interface, through markup on .aspx pages, or through types and members of the Microsoft.SharePoint.Navigation namespace. Administrators can toggle on or off a Menu or TreeView control for the left navigational area.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is built on Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0. In addition to the changes in navigation, ASP.NET 2.0 supplies the new master pages, site map providers, and site map controls, simplifying and greatly improving navigation.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides the following new features to improve site navigation:

  • User-aware links; for example, removing the Settings links for users who cannot make particular changes, a capability that is provided through "link trimming."

  • Breadcrumbs to provide users with additional information about their location within a site collection.

  • Customization of the top navigation bar, ranging from adding and removing links to adding Microsoft JScript drop-down menus and fly-outs, which is provided by new shared navigation and master pages. Such menus can only be enabled by modifying a master page; there is no built-in support for enabling these menus.

  • Customization of the left navigation bar, which includes adding and removing links to adding JScript drop-down menus and fly-outs, which is provided through ASP.NET master pages and navigational controls such as the SiteMapPath, Menu and TreeView controls. Such menus can only be enabled by modifying a master page; there is no out-of-box support for enabling these menus.

  • Common navigation bars provided through master pages.

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