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Basic Sharepoint Understanding! - Navigation and Structure

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Dear Experts,

I am new to SP and I am trying to swap our current intranet (based on the open source "Plone" product) over to SP 2010.

What I am looking to do in the first instance is create a simple intranet with a hierarchy of folders where I can give permissions to certain people to control what ever they want under those folders.

IE

Intranet Root
'---> Folder 1
    ' -----> some pages
'--->Folder 2
    ' -----> some more pages

Only Folder 1 and 2, I would like to be able to set permisisons that should be inherited on the pages "Wikis I think!" below

Afterwards I would then like to add Doucment Librarys etc. etc. etc.

Can you tell me:

If I am going about this completely the wrong way?
'---> If No, then what is the best way to do this as I cannot find a way to create "folders" with permission capabilities and then get them to appear in a nice hierachy of a navigation strucutre
'---> If Yes, how would you recommend that I go about this...

Thanks,
Jaggie
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Question by:JohnGerhardt
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ImaCircularSaw earned 500 total points
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Right, first thing is to forget the concept of folders.  This will lead you astray and is fundamental in many failed SP projects.  This is the terminology you need to be comfortable with:

Site Collection - A site collection can be described as a site.  It contains all of the following objects.  Most people will look at this and understand it to be a single site.  As a SP admin you must know that people will think this and you must know that it's a site with a number of sites and lists collected inside it.

Site/SubSite - In a site collection you can create sites or subsites.  These are simply sites that are located inside a site collection and potentially underneath other sites:

  Site Collection
             |----SubSite
             |           ^----SubSite
             |
             |----SubSite

List - Lists are a collection of similar objects.  These might be site pages, documents, contacts etc.  It is important to know that the root thing that SP does is manage lists.  Lists can be configured to offer different functionality, this is where you get the idea of libraries.  A list configured to store and manage documents is a Document Library.  Remember, all libraries are lists configured in a specific way.

  Site Collection
             |----SubSite
             |           ^----SubSite
             |                        ^----List
             |                        ^----List
             |
             |----SubSite

List Items - These are objects that are contained within lists:

  Site Collection
             |----SubSite
             |           ^----SubSite
             |                        ^----List
             |                                   ^----List Item
             |                                   ^----List Item
             |                        ^----List
             |
             |----SubSite

I hope this is making sense so far.

So I think you want guidance on how to structure your website...here is an example, something I've done a number of times:

Company Intranet
---------------------

       Intranet (root)
             |----HR (site)
             |        ^-----SitePages (list)
             |                             ^----------Default.aspx (list item)
             |  
             |        ^-----HR Documents (list)
             |                             ^----------Company Policies (list item)
             |                             ^----------Holiday Forms (list item)
             |                            
             |        ^-----Internal Vacancies (list)
             |                             ^----------Sales Rep (list item)
             |                             ^----------IT Support (list item)
             |----IT (site)
             |----Sales (site)

What I've done is give each department their own site and within that site created a list per type of information they keep.  There is also a sitePages list that is a document library that has webpart pages in, these allow you to store webpages which can have webparts and information on that is displayed to the user.

Why do we give a site to each department?  Simple, delegation of permissions is much more simple AND it gives the ownership for the upkeep and maintainance of that site to the department.  IT have no need, above training, to do anything with that site.

I highly recommend you don't use folders unless absolutly required.  Folders elongate URLs and don't offer muich in the way of functionality.  I have seen them over-used many times and once you have them in place it's difficult to move things around to get rid of them.

I hope I've given you some food for thought, please check out these URLs for further reading:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-help/?CTT=97 - Great resource for finding out how to do every day tasks.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/GetThePoint/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=5  -  some good logical planning steps.

My last note, if you're planning a website/intranet, do it on paper first!!!! I cannot stress to you how important it is to get the people who will be owning it in a room with paper and/or a whiteboard and sketching out the heirachy of the site, what each page should have on it etc...
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by:JohnGerhardt
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Thank you, this is brillant, I need to do some reading...!

I thought that my current thinking was a little off, this helps clarify it...

The only think that I am worried is about is when you are inside a site it is diffilcult to jump out and go to another site that is on the same level. IE from your example when you are in the HR site to jump out and go to the IT Site.

How can I make a navigation tree that would show something like this...?

Thanks again for your speedy and in depth response. You are saving me a great deal of time and I appreciate it :)
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by:ImaCircularSaw
ImaCircularSaw earned 500 total points
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OK, when you create a site there is a tickbox that has a phrase something like "Use top navigation from parent site" make sure this IS ticked.  this every time you create a site/subsite.  this will mean that each area of your site collection uses the same navigation.

Now, in the navigation settings:

Site Settings > Navigation (Toplink Bar on WSS/WFS)

You can tick "Show subsites" or something similar.  If we apply this to my previous example, you can have a link on the top navigation bar for each department.  The left navigation inside each site can then be contextual and show you more links to do with that specific site.

Sorry if the terminology is a little off, it's different in each version!  As I said earlier, deffinatly do this all on paper first.  once you have you can then understand the routes people are likely to take and ensure your navigation is suitable.

I would also recommend you don't send people to lists where possible, instead, use webparts to rollup lists onto pages.

Does this help?
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by:JohnGerhardt
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Definetly!

Will have a look at this tomorrow morning.

I think you have hit the nail on the head, thanks a lot. Will get back to you if I have any final questions but the poinks are safely yours..! Great job, Thanks!

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by:JohnGerhardt
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Coming on nicely now!

Just a quick other question... Bit naughty to role it in here but.

If I create a subsite and then remove permissions for certain users will it hide that item on the menu bars? Or will it leave it visible and then give them an error message when they click on it...

Thanks...
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by:JohnGerhardt
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Dont worry I have answered my own question!

It does hide them.

Time for Poinks!
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by:JohnGerhardt
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Thanks ImaCircularSaw, You have really helped me quickly understand the best way to get my SP site going.

It is already starting to look good! I have been absent from EE for a while, this has reminded me why I paticipate as an Expert and as a dummy!

See you around!
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by:ImaCircularSaw
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No problem! By the way, when something is removed from the menu bar or search results because the user has no permission to see that item, it's called security trimming.

Good luck with SharePoint!
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