If you have installed Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, either the standard or enterprise editions, then you have one or more site collections based on the Collaboration Portal and / or Publishing Portal site definitions. Within each of these site collections you will have a number of subsites based on Web Content Management-enabled SharePoint site definitions, which I refer to as publishing sites and a number of sites based on non-publishing site definitions or templates, such as, the team sites or meeting workspaces.
However, if you are like most organizations, the rest of your site collections are not based on, one of the two Portal site definitions. Most of your site collection will have the root-level site based on a team site or a customized site definition. In these site collections, you will not use any publishing sites. They just have too much red tape for the day to day purpose of these team sites. The main aim of these non-publishing sites is collaboration.
So the question that this blog poses is: On these non-publishing site collections, should you activate at the site collection level the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature?
Before you can answer this question, you need to know what this feature provides and that's the subject for the rest of this blog.
The Publishing Infrastructure provides you, at the site collection level, with a number of document libraries, lists, Web Parts, additional administrative links and SharePoint Groups, as detailed below:
- Site Collection Documents: You should use this system library to store documents that will be used throughout the site collection. It is a good idea to have a central location for documents, so why not use this one? As MOSS is already installed in your organization, you will have users who expect this library to be present, so using a library with this name will reduce your help desk calls and make your end-user training easier.
- Site Collection Images: You should store images in this document library that are used throughout the site collection. Same comments as above.
- Style Library: You should use this document library to store custom XSL styles and cascading style sheets. Same comment as above, so yes you would need, if not these libraries in my non-publishing site collections, something very similar.
- Content and Structure Reports list: This list contains the queries that appear under the Reports second level menu of the extended Site Actions menu in a publishing site, and are also available from the Site Content and Structure page when you use the Default View button, but do not seem to work as they do in a Portal site collection.
- Reusable Content list: This list is used in publishing sites, so if you have no publishing sites you probably won't use it. So this list is not one of the reasons why I would choose to activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure features.
- Workflow tasks list: Configure Workflows to use this tasks list. This list, as are the other lists, are created in the root-site of a site collection. Of the three this is one that you could use, but as it's only created at the root-level of a site collection, you would have to manually create a Workflow tasks list for that site to maintain a consistent approach to using Workflows - so on it's own, not a reason to argue for activating the feature.
Activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature adds the Administrative links on the Site Settings page, including the ability to manage Master Pages for both publishing and non-publishing Web sites, Navigation, Searchable columns, Content and Structure, Content and Structure Logs, Variations and Translatable columns. Now some of these are not useful on a non-publishing site collections, but others are very useful, such as using the Site Content and Structure page, which allows you to see the site hierarchy and reorganise your sites, plus the administrative link that allows you to alter the CSS file and master page for the whole of the site collections - is great if you want to have a different look-and-feel for this site collection.
Additional Master Pages and default Page Layouts are stored in the Master Page Gallery but as these are related to publishing sites, they are not useful in a non-publishing site collection.
Content Types and Site Columns
The Page Layout and Publishing content types and columns are added when you activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature. You would not use these in a site collection that contains no publishing sites, therefore they do not support the argument to activate the feature.
Activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature adds the following Web Parts to the Web Part Gallery: Content Query Web Part (CQWP), Summary Links, Table of Content. These are very useful Web Parts that I would definitely still like to use in non-publishing sites.
Activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature adds the following SharePoint Groups: Approvers, Designers, Hierarchy Managers, Quick Deploy Users, Restricted Readers and Style Resource Readers, and although I do not find some of these groups useful in non-publishing site, there are some that do have to recreate, because they are not there, such as the Approvers SharePoint Group. This is very useful, as long as you haven't configured unique permissions, as members of this group can approve any item or document in any list or library that you have enabled Content Approval.
So, what's my answer. Yes, I would activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure in all MOSS site collections even if I do not plan to use the Web Content Management features. It provides a consistent implementation, which is good for end-users and help desk, reduces the amount of work to create the bits I like and gives me access to cool functionality like the Administration links and Web Parts like the CQWP. But - I'm not you. What do you think?
NOTE: If you activate the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature you should NOT delete any of these components, as this will break the publishing features of any publishing site you may decide to create, resulting in a great deal of manual work for you and the IT department.
If you have problems activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure feature see: http://blog.thekid.me.uk/archive/2007/02/05/activating-office-sharepoint-server-publishing-infrastructure-access-denied.aspx.