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Opening SharePoint Sites in SharePoint Designer

Before we launch into analyzing the SharePoint Designer 2010 interface and features, the first thing we need to do is to open SharePoint Designer, which goes hand-in-hand with opening SharePoint 2010 sites. This section demonstrates how you can open existing SharePoint 2010 sites in SharePoint Designer 2010 and looks at how to work within the context of SharePoint sites and access site content in SharePoint Designer.

There are several ways to open SharePoint sites in SharePoint Designer 2010, as outlined in this section.

Launch SharePoint Designer Directly from the Client

This method assumes you are currently working independent of your browser or your browser is closed. In this scenario, you open SharePoint Designer 2010 directly from your client and then open your SharePoint site after SharePoint Designer 2010 has launched.

To open SharePoint Designer 2010 on your computer, follow the steps below:

  1. Click Start and then click All Programs.
  2. Next, click Microsoft Office and then click Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.

The screen shown in Figure 7.15 is also referred to as the Office backstage, a feature across the entire Office 2010 suite of applications. The backstage helps de-clutter the mainstream application interface and includes a common set of configurable application options. In SharePoint Designer, the backstage includes options for opening existing and creating new sites and pages, as well as setting application options and configuring application user interfaces such as the ribbon.

Figure 7.15

Figure 7.15 Initial SharePoint Designer 2010 screen when opening from client.

Opening an Existing SharePoint Site from SharePoint Backstage

To open a site from the SharePoint Designer backstage, click the Sites tab in the left-hand menu (if it is not already selected) and then either select a site from the Recent Sites listing (refer to Figure 7.15) or click the Open Site button under Open SharePoint Site. Clicking the Open Site button displays a dialog as shown in Figure 7.16.

Figure 7.16

Figure 7.16 Dialog served when opening an existing SharePoint site via the Open Site button on the SharePoint backstage.

Opening MySite

Also included under the Open SharePoint Site option is the option to Customize MySite. Clicking this button attempts to launch a user's MySite in SharePoint Designer.

Launch SharePoint Designer from a SharePoint 2010 Site

In SharePoint 2010, you may launch SharePoint Designer 2010 directly from the Web interface in one of several ways. One way is to launch SharePoint Designer via the Edit Site in SharePoint Designer option from the Site Actions menu or via the Internet Explorer Page menu.

Launch SharePoint Site via Site Actions Menu

With SharePoint 2010 open in your browser, click the Site Actions menu to expand the drop-down menu and click the Edit Site in SharePoint Designer option, as shown in Figure 7.18. If you do not see the Edit Site in SharePoint Designer option in the Site Actions menu then check your permissions. You must be a member of the Designer SharePoint group, or be a member of a SharePoint group that includes the SharePoint Design permission level, in order to launch and work with sites in SharePoint Designer.

Figure 7.18

Figure 7.18 Launch SharePoint Designer via the Site Actions menu in SharePoint 2010.

Launch SharePoint Site via Internet Explorer

If you previously used SharePoint Server 2007 then you might have used the browser controls to launch a site in SharePoint Designer 2007. For instance, in Internet Explorer 8 or 9, you may use the Edit with Microsoft SharePoint Designer option on the Page menu, as shown in Figure 7.19. However, in my testing, I found that if the site is not already open in SharePoint Designer then using the browser edit option did not appear to always honor permissions and did not allow members of the Designer group (or members with the Design permission) to open the site. Also, if the site is already open in SharePoint Designer then using the browser edit option actually opens the current page in edit mode.

Figure 7.19

Figure 7.19 Edit with Microsoft SharePoint Designer option in Internet Explorer 8 or 9.

Other SharePoint Designer User Interface Options

When working in SharePoint 2010 sites within a browser, there are two other launch options for SharePoint Designer 2010, shown in Figure 7.20. These include the options

  • Modify View, Modify in SharePoint Designer (Advanced): Choosing this option opens the currently navigated list or document library View page (for example, http://sitename/Shared%20Documents/Forms/Allitems.aspx) as an XSLT List View Web Part in SharePoint Designer 2010. You may then modify and enhance the View properties such as adding styling or conditional formatting.
  • Edit Library and Edit List buttons: Clicking these buttons launches the respective list or document library setting page in SharePoint Designer 2010.
    Figure 7.20

    Figure 7.20 Other SharePoint Designer 2010 launch options when working in document libraries and lists in SharePoint 2010.

Note on Opening Publishing Sites and Pages

If you've previously used SharePoint Designer 2007 to edit SharePoint Server 2007 sites then you are probably familiar with the prompt shown in Figure 7.21, which you received when attempting to launch the site in SharePoint Designer from the home page of the site within a browser, where that page was a publishing page. Instead, you needed to either edit the page via the browser or edit the corresponding publishing page layout in SharePoint Designer.

Figure 7.21

Figure 7.21 Dialog served when attempting to directly open a publishing page from within SharePoint.

Although still present in SharePoint Server 2010 sites, this behavior has changed slightly in SharePoint Server 2010 when using the built-in editing controls in SharePoint 2010.

When opening a SharePoint Server 2010 site in SharePoint Designer 2010 from the home page, or other, of a site in the browser using the Site Actions option Edit Site in SharePoint Designer, where that page is a publishing page, you no longer receive the same dialog. Rather, the entire site opens in SharePoint Designer 2010.

However, if you attempt to directly open a publishing page via the browser, such as via the contextual drop-down menu in the Pages document library, as shown in Figure 7.22, SharePoint Designer 2010 opens but renders the dialog shown in Figure 7.21.

Figure 7.22

Figure 7.22 Attempt to open publishing page from contextual menu in SharePoint Server 2010 pages document library.

In addition, if you click the Edit site home page link under the Customization part on a publishing site's setting page in SharePoint Designer 2010, you also receive the same dialog, as shown in Figure 7.23.

Figure 7.23

Figure 7.23 Editing publishing pages in SharePoint Server 2010 exhibits the same behavior as in SharePoint Server 2007.

Opening Anonymous SharePoint Sites in SharePoint Designer

In an anonymous SharePoint Server 2010 site, provisioned using either the Enterprise Wiki or Publishing Portal site collection template, the Site Actions menu, along with the Edit in SharePoint Designer option, is hidden until an authenticated user logs in. In non-publishing and SharePoint Foundation 2010 anonymous sites, the Site Actions menu is visible but the option to Edit in SharePoint Designer is absent until an authenticated user logs in.

In addition, opening an external SharePoint site in SharePoint Designer from Internet Explorer might cause the security prompt shown in Figure 7.24.

Figure 7.24

Figure 7.24 Internet Explorer Security dialog when opening external SharePoint site.

Opening SharePoint Sites Set to Basic Authentication

If you attempt to open a SharePoint 2010 site in SharePoint Designer where the site is configured with basic authentication then you experience issues opening the site. If a site is set to basic authentication then you will see the addition of a warning message in the Windows Security dialog (using Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9) at the time of attempted login, as shown in Figure 7.25.

Figure 7.25

Figure 7.25 Login prompt for a site set to basic authentication.

After submitting login credentials, you see the dialog shown in Figure 7.26, which does not really suggest that the issue is due to basic authentication. I received the same dialog when attempting to log into multiple site collections configured with basic authentication.

Figure 7.26

Figure 7.26 Error received after attempting to open a site set to basic authentication.

In addition, you might also experience issues when attempting to perform other client interaction, such as saving a list to Excel or Access.

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SharePoint Designer 2010 Unleashed

This chapter is from the book

SharePoint Designer 2010 Unleashed

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