This one goes out to all the people who have been asked to change the way a SharePoint site looks. Management wants to know how long it will take, and you can whip that out by tomorrow, right? If you don't have time to prepare a treatise on what's involved, or if you just want to lend some extra weight to your case by quoting a blogger who was an MVP for seven years, then dive right in; this post is for you.
There are three main components of SharePoint visual
Theme – A theme encompasses all the
standardized text formatting and coloring (borders, fonts, etc), including the
background images of various sections. All told, there could be around 50
images involved, and a few hundred CSS (style) classes. Installing a
theme once it’s been created is no great feat. Given the number of
pieces, of course, creating a new theme could take anywhere from a day to a
week… once decisions have been made about the desired appearance.
Master Page – A master page provides the
framework for page layout. This includes all the top and side menus,
where content shows up, et cetera. Master pages have been around for a
long time in ASP.NET (Microsoft’s web development platform), and they do
require some .NET programming knowledge. Beyond that, in SharePoint,
there are a few dozen controls which the system expects find on a given
page. They’re not all used at once, but if they’re not there when they’re
needed, chaos ensues. Estimating a custom master page is difficult, as it
depends on the level of customization. I’ve been on projects where I was
brought in simply to fix some problems and add a few finishing touches, and it
took 2-3 weeks. Master page customization requires a large amount of
all work well together.
Individual page layout – Each page
(ideally) uses a master page for its template, but within the content areas
defined by the master page, web parts can be added, removed, and configured
from within the browser. The wireframe that Brent provided could most
likely be completed simply by manipulating the content on the home page in this
fashion, and we had allowed about a day of effort for the task. If
needed, further functionality can be provided by an experienced ASP.NET
developer; custom forms are a common example.
This of course is a bit more in-depth than simple content manipulation and
could take several days per page (or more; there’s really no way to quantify
this without a set of requirements).
That’s basically it. To
recap: Fonts and coloring are done with themes, and can take anywhere
from a day to a week to create (not counting creative time); required technical
skills include HTML, CSS, and image manipulation. Templated layout is done
with master pages, and generally requires a developer familiar with both
ASP.NET and SharePoint in particular; it can have far-reaching consequences
depending on the complexity of the changes, and could add weeks or months to a
project. Page layout can be as simple as content manipulation in the web
browser, taking a few hours per page, or it can involve more detail, like custom forms, and can require programming expertise and significantly more