Saturday, August 2, 2008

Application Pages vs Site(Content) Pages

SharePoint pages are built on the foundation of ASP.NET. As a SharePoint developer, you must be aware of two different types of SharePoint pages.Application pages and Site pages.Application pages, such as Settings.aspx, are used for all Windows SharePoint Services sites.

Therefore, if you modify or extend the functionality in this type of page, your changes will apply to all SharePoint sites. Application pages are stored in the file system of the front-end Web server.

They are located in the TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS folder in the Web Server Extensions path.Each SharePoint Web includes a virtual directory, named _layouts, that points to this physical location.So, for example, the Settings page is accessible by using the relative URL of /_layouts/Settings.aspx.

In contrast, Site pages, such as Default.aspx, can be customized on a site-by-site basis.Newly-created sites start with site pages based on page templates on the front-end Web server.

For example, sites based on the Team Site template contain a Default.aspx page from the TEMPLATE\SiteTemplate\STS folder. These pages are known as uncustomized pages.When a site designer or developer customizes a site page for a specific site, the customized copy is stored in the site database and served from there when requested.