Sunday, February 13, 2005

SharePoint CAML - why does it have to be so hard?

I have been doing some customisation of Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) lately and I'm still wondering why Microsoft is still using this CAML stuff. Jonathan Summers totally expressed my feelings about CAML in Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) - The Crux Of The Office System
"Very important, very fragile internal XML schema for which there is no graphical editor and if you screw it up you just blew your SharePoint installation".

Things I consider to be very troublesome with CAML and site definitions:
  • How to deploy this stuff (Apparently a white paper will appear about it - Jonathan also mentionned something on his blog about a presentation in which WIX was used to deploy site definitions)

  • Changes only become visible after doing an IISRESET - or even worse not at all untill you create a new site

  • Some things which appear in the WSS SDK, just don't seem to work - e.g. alternatecss in ONET.XML

  • It is case sensitive - damn...

  • These XML site definition files are not quite small and are very hard to manipulate - notepad is my best tool up until now

  • For those of you who still want to do some SharePoint customisation with site definitions - Guidelines for templates and definitions is a must read as well as Customizing SharePoint Sites and Portals: Using templates and site definitions, part 2.

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