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Work with webpages

SharePoint Server includes four types of webpages. In this sample chapter from Microsoft SharePoint 2016 Step by Step, explore procedures related to creating pages, adding content to pages, managing pages, and using app parts and web parts.

In previous chapters, you learned how to organize your content into site collections, sites, lists, and libraries; however, Microsoft SharePoint sites are similar to other websites in that they can contain multiple webpages. In fact, you could think of storing information in a file, such as a Microsoft Word document or a Microsoft Excel worksheet, as hiding that information. Before a user can see the information in such files, the file has to be downloaded to the user’s computer, and then a separate program or app has to be opened to display the contents of the file. With a webpage, your browser displays the information immediately when you select the link to the page. Therefore, it is just as important to place content on pages as it is to use lists and libraries.

This chapter guides you through procedures related to creating pages, adding content to pages, managing pages, and using app parts and web parts.

Understand SharePoint pages

SharePoint Server includes four types of webpages. The ones you see and can create for a site depend on the site template used to create the site. These are:

  • Wiki pages

  • Web part pages

  • Publishing pages

  • Application pages

On team sites and community sites, the two types of pages you will work with are wiki pages and web part pages. Publishing pages are available on sites you create by using one of the publishing site templates, such as the Publishing Portal, Enterprise Wiki, Product Catalog, Publishing Site, Publishing Site with Workflow, or Enterprise Search Center site templates.

You can customize the first three types of pages by using the following tools:

  • Your browser

  • A SharePoint-compatible webpage-editing tool, such as Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2013

  • A professional development tool, such as Microsoft Visual Studio

No one tool can do everything; therefore, it is likely that when you use SharePoint, either in an on-premises installation of SharePoint Server or SharePoint Online, your organization will use all three tools at some point.

Web part pages

Web part pages consist of web part zones that can contain app parts and web parts. Multiple web parts can be added to each zone. After a web part is added to a zone, you can alter the location of the web part within the zone, and you can move the web part from one zone to another. The web part zones are visible only when you are editing a page.

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When you create a web part page, you can choose the layout of the zones.

Web parts are reusable components that can contain any type of web-based information, including analytical, collaborative, and database information. App parts are used in conjunction with apps you add to your site from your organization’s app store or from the online SharePoint Store.

App parts can also be used to display content from lists and libraries, so the content dynamically changes as you upload, modify, and delete list items in the lists or files in the libraries. These app parts are used on the web part pages that are created when you create views in your lists and libraries.

There are a couple of disadvantages of using web part pages: many users find the mechanism of changing such pages not intuitive, and after you create a web part page with a specific layout of web part zones, you cannot change the layout.

Web part pages are the default pages on sites that are created from the Project, Document Center, Record Center, Community Portal, and Compliance Policy Center site templates. On these sites, you need the Add And Customize Pages permission to edit the default web part page. If you do want to create multiple pages on these sites, you can create a wiki page library where you can create wiki and web part pages.

Wiki pages

Wiki pages are easy to use and their layout is easy to change. When you edit the home page of a team site, you’ll see that it consists of three content areas, each containing a web part or an app part:

  • Get Started With Your Site This web part displays five tiles that you can select to quickly complete common SharePoint actions. As you point to each tile, a description of the task is displayed. You can remove this web part by selecting Remove This.

  • Site Feed This web part displays a newsfeed on your site; its use is also known as microblogging. These microblogging conversations are stored in the MicroFeed list.

  • Documents This app part displays the contents of the Documents library.

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    In the content areas, you can add static text, app parts, and web parts

When you create a team site or community site, SharePoint creates a wiki page library named Site Pages, where webpages are stored and where new pages can be created. The Site Pages wiki library inherits its permissions from the site. Therefore, anyone who is mapped to the Edit permission level at the site level—that is, anyone who is a member of the site’s Members SharePoint group—is allowed to change any page or create new pages in the Site Pages library. This is known as open editing. Any member of the site can edit it as he or she wants if, for example, the member thinks the page is incomplete or poorly organized. Therefore, as users share their information, knowledge, experience, ideas, and views, the content evolves. Site members can work together to change or update information without needing to send emails or attend meetings or conference calls. All users are allowed to control and check the content, because open editing relies on the assumption that most members of a collaboration site have good intentions.

Wiki pages can also contain app parts and web parts. Although you cannot use web part connections on wiki pages, the ease with which you can mix free-format static text and images on wiki pages in addition to web parts and app parts make them a popular page choice on team sites.

Publishing pages

For Internet sites and company portals, when the content on a page is to be viewed by a large number of people, pages might need to go through a formal approval process before users can view them. In such cases, publishing sites and publishing pages are a better choice than team sites and wiki pages. Most visitors to a publishing site want to consume information displayed on the page. They will not be allowed to edit the pages. Only a few users will be able to create, edit, and delete publishing pages.

Publishing pages, also known as Web Content Management (WCM) pages, are stored in the Pages library and are created from publishing templates known as page layouts. After you create a publishing page, you can change the layout of the page by choosing a different layout.

Publishing pages can have both content areas and web part zones. Content areas on a publishing page can be similar to the content areas that you use on a wiki page in that they can contain text, images, app parts, and web parts. However, some content areas can be very restrictive—for example, they might allow you to insert only an image or plain text. The name of the content area usually indicates the type of content you can add. The content area names and the web part zone names are displayed only when you are editing the page. The layout and the type of content you can add to the content areas is dependent on the layout chosen for the publishing page.

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Content areas with a grey background are displayed only when you edit the page

Application pages

Application pages, also known as system pages, look very similar no matter which site you go to. Examples of such pages are the List Settings page and the Site Settings page. These pages contain _layouts in their URLs, as in intranet.wideworldimporters.com/_layouts/15/viewlsts.aspx, which is the web address for the Site Content page on the Wide World Importers intranet site.