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Content areas for Publishing sites

May 28, 2014 at 3:58 PM
This is an extremely useful project for anyone creating responsive SharePoint sites, a journey I am currently embarking on. I was curious though why there are no publishing content areas in your page layouts, only web part zones? You can't really leverage all of the CMS features of SharePoint with the content areas.

Was this an intentional design decision for some reason? Do content areas cause problems with the design, or was this something you decided would be better left to the web developer to add?

May 28, 2014 at 8:19 PM
That is a really good question. We decided to use Web part zones because they are the easiest and most universal for any installation. This way we did not have to make any information architecture decisions for everyone, nor did we have to provide a method to add any new site columns. My general suggestion is that you limit webpart zones on a production site as that can give end users far too many options and methods to mess things up.

Generally I like to create a set of page layouts as required for a given project and use site columns to provide the data and meta data fields that I will make available to content authors. This is easy enough with the included, sample page layouts, simply replace the web part zones with the control necessary to surface your site columns.

I hope this helps.

May 29, 2014 at 12:13 AM
Thanks, this was very helpful. I already added the OOTB content area to one of the sample page layouts, which was easy enough. Next step then is to create additional site columns--which is something I'm very familiar with--and then start adding them to the page layouts in the same places where you have web part zones. Correct?

I thought your reasoning might be something like what you described, since content areas are only available for publishing sites. I was hoping that it wasn't because content areas cause some strange interaction with the responsive design elements. Thankfully that's NOT the case!

By the way, I was convinced of the advantages of responsive design for SharePoint by one of your fellow project developers, Darce Hess. She presented at a Sharepoint Saturday last year, and it definitely stuck with me. I'll probably be bugging you with other questions (hopefully equally "good") since as I mentioned this is my first attempt at a responsive SP design.