SharePoint 2010 Page Layouts – What’s this UIVersionedContent all about?

If you work with the publishing features of SharePoint at all, or you do much branding, you’ve undoubtedly run into the UIVersionedContent control. Here’s an example of its use:

image

So what does this thing do? Simply put, it allows the SharePoint visual upgrade feature to work. When a site collection is upgraded from SharePoint 2007 (depending on the options selected), the sites themselves may wind up looking pretty much the same as they did before the upgrade. That’s because the SharePoint team didn’t want to be breaking any customizations or forcing users in specific teams to deal with new design elements, or for those concerns to hold up any upgrades. They therefore have introduced Visual Upgrade – this allows sites (not site collections) to be upgraded one at a time.

However if my site using the 2010features is using the same master page, or page layout as a site that uses the 2007 features, how will that work? That’s where this control comes into play. The control simply contains a ContentTemplate control, which in turn contains the markup to be used. It also possesses an attribute, “UIVersion” which is set to either 3 or 4. These numbers correspond to the old WSS versioning system (WSS 3, SharePoint Foundation 4) and will use the contained markup if the version of the site matches the attribute.

You’ll normally see these controls in pairs, giving an either/or type capability,but there’s no need to restrict them to this.

It’s actually a pretty slick system,but it does add a lot of text to the page layouts. One annoying thing is that all of the V3 supporting code is there even if it’s a brand new install of 2010. This makes sense, because you can introduce a V3 content database into the mix at any time, and you never know when you might need the support. However, if you know that the master pages and page layouts you’ll be working with will only be used in by V4 content, you can feel free to go ahead and remove the V3 tags. Before you do though, make sure that you’re not editing the system default masters/layouts. Always create new ones and do your customization there.

I’ve not seen any other values for the attribute besides 3 and 4 – these are processed by the server accordingly. I’m intrigued by the development possibilities though. Ideally, this could support an environment where I can register a “version” that my site could select to use. This would be much cleaner than keeping multiple master pages for variations in branding, or to support micro sites. This also might be a better model in the WCM world for multi lingual support. I have no idea if that’s the plan, but to me it would make sense.

2 thoughts on “SharePoint 2010 Page Layouts – What’s this UIVersionedContent all about?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.