Wednesday, 6 October 2010

SharePoint Themes - Kitchen Full of Foam

I start this week’s SharePoint blog with a warning to you all; If you run out of dish washer tablets only put washing-up liquid in dishwasher if you have lots of towels at hand.
SharePoint 2010 is certainly proving a popular version of Microsoft fastest ever selling Server Product but it isn’t without its frustrations. One of these frustrations (ok annoyances) that regularly get debated at the Office Talk premises (near Birmingham) is the theme choices. Now Microsoft will argue that you now have unlimited choices of themes you can use as you have the option to change the colour of every individual section of the page. They even fanfare that you can do this with PowerPoint yet I would love to know how many people have actually used PowerPoint to create a theme. It might have helped it Microsoft had actually made the great themes that come with PowerPoint compatible with SharePoint 2010, but they didn’t. So why am I moaning like Victor Meldrew? Is it because I have a kitchen full of thick white soapy foam after my dishwasher mishap or is it because I miss the old-fashioned SharePoint themes of 2007?

In SharePoint 2007 you had ten distinctive themes. Ok they weren’t the best and probably only five were actually useable unless you were colour blind or high on drugs, but they were different. When I created the ten department site templates for SharePoint 2007 (WSS and Server) I was able to Showcase them each in their own individual style. Ranging from the trendy black one ‘Reflector’ which I used for the Project Manager one to the bright green one which I used for Purchasing, everyone was different. Keeping SharePoint simple was always fairly easy because as a SharePoint Consultant it was usually easy to find a theme that closely matched the company’s corporate colour scheme. Then everything changed in 2010. Ok maybe for CSS whizz kids it is possible to quite easily create new and imaginative colour schemes but for most they are just left with fairly drab looking SharePoint sites. As you will see in the other blogs I have written on SharePoint 2010 there are many great enhancements to SharePoint 2010 compared to its older sibling but, why didn’t they either create ten new colourful distinctive themes or just leave us with the old ones?

As I said you can still create great themes if you have the talent and time in SharePoint 2010 but it might be worth looking for companies that specialise in creating SharePoint themes especially if you are using SharePoint for your web site. One that I would recommend having seen many examples of their work is the interestingly named Pink Petrol. Often wonder why owner Sam Dolan chose the name Pink Petrol maybe it was to show that things can be any colour you want them to be. You can find out about Pink Petrol and see some of the examples of the themes Sam has created at SharePoint Village ‘the One-Stop-Shop for SharePoint’. But come on Microsoft please give us back our colourful if old-fashioned themes from2007.

Regular readers might be surprised at the lack of mentions of Aston Villa in this week’s blog well this is because it is an international break this weekend. Now, to tackle the kitchen floor before risking opening the dishwasher door, or should I just moan about Kevin Davies being named in the England squad?

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