Accessible Web Content Management Solutions based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a new web development platform of Microsoft. Its rich framework supports both collaboration features and designing, creating and delivering Web Content Management solutions. Many of these are targeted to become Internet-facing portals and websites. With this shift some new challenges appeared among which the accessibility and compliance with web standards of Internet facing WCM solutions based on SharePoint 2007.

Using ~SiteCollection prefix in SharePoint CSS files

Using CSS files is the recommended way for incorporating the chrome in a SharePoint WCM solution. Among the various definitions of the layout pieces there are also images' references. Each such reference can be defined using an absolute of relative URL. As long as you use images in the same directory as the CSS file there is no problem at all: you can manage all the paths easily by simply using one of the URL kinds. Unfortunately a problem occurs when you would like to use images from other directories for example the PublishingImages folder. They should be referenced via relative URLs. Using absolute URLs results in problems when a Site Collection doesn't reside in the root or /sites directory. Also sharing a CSS file among different Site Collections isn't possible while using PublishingImages folder: there is no simple way to make the images' paths be defined dynamically based on the Site Collection calling the CSS file.

Displaying SharePoint Fields in different order than edit fields

Some of our customers like to have the information displayed in a different way than the order of the fields within the Content Types: there is frankly a difference of the information meaning for their customers (visitors) and the Information Workers within the organization. As SharePoint 2007 ships with the in-place edit possibility it’s quite obvious that this is the recommended way to use for managing the data – especially when it comes to Information Workers who not necessarily have to have technical background. Implementing the required fields in the Page Layout seems to be the solution for this problem: both IW and visitors have the idea of the page will look after publishing.