Sharepoint Designer and the loss of Themes

One rude awakening I encountered when upgrading from Frontpage 2003 to Sharepoint Designer 2007 for Doddsnet a few months ago (back when SPD was still in beta) was the “loss of themes. Well, to be fair, it was really a “deemphasis” in themes rather than a loss, since my current site kept working as-is.

But the key change was that I couldn’t (at least not easily) change the themes applied to the page or change the design of the themes. It looks like later in the beta a little more of this control returned, but still, without a doubt, the emphasis is meant to be on CSS instead of these themes. Ok, fair enough… I suppose it’s about time.

That said, it was a bit of a shock. I’d not totally realized how heavily I had been depending on themes in my site design. The overall page styles were fairly easy, since I could just reuse the theme CSS files. The much harder part was having to get rid of the navigation theme elements.

In Frontpage 2003, things like the page banners and active buttons would all magically derive from the site/page theme. The buttons got created simply by setting navigation and then dropping a Frontpage “web component” into the page (or page template).

Removing themes from this picture turned the Frontpage components into plain text links rather than the pretty pictures I’d been used to. Ugly!

I had to scramble to find a way to solve this problem. Someone gave me some tips on how to redirect the navigation bot to use HTML directly rather than using the themes.

I ended up using a nav bot code like this:

<!–webbot bot=”Navigation”
S-Orientation=”horizontal”
S-Rendering=”html”
S-Bar=”Numbered”
S-Btn-Nml=”&lt;a href=&quot;#URL#&quot;&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;/_css/doddsnet-arctic/TopBar#LABEL#.gif&quot; alt=&quot;#LABEL#&quot;&gt;&lt;/a&gt;”
S-Btn-Nml=”&lt;a href=&quot;#URL#&quot;&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;/_css/doddsnet-arctic/TopBar#LABEL#.gif&quot; alt=&quot;#LABEL#&quot;&gt;&lt;/a&gt;”
S-Btn-Sep=”&lt;/li&gt;&lt;li&gt;”
S-Bar-Pfx=”&lt;ul class=&quot;top-navbar&quot;&gt;&lt;li&gt;”
S-Bar-Sfx=”&lt;/li&gt;&lt;/ul&gt;”
S-Type=”global”
B-Include-Home=”TRUE”
B-Include-Up=”FALSE” –>

Wow, it’s a lot more work than the old way, but it’s doable without themes!

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