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I'm currently going through the SharePoint Planning and Architecture documentation, planning a SharePoint installation. I'm on the section "Determine Sites and Subsites".

One of the things suggested to take into account for each site is what site template you will base it on. A number of the sites on our site will be existing ASP.NET applications that we're embedding into the new SharePoint portal -- I'm wondering in this case, is the thing to do to base the site on the "Blank" template?

It seems like the obvious option, but I'm not entirely sure of the best procedures to follow when embedding an existing application.

EDIT: just to provide more information, one of the embedded applications would be, for example, our own custom-built issue tracking/support system that we've used for a while. I would simply envisage us having a link on either our global navigation, or the current navigation (the vetical menu on the left..), which when clicked upon brings up the issue tracker application within the same master page/branding layout that everything else on the SharePoint site is displayed within.

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It really depends on what you mean by "embedding" the existing applications. SharePoint uses specific page templates (master pages) so one of the first decisions would be:

  • Are we embedding the sites purely in a navigation sense? (It might be fairly simple to achieve this, since custom navigation links can be added to a site. Going further, you can write custom navigation providers since SharePoint uses the ASP.Net navigation provider model).
  • Are we embedding the sites down at the page/template level? (This would likely be more involved, since a higher degree of code integration would be required).

Since the site templates provide a different set of site 'tools' (e.g. calendars, document libraries etc.), if you want some of these it will probably be a question of working out what type of site/set of tools should also exist in the sites. If you don't want any of the SharePoint site 'tools' to be mixed into your application sites, then the blank site template would probably be the best choice.

Does that help?

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I would like the sites to exist within the same master page layout as everything else (i.e. so they share the same banner, menus, footer etc as the other sites.) Is this what you mean by embedding the sites purely in a navigation sense? I wouldn't want any document libraries etc to be specifically associated with the embedded applications, however document libraries will also exist somewhere in our SharePoint portal but for unrelated purposes to the embedded applications! Thanks for the pointers -- apologies for my confused explanations, I'm very new to SharePoint! –  ngm May 25 '10 at 11:36
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I would go with the blank site. By doing this you can focus on the integration and design components for your application. If you base the template off the team site for example you than might get the user curious on doc libraries, announcements, custom lists etc. and they will want to go further with the design of the site.

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