I'd like to be able to use an existing SharePoint site/page to be able to display simple documents, announcements, etc.

But instead of using the Wiki or blog engine native to SharePoint and it's WYSIWYG editor, I'd rather store the format in Markdown-formatted text files and then have the site convert the Markdown to HTML and then render it using a CSS that I define.

I'd like to host the text files and CSS outside of the SharePoint environment, like on a file share.

For those wondering why I'm looking for this type of a solution.

  • I want to work in plain text so that the content is easily portable out of SharePoint
  • I want to use Markdown because I do want the end product to have rich text formatting
  • I want to point to a custom CSS so I can control how things look
  • I want to store the files outside of SharePoint so I can manage them in a version control system like Mercurial and not have to manually upload content to the site.

For your actual question, I don't think there is an easy way with out of the box controls (unless you count iFrames). It would be fairly straightforward to implement a basic viewer webpart that pulls files from the filesystem and does the Markdown/css formating, but you would have to think carefully about things like navigation, cross-linking, search, sitemaps, backup/restore/recovery and how you address page security on external content.

Basically, you would be bypassing most of SharePoint, so why not then use a plain old IIS site for your pages? I strongly believe you should reconsider your options.

  • Content IS easily portable out of SharePoint, using at least the following methods: (SP2010) : Javascript, Powershell, Client OM (SP2007/2010) : server OM and web services. Do not confuse complexity of data storage with complexity of accessing said data.
  • You can already attach CSS to any SharePoint page
  • SharePoint has full versioning capabilities. You only have to manually upload data to your site because you are trying to circumvent native storage and content management.

Now, you could still argue that SharePoint's markup capabilities are abysmal, and you won't find many to disagree. But you could just wrap a Markdown-capable WYSIWYG editor into a web control, store the raw content into regular WikiFields, and get the best of both worlds with not that much more effort.

See for example https://stackoverflow.com/questions/5320922/how-to-use-asp-net-mvc-3-and-stackoverflows-markdown

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