As we know, there’s no direct options to have site metadata with SharePoint. However, I do often get the question on how to do it, the pros/cons of using a central or local list to each site, etc. I posted a solution framework a few months ago, available here, that allowed for simple site metadata management through a Web Part. This is the 4th option outlined in this post.
I’ve been trying out the Balsamiq mock trial tool and ended playing around with it for a presentation on options for site metadata for SharePoint. So here’s what the breakdown is (and you can download the whole thing in a single PNG by clicking on it).
Here’s the breakdown (in my own SharePoint in pictures way!)
Option #1 : Central list
Note that option #1 can pose a security risk by showing list information to users who do not have access to the list.
Option #2 : Custom list in each site
Note: Decent option with limited development if 2010. More difficult with maintain content types with 2007/WSS3.
Option #3 : Using the Publishing features with a Page Layout
Note: Best option for look & feel, limited development required. More difficult with maintain content types with 2007/WSS3.
Option #4 : Custom dev, Web Part with site information on home page
Note: Interesting option for both 2007/2010 for limited data types. It's a simple Web Part that can be added to web pages that will show site metadata. Model can be defined with Features or custom code.
So what would I choose? Option 3’s the most visually interesting if you have SharePoint Server; Option 2’s just about the same but with list items and somewhat more awkward for editing. Option 4’s good for both 2007/2010 environments and allows for updates through simple feature upgrades, but it’s custom and doesn’t support a lot of data types. My personal choice would be #3 if you can, and I’d definitely stay away from option #1 almost all the time.
I’ll detail Option #3 in a follow-up post.