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SharePoint Cross Site Collection Common Top Navigation

A recent requirement was called for a SharePoint solution that would allow for cross site collection navigation in large farms.

The main issue was the administration of the navigation as there were 20+ site collections meaning that they all had to be changed one by one. This raised a few issues, time, effort required and consistency.

The farm used a common master page though-out, but they wanted a number of site collections to use the out of the box navigation and then others to use the common navigation.
The solution we came up with was to utilise the ASP.Net site map provider with the SharePoint navigation control within the master page. This solved the problem of having multiple places to edit, but raised a few new ones. As the navigation would not change often this was not a big problem, but it was the ability to change the navigation. Every time you would want to change the navigation then a solution upgrade would have to be performed.

The following is how to implement this as a Visual studio solution:

1. Create a copy of your existing masterpage and add it to the project.

2. Create Assets folder then a folder called Masterpages add the masterpage here.

3. On the Master Page find the following control.

<asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderTopNavBar" runat="server">

         <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderHorizontalNav" runat="server">

                 <SharePoint:AspMenu

                          ID="TopNavigationMenuV4"

                          Runat="server"

                          EnableViewState="false"

                          DataSourceID="topSiteMap"

                          AccessKey="<%$Resources:wss,navigation_accesskey%>"

                          UseSimpleRendering="true"

                          UseSeparateCss="false"

                          Orientation="Horizontal"

                          StaticDisplayLevels="2"

                          MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels="2"

                          SkipLinkText=""

                          CssClass="s4-tn"/>

                  <SharePoint:DelegateControl runat="server" ControlId="TopNavigationDataSource" Id="topNavigationDelegate">

                          <Template_Controls>

                                   <asp:SiteMapDataSource

                                            ShowStartingNode="False"

                                            SiteMapProvider="SPNavigationProvider"

                                            id="topSiteMap"

                                            runat="server"

                                            StartingNodeUrl="sid:1002"/>

                          </Template_Controls>

                 </SharePoint:DelegateControl>

         </asp:ContentPlaceHolder>

</asp:ContentPlaceHolder> 

4. Replace the above code with this:

            <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderTopNavBar" runat="server">
            
                        
            <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderHorizontalNav" runat="server">
            
                                
            <SharePoint:AspMenu
            
                                         
            ID="TopNavigationMenuV4"
            
                                         
            Runat="server"
            
                                         
            EnableViewState="false"
            
                                         
            DataSourceID="topSiteMap"
            
                                         
            AccessKey="<%$Resources:wss,navigation_accesskey%>"
            
                                         
            UseSimpleRendering="true"
            
                                         
            UseSeparateCss="false"
            
                                         
            Orientation="Horizontal"
            
                                         
            StaticDisplayLevels="2"
            
                                         
            MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels="4"
            
                                         
            SkipLinkText=""
            
                                         
            CssClass="s4-tn"/>
            
                                
            <SharePoint:DelegateControl runat="server" ControlId="TopNavigationDataSource1">
            
                                         
            <Template_Controls>
            
                                                  
            <asp:SiteMapDataSource
            
                                                           
            ShowStartingNode="True"
            
                                                           
            SiteMapProvider="CustomTopNavProvider"
            
                                                           
            id="topSiteMap"
            
                                                           
            runat="server" 
            />
            
                                         
            </Template_Controls>
            
                                
            </SharePoint:DelegateControl>
            
                        
            </asp:ContentPlaceHolder>
            </asp:ContentPlaceHolder> 

5. Note that the provider has changed to the customTopNavProvider, configuring the ASPMenu control also allows you to have more control over the Navigation.

6. Save the file and add the following to the Elements.xml of the feature so that the master page is referenced:

            
               <Module Name="Masterpage and Page Layouts" List="116" Url="_catalogs/masterpage" >
    <File Type="GhostableInLibrary" 
Path="Assets\Masterpages\citricCommonNav.master" 
Url="citricCommonNav.master" />
</Module>

7. Add feature event receiver, on feature activated there is an addition to the Web Config that will reference the site map provider, when deactivated this is then removed.

            public override void FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)
            {   
                SPWebApplication webApp = (SPWebApplication)properties.Feature.Parent;
                webConfigMod(true, webApp);
            }
            public override void FeatureDeactivating(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties)
            {
                SPWebApplication webApp = (SPWebApplication)properties.Feature.Parent;
                webConfigMod(false, webApp);
            }
            private void webConfigMod(bool addOrRemove, SPWebApplication webApp)
            {
                SPWebConfigModification modifyWebConfig = new SPWebConfigModification();
                modifyWebConfig.Path = "configuration/system.web/siteMap/providers";
                modifyWebConfig.Name = "add[@name=\"CustomTopNavProvider\"]";
                modifyWebConfig.Sequence = 0;
                modifyWebConfig.Owner = "add[@name=\"CustomTopNavProvider\"]";
                modifyWebConfig.Type = SPWebConfigModification.SPWebConfigModificationType.EnsureChildNode;
                modifyWebConfig.Value = "<add name=\"CustomTopNavProvider\" 
             siteMapFile=\"/_layouts/1033/Citric/SiteMapProvider/CustomTopNavMenu.sitemap\" 
             type=\"System.Web.XmlSiteMapProvider,System.Web, 
             Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, 
             PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a\"/>";

     if (addOrRemove)

                {
                    webApp.WebConfigModifications.Add(modifyWebConfig);
                }
                else
                {
                    for (int c = webApp.WebConfigModifications.Count - 1; c >= 0; c--)
                    {
                        if (webApp.WebConfigModifications[c].Owner == "add[@name=\"CustomTopNavProvider\"]")
                        {
                            webApp.WebConfigModifications.Remove(webApp.WebConfigModifications[c]);
                        }
                    }
                }
                webApp.Update();
                webApp.Farm.Services.GetValue<SPWebService>().ApplyWebConfigModifications();
            }

8. Add a SharePoint mapped Layouts folder and create the structure as followed.

TEMPLATE  -> LAYOUTS -> 1033 -> CITRIC -> SiteMapProvider

9. Add a new sitemap document to the SiteMapProvider folder.

10. The base document should look something like this:

            
               <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
            
               <siteMap xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/AspNet/SiteMap-File-1.0" >
            
                 <siteMapNode url="/" title="Citric" description="">
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Home" title="Home" description="" />
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Services" title="Services" description="" >
            
                     <siteMapNode url="/Consultancy" title="Consultancy" description="" />
            
                     <siteMapNode url="/Development" title="Development" description="" />
            
                     <siteMapNode url="/Hosting" title="Hosting" description="" />
            
                     <siteMapNode url="/Support" title="Support" description="" >
            
                       <siteMapNode url="/SubSupport" title="SubSupport" description="" />
            
                     </siteMapNode>
            
                   </siteMapNode>
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Solutions" title="Solutions" description="" />
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Case Studies" title="Case Studies" description="" />
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Citric Blog" title="Citric Blog" description="" />
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/Clients" title="Clients" description="" />
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/About" title="My Business" description="">
            
                   </siteMapNode>
            
                   <siteMapNode url="/search" title="Search" description="" />
            
                 </siteMapNode>
            
               </siteMap>

11. Once all packaged up as a solution, all that is required is to select the common masterpage (edited and deployed above) and your common navigation feature activated.

About the author

Fuse

Fuse is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, based in Northampton. We help organisations of all sizes to maximise IT efficiencies through the use of Microsoft cloud computing solutions.

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