What are Master Pages and why would you use them?

One concept we tend to see alot in the new version of SharePoint ( MOSS2007 ) are Master Pages.

Most of you probably already know what a master page is, but for those of you who don’t I will try to give an explanation here.

A Master Page is a file with the extension *.master which basically is a template for a coherent layout throughout your site. Basically it standardizes your webpage layout. The best thing with the master page is that if you change in the .master file, all files based on the masterpage will also change appearance. Easy as that.

You define content placeholders on your master page and fill those placeholders with other pages that uses your masterpage as a masterpage declaratively like this:

<%@ Page Language="C#" MasterPageFile="~/YourMasterFile.master" … … %>

Listed here are some of the benefits of using masterpages:

  • Defines a portion/part of a page separately and reuse it
  • Create a locked-in layout that defines editable regions
  • Can allow customization of the elements you reuse on each page
  • Binds a page to a page-template either at runtime or at declaration
  • Ability to designe a page that uses a page template with Visual Studio (or other tools)

Hopefully this contributed to an understanding on what the general concept of a masterpage is all about.

Coming soon is a post on how to implement your own masterpage in MOSS2007

Please leave a comment if this was helpful, or if I should improve something.

About Tobias Zimmergren

Hi, I'm Tobias. I plan, architect and develop software and distributed cloud services. Nice to meet you!