I have to say that the 2007 to 2010 upgrade path for WCM sites looks very promising. During this session Andrew Connell demoed upgrading a site with fairly complex branding. He did so by using PowerShell to mount a copy of a SharePoint 2007 content database (the 2010 PowerShell equivalent of the stsadm addcontentdb command).  The upgrade went through without a single hick-up… I don’t know that we’ll all be so lucky; although I am feeling pretty good about it.

Everything came across with the 2007 look and feel; I’ve already mentioned this capability in a number of previous posts; what may not have been so clear is that even the site admin pages look like they did in 2007… Almost feels like you are running 2007 and 2010 side by side; which BTW will not be supported; but if this works as smoothly as it did in the demo… who really cares (OK, maybe I’m being to optimistic)

Next comes the Visual Upgrade, this is the part that can get tricky as it changes the master pages which is where your most of your branding likely resides. Performing the Visual Upgrade is easy enough; there is a link in the site settings page. After the Visual Upgrade, some pages may break, most likely because of references on the page layout to Placeholder Controls that are not included in the 2010 master pages. However, you can easily change the master page back to the one you where using in your 2007 site, which still shows up in the list of available master pages. Now your content should look as it did in 2007 and your system pages should include all the goodness of 2010.

But the old master page doesn’t have a ribbon or a developer dashboard. Where is all the 2010 goodness for my users and developers? There will probably be more than one approach to do this, but the following steps should more or less help you get these on the page.

Master Pages

  • Create a new blank master page in SharePoint Designer
  • Copy the code from the 2007 master page over
  • Remove the Site Actions Menu
  • Remove Console (Page Editing Toolbar)
  • Add a ScriptLink to include certain JavaScript files used by the ribbon… (I cant tell you exactly what they are yet) but I know you can copy them from the v4 master page
  • Copy the v4 ribbon DIV into new master page from default 2010 master page
  • The ribbon has a couple of other dependencies(declarations) that you’ll need to copy of over.
    • These should be easy to identify from the error messages. Look for and copy them over from the 2010 master page.
  • Copy the dev dashboard tags from the v4 master page

If you need to add new metadata properties to the pages, it “should be” as simple as opening the page layout in SharePoint Designer and dragging and dropping the field controls on the page. There still appear to be a couple of quirks with this process, at least there was with the demo, but I’m confident they will be worked out soon enough.

He also talked about, and demoed, some improvements to the Content Query Web Part which again look fantastic. Most notable, we no longer need to specify CommonViewFields and the Web Part Editor Tool Pane displays an enumeration of the available fields in the template.

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