In a WSS environment, each and every site is created from a site definition. Therefore, we must first explain what a site definition is and show you how to create and deploy one.
A site definition is the top-level component in WSS that aggregates smaller, more modular definitions to create a complete site template that can be used to provision sites. For example,a site definition usually includes a custom page template for the site’s home page and can additionally reference external features to add support for other types of site-specific elements such as custom lists, secondary pages, and Web Parts.
In WSS, every site is provisioned from a specific site definition. This is true for all top-level sites as well as child sites nested within a site collection. Once a site is provisioned from a particular site definition, it picks up a dependency on that site definition that remains in effect for the lifetime of the site. A site’s dependency on its underlying site definition can never be removed or changed.
Let’s now move on to a discussion of how site definitions are structured and deployed. Similar
to a WSS feature, a site definition is defined with a set of Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML)-based files that are deployed within a named directory on the file system of each front-end Web server in the farm. Site definitions are deployed within the 12\TEMPLATE\SiteTemplates directory and are referenced in the 12\TEMPLATE\
A site definition named STS provides familiar site templates such as Team Site, Blank Site, and Document Workspace. You can always back up a site created from one of these site templates and restore it on another farm because the STS site definition is guaranteed to be pre-installed in any farm running WSS 3.0.
A site definition contains one or more configurations, and these configurations are what appear to users as creatable site templates. Therefore, the STS site definition contains three different configurations: Team Site, Blank Site, and Document Workspace.
Tip When creating a new site by using the STSADM.EXE command-line utility or through custom code, you are often required to reference a site definition and one of its configurations by name. This is done by specifying the name of the site definition followed by the pound sign and the integer identifier of the configuration. For example, you can use STS#0 to reference the site template titled Team Site and STS#1 to reference the site template titled Blank Site. The following example uses one of these site template references when creating a new
top-level site by using the STS command-line utility.
STSADM.EXE -o createsite -url http://litwareinc.com
A site definition named MPS contains five different configurations for the various Meeting Workspace site templates.Two site definitions are named Blog and Wiki, and each contains a single configuration for creating blog sites and wiki sites. Finally, a site definition named CENTRALADMIN provides the site template used to create the top-level site used in the WSS Central Administration Web application.
The Global Site Definition
WSS 3.0 introduces the Global site definition, which provides a common repository for site provision instructions required by every site definition. This new approach significantly improves the structuring of site definitions over the way things were previously structured in Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, in which common provision instructions had to be included as redundant XML in each site definition. The Global site definition refactors more than 2,600 lines of required common components, such as Base Types and required Galleries, which were previously required in the ONET.XML file of every site definition.
The Global site definition is located at the 12\TEMPLATES\GLOBAL path. It contains the standard default.master page template along with instructions to provision an instance of default.master page into the Master Page gallery of every new site. The Global site definition also contains provisioning logic to create the following four site collection–scoped lists in every new top-level site:
■ Web Parts gallery
■ List Template gallery
■ Site Template gallery
■ User Information Profile list