SharePoint 2010: A vision - Part 1: A Ribbon for the future   

Tags: SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 Ribbon Example

SharePoint 2010 has been a huge leap forward not just in terms of functionality but in terms of user interface design and ease of use.

Having been involved in numerous intranet, extranet and website projects over the past 18 months I would like to share what I think could be a ‘future vision’ that would not only make my life and others as SharePoint developers easier, but also ensure it truly is the go to product for enterprise and web content management.

This first blog presents my vision for the SharePoint 2010 ribbon interface.

A Ribbon of the Future

We have already seen from a previous blog (Using the ribbon in SharePoint 2010) how effective the ribbon interface is in SharePoint 2010, however, when developing sites, there are a few points that could be improved further.

1. Hide the Ribbon

A website is primarily designed to be consumed at first by public users, in other words, an anonymous user. Whilst it is very easy to enable anonymous access to SharePoint 2010 sites, the ribbon itself does not disappear as easily.

Currently, custom coding using CSS and security trimmed controls in the master page manage the hiding of the ribbon on our website projects.

What I would love to see would be a site collection settings option that simply enabled or disabled the ribbon for anonymous users.

2. Ribbon Positioning

Again, to do with the ribbon; currently the ribbon is fixed at the top of the screen and a scroll bar appears underneath this with which the rest of the site can be scrolled.

However, this default SharePoint 2010 functionality is overriding the browser’s default scrolling function of applying the scroll bar to the body of the page.

This isn’t so much of an issue on an intranet project where the ribbon is likely to stay. However, on a website project where anonymous use will be needed and the ribbon hidden, this causes issues. SharePoint 2010 uses the ribbon to dynamically work out how much browser space is left in which to apply the new scroll bar. Without the ribbon additional CSS has to be added to ensure there is appropriate scrolling behaviour not only on the anonymous site.

I’d love to see the ribbon positioned in the future using CSS rather than JavaScript as overriding default browser behaviour is not ideal.

3. Ribbon Icons

The ribbon interface provides an extremely familiar “Office” like experience that users of Office 2007 and Office 2010 are used to and new users find instantly approachable.

Contextual icons within the ribbon are enabled and disabled (greyed out) based on security permissions of the current user. However, in Office 2010, it is possible to easily customise the ribbon from the options menu.

I would like to see a similar set of options available through the site settings that allows site administrators quick access to add, edit or remove ribbon icons and features without any coding input from a developer.

I’d be very interested to hear any thoughts on the above and additional ideas people have on the future of the ribbon. Come back soon for part two of my SharePoint 2010 vision for the future.

Posted by  Andrew  on  13/12/2011
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Author Bio


Andrew is a lead SharePoint designer and senior consultant aiming to deliver great looking sites backed by the power of SharePoint.

A previous client of Core, Andrew brings valuable experience from both a development and client facing perspective. He can be found doing presentations, workshops, project planning and custom development work on all SharePoint products.

A keen golfer and traveller, whose aim is to one day, have visited all continents on Earth (currently only Antarctica remains!) whilst getting his camera out and geography geek hat on.

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