application.master in SharePoint 2010 – Best New Ever!

During the launch of… Sorry, strike that… During Steve Ballmer’s promise to launch the beta of SharePoint 2010, on November 18 if you believe the now removed statements from Microsoft in Germany, I made a serious error in code reading. I looked at the reflected code for the handling of master pages in SharePoint 2010 beta, and messed up the logic stating which application master should be used.

Now, the deal with application.master in pre-SharePoint 2010 is dreadful. In short, there is no supported way of customizing the application.master page, used in every page under the _layouts virtual folder. I’m not going to go into the details here, but designers have torn out massive amount of hair from their heads, trying to work around the issue, in a supportable manner.

Note: Yes, I know you have two supported options, but they are so lame that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits by an order of magnitude.

So, when I read the code I was first really happy, since it appeared that Microsoft had listened and made it possible to use a custom application.master. Then, and this is where I made my serious error, I saw that they only allowed you to select whether to use the V3 version or the V4 version of the default application.master.

I vented my frustration on Twitter, and lo and behold, an angel appeared, in the shape of Elisabeth Olson (@ElisOl) who informed me that I read wrong and that SharePoint 2010 does indeed use the site master page for the application pages as well.

Oh, boy, I have never been more happy to be wrong in my life. Finally, we can get rid of the default application.master while ensuring that we won’t be mocked if we ever need to call Microsoft for support.


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SharePoint 2010 System Requirements: Out of This World

Of course, you’re hanging around the TechNet and MSDN web sites as I do, so this may not come as a surprise, but the hardware and software requirements for SharePoint Server 2010 are now out.

The surprise, or rather not, is the massive amount of hardware required to run SharePoint Server 2010 in a production environment. You may recall that the minimum amount of RAM required to run MOSS, according to Microsoft, was 1 GB. After a couple of years, everyone knew that the comfortable limit for a production server was 4 GB of RAM, even though you might make do with less for smaller installations.

Listen to this: The minimum requirement for SharePoint Server 2010 is 8 GB of RAM. I’m not joking. That’s the minimum, according to Microsoft.

If you extrapolate those numbers, and remember that a comfortable amount of RAM for a server with MOSS is four times the minimum, that means SharePoint Server 2010 will require 32 gigabytes of RAM for a comfortable setup.

Go ahead and scale that up. You may want to run four front-end servers and an application server for a medium size farm setup. That means you need 160 GB of RAM. I don’t even have that large a hard drive on my laptop.

Oh, and you can make do with 80 GB of hard disk. And, for some perverted reason, you need a DVD drive.

The big question, however, is: Is it worth it?

To answer that, let me quote the infamous movie Carry on Again Doctor: Oh, yes, I know it is.

Of course, you may wonder if Microsoft has purchased a RAM manufacturer lately, or if they’re really that desperate to get people into the cloud. Anyway, to help prepare, I’ve set a new start page in my browser:

Here is the official TechNet documentation.


PS: I hope to come back to this page in ten years and think: 160 GB of ram? So what, I got that in my toilet paper holder. However, at this time of writing, 24 GB of ram, in a 3×8 GB kit, costs $2,306.86 at Amazon.

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