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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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

2 thoughts on “application.master in SharePoint 2010 – Best New Ever!”

  1. Hi,

    I have created a custom master page and selected it for site as well as system master page.It worked fine till I noticed that creating a column in custom list gives me an error.
    'undefined'is null or not an object.
    url – http://moss:5569/_layouts/fldNew.aspx

    When I change the master page to default.master I can add the column.
    Can you tell what the problem is.

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