Portal Site Connections in SharePoint 2010

To set up a link that shows up on all sites in all site collections so that users can get back to a “main” site collection, either:

  • Set up the “Portal Site Connection” property for the collection, which adds a link to the specified portal site for all sites in the current site collection.
  • Manually set up a link in the left nav (quick launch) to get back to the root site collection
  • Manually set up links in either the top nav to get back to the root
  • Use a delegate control to add the link to the breadcrumb

Portal Site Connection

Why am I even bothering to mention other possibilities? OOB, SharePoint provides a portal site connection specifically for this purpose. Not familiar with it? Just go to site actions –> site settings –> Portal Site Connection and type in the URL and display name of your “main” site collection. What could be easier? Here’s a screenshot of a site without the portal site connection configured:

And, here is that same site with the Portal Site Configured:

See the link to the “main” site collection? It’s a link with display text of “Company Home”. No? Well, it doesn’t display yet, the user has to click on the folder icon to the right of site actions:

And this is the problem with the Portal Site Connection property; 98% of users don’t know that it exists without explicitly being shown to them. Not that this is always bad, if your site collections should be treated as distinct units, then perhaps this will work out great for you. But, if you want navigation to be seamless as they navigate from site collection to site collection, more needs to be done.

Quicklaunch

One option is to manually add a link to the “main” site collection to the quick launch of each site. This option is the simplest: it works, it’s easy to configure. It only has a few potential downsides:

  • The quick launch normally holds things that are relevant to the current site; the left nav normally changes as a user goes from site to site. Having most of the links be dynamic and one at the top be the “static” link back to the root site collection may be a bit confusing.
  • This would have to be set up on every site and subsite every time a site was created.

Top Links

Same idea as the quicklaunch: manually set up an item on the top nav for each and every site. But, this has an additional complication. The top nav will automatically make the first tab a link to the home page of the current site / site collection. If you add a tab for the “main” site collection, it won’t be on the left by default, providing and awkward navigation scheme:

And, there is no OOB method for hiding the first tab, though you could do it with CSS. The following works on a publishing site (but not for a non-publishing site):

.topmenudiv li.static > .menu-item,.topmenudiv li.static > .selected { display: none;} .topmenudiv li.static li.static > .menu-item,.topmenudiv li.static li.static > .selected { display: inline-block;}

 

Delegate Control

Another, more advanced option. Create a delegate control that renders a link to the portal site with the appropriate caption, and customize the master to use the delegate control.

SPWeb web = SPContext.Current.Site.RootWeb;
            if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(web.PortalUrl))
            {
                hlPortalLink.Text = web.PortalName;
                hlPortalLink.NavigateUrl = web.PortalUrl;
            }
            else
            {
                //hlPortalLink.Visible = false;
                this.Visible = false;
            }
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