12.4. Creating Site Definitions
Up to now, all sites and subsites you have created are based on the same type of site; the only difference between them is the site template used when you created the site. With SharePoint 2007, you can use Master Pages for customizing the look and feel of the site, and there is seldom a need to change the actual code that is the base definition of a site. This was not the case in SharePoint 2003; almost all changes, besides the modifications you could do with just a web client, required that you customize the site definition files. Still today there may be a need to create a customized site definition with, for example, a specific set of list settings, layout, and color. One way of doing these customizations is to use SharePoint Designer, but by doing so, you will "unghost" the site. This requires some explanation: When you create a WSS site, all its content is stored in content database in your SQL server, but the code that rules how the site looks and how it behaves is stored in the file system of the SharePoint server, or to be more specific in this folder:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\SiteTemplates\sts
So if you have 100 WSS sites, all of them will use the files in this "sts" folder, but they will display different content. These are known as "ghosted" sites, that is, they look like they are a part of the content database, along with the actual site content, but they are not. If you modify ...