Adding Links to Central Administration

This is part 1 of a series regarding my recent CodePlex addition SharePoint 2010 Site Styles. I’ve decided to blog on 4 of the concepts that I used in creating the add-on. These are topics that have been blogged about before but hopefully relating to a real working code base will provide some additional value.

The goal is to get some new links to appear within Central Administration. The finished product looks like this:

This solution uses feature activation (no code required) to make this happen. Let’s dive in.

The Feature XML

Your feature XML will look something like this (Here’s the actual code from SharePoint Site Styles:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Elements xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/">
 
  <CustomActionGroup
    Id="SiteStyleSettings"
    Title="Site Style"
    Location="Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Applications"
    Sequence="350"
    ImageUrl="_layouts/images/centraladmin_generalapplicationsettings_contentdeployment_32x32.png"/>
 
  <CustomAction
    Id="ManageSiteStyles"
    GroupId="SiteStyleSettings"
    Location="Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Applications"
    Sequence="5"
    Title="Manage site styles">
    <UrlAction Url="/Lists/Site Styles/AllItems.aspx"/>
  </CustomAction>
 
</Elements>

Custom Action Group

I’m only covering a few things that I think are important and not covered in the CustomActionGroup MSDN article.

Id Important and needs to be unique so that you can reference your group in your CustomAction later.
Location Identifies where with SharePoint this link will appear. Be sure to read through the full list of locations on MSDN. The main locations for Central Administration are:

  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Applications
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SystemSettings
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Monitoring
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Backups
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.Security
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.UpgradeAndMigration
  • Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.GeneralApplicationSettings

Check out this helpful, visual guide, for the Central Admin locations

Sequence What’s important to note here is that the out of the box links go in increments of 10’s so if you are trying to stick a link between two existing links then try smaller increments. Microsoft installs the out of the box links using the following file “14\TEMPLATE\FEATURES\AdminLinks\Applications.xml”.
ImageUrl This is missing from the MSDN documentation but this is the property you will need to provide if you want a icon next to your group as in my screen shot above. The nice thing about SharePoint 2010 is that a lot of good icons are prefixed with “centraladministration” and located in “14\TEMPLATES\IMAGES”. If you make your own then shoot for a 32×32 image.

Custom Action

Again I’m only covering a few things that I think are important and not covered in the CustomAction MSDN article.

GroupId Should reference the Id in your CustomGroupAction.
Location Same as above.
Sequence Same as above. Still goes in increments of 10.
UrlAction The URL to the actual link. Note: This can include inline JavaScript which can be very helpful in some cases.

Remember… if you want a working version feel free to pull down the SharePoint 2010 Site Styles code base and give it a whirl!

Hope it helped! More in this series coming soon where we will cover how to add links to Site Settings, using the property bag for storage and creating custom page layouts.

I'm a public speaker and the Chief SharePoint Architect for Eastridge, a Microsoft Gold Partner specializing in SharePoint and custom application development in Winston-Salem, NC. I focus on the SharePoint platform with a specialty in Information Architecture, Publishing and Best Practices.

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