Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Publishing Sites vs Communication Sites

It was announced in SharePoint Virtual Summit in May 2017, a more modern way of content publishing is released called Communication Sites. Now you can read all about Communication sites here and here, I am going to focus on the major differences between the daddy (Publishing Sites) and the newborn (Communication Sites) since both are geared towards a similar requirement.....Content Publishing.

When NOT to use Publishing & Communication Sites?
If you have a scenario where few people (generally one or two) are creating content for a larger audience (generally whole organization) then use publishing sites or more recommended communication sites.
If a smaller group is communicating/collaborating among them solves (just like a team would do) then use Team Sites. Do not use Publishing Sites or Communication Sites for such scenarios. Its an over kill. Also between small groups the communication is generally two way.

Publishing Sites vs Communication Sites:

Publishing SitesCommunication Sites
1Not so mobile ready. We have to make use of developers to create master page for mobile and then configure device channels to redirect mobile traffic to different site design.

Mobile ready with responsive design. :o)

2More development work to setup a complete solution as developer's involvement is needed for developing custom Master Pages, writing HTML/CSS, designing Page Layouts with SharePoint Designer.

Developer's involvement is not required for common requirements like responsive UI, Page Layouts with multiple columns, light weight web parts (e.g. Hero web part).

3Not so modern UI even with HTML5. Very SharePoint type look an feel.

Modern UI.

4Publishing a page needs more steps like check-out, , save, check-in, publish.

One step publishing. Just click publishing.

Now that we have learned the major differences between the both site types, here is what we should do in order to choose between them.

We should start designing publishing solutions with Communication sites in mind. It gives many features OOB which have been requested by customer again and again, specially the responsive UI. It is quicker to create content, faster to publish and cleaner to manage Communication sites without any developer's involvement. At this point it does not have features like cross-site publishing, Approval workflow, multi language etc but many(not all) of these features are in pipeline as told in community forum :o).

Note: Publishing Sites are not deprecated at this point.

On the other hand Publishing Site have more functionality at this point and gives you more control over branding as you can introduce your own HTML/CSS and can write custom MasterPages. But this great functionality comes at the cost of custom code and developer's involvement which can result in higher cost for publishing.

Official SharePoint Documentation

I have recently contributed to the official SharePoint documentation for developement. Check it out here: