UPDATE

Don’t use the Sharepoint Solution Generator, so far we have not been able to upgrade the site definitions through a solution without it killing existing sites based on the site definition.


I have seen many different ways of doing this, but I found the following method seemed to work for me, using the “SharePoint Extensions for Visual Studio 2005” and the “SharePoint Solutions Generator

  • Use the “SharePoint Solution Generator” to create a site definition project.
  • Open the project and add your custom master page to the “Site Definition” folder

  • Open up “onet.xml”
  • Add the following node to the “ListTemplates” section
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<ListTemplate 
Name=”mplib”
DisplayName=”$Resources:MasterPageGallery;”
Description=”$Resources:global_onet_mplib_desc;”
SetupPath=”global\lists\mplib”
Type=”116”
BaseType=”1”
Path=”GLOBAL”
Hidden=”TRUE”
HiddenList=”TRUE”
NoCrawl=”TRUE”
Unique=”TRUE”
Catalog=”TRUE”
OnQuickLaunch=”FALSE”
SecurityBits=”11”
AllowDeletion=”FALSE”
AllowEveryoneViewItems=”TRUE”
Image=”/_layouts/images/itdl.gif”
AlwaysIncludeContent=”TRUE”
DocumentTemplate=”100”
/>
  • Add the “MasterUrl” attribute to the “Configuration” node with a value of “_catalogs/masterpage/project.master”, where project.master is the name of your custom master page. This means all the pages using the “~masterurl/default.master” token will use the URL defined to point to your custom master page
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<Configuration 
ID=”0”
Name=”Default”
MasterUrl=”_catalogs/masterpage/project.master“
>
  • Add a “Module” node to the Modules section of the configuration called “MasterPage” that will reference the module definition in the “Modules” section of the onet file
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<Module Name=”MasterPage” />
  • Add a module definition to the “Modules” section of the onet file. This will copy the custom master page file into the master page library when the site is provisioned.
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<Module 
Name=”MasterPage”
List=”116”
Url=”_catalogs/masterpage”
RootWebOnly=”FALSE“>
<File
Url=”project.master”
Type=”GhostableInLibrary”
IgnoreIfAlreadyExists=”TRUE”
/>
</Module>
  • Save the onet file and then deploy the project into your environment using the deploy option in “SharePoint Extensions for VS 2005”
  • When you create a new site from your site definition it should now use your new master page.

Below is a screen grab of the onet.xml file with all the changes highlighted