10 Best Intranets of 2009 : half of the winning intranets used SharePoint

From the words of Jakob Nielsen's: Intranets are getting more strategic, with increased collaboration support. Team size is growing by 12% per year, and platforms are becoming integrated, with a strong showing for SharePoint. Improving usability increased use by 106% on average.

The winners of the award for 10 best-designed intranets for 2009 are:
  • Altran, a large engineering and innovation consultancy (France)
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a developer of computer and graphics processors (USA)
  • BASF SE, the world's leading chemical manufacturing company (Germany)
  • COWI Group A/S, a consulting group focusing on engineering, environmental science, and economics (Denmark)
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT), a global professional services network providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services (a Global member organization)
  • Environmental Resource Management (ERM), one of the world's leading providers of environmental consulting services (Global)
  • HSBC Bank Brazil (Brazil)
  • Kaupthing Bank (Iceland)
  • L.L.Bean, a vendor of apparel and outdoor equipment (USA)
  • McKesson Corporation, a large provider of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and health care information technologies (USA)
In total, the 10 winners were built on 26 different products — substantially fewer than the 41 used in 2008 or the 49 used in 2007. Most impressively, fully half of the winning intranets used SharePoint, especially the recent MOSS platform (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007). As the following chart shows, SharePoint use has grown dramatically in recent years. This is particularly impressive given that, from 2003–2006, the winning intranets didn't use earlier versions of SharePoint at all.

Increasing use of Microsoft SharePoint among award-winning intranets from 2003 to 2009
Microsoft SharePoint has seen substantially increased use among well-designed intranets in recent years.
(In 2007, Microsoft's own intranet was a winner, and they obviously used their own software, so the 2007 dot should be a notch lower if you consider only third-party projects.)

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Using the ExecuteUrl element in ONET.XML

There's a little-known child element of the <Configuration> element in ONET.XML called "ExecuteUrl". This URL is called once a site is created.
The ExecuteUrl element is used in an ONET.XML file to specify the URL that is called following instantiation of the site definition. This can be used if you need to do something programmatically to the site when it is created.

For example :
1).Create a LookUp field in a list, this can not de done in the Site Definition and will have to be done manually or programmatically after the site is created.
2).Change the theme programmatically.

Using the ExecuteUrl element
The ExecuteUrl parameter is located in the Configuration section in ONET.xml file. From the above given examples I a demonstrating example number 2. i.e Change the theme programatically.
Step 1: Specify the ExecuteUrl parameter in the ONET.xml file. Within this element add an attribue called “Url” that defines the URL that is called following instantiation of the site definition.
example : Here is what my element looks like (more or less). The ExecuteUrl element is in red.

'<'Configuration ID="1" Name="DemoSite"'>'
'<'List Title="Shared Documents" Url="Shared Documents" QuickLaunchUrl="Shared Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx" Type="101"/'>'
'<'Module Name="DemoModule"/'>'
'<'Module Name="WebPartPopulation"/'>'
'<'ExecuteUrl Url="_layouts/DemoSite/DemoPage.aspx?QueryParam=theme"/'>'

Step 2: This will usually point to an ASPX page but if the page is blank and you call code in the Page_Load event then you can perform the processing you need. Just remember to redirect back to the home page of your site when you are finished.

SPWeb thisWeb = SPControl.GetContextWeb(Context);
///Place your code here
Response.Redirect (thisWeb.Url);

Note : The ExecuteUrl element only works for Team Site Templates. It only works for Meeting Workspace and Document Workspace templates when the sites are created from the Create function in Sharepoint. The ExecuteUrl element is also ignored if a Meeting Workspace is created from Microsoft Outlook 2003.