Application pages are now branded by default in SharePoint 2010. WOOHOO!!!
The DynamicMasterPageFile attribute in SharePoint 2010 master pages allows application pages start using the site’s master page instead of the application master page. If you want backwards compatibility with SharePoint 2007, i.e. you want unbranded application pages, here is what you can do,
a) You can change the MasterPageReferenceEnabled property to false in your SPWebApplication object, or
b) Go to central administration\application management\manage web application\select your web app … go to the ribbon, look for general settings\general settings, and detach application pages from the site’s master page.
I don’t see why you’d ever wanna do that, but hey if you want to .. go for it.
This article was first published on blah.winsmarts.com. Stealing content is not cool.
Safeguarded application pages
Now for the fine print, there is something called as “Safeguarded application pages” in SP2010. These are pages, that IF IN CASE your custom master page screws up, they will automatically revert to use a master page that is guaranteed to work in the _layouts folder. Now that’s nice! That means, if you screw up, you always have a way to fix things. How nice! Here is a list of such safe guarded application pages -