Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sharepoint Utilities List

Via JOPX, a nice list of Sharepoint tools and utilities (some free, some not), including a few I've never heard of (is that really possible?).

I would definitely add Knowledgelake and Advis to this list (SiteNavigator users should check Advis' site for the v2 release in a week or so).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

SPS Anonymous Authentication and Sign-In Button

If you've been having difficulties configuring Sharepoint for anonymous users, welcome to the club. Let's face it - good as it is, SPS was just not designed for extranet environments which require anonymous access. That being said, there is a way to work around this restriction - if you're willing to make a few trade-offs.

The first stumbling block is deceptively complex - giving autenticated users the ability to login and administrators access to administrative functions. The Sharepoint Administrators Guide suggests using separate virtual directories - one for anonymous users and another for everyone else. Am I the only one that thinks this is completely ridiculous? How are we supposed to administer the anonymous site, add content, manage lists, etc. without the ability to login? And why on earth would we want to maintain two sets of separate content? Nonsense, if you ask me.

There should be a button in SPS that permits authenticated users to login, just like there is in WSS. In fact, after many hours of trying every other possible method (including writing my own web parts, which is NEVER a good idea - I shouldn't even be allowed to install Visual Studio on my machine), WSS provided the answer. Although I couldn't find any evidence of this actually being supported by Microsoft (big disclaimer implied), I simply copied the code from the STS site template into my SPS template pages - VOILA! Instant 'Sign-In' button.

If you don't want to go digging around in template files for it (which, I'll admit, you probably should avoid), here's the code:

WebPartPages:AuthenticationButton runat="server"

[Remember to insert opening and closing tags - my HTML editor won't let me paste them in]

There are a few caveats to this approach:

1) It won't prevent the "My Site", "Site Settings", and "Help" links from being displayed, even though anonymous users can't actually get anywhere by clicking on them. If you don't mind remembering a few URL's, you can remove the SPSWC:PageHeader web part entirely.

Tip: The Site Settings link is /_layouts/1033/default.aspx">http:///_layouts/1033/default.aspx

2) The 'Action' links don't immediately show up when you login. You'll need to view the page in edit mode using the following URL: /default.aspx?mode=edit&pageview=shared">http:///default.aspx?mode=edit&pageview=shared.

3) There is no corresponding 'Sign-Out' button.

I'm sure there are other limitations to this approach, I just haven't found them yet. Post a comment if you find any others.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sharepoint Blog Links

Here's a great post summarizing current Sharepoint blogs. Hmmm...The SharingPoint isn't on there...was it something I said? :-)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Forms Pages and Web Parts

After struggling with the strange behavior of Forms pages (viewlist, allitems, etc.) when adding web parts, I came across this post, in which Microsoft is essentially telling us to leave well enough alone:


If you decide to modify these pages anyway, which I will most surely do as this functionality should have been included to begin with, the best tip I can provide is not to remove the list web part from the default web part zone. Instead, simply close the part, add a new zone and place your web parts in the new zone. Be aware that this is officially unsupported so tech support won't be able to help you out if you do this.

If anybody out there is listening, how about posting some comments on features that Microsoft should be addressing in v.next? We'll pass those on and see if we get any traction.

Here are a few of my pet peeves:

* Adding web parts to forms pages (obviously)
* Nested document libraries with per-folder and per-item permissions
* Restoration of the workflow from SPS2001 (I mean, c'mon, can we please move up in versions without losing functionality?)
* Doc library permissions in SPS the same as WSS
* Removal of the WSS/SPS barrier
* Integrated recycle bin and explorer treeview for doc libraries

Any other ideas?

UPDATE: Patrick Tisseghem points out an even easier way to add web parts to list pages. Just append ?ToolPaneView=2 to the list URL. Doesn't get much easier than that!

Sharepoint Search

We all know that Sharepoint search, based as it is on FreeText, can be confusing for the uninitiated or Boolean-obsessed (the latter group includes me, I must admit). Here's a great post from Fitz about Search questions during TechEd and the Ontolica product. Worth looking into if you want to replace the default search with something more user (and boolean) friendly.