Friday, September 28, 2007

Anonymous Users – Access Denied

At a client recently we tried to enable Anonymous Access to a WSS site, but unauthenticated users were still being prompted for a username and password. If you cancelled the log-in prompt, you would get an IIS "Access Denied" page. So I ran through the default tests:

  • Web Application created with the "Allow Anonymous" setting enabled – Check
    (by the way, after the Web Application has been created this setting is managed from the Application Management – Authentication Providers section)
  • Site Collection has anonymous access enabled for the entire site – Check
    (Site Settings – Go to top level site settings – Advanced Permissions – Settings – Anonymous Access)

That should have been it. After some tinkering around I discovered the problem was a web part on the home page. This was trying to filter the list of tasks based on the current user. Taking the web part off the page resolved the problem.

If you really need this functionality you will need to develop your own custom web part that will first check if the current user is authenticated before retrieving and filtering the items.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WSS 3.0 Search Capabilities

Greetings from Singapore! I'm here attending a training course on MOSS Administration, but more on that some other time. Right now what I've brought you here to talk about is WSS Search. So it is common knowledge that the search technology has changed between version 2 and version 3. In version 2, WSS used SQL Server full text indexes. Now WSS uses the same underlying engine for indexing content as MOSS.

However, what I feel isn't common knowledge is how this affects the end user experience. When you performed a search in WSS 2.0 you could only get results back from the document libraries and lists in your current sub-site. You don't see results from any sites underneath it. In WSS 3.0 it's a very different story. Not only will you see results from any child subsites, you will also see results from any site collections located underneath the sub-site you are searching! Surprised? I was.

So this means that you can run a search from the very top of your website and it will search the document libraries and lists in all your site collections. The results are still security trimmed. Nice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

User Presence in WSS

You might have noticed the User Presence icons in SharePoint. They have been there since version 2. You will see them appearing beside a user name, like "Modified By" or "Assigned To".

This will work with your instant messaging software to display your availability status to others. For organisations that have Microsoft Office Communicator installed, this works with little or no configuration. You can see when your colleagues are online, and even look up their other contact details, such as their extension.

The User Presence information also works with MSN Messenger. The only hassle with this in WSS v2.0 was that you had to use your MSN Messenger e-mail address in the SharePoint environment. Well, now in WSS 3.0 you get to specify a separate field for your User Presence details. So you can now get your SharePoint alerts submitted to your work account, but have your User Presence information based on your MSN account.

To update your details just go to the top right corner of any page on your SharePoint site and drop down the Welcome ... menu and select My Settings.

You can then edit the SIP Address to be the e-mail address of your MSN Messenger account. Voila – your user presence details should now be available for others to see. Change your status in MSN Messenger and the user presence information updates almost straight away on the SharePoint site.

No? Still can't see your user presence details? You might want to add your WSS site to the Trusted Sites zone in Internet Explorer (Tools – Internet Options – Security)

One final thing – the SIP Address information is stored at the Site Collection level. If your environment has many site collections, then you will have to update each one individually