Hopefully a quick post…

My company is currently in the process of trying to document everything that’s currently stored in our heads. Initially we were using our helpdesk/ticketing software but decided, in some instances we would like to give our clients access to the documentation which relates to their organisation.

I use mediawiki for some other information sharing, but from what i’ve read, it isn’t really meant for this type of “role” driven access control and trying to use it in that way will ultimately end in failure. I don’t like “documents” (microsoft word etc) so really wanted to stick with a “wiki” style solution. I recall using Sharepoint on client sites historically and remember it handling this scenario pretty well- as we already have an Office 365 subscription it seemed a sensible avenue to explore.

Initial research had me concerned about the ability to share outside of our organisation (needing to purchase a license for every account that should be able to login)- but subsequently it turns out you can either;

-Create users without actually assigning licenses
-Grant access to anyone using their e-mail address (it will need to be linked to a microsoft account, but there is no charge and many already are)

So we have set our creating the Sharepoint sites and it’s coming together really well, but one thing was bothering me… When we login we are presented with a list of “sites”;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 19.54.57

-“New Public Site”: http://tickett-public.sharepoint.com
-“Public Site”: http://tickett.sharepoint.com
-“Team Site”: http://tickett.sharepoint.com/TeamSite

If you clicked either of the first two links, hopefully you were redirected to http://tickett.net? But this wasn’t easy and I was pretty confused why I had two public URLs/sites and how could I edit them!

The “New Pubic Site” looked like;

new_public

And the “Public Site” like;

old_public

A bit of googling and I found a reasonable explanation of why I have two sites… Microsoft went through an upgrade at some point in time and to avoid breaking Sharepoint sites they kept all of the old ones and created new ones to site alongside.

As I already have a website I decided I don’t really need either of these so ideally would just like to redirect visitors to my existing site for now.

After a lot of poking around I somehow managed to get to the “New Public Site” in “edit mode” and add a little javascript to redirect visitors to our existing stie;

<script>window.location.href="http://tickett.net";</script>

After adding the code I was successfully redirected when I visited the site but anyone not logged in was not. So… armed with a handful of questions I decided it was time to raise a support ticket. Very quickly the phone ran and a technician was on the case;

#1- How do I edit the “New Public Site”

It didn’t take many minutes before I was informed that simply adding /_layouts/viewlsts.aspx after to the URL would take me to the “admin area” where I could manage the site. Easy… but surely there must be an easier way than typing the URL?

If you refer back to my earlier screenshot you’ll notice a “manage” link. Clicking this allows you to modify the links to the “New Public Site”, “Public Site” and “TeamSite”. Adding the suffix to the URL made sense so now when I login clicking on the site will take me to “edit mode” rather than “view”;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.00.03

Well done Microsoft :)

#2- Why is the redirect only working for me?

Once #1 was solved and I was back in to “edit mode” the Microsoft engineer was very quick to pickup on the fact that my change was in draft;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.04.04

 

Clicking the … (three dots / ellipsis) displays a menu, clicking the … (three dots / ellipsis) brings out another menu which gives the “Publish a Major Version” option and upon clicking this my change was live and everyone hitting the site was now getting redirected.

Well done Microsoft :)

#3- How do I edit the “Public Site”

So far Microsoft had done pretty well, but really struggled with this one. We have still yet to find a way to edit the site via a web interface.

Eventually, they suggested trying Sharepoint Designer. I’ve not used this before, but since installing have found it to be a pretty good alternative to the web UI. Unfortunately when I tried to open the site I got stuck at the login stage- it appears that Sharepoint Designer doesn’t support federated login (my Office365 logins are authenticated using my on-premise ADFS server). Doh!

But… there was hope… we “shared” the site through the web interface with my personal @gmail address (which is linked to a microsoft account) and I was successfully able to login to Sharepoint Designer- nearly there!

Next problem… the sites doesn’t appear to exist;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.29.42

 

Determination and a lot more poking around eventually took us to a link on the front page “Edit site home page”;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.53.53

Which threw yet another error, “This page does not contain any regions that you have permission to edit.”. But navigating back a few steps to “Website -> Web Pages” I was able to right click, open with, notepad;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.55.47

And add in my script;

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 20.57.22 1

So far, so good.

Despite it being a little bit “trial and error”, with Microsoft’s help, we did get there in the end, and very soon after I first raised the support ticket- good job!

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