Chapter 6. Publishing information to the web – SharePoint 2010 Site Owner's Manual: Flexible Collaboration without Programming

Chapter 6. Publishing information to the web


This chapter covers

  • Hosted internet-facing sites
  • Blogs
  • Lists such as discussion boards and surveys
  • Permissions
  • Embedded video (Option for SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server)


In the last chapter I introduced you to a standard site that can be used to manage documents and associated information. In this chapter you’re going to do something a bit more fun; the scenario that you’re going to implement is for publishing a site to the World Wide Web with details for an upcoming wedding. Almost all of the scenarios in this book are slight modifications to real sites I’ve created and this one is no exception, because it was my own wedding website! To get started I’ll walk you through the scenario you’ve been given and show how you’ll attain the solution utilizing SharePoint.

6.1. Determining what information to make available for your guests

Let’s discuss the three core parts of our scenario: situation, business priorities, and solution. The first part, situation, provides a detailed explanation of the request that you’ve received. The next part, business priorities, extracts a list of requirements based on priority to accomplish your goals. The third section gives you an overview of the solution that we’ll spend the rest of the chapter walking through and building.

6.1.1. Situation

You’re coordinating a wedding and you’ll have guests attending from all around the world. You want to notify them as early as possible about travel information and details so they can prepare for their trip. Because there’ll be over 200 guests, you decide the best way to do this is via a website, but you don’t want to learn HTML or any other web design technology. You also want to ensure that certain information can be viewed only by your guests.

Business priorities

Let’s discuss the business priorities so you can put together an appropriate solution:

  1. You want to have a part of the site that’s accessible by anyone and another part where your users have to log in to access the information.
  2. You don’t want to learn code or maintain a server.
  3. You’d like to maintain a blog, survey, discussion board, images, and video on your site.
  4. It needs to be easy to create new pages for highlighting information for your guests.

Based on those priorities, let’s see what the solution will look like that you’re going to build out in this chapter.

6.1.2. Solution

Once you complete the steps in this chapter, you’ll have a site that meets the situation and business priorities specified to you. This scenario is based on an actual site that I created for my wedding; naturally, you won’t want to use the same content. I’ll lead you through the steps for adding embedded video and the appropriate verbiage or images to your pages, but I encourage you to use your own content when completing these steps. When you’ve finished, you’ll have a site that’s very similar to that shown in figure 6.1.

Figure 6.1. The solution that will be implemented in this chapter is based on the required specification and business priorities.


Do it yourself

To do this exercise without a public internet site, create a web application with anonymous access enabled. Then create a team site collection. After the site collection is created, go to Site Actions > Site Permissions and select Anonymous Access in the Ribbon. Select Anonymous Users Can Access: Entire Web Site, and click OK.


It’s important to understand that this is just one type of site that you can create using the techniques shown in this chapter. You can easily use the skills that you’ll learn here for other types of sites, such as a personal website where you host your resume, one where you share personal interests with your friends, or a site for a school project.

It’s time to get started. Now that you know the solution for our scenario, you can begin building out the site.

6.2. Setting up a SharePoint site for the internet

In this section you’re going to look at options for setting up a Share-Point site that’s available via the internet. Now, you can go out and purchase a server, configure SharePoint, and make it available via the web. This is a completely adequate approach, but for the purpose of this book, we’re going on the assumption that you don’t want to learn how to build out and maintain your own infrastructure to create your website. The next-best option would be to fire up Bing and start some basic research on hosting providers.

The site I’m going to demonstrate in this scenario is my personal site, and I chose to use ASPHostPortal. Microsoft also has an offering that I’d highly encourage you to consider, which is part of Office 365. At the time of writing this, neither Office 365 nor SharePoint 2010 with anonymous access was available for their online offering, so I selected a different path. Along with these two options, there are many others on the market, so do your research and select what’s best for you. A few key deciding factors for this scenario were these:

  • It needed to be a reasonable price. This is a personal site, so I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Prices have changed since the time I made my decision, so make sure you understand what you’re paying for.
  • I wanted SharePoint Server 2010 so I could maximize the functionality that’s available for configuring my site.
  • I wanted anonymous access to be available so my users would go to a landing page and know they were in the correct location before being required to sign in.

Once you make your selection, you’ll need to fill out the required enrollment information and give them your credit card info. After that, you can go and enjoy a glass of wine as you wait for them to get back to you and confirm that your site is ready to be used. That’s not too tough, eh? Pinot noir for me, please.

6.3. Configuring your site

By this point I assume you’ve been sent the information for your site, or if you’re showing off, you’ve configured your server and have a site up and running that’s available via the web.

Now that you have your site, let’s get started with the fun part, which is changing it so it meets the purpose of this scenario. To get started you’ll create pages for the information that you’d like to share. The pages will group certain information pertinent for the guest, such as travel details or logistics of the wedding.

6.3.1. Site pages: defining the information you want to share

Your homepage is already created for you. This is the first page that you see when you go to your site. You’ll customize this page in the following steps. After that you’ll create two more pages. One will be for communicating the wedding details, and the other will be to let the guests know what travel arrangements have been made. You’ll get started by modifying the homepage. To begin you’ll add some images and a quick intro paragraph for the guests to see when they land on it. Later on you’ll add a survey and embedded video to make the page more interactive:




1 Choose Site Actions > Edit Page.
2 Place your cursor anywhere on the page and enter a welcome message for your guests to read, letting them know they’ve come to the correct site. Because you’ll make this page available to the public, you may want to indicate here that they’ll need to select the sign-in option displayed in the upper-right corner to view all of the information.
3 Format the text to appear the way you’d like it to be viewed. The options for doing this can be found under Format Text in the Ribbon editing tools.
4 Insert images of you and your loved one by going to the Insert tab and selecting pictures.
5 When finished, click Save & Close.

Good job! You’ve completed your homepage. You’ll now create the Wedding Details page. The purpose of this page is to share with your guests any details regarding the wedding. Some people like to be secretive about this information, but I wanted to share with everyone who the band would be, among other details:




1 Choose Site Actions > New Page.
2 Enter the new page name: Wedding Details.
3 Enter the details of the wedding that you wish to share with your guests.  
4 Format the text to appear the way you’d like it to be viewed. Use the options found under Format Text in the Ribbon editing tools.
5 When finished, click Save & Close.

Almost finished—you have one more page to create. Now that you have an introduction page and one to cover the wedding details, you’ll start another that’s focused on travel details for those guests who aren’t local. This will enable your guests to know about any hotel blocks that you’ve reserved or transportation that you’ve arranged:




1 Choose Site Actions > New Page.
2 Enter the new page name: Travel Details.
3 Enter the details for your traveling guests, such as hotel discounts, conversion rates, local emergency contacts, and transportation arrangements.  
4 Format the text to appear the way you’d like it to be viewed, using the options under Format Text in the Ribbon editing tools.
5 When finished, click Save & Close.

Yay, you’ve now created the core pages! You can take this further and create additional pages such as information regarding your wedding registry. Use your imagination.

In the next section you’re going to create some additional lists that will help supplement the site and add some additional content to these pages. To get started you’re going to create a calendar.

6.3.2. Calendar

It wouldn’t be a wedding website if you didn’t keep track of all the important dates and events for your guests to attend. In this section you’ll build out a calendar that your guests can easily access to find out when the different events will be held, such as the rehearsal dinner and bridal party fittings:




1 Choose Site Actions > More Options.
2 Select Calendar.
3 For the name, enter Important Dates. Leave the rest of the defaults.
4 Click Create.  

You can now quickly communicate the important dates to your guests, which is great. The next form of communication is more interactive and encourages your guests to participate in the discussion.

6.3.3. Discussion boards: let your audience communicate

Although many of you may be tempted to be a bridezilla or groomzilla, it’s good to let your guests participate some! This section walks you through the process of creating a discussion board and adding it to the page. Much of the site is meant to have read-only content, but there may be certain sections where you’d like your guests to contribute to the content. This discussion board will enable your guests to communicate about travel deals that they find or other topics, such as credit cards with no foreign transaction fees:




1 Choose Site Actions > More Options.
2 Select Discussion Board.
3 For the name, enter Travel Deals.
4 Click More Options.  
5 Click No for Display This Discussion Board on the Quick Launch?
6 Click Create.  

You’ve created your discussion board, but now you need to display it in the appropriate spot for your end users. In this case, many of the guests won’t need to travel to attend the wedding, so you won’t want to make this discussion board part of the homepage. Because of this, you won’t display the discussion board on the Quick Launch, as noted in step 6 above; instead you’ll only add a view of it to the Travel Arrangements page:




1 Navigate to the Travel Arrangements page and choose Site Actions > Edit Page.
2 Place the cursor below the text you entered previously and select Insert > Web Parts.
3 Select Travel Deals and then click Add.  
4 Go to the Page tab in the Ribbon and click Save & Close.

Your page should now be similar to figure 6.2.

Figure 6.2. Travel Arrangements page with the discussion board added at the bottom

Your guests can now locate the Travel Arrangements page from the homepage of the site. When they select the page, it will show them the verbiage that you wanted to highlight and a discussion board that they can use to share with others any details regarding their travel.

The next addition to your site will be the creation of a survey. This will help you determine how many of your traveling guests will attend the wedding. This can be used for any type of survey you want, such as whether your guests would like an Italian or French meal. In my case, we wanted to find out how many of our American guests were planning to travel to Ireland.

6.3.4. Surveys

The survey feature in SharePoint is a great way to reach out to your end users and get interactive feedback from them. You’ll build out a base survey and add branching logic to it, so the questions will change based on end users’ answers to the previous questions. This is a powerful and easy piece of technology that I recommend you learn to use and understand:




1 Choose Site Actions > More Options.
2 Select Survey.
3 For the name enter American Guest Attendance.
4 Click More Options.  
5 For the survey options click No in response to Show User Names in Survey Results?
Click Yes for Allow Multiple Responses?
6 Click Create.  

Before we move on, I want to explain why the default settings were switched in step 5 to not show the user names and to allow multiple responses associated with the login. I’ll go into this in more detail in section 6.5, once we cover permissions management for this site. In short, to easily communicate to the end users how to log in and access the information, we created one generic login for everyone to use. This was convenient as well for adding the information to the invitations. If each end user had their own login, you wouldn’t need to change those settings.

Now let’s discuss how to configure the questions. To start you should now be on the configuration page for new questions, which should look like figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3. Survey configuration page for new questions

In table 6.1 I provide example questions and the branching logic that I used for the survey on my site. Branching allows you to go to a different question in the survey based on the end user’s answer. I assume for your site that you may want to focus on a different survey topic, and you may use this more as an idea for when you’d use branching logic or create different types for your questions.

Table 6.1. Questions for the survey



Additional Settings

Will you be attending? Choice – Required: Yes
– Choices: Yes; No; Maybe
Will you bring a guest? Choice – Required: Yes
– Choices: Yes; No
If you are an aunt or uncle of the bride or groom, would any of your children like to come to the wedding? Choice – Required: Yes
– Choices: Yes; No
What is their preferred mailing address? Multiple lines of text  
Because you used a generic login, please identify yourself by typing in your name. Single line of text – Required: Yes

Using these questions as an example, let’s discuss some ideas of how you could use branching. To do this you’ll need to add the example questions above. There are two specific example questions where branching would be useful:

  • Question 1: Will you be attending? Logic: If our guest is not attending, we don’t need to ask them if they will have a guest. So I decided to skip to the next question to see if they felt any of our cousins would like to attend. I have a big family, so instead of tracking down everyone’s address, I decided to put the responsibility on their parents to let us know if their children would like to attend.
  • Question 2: If you are an aunt or uncle of the bride or groom, would any of your children like to come to the wedding? Logic: If they say No, then they should skip to the last question that asks them to identify themselves because they’re using a generic login. If they say Yes, then I need to get my cousins’ addresses so I can send them an invitation.

Now that you understand why you want to implement branching logic, let’s discuss the steps required to do it:.




1 Select the question: Will you be attending?
2 For the branching logic select Jump To for the following choices:
Yes: Will you bring a guest?
No: If you are an aunt or uncle of the bride or groom, would any of your children like to come to the wedding?
Maybe: Will you bring a guest?
3 Click OK.  

The next series of steps will walk you through the branching logic for question 3: If you are an aunt or uncle of the bride or groom, would any of your children like to come to the wedding?




1 Select the question: If you are an aunt or uncle of the bride or groom, would any of your children like to come to the wedding?
2 For the branching logic select Jump To for the following choices:
Yes: What is their preferred mailing address?
No: No Branching
3 Click OK.  

You want to bring attention to this survey, so you’ll achieve this by adding a web part to the homepage. This will ensure the guests see it and are aware that they should complete this survey:




1 Choose Site Actions > Edit Page.
2 Place the cursor on the location where you’d like to see the survey, and select Insert > Web Part.
3 Select American Guest Attendance and click Add.  
4 Go to the Page tab in the Ribbon and click Save & Close.

Once you’ve added the web part to the homepage, it will display as shown in figure 6.4.

Figure 6.4. Survey web part to get an idea of attendance of the traveling guests

You’re well on your way to being a savvy SharePoint site owner. Not only are you creating a site available via the web for personal use, but you are making it interactive so your users can participate in the information that’s displayed on the site through the survey you created and the discussion board that you added to share travel deals. You’ll take this even further in section 6.3.6, when you create a blog site. Before we jump to the creation of a subsite, you’ll jazz up the site even more by adding an embedded video.

6.3.5. Embedded video

It’s common in today’s world to share a video that you found on You-Tube. I’ll share with you a little trick to show a video, even if you don’t have a media player. It isn’t as powerful as the rich media capabilities that SharePoint Server has to offer, and we’ll discuss those capabilities in greater detail in section 6.6.

To get started, locate the video on YouTube that you want to display. In my case, I love the song “Young Folks” and wanted that to display when users went to the homepage. Once you locate your video, you should see the option buttons Like, Add To, and Share and the word Embed, as shown in the image in figure 6.5. You’ll need to select Embed to copy this code and save it to a text file.

Figure 6.5. YouTube video with the options selected to get video embed code

Once you save the code to a text file, you’ll need to add that document to the Shared Documents library or another library you have on the site. This is so you can easily reference the text file from a Content Editor web part, which will be explained in a later section. To get started, let’s quickly walk through the steps to upload the file:




1 Copy the embedded code and save it to a text file on your hard drive. In this scenario I called our text file Young-FolksSong.txt.
2 Switch back to your Share-Point site. Choose Site Actions > View All Site Content.
3 Locate your Shared Documents library and click the link to go to the main page.
4 From here you can locate the upload document under the Documents tab in the Ribbon and follow the steps to upload your text file.

Once your code has been uploaded in a text file, you’ll add it to your homepage so your end users can see it. You’re going to do this by using a Content Editor web part. The Content Editor web part was really popular in the SharePoint 2007 release because SharePoint 2007 didn’t have the easy wiki page-editing capabilities that you saw in the examples earlier in this chapter where you easily made changes to the pages. As you’ll see here, the Content Editor web part still has some good uses, such as the ability to easily display this embedded video in a friendly format:




1 Choose Site Actions > Edit Page.
2 Place the cursor in the location where you’d like to add your web part. Under Editing Tools, click Insert > Web Part.
3 Select the Media and Content category, and select the Content Editor web part.
4 Click Add.  
5 Select Edit Web Part from the Web Part menu, then point the Content Link to the location of your text file.

You should now see your video on the page. Notice that it has all of the controls down at the bottom to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and enlarge your screen. When a user chooses one of these controls, it will perform the action and keep them on your site, not reroute them to YouTube.

Later on in this chapter, in section 6.6.1, we’ll cover the media player and other media features associated with SharePoint Server, which you can use if you want to manage the videos from SharePoint. Although your current setup is good, the capabilities get much better with SharePoint Server. For instance, you’ll be able to set the video to autoplay. In the previous example, your end user has to request the video to play. But before we jump into SharePoint Server, I want to cover two additional core features of SharePoint Foundation: blogs and permissions.

Figure 6.6. Embedded YouTube video

6.4. Blogs: creating a subsite to blog

A blog is a great way to share ideas or news about what’s on your mind and allows others to leave comments for a continued dialogue about your news. In this scenario we wanted to share with our guests information about us and the wedding-planning chaos. As you learn about this, think of other scenarios where you could use a blog. For example, one of the most common scenarios where I see the blog site template used is for company news. Each division creates its own blog post to share news and uses a Content Query web part (which will be discussed in the final chapter, Pulling it all together with search, My Sites, and cross-site functionality) to pull all of the latest new articles onto a central site. The point I’m trying to make is get creative with these technologies. You’ll be surprised at the many ways you can use the functionality. So let’s get started and create a blog site:




1 Choose Site Actions > New Site.
2 Select Blog.
3 For the name enter Bride & Groom Blog.
For the URL enter BnGBlog.
4 Click Create.  

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a blog. Figure 6.7 shows you what this template looks like out of the box. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you’ve ever worked with a blog before, but don’t worry if you haven’t. I’ll walk you through the basics to start using it.

Figure 6.7. Out-of-the-box template for a blog site

To start, you’ll set up the categories. These are displayed in the upper-left corner, and the defaults are Category 1, 2, and 3. If you select a category, the blog will filter the posts that are displayed and show you only those that are associated with that category. The next series of steps walks you through adding and editing the existing categories:




1 Select the Categories header.
2 Here you’ll see a list of all the categories; you can click the Edit button to modify the default categories.
Some example categories could be The Groom or The Bride.

Now that you’ve defined your categories, you probably want to get started blogging. The default blog that’s set up is an introduction to your blogging site. You probably don’t want to your guests to read that blog post, so you’ll change it. To get started select the title Welcome to Your Blog. This will bring you to the post page, as shown in figure 6.8. Notice that when your end users are on the post page, they’ll get the option to leave a comment.

Figure 6.8. Post page for a blog site. Notice the commenting capabilities that are now displayed.

To edit this post, you’ll need to complete the following steps:




1 Click Edit, shown in the upper-right corner of the blog post.
2 Modify the existing blog post to show text that’s relevant for you, add related categories, and click Publish.

That wasn’t too hard. The last bit that we’ll go over is updating the homepage of your blog site so it has a picture of the person who owns it. If it’s a topic-based blog, you could also insert a picture of the topic you intend to cover. To do this, you’ll start by adding a photo to the page. This is easy with SharePoint 2010:




1 Navigate back to the homepage and select Site Actions > Edit Page.
2 The Blog Site template displays a demo photo for guidance. Select the demo photo, and you’ll see a Design option appear in the Ribbon under Picture Tools. Click Change Picture, and upload the picture that you want from your computer.
3 The following dialog box will appear and guide you through uploading the picture. Once it is uploaded, the dialog box shown in step 4 will appear.
4 Fill in any of the desired properties, and save your photo. If you later go and look you’ll find it has been added to a library on your site.
5 Finally, click Stop Editing in the Ribbon to see your completed work.

Good job! You now have a blog site. Based on the changes we made, figure 6.9 shows what my final version looks like. Yours should be similar, with slightly different content and the pictures that you selected.

Figure 6.9. Final blog site after the modifications have been made

Your site is visually complete, but now we’ll discuss securing the content so people can see and do only what you want them to see and do. We’ll go over how to secure certain information from anonymous users. Other information will need to be locked down so it can only be read, whereas you may want users to be able to enter information in other parts of it.

6.5. Permissions: managing access to your site

We’re now going to discuss anonymous access and show how to enable all users on your intranet or via the internet to see the contents of the site. After we cover anonymous access, we’ll then dive into list, item, and subsite permissions. You’ll want to ensure that some of the information is locked down to prevent everyone from having access to all of your content.

6.5.1. Anonymous access

I’ll get started by making sure you understand what anonymous access is. This is a published SharePoint, and anyone regardless of credentials has access to it. If it’s an intranet scenario, such as at work, it will be open to anyone on the network. In this case, we’re accessing it via the web, so it’s available to anyone via the internet. Naturally, you don’t want everyone to see all of the details, so I’ll show you how to lock down certain aspects of the site in sections 6.6.2 and 6.6.3, so only authenticated users can get to the content. For example, in figure 6.10 you can see what an anonymous user would see if they were to navigate to my site. You can tell they’re not authenticated because the Sign In prompt shows in the upper-right corner.

Figure 6.10. View of the homepage for an anonymous user

Figure 6.11 shows that the users whom I provided credentials to are able to access the site and get additional information, such as our favorite song and the survey. You can tell that it’s the view of an authenticated user because their user name is displayed in the upper-right corner.

Figure 6.11. View of the homepage for an authenticated user

In order for you to allow anonymous access, your server administrator will need to have configured the capability via central admin. Once you complete the following steps, you’ll have anonymous access configured:




1 Choose Site Actions > Site Permissions.
2 In the Ribbon you’ll see an option for Anonymous Access if it has been configured.

In this scenario, it’s configured so that anonymous users can access the entire site. You’ll now configure lists and items to have unique permissions if you don’t want them accessible by anonymous users. You’ll start at the list level.

6.5.2. List-level permissions

In our scenario, it makes sense to lock down the survey list so anonymous users don’t see who is coming to the wedding. You may also want to lock down the Shared Documents library, where you uploaded your embedded video code. The latter isn’t necessary, so we’ll cover the steps for surveys. If you want to, you can complete the same steps listed here for other lists or libraries that you choose to lock down:




1 From the homepage Quick Launch, select Surveys.
2 Select the survey that you created. In my case it will be American Guest Attendance.
3 Under Settings choose Survey Settings.
4 Under Permissions and Management select Permissions for This Survey.
5 Select Stop Inheriting Permissions from the Ribbon. A dialog box will pop up and say, “You are about to create unique permissions for this list. Changes made to the parent site permissions will no longer affect this list.” Click OK.
6 Select Anonymous Access from the Ribbon and deselect View Items. Save your changes by clicking OK.
7 In addition, you may want to increase the permissions of your visitors so they can respond to the survey. By default, they’ll have read-only access.
8 For the Visitors group, leave the default Read permission and add the Contribute permission. Click OK.

I want to clarify a bit why you made the permission change in steps 7 and 8. When you add users to your site, you have three choices by default: Members, Owners, and Visitors. You could add your users to the Owners or Members group, but that would give them permission to modify the pages and add content to all of the lists and libraries. My guess is you want most of your end users to be consuming the data in a read-only format, with the odd exception, such as a survey or discussion board. In that case I recommend adding your users to the Visitors group, which has only Read access by default, and then later upping the visitors’ permissions on that list to have Contribute access.

Now that you have a good understanding of permissions, consider what other lists or libraries you want to lock down, and follow the same steps for those lists. In my case I locked down Travel Deals as well as Shared Documents. Go ahead and lock those down, and then we’ll jump into item-level permissions.

6.5.3. Item-level permissions

In this chapter you added a lot of different pages. I’ve decided that other than the homepage, I don’t want anonymous users to have the ability to view the information on those pages. A page is essentially an item in a Pages library. You’ll need to lock down most of the pages but not all of them, so you can’t use the techniques listed in section 6.5.2. To apply security at the item level, you need to complete the following steps:




1 Choose Site Actions > View All Site Content.
2 Select Site Pages.
3 Select the dropdown menu of the page you want to change. In this example I selected the Travel Arrangements page.
Select Manage Permissions from the menu.
4 Select Stop Inheriting Permissions from the Ribbon. A dialog box will pop up and say, “You are about to create unique permissions for this list. Changes made to the parent site permissions will no longer affect this list.” Click OK.

This will prevent the Travel Arrangements page from inheriting the anonymous access permissions, locking it down so only your end users will see the page. If anonymous users click the links, they’ll be prompted to enter their credentials. You’ll now need to complete the same steps for all the pages you created with the exception of the homepage. The last sets of permissions we’ll discuss are the permissions for a subsite. In this scenario we created one subsite, and that was for our blog.

6.5.4. Subsite permissions

This is an easy section and the final one we’ll cover on permissions for now. I’ll try my best to mix in the fun with the, well, not so much fun. It’s a lot more exciting when you get to see a result at the end of your work. Modifying the subsite permissions is similar to step 4 in the previous section; you just get to it a slightly different way:




1 Choose Site Actions > Site Permissions.
2 Select Stop Inheriting Permissions from the Ribbon. A dialog box will pop up and say, “You are about to create unique permissions for this list. Changes made to the parent site permissions will no longer affect this list.” Click OK.

We’re finished with that. I know permissions are not the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s important to understand them so you can secure your information when appropriate. In this chapter you modified the out-of-the-box permissions; in chapter 11, we’ll cover the creation of custom permissions groups. Now let’s look briefly look at the rich media features that are part of SharePoint Server. We discussed alternate options when you displayed a video from YouTube, but there are much more advanced options for doing this if you have SharePoint Server.

6.6. Taking it further with SharePoint Server

I’m going light covering the SharePoint Server functionality for our public-facing-sites scenario. Let’s face it; hosting a site is expensive, and having to add the cost of server licensing to it only adds to that cost, at least for a personal site. If it’s for a business, that’s an entirely different scenario, and I would assume you’d be using some of the richer customization capabilities that SharePoint allows through code customizations. One really great feature that you should be aware of, though, is the SharePoint Media web part. We covered an alternate option for embedded video previously, but the features of the Media web part are much richer.

6.6.1. Embedded video: SharePoint Server’s Media web part

A new feature of SharePoint 2010 is the ability to add video and audio to a page. This is something you can easily do through the wiki editing capabilities by editing the page. In the Ribbon you’ll see additional options that you don’t get with SharePoint Foundation for adding video and audio. For example, you can configure the media to start automatically when a user comes to the page and continuously loop, among many more options. An example of the Video and Audio option that you’ll see in SharePoint Server is displayed in figure 6.12.

Figure 6.12. Video and Audio option that’s displayed with SharePoint Server

If you select the Video and Audio option, you’ll get a Media web part added to the page, as shown in figure 6.13.

Figure 6.13. Media web part

You can then select it to get the configuration options. Here you can upload various types of media such as a video or an audio file. You’ll get the same play, stop, increase screen size, fast forward, and rewind features as you’ve seen in the past as well as some additional options, as shown in figure 6.14.

Figure 6.14. Additional options for configuring the Media web part

Notice that you can customize the image that’s displayed and set the media to start automatically and continue to loop. Figure 6.15 shows a Media web part in action, once it has been configured.

Figure 6.15. Configured Media web part

You may have also noticed that when you upload the video, it will tell you that it’s putting it into your Site Assets library. This is a library option that you get with SharePoint Server. It helps you organize your videos and images that are uploaded to a page. When you create a site page, it will create a folder for each page and add any images or videos that you associate with that page, leveraging the easy page-editing wiki technology.

Go get a cup of coffee/wine, whatever your poison is, and give yourself a break. Come back, and we’ll do a quick summary and jump into the next chapter.

6.7. Summary

Following is a summary to help you understand the functionality that you should now be comfortable with implementing after completing this scenario:

  • The creation of pages to organize the content on your site
  • Understanding of the use of anonymous access for publicly available internet sites
  • Hosted SharePoint and its advantages, if you’re not good with server and networking technologies and/or you don’t have the desire to maintain a server environment
  • Leveraging blog sites to share ideas and news
  • The use of discussion boards and surveys to encourage your end users to participate on the site
  • Securing your site using the SharePoint permissions model
  • Embedded video for SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server

Hopefully this chapter has given you some good ideas on how to use SharePoint for a public-facing site, although many of these same technologies can be used for other types of scenarios. In the next chapter, we’re going to discuss business intelligence, often referred to as BI. This should be fun, because BI gets into the cool graphics.

Let’s test your knowledge. A few of questions that you should be able to answer are these:

  • What’s the difference between a Site Asset library and other libraries? It creates a folder for each new page and stores any content such as images or videos that are added to the page via the wiki technology.
  • How can you tell if you’re viewing a site as an anonymous user? You’ll see a sign-in option at the upper-right corner of the page.
  • If you want to host a public-facing site using SharePoint, do you need to own and configure a server? No, there are lots of hosted solutions where someone else will do it for you.