In a previous post, I discussed some useful free web parts for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. In this article I’ll discuss two more very helpful solutions for building extranets in SharePoint and for building more advanced workflows in SharePoint Designer.
- CKS Forms Based Authentication Solution
This is a free open-source solution which handles much of the complexity of building extranets in SharePoint. It has web parts for creating new SQL user accounts, for extranet users to manage their password, and for access requests and approvals. You used to have to use third-party software or a Visual Studio project for even just creating users in a SQL database. With this solution installed, all forms-based user management is done right through the SharePoint settings interface. The only thing you still have to do by hand is provision the database, and modify the web application web.config files to add a SQL authentication provider. This solution has been extremely helpful for us in building a few client extranets.
- Useful Sharepoint Designer Custom Workflow Activities
This solution adds a bunch of activities to SharePoint Designer’s Workflow Designer. The activities are listed below. This has allowed us to easily create several workflows in SharePoint Designer without writing any code. In particular, we’ve been able to get around the problem where SharePoint form libraries show all submitted items to contributors by default. This is an issue when users are submitting forms with sensitive data, which should only be viewable by administrators. Rather than resorting to a code solution, you can create a workflow that simply “Grants Permission on Item” to the creator, and “Deletes List Item Permission Assignment” for the contributor group. Presumably the admin group would already have full access.
- Send Email with HTTP File attachment – Allows sending emails with attachments retrieved using a web request
- Send Email with List Item attachments – Allows sending list item attachments as files attached to an email
- Start Another Workflow– Starts another workflow associated with a list item
- Grant Permission on Item– Allows granting of specified permission level on a specified item
- Delete List Item Permission Assigment– Allows deleting of specified permission level assignment for a given user
- Reset List Permissions Inheritance – removes any unique permissions assigned to an item by inheriting list permissions
- Is User a member of a SharePoint group– Checks if a given user is part of given SharePoint group
- Is Role assigned to User – Checks if a user role is already assigned on the current list item
- Lookup user info– allows to lookup properties in site’s user information list for a given login
- Copy List Item Extended Activity – Allows copying/moving list items and files cross site.
- Send Email Extended– Enhaced version of the OOTB activity. Allows you to specify the sender. Also does not break links in body.