It Begins.

My foray into the blog world begins on the eve of the Microsoft SharePoint 2011 Conference in Anaheim, CA.

I have been putting off starting up until the very last minute.  After signing up for an Office 365 account and setting up my own public site, I decided to host my own blog to mostly document my SharePoint mis-Adventures and other potentially interesting aspects of my life.  Tonight I will do my best to keep this one short and sweet to impart my sense of being before the swarming of senses flying into my brain this week.

I hope to use what I learn this week to bring this site to life and share any tidbits of knowledge with myself and anyone reading.  My first stumbling block to getting the blog going was Office 365’s inability to display the blog entries and categories to an anonymous user.  

Sure, anyone could see my ‘default.aspx’ page and all the content that it would show (minus the Office 365 stylized master page), but if an unauthenticated user would click on any link or blog entry, they would be required to login.  This would not do!  I had to search around and try to find an answer to the big question "Is this possible and supported?"

After searching the message boards and finding nothing (keep in mind, this was a week or two after launch), I submitted a comment to Office 365 support.  While waiting for an answer, I tried to find an answer on my own.  Would you believe I found a workaround (no code required)??

The workaround was a "What made me think I could make this work by trying this? And why did it work anyway?".  OK, I know I’m not the only one (especially with WSS 3.0) just going with trial and error to rig up some off beat solution.  Here’s what I did:

First, I ​created a blog subsite within my office 365 public site.  (The magic ‘Create’ button was only found after clicking on the View All Site Content link from the Site Actions menu)

Then I got a little creative.  I used SharePoint Designer 2010 and navigated to the ‘Lists’ directory from the ‘All Files’ link within the Site Objects window.  From here, I renamed all my blog lists:  Posts -> Post, Categories -> Category, Comments -> Comment, Links -> Link.  Etc..

Then I created new folders and named them the original list folder names.

Finally I copied all the aspx forms from the original directories to the new empty folders and……..wait for it…………. my blog posts were visible, and anonymous users could click though and click categories and the blog posts themselves.

I was just about to start writing up my first blog entry, when I received an email from one of the Microsoft support techs who told me about a community sandbox solution that iterates through the site permissions and gives anonymous users the appropriate access.  I figured that I better go with a deployable solution instead of a renaming folder hack.

Hatch Solutions hooks it up here.

And there you have it.  Next up is feeding the most recent blog post to the root site.  UGH..  What do you mean the XML Viewer web part isn’t registered as safe?  Whaaat?

And now my first blog entry comes to a close.  I need to pack for my trip tomorrow.