Microsoft Will No Longer Offer A Public Site Option in Office 365 As Of Dec/Jan

?RIP: Office 365 Public Sites!UPDATE:You heard it here first!!
http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/3027254

“Today, we’re making a difficult decision to discontinue the SharePoint Online Public Website feature. This lets us then focus on future investments while broadening our partnership with industry leaders.”
Microsoft is throwing in the towel on the Office 365 public site option. According to a Msft source, it will be removed from the Office 365 Sharepoint Online offering as of an update scheduled for Dec 2014 / Jan 2015. Existing accounts using the public site will not be affected by this dramatic change, but can expect the already lacklustre support to dwindle further. It may be telling that the inclusion of a public site has already been removed from the feature list in the Office 365 “compare plans” pages.

The public site has long been the “runt” in Msft’s foray into cloud computing, a fact that was reflected in the option’s halfhearted functionality and support. The inability to anonymously access list items was a clear indicator from the start that balancing the needs of a functional public facing site with the need for private site security on the same server was a tricky problem to overcome. Hosting 3rd party apps on Azure was a compromise solution, but was awkward, unintuitive and unpopular with users.
Limited functionality is one thing, but Microsoft’s unwillingness to address the growing list of missing or broken public site features is an even clearer indication of their wavering commitment to the public site model. The recent rash of users complaining about problems with the public blog may have been pivotal in pushing Microsoft towards a decision to abandon the public site offering. Customers trying to create a business web site are hardly going to be reassured when support’s all too typical response to an issue is: “submit feedback”.
Learning from their early experience with the Office Live service – which ended up being almost exclusively used as a public site platform – Msft took a barebones approach to public sites in Office 365, and refocused the service on Sharepoint’s user and data management capabilities.
Savvy Sharepoint followers have long wondered about the role of a stripped down public site offering in Msft’s cloud business model. And in the face of declining use and mounting customer dissatisfaction, apparently Msft has now decided the considerable resources needed to maintain and support public sites can no longer be justified.
Questions?

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Retain Custom Branding For Office 365 Sharepoint Online Sub Sites (Non Publishing Sites).

?If you want to create sub sites that have the same custom design as a parent site from a template, you’ll find that non-publishing sites don’t give you that option through the browser. The master page is included in the template but an option to switch over to a different master page isn’t. The easiest workaround I’ve found is to:1/ Include elements like logo etc in the parent site master page design (using css and/or maybe a little html).
2/ Use Sharepoint Designer to designate which master page to use.

Master Your Master Page

Including collection wide elements like a logo in a master page are outside the scope of this article, and in truth, it’s pretty easy to insert a logo once you’ve built a sub site. Calling up the right master page is a bit more tricky. Basically what you need to do is make a small change to the code in each page file to call up the right master and then designate which master page that is in the master page library, using Sharepoint Designer.
Each page gives you the option to use either the “default.master” or the “custom.master”. You can associate any master page you want as the default and custom. That allows you to leave the admin pages with the standard Sharepoint look, but apply your customizations to the site pages only. Or you can use one consistent look for ALL pages. I like to designate my custom master page as the “custom” master page rather than the “default” because I think it’s clearer and sometimes customizations can interfere with the functionality of back end, admin pages, but it’s up to you.

If you want to use a custom master page:
Open the PARENT site in Sharepoint Designer
For each page you want to affect, change”default” in this line to “custom:”
<%@ Page Language=”C#”Inherits=”Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.WikiEditPage” MasterPageFile=”~masterurl/default.master” MainContentID=”PlaceHolderMain” %>

custom-master1

Now you can save the site as a template and each site created using the template will use the”custom” master for the pages you changed. One more step is needed to ensure SP grabs the right master page.
TIP» If you have a lot of pages, and don’t want to make this change in all of them, you can leave the master used as “default.master” and set your custom master as “default” in the below step.

Setting The Master Page

Once the site is created, open it in SPD.
Open the”Master Pages” folder.
Locate your custom.master and right click it to open a context menu.
Select”Set as custom master page”.

custom-master2

Your new sub site should now be using your custom master page.
Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Sharepoint App Review: Stock Ticker Apps For Office 365 Sharepoint Online 2013 Public Sites

Though they aren’t listed as being compatible with public facing sites in the Sharepoint store, these 3 apps do appear to work fine on them. So if you want todisplay stock prices on your site, here’s a quick way to find out which might work best for you. Links to live demos are included so you can see them in action.
Stock Chart App Part From The Sharepoint Store: 5 Out Of 10

f0101471Installation: easy – add it from the SP store
Display: shows one stock in a chart covering current month
Features: none – changing the date range doesn’t seem to do anything
Usage: awkward – no option to change stock shown without editing web part properties
Get it: Sharepoint Store-search for “Stock” -it’s NOT listed under public facing web site category
Cost: $0
Live Demo »

Stock Ticker App Part From The Sharepoint Store: 8 Out Of 10

f0101471Installation: easy – add it from the SP store
Display: clean presentation of one stock in a chart covering current day
Features: users can change stock shown easily
Usage: good – option to change stock shown is a big plus
Get it: Sharepoint Store-search for “Stock” -it’s NOT listed under public facing web site category
Cost: $0
Live Demo »

Our Stock Price App Part From The Sharepoint Store: 3 Out Of 10

f0101471Installation: easy – add it from the SP store
Display: very basic – shows one stock but only symbol, name (optional) and price.
Features: none
Usage: awkward – no option to change stock shown without editing web part properties
Get it: Sharepoint Store-search for “Stock” -it’s NOT listed under public facing web site category
Cost: $0
Live Demo »

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Access OneDrive (Consumer) – Or Any Hosted Location With Windows Explorer

Microsoft evidently missed the obvious irony when they decided to reuse the “OneDrive” name for the revamped Office 365 mysite document library – OneDrive For Business – thereby giving the world:
Not ONE but TWO…. ONE Drives!

Despite their confusingly similar names, the original, consumer OneDrive and Office 365’s OneDrive For Business are very different animals. Users familar with the consumer OneDrive are befuddled by the complexity and difficulties they encounter when trying to use ODFB. I guess Microsoft was trying to leverage the popularity of the “OneDrive” brand – but that popularity is based on OneDrive being “born in the cloud”, and simple and intuitive to use. The other, troubled OneDrive (ForBusiness) looks more like a botched attempt to marry the convenience of cloud access to the complexity of a server born service like Sharepoint.
A Different Approach

For those seeking the simplicity of OneDrive and some of the functionality of ODFB, it’s worth considering a different approach:
Rather than trying to get ODFB to behave like OneDrive, get OneDrive to function more like ODFB.
One way to do that is to create an access point for your consumer OneDrive storage space in Windows Explorer. That will allow you to easily drag files directly from a device like a digital camera, transfer things from OneDrive to an Office 365 library or an ftp account etc without the hassle of downloading and uploading. In effect, it makes OneDrive an extension of your local hard drive – without the risk of a hard drive failure. It also makes a OneDrive account available to other users who can access your network.

To Sync Or Swim….

Microsoft does offer a OneDrive sync client you can use, but if you don’t want to take up local real estate with duplicate file copies or deal with syncing issues, you can add OneDrive as a network place/location. It will appear just like any other folder in Windows Explorer and can be used the same way.

How To Get The Right Url.

The trick is figuring out HOW to add a OneDrive url that network places will recognize. The url you see in the browser will look like this: https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=xxxxxxxxx. If you try to add that, the location will be rejected. Microsoft isn’t forthcoming about how to do this either. I don’t know how I figured it out but I was able to add my original SkyDrive account many years ago with a url that looked like this:

https://nsnsj8.docs.live.net/xxxxxx/

Breaking that down:

https://nsnsj8.docs.live.net/ is the server address
/xxxxxxx/ is the account id.

To get the account id, open up your OneDrive account and look at the number that follows ?cid= at the end of the url:

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=xxxxxxxxxx

So join those 2 bits together and you have the correct url.

Creating A Web Folder

Next, click “add a network place” or “location” or whatever your os supports.
Click “next” and enter the url you created above

add-place

Give it a name, say “One Drive”, which will appear in Explorer
Click finish.

When you open up Explorer, you’ll see a One Drive folder from which you can access all your OD files!

od-folder

If it doesn’t work for you, you can try to use https://d.docs.live.net/ in place ofhttps://nsnsj8.docs.live.net. I’m not sure if newer accounts still use the old server address – both work for me.

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Reactivating A Dormant Office Pro Plus 2010 Subscription

If you’ve downloaded Office Pro Plus to a computer that doesn’t get used for a while, or the id used to validate the subscription is no longer valid, eventually the programs will start showing an “unlicensed” notice and stop working fully. Downloads are associated to a user but just signing in with an id that has a valid subscription may not work. This is a common enough scenario, but Microsoft doesn’t makefinding a solution that easy.The solution (as often happens) was provided by Google – but only aftera user had done several searches and wasted a considerable amount of time asking questions on the 365 community. Buried deep within the support.microsoft.com site is a kb article with a Fixit, that reverifies your subscription and even allows you to switch it to a different id.So if you want to reactivate an Office Pro Plus 2010 subscription, click the Fixit button below, install and run it and after the usual lengthy configuration process typical of Microsoft products – eventually, it will ask you to sign in to verify. I did restart the computer before signing in, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Don’t forget to check the http://www.p4rgaming.com games to have some fun once your computer is good to go.

And here’s the kb article »

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Add A Discussions List With Threaded View In Office 365 2013 Sharepoint Sites

discuss-2010A discussion board without a threaded view is like, well….having a blog on one site and its associated comments on another. You never know who’s replying to what. What makes Microsoft’s decision to remove the threaded view from Sharepoint 2013 even odder is that it worked fine in 2010 and still does in a 2013 site. All you have to do is save a discussion list as a template from a 2010 site and move it over.

If you want to add the list to a public site, you may find the template doesn’t show up when you click”add an app”. To workaround that restriction, try installing it on a sub site of the public site. Sub sites can be created with standard templates, so are not as restrictive as the public site. And it’s easy to make a sub site look like it’s part of the parent site by following this guide:
http://365.webbrewers.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=29

If you don’t have access to a 2010 site or want to save some time, you can download the 2010 template here » Just follow the installation instructions on that page.
I set up a working demo of the list on a 2013 public sub site here » You can add some styling if needed to dress it up a bit.

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

An Easy (And Free) Way To Add Ecommerce To An Office 365 Sharepoint Public Site

demo-storeAdding a professional looking, functional and mobile friendly storefront to an Office 365 public site is something a lot of people want to do but there isn’t much information out there about the best way to do it. I recently reviewed a couple of options for adding ecommerce functionality, and thought it would be helpful to provide a little tutorial on integrating the best of the bunch – the FREE Ecwid ecommerce widget – into a Sharepoint 2013 public site. See it: You can see a live demo store here »Get it: You can sign up for a free Ecwid account here »

Create Ecwid Account

Since my concern is integration with Office 365 (and the Ecwid interface is so intuitive), I won’t go into detail about how to build or manage your Ecwid store. A free Ecwid account has a lot of pro features including order tracking, inventory control, product galleries, product options and tax and shipping options. I also suggest you use the product import feature – it’s very easy and a big time saver. I had 20 or so demo products set up and the store operational in about 10 minutes.

ecwid-dash

Ecwid dashboard

Set Up A Page

If you want the same layout as my demo store », choose the left sidebar page layout. You’ll be adding the categories widget in the sidebar and the product section/cart/checkout in the main content area of the page. You can of course vary this to suit your needs. You only need to create one page – Ecwid uses ajax to display the different parts of your store in the same content area. The widgets are “smart” and interlinked – so once you add them to a page, you can navigate the entire store, view the cart and checkout.

Embed Storefront

Go back to your Ecwid account. At the top of the dashboard page, you’ll see all the code snippets you can use:

Product Browser Widget Code = Main product display – will show categories, individual products, cart and checkout in same block.
Bag Widget Code (recommended) = displays a shopping “bag” and its contents plus you can drag and drop products into it.
Categories Tabs Widget Code (optional) = Adds category tabs above the main product browser.
… or Categories Menu Widget Code (optional) = Vertical list of linked categories.
Search Box Widget Code (optional) = Displays search box for products.
Start by copying theProduct Browser Widget Code. Add a script editor web part to the main content area of your Office 365 page. Edit the snippet and paste the code.

script-editor

Adding a script editor web part….

ecwid-copy

Paste the Ecwid code

Copy the Categories Menu Widget Code and paste that into a script editor web part in the sidebar area of the page.

That’s all you need for the store to look good and function. You can also add theBag Widget Code but it’s a little tricky to get it positioned right in the Office 365 editor unless you know some css. Likewise the search box.
When you’re done, save and publish the page and take a look at your new store! Now it’s set up, any editing you do in the Ecwid interface will immediately update your site.
Not bad for a free application!

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

FREE List Template And Web Part Downloads For Office 365 Sharepoint Online Sites!

111213_0003_addmultiple1Download these free list templates and web parts and add functionality and usefulness to your Sharepoint sites!Easy: download, extract and install!
Time saving: fully functional out of the box!
Safe: developed in a Sharepoint site – no additional code added!

Installation Instructions:
1/ Download file or zip file (and extract)

2/ Open”list template gallery” on desired site [If not in settings, use this url: yourdomain.com/_catalogs/lt/Forms/AllItems.aspx]

3/ Click”upload document” and navigate to the location the .stp file was saved in.

4/ Click the”cog” icon at top right of page and “Add An App”

5/ Locate the app you uploaded and add to your site

Downloads.

Calendar Creator List Template Tested: SP 2010/2013

This free list template will let you add a list and simple calendar web part to Sharepoint Online 2013 public web sites.
Read more »

Download Here »
Announcements List Template Tested: SP 2010/2013

Add An Announcements List To An Office 365 Public Site With A Date Range Filter
Read more »
Download Here »

2010 Discussions List Template Tested: SP 2010/2013
Includes the all important threaded view missing from 2013!
Read more »
Download Here »

Picture Library Slideshow Webpart Tested: SP 2010/2013?

This free web part will let you add a slideshow that pulls images from a picture library..
Read more »

Download Here »
Content Query Webpart Tested: SP 2010/2013?
This free web part displays content from another SP location..
Read more »
Download Here »

Script Editor Webpart Tested: SP 2010/2013?

This free web part allows you to add scripts to a SP page.
Read more »

Download Here »

RSS Feed Viewer Webpart Tested: SP 2010/2013?

This free web part displays content from any RSS feed, including Sharepoint feeds from other sites..
Read more »

Download Here »

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. Another thing: use this template for managing goods supply, if needed. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Add An Announcements List To An Office 365 Sharepoint Public Site With A Date Range Filter

news-page2A Sharepoint Announcements list can be used to show news items, upcoming events, product introductions or any manner of short update-type items. For some reason, Msft decided not to include this type of list in the public site, and made it rather difficult to add it. Only certain types of list can be added as apps. Even if you import an announcement list template from a team site, Msft prevents it from showing up as an app you can add.Not to worry – since it’s actually a pretty simple list to create, I’m going to show you how to do that – and go one better by enhancing the basic list by adding filters so the list ONLY shows items within a specified date range. You can see a live example of the end result here »Download
If you want to skip all the fun of creating your own list (!), you can download a convenient list template here »

Create The List

Click “Add An App” and create a new custom list, naming it “News” or whatever you want.
Open the list and add list fields by clicking “create column”

create-column

Add a multi line rich text field for your announcement’s content, and 2 date fields – one for “Start date” and one for “Expiry date”.
It will look like this when you open the list’s settings:

fields

Create A Date Filtered View
The default announcements list includes an expiry date field – your custom version can go one better by adding a start date. There are many reasons you may want an announcement to become visible on your site at a specific time – if you’re running a promotion for instance. You may also want announcements to automatically drop off the public view, say after an event is over. To do that, you’ll need to create a new view of the list filtered to only display items between the start and expiry dates you set in the list.
Go to the list settings, click “Create view” and select “All items” as the starting point.

Name the view and make sure only “title” and “body” are checked
Scroll down to the filter section, and add filters as shown in the image:

news-filters

The logic of the filters may seem a little odd – I’m still not sure I understand why it works – but it does. What it says in simple terms is show only items between the start date and expiry date. In more detail, it’s saying:
Show items IF:
Expiry date is equal to nothing = when the expiry date is empty (ie there is no expiry date)
OR
Expiry date is greater than or equal to [Today] = when the expiry date is today or after today
PLUS
Start date is less than or equal to [Today = ]the start date is today or after today.
Any item that fails to meet ALL those conditions will not be shown.

View Style
To give the announcements a vertical rather than horizontal presentation, you can change the style of the view.
Scroll down the list view settings page and open the “style” option
For a vertical orientation, select the “newsletter no lines” style.
Don’t forget whenever you change the view you have to go back and reselect it in the web part properties on the page!

Add To A Page

Now the list is built, you can edit a page, look for the web part with the name of your list under “Apps” and insert it where you want it to appear. You’ll just need to switch over to your custom view as follows:
Click the web part and in the ribbon click web part “properties”.
When the properties box opens, under “List views » selected view” pick the new view you created from the drop down.
Click ok to save your changes and remember to publish the page.

views

Add a few items to the list, and play with the date fields to test it out. Anything with a start date of today or after today AND an expiry date of today or before today should show up on the page.

Additional Points
By default, the”title” field is linked to the item but since Msft blocks anonymous access to list items, you may want to change the type of the title field from “title-linked to item” to just “title”. You can pick a different field type in the list view settings. This wi

Fix Text Wrapping In Drop Down Sub Menus On Office 365 Sharepoint Sites

navwrap2One of the most important things about a public site is the navigation – that’s how people find their way around the site after all. Office 365 sites include a drop down menu that allows you to display links to as many locations as you need in a small amount of space. Unfortunately, if you have a multi word page title in a sub menu, the fixed width of the sub menu container may cause an unwanted line break.
Not only is this ugly looking, it can also make it very hard to identify a page and navigate the site. If properly designed, the container would expand to fit its contents without forcing longer titles to wrap to another line. Luckily, it’s very easy to fix.

Sign in to open the site for editing
On any page click the “site” tab
Add this to the site’s custom stylesheet:
ul.dynamic{min-width:100% !important;white-space:nowrap !important;}
If it doesn’t work for you, it may be because the rule isn’t getting applied in the stylesheet. A fix for that is covered here:
Adding Custom Styling To The Office 365 Sharepoint 2013 Public Website
Also, in some cases you may need to “supersize” the ul element so it fits behind the menu links. For that, change the min-width:
ul.dynamic{min-width:150% !important;}

That’s it!

Questions?
Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!