Customer Extranet on SharePoint Foundation

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Presentation given at SharePoint Saturday EMEA on 22 Jan 2011, showing how we delivered a customer extranet on SharePoint 2010 Foundation.

Presentation given at SharePoint Saturday EMEA on 22 Jan 2011, showing how we delivered a customer extranet on SharePoint 2010 Foundation.

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  • Welcome everyone. To start with I begin with an apology from my co presenter Milen, who unfortunately is unavailable due to unforseen circumstances, so it will just be me today. In this session my aim is to walk you through how a branded partner extranet was built on SharePoint Foundation 2010 for a global IT services provider. I'll discuss the project approach, get a little bit techie (this won’t be a hardcore session though – much less technical than Matt’s excellent session) telling you how we did it, and provide some tips and lessons learned along the way.Please feel free to ask questions but I’ll aim to answer them at the end.So I’ll start with a brief introduction.
  • So why build an extranet using SharePoint foundation? Foundation is a collaboration platform right? Not a web content management system. Shouldn’t we be using SharePoint 2010 server, or can we bend the rules a bit here?
  • It’s a tradeoff. You do have to sacrifice some nice functionality.Remember the button and I’ll come back to it at the end.
  • I'll start with the business requirements, which include publishing of documents from the intranet, authentication of users against a third party CRM solution, and a UI that looks nothing like SharePoint. I'll move onto the design, including the site architecture, custom branding,and document publishing mechanism. We’ll round up with some lessons learned at the end.
  • Diagram at bottom shows standard SharePoint site. On the next slide we will see the branded site.
  • Milen to present
  • Ian to present
  • Decided not to go agileShort timescalesMicro Focus clear about what is needed and waterfall was in their comfort zone – as a good supplier you need to work with your customer and it would have been unwise to force agile onto them.Design included these wireframes
  • We used hyper-V in dev and VMWare in test and production. It really doesn’t matter.VMs very useful as we can take snapshots. Need lots of disk spacefor VM snapshots.Obviously do need to capacity plan, but for our scenario the number of concurrent users will be quite low so performance unlikely to be an issue.
  • Next demo is creating a new product line site
  • Our pages are not in pages libraryDon’t use approvals or version history as not required – but you could. Beware of the checkout issue though!Each site type (top level, product line, products) is encapsulated in a web template. This is a lightweight provisioning mechanism used in 2010. Sites using this mechanism will appear in the new sites popup. Configures site appropriately by activating features.
  • We wanted the same URL for internal and external users but didn’t want them to have to choose their authentication method – not very user friendly!So instead we routed users to the right authentication mechanism based on their IP address. This worked fine but beware VPN users.Next slide is presentation of order data. This is something that Milen and his team worked on so I will hand over to Milen to explain.
  • Milen to do.
  • Of course, you can run reporting services in SharePoint integrated mode, so reports can be viewed from within SharePoint
  • Upgrade first?Look at that functionality and ask yourself do you really need it? And perhaps you do? Or perhaps it’s the software equivalent of the heated car seat – “nice to have” but can live without.Summary – looked at business drivers and requirements, looked at how we did it and hopefully gave you some tips and ideas, finished with a lessons learned round-up.So that just about rounds it up, it just remains for me to thank you for listening in.


  • 1. How we did it: Building a Branded Extranet on SharePoint 2010 Foundation
    Ian Woodgate
  • 2. Introduction
    Ian Woodgate
  • 3. Why do it?
    SharePoint Server gets expensive when you’ve a large number of users – CALs or internet connection licence
  • 4. Agenda
    Business drivers
    How we did it
    Pros/cons/lessons learned
  • 5. Business Drivers
    Want to share selected intranet documents on an extranet
    Needs to look good, not “SharePointy”
    Needs to use logins from existing 3rd party system
  • 6. Business Drivers
    Ease of use and maintenance
    Platform for future partner contributions
  • 7. How we did it
    Tools and technologies
    Site structure
    Page editing
    Presentation of order data
  • 8. Approach
  • 9. Tools and Technologies
    Visual Studio 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2
    2 Server farms in test and production
    Virtualised dev, test, and production servers
    Scripted install – highly recommended
  • 10. Site Structure
    User maintained hierarchy of sites
  • 11.
  • 12. Branding
    Custom master page
    Custom CSS
    Alternative default.aspx
    Content in content editor web parts
    Custom web parts
    Web templates
    All packaged into 1 WSP
    No page layouts!
  • 13.
  • 14. Pros and Cons – Foundation
    Can’t control formatting of text
    Fewer content management features (page layouts, content query WP, placeholder fields)
    No approval workflow
    Licence costs
  • 15. Authentication
    Win Auth (claims)
    Internal user
    Active Directory
    (SharePoint Foundation)
    Third Party CRM Application
    Forms Auth (claims)
    Partner user
    Custom Membership Provider
    Custom Web Service
    Web service calls
  • 16. Presentation of Order Data
  • 17. Reporting
    Usage reports in Foundation very basic
    Roll your own with the usage database
    Present in SQL Server Reporting Services
  • 18. Lessons Learned
    It’s perfectly “doable” with Foundation
    It’s not right for more complex requirements
    Does require more skill/trust in editors
    Anticipate the “tipping point”…
    Much easier to develop than 2007
  • 19. Thank You
    Any questions?
    SharePoint UK User Group: Southampton 24 Feb