Office 365 introduction
Office 365 basically provides you with collaboration services consisting of the following components:
- E-mail (Exchange online)
- Instant messaging (Lync online)
- Internal and external websites (Sharepoint online)
- Office (either locally installed or through web apps).
I really like this service offering because of the following reasons:
- All services (and servers) are hosted by Microsoft. This means you don’t have to invest in servers, software. You also don’t have to do the initial setup nor do you have to maintain the servers, operating system and software. This all helps you to be able to focus on your core business.
- You pay monthly fees, which are predictable.
- Since you are using a cloud based service, the functionality is continuously being improved and newer versions are being provided at no additional cost. Currently Office 2013 Preview is available for testing only on Office 365, but when it is released it will probably also find its way to the current Office 365 users.
But don’t take my word for it, just try it for yourself and see if and how you can benefit from it.
Configuring anonymous access to sharepoint lists on Office 365 (Sharepoint online)
Even though I like Office 365, it is far from perfect. For example, one of the reasons for me to get and Office 365 subscription was because (I thought) it would let me easily share website links, applications, scripts using sharepoints lists to the internet.
In reality however, the public facing sharepoint site was very limited and did not provide an easy way to do this. Another option was to create these lists on my “internal” sharepoint site and then provide access to people by inviting them by e-mail. This would however limit my audience / knowledge sharing potential.
After searching for people with similar issues, I came across a workaround that would help me accomplish my goals: http://anonymous365.codeplex.com
Steps to configure a sharepoint list on my public facing sharepoint site that is accessible for anonymous users:
- Download the anonymous365 sharepoint solution from http://anonymous365.codeplex.com
- Go to the “Site Settings” of your public facing site using by example :
- Go to the “Galleries” section and go to “Solutions“.
- Click under the “Name” colume and in the ribbon interface under the “Solutions” tab choose “Upload Solution“.
- Browse to the previously downloaded anonymous365 sharepoint solution : “Wsp365.Anonymous.wsp” and press “OK“.
- Check the checkbox of the uploaded “Wsp365.Anonymous.wsp” and in the ribbon interface under the “Solutions” tab choose “Activate“.
- The go to the “All Site Content” of your public facing site using by example:
- Press “Create“
- Choose the list type you want, enter a name and press “Create“.
- Then in the ribbon interface under “List Tools” and “List” press the button “Anonymous Access“
- Choose what access you want to give anonymous users for this specific list and press “OK”.
PS: You can also use a list to share files using the attachments.
I hope this explanation was helpful and I love to get feedback. Because the groundwork is done now, I can focus on the actual knowledge sharing by populating the lists with content. So you can expect some major updates soon on both my blog posts and the lists below: