I recently presented a session at SharePoint Saturday New York City about Office 365 Small Business. In preparation for the session, I was deciding on how I could best showcase what is possible with O365 and how I could use it in my daily life. Any of you have given O365 for a spin probably soon realized that the limitations to the Public Web Site are enough to sour the taste enough to consider abandoning the product. While attempting to create a public facing blog using O365, I found myself encountering issues when accessing the blog anonymously. I thought it would be easy enough to create a subsite of my public site (using a blog template) and things would just work. I was wrong. It seemed that, as an anonymous user, with every click I was presented with prompts for authentication. This made my blog almost entirely unusable. I found a very good workaround on Martin Hatch’s blog which describes how to modify the AnonPermMask64 property, but his WSP solution falls short of my needs to open up other areas of the blog such as Links and Photos, as well as opening up other areas of my public website. Never fear, the Anonymous Access List Permissionator (AALP) Web Part is here. The purpose of the web part is to provide a way to set the AnonPermMask64 permissions for any list within your SPWeb (including the RootWeb).
The AALP web part is a no-frills way to manage Anonymous Access permissions in any web on your site. After activating the WSP within your sandbox, the web part is added to your Web Part gallery. Simply add it to any page within your website. The web part will let you select from a drop down for which list in your website you want to modify permissions. After selecting the list, the existing permissions will be shown and you will be able to multi-select what your desired permissions will be for the Anonymous Users.
I started by granting the ViewListItems, ViewFormPages, Open, ViewPages permissions to the following lists:
I also added the AddListItems to the Comments list to enable Anonymous comments to blog posts.
What this essentially allows me to do is use Microsoft Word to create and edit my blog posts as well as copy and paste photos directly into Word before publishing (I’m using it right now for this blog post). It just works the way it should! Be sure to turn on approval for the Comments list!
Now you are able to open up your limited O365 Small Business website in any way you see fit. I’ve made some quick additions to the Root site as well by allowing Anonymous Users to access the ‘Documents’ and ‘SiteImages’ libraries as well as others (such as ‘Announcements’) to create a more configurable experience. With a little elbow grease, restyling the Master Page and adding web parts will make the locked down public site more appealing as an inexpensive way to present content to the public.
The Anonymous Access List Permissionator is free for use and is available here as a WSP and full Visual Studio Source Code: