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Set up SharePoint sites with user profiles and SSP correctly

SharePoint 2007 sites that are created can have many configuration options, due to this some options can be overlooked.  Most users are able to set the options that are in the Central Administration without any trouble because all of the options are in one place.  The trouble usually comes with setting options for the Site Collection like the search scopes or variation settings.  One setting that most people forget to set is the Portal Site Connection setting that we will look at in this post.

Setting the Portal Site Connection values

The Portal Site Connection description on the setting page doesn't really make a lot of sense for what it does.  In fact from reading the description you may not think you need to set the value.  This setting does help set up the site correctly and when using this setting the functionality of some of the pages changes.  For instance, with the portal site connection enabled you are providing a link to another portal in the global navigation (Figure 1) and the user profiles show their My Site page (Figure 2).

Want steps to set up a portal site connection? Check out instructions here:


Figure 1

Display Users My Site Page from userdisp.aspx

Another use for the portal site connection is linking the user profiles to their display page in My Site.  However, this will only work if the user has a profile in the Shared Service user profile store. Once the portal site connection is set and assuming the user has a profile, when you click on a user's name, such as http://sharepoint.devcow.com/_layouts/userdisp.aspx?ID=16, it will take you to their My Site page. 

Figure 2

Display for users without Shared Service Profiles

Many people have commented that this doesn't work for all of their site users especially FBA users. If you don't have a user profile set up in the Shared Service profile, SharePoint cannot resolve the user for a My Site view.  Instead, you will get the standard WSS view that you get for the user profile.  You might notice something a little different though - the page shows all of the fields in the display page (userdisp.aspx), but only shows a read only view of the users login and edit columns for user defined columns in the edit page (useredit.aspx).  This happens when you add the site to a Shared Service provider because the User Info list is modified to not show those values in the edit mode.

Steps to set up a Site Collection

Putting this all together now, here are the steps to correctly set up your Site Collection if you are using a Shared Service provider with the web application and also using the user profile store.

  1. Create a web application and create a site collection (http://www.pptspaces.com/sharepointreporterblog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=21)
  2. Add a Shared Service provider (http://www.pptspaces.com/sharepointreporterblog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=18)
  3. This is a key step that is usually missed!  Setup the Portal Site Connection values (http://blogs.msdn.com/wael/archive/2007/07/01/how-to-change-the-view-from-userdisp-aspx-to-mysite-view.aspx).  In some cases I was able to remove the Portal Site Connection afterwards, or at least point to another site that is really the main Intranet site - such as http://intranet.

It appears there is a flag or setting that tells the userdisp page to use a Shared Service provider.  It may be a bug that the flag does not get set when associated a Site Collection to a Shared Service Provider.  Maybe the flag should get set automatically when the Site Collection is added to the Shared Service provider, because the User Info List is modified when it is added.

Community Kit for SharePoint (CKS) - Internet/Extranet Edition (IEE)

If you are interested in user profiles for the Internet or using Forms Based Authentication (FBA), we will have a release of the IEE project soon.  This should have some enhancements for storing user profiles with FBA as well as being able to edit them from the user interface.  Check out the site http://www.codeplex.com/cks.

Possible Problems

NOTE: In trying this out, I have come across some bizarre actions.

Here are some of the things I have seen.

1. Setting the Portal Site Connection of a Site Collection without a Shared Service Provider added that site to the Shared Service provider.  Prior to changing the Portal Site Connection value the Site Collection did not have a shared service provider associated with it.

2. After setting up the Portal Site Connection and testing that the users display the MySite page, I removed the Portal Site Connection.  After I performed these actions, the users with profiles still display the MySite page from the userdisp.aspx page.   

Published 08-09-2007 07:58 by Brendon Schwartz
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About Brendon Schwartz

Brendon Schwartz has worked in the Atlanta area User Group scene and is known around town as one of the Atlanta .Net Regular Guys (www.devcow.com). He is currently on the INETA Board of Directors as the Vice President of Technology and is a Microsoft MVP for ASP.NET. Today, Brendon works to solve real world business problems with Microsoft technologies, such as SharePoint, Office, BizTalk, VSTS, and .NET technologies. In addition to presenting at local user groups, he helped create the Free Training 1,2,3! series (www.freetraining123.com) to help developers learn Microsoft technologies. He presented material at the first SharePoint 1,2,3! event (www.sharepoint123.com) along with other members of the Atlanta Microsoft Professionals. Brendon has helped on the leadership teams of five different user groups, and has been interviewed for his community efforts on Pod Casts - including the ASP.NET Pod Cast, .NET Rocks! (Carl Franklin Road Show - Atlanta) and the SharePoint Show Pod Cast. At the first Atlanta Code Camp in 2005, he presented material on ASP.NET mobile controls.
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