Thursday, August 03, 2017

Customize ExCM's Responsive Sign-in Page


Want a highly-polished, great looking extranet portal without engaging a skilled graphic designer and web developer? So do we! If you figure out how, let us in on the secret. Until that is possible, we can give you a few tips on turning ExCM's new out-of-the-box responsive  extranet sign-in page into a slightly customized page. If you just want to personalize the page with custom wording and maybe an image, read on because we can help you see how to do that.
 Extranet Collaboration Manager (ExCM) for SharePoint 2013 R2 and 2016 now ships with an optional responsive sign in page located here: /_layouts/spsolutions/excm/responsive/signin.aspx


After changing this setting you should see this new log in page if you browse to your extranet site:



Please note that the above image reflects the anonymous feature activated. If it is not enabled in your environment, you will not see the "Don't have an account?" "sign up" button. 
The first thing you need to do is make a copy of the existing page and place it in a new folder. We typically call this the "Organization Layout Directory" because it's simply creating a new folder under the "15\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS" directory that we can use for customized pages.

Important Note:  The instructions below assume you are working in a SharePoint 2013 environment.  As such, the starting point for making the customizations is within the "15" folder at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions.  If you are working in a SharePoint 2016 environment, everything will be exactly the same, but you will start at the "16" folder instead.
 You will need to navigate to the following:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS  (or the "16" folder for SharePoint 2016)

Once there, click on "New Folder" and name it, perhaps using your company's name or acronym. For this example, I will be working with ACME Co.


Next, you will need to make a copy of the existing page and place it in your new folder. To do so, navigate to:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\SPSolutions\ExCM\Responsive

Now, find the "SignIn.aspx" page and copy it:
 


After copying the page, paste it in the new Organization Layouts Directory (ACME in our example):
 


Now you can edit your page using Notepad, or another editor. The first thing we are going to change is the wording “sign in using:” To do so we need to search for Text="<%$Resources:excm,AuthProviders_SignInUsing %> 


We simply place the text we wish to appear in between the quotes. For our demo we will use “Acme users click below”
Once saved, we need to change the log in page to point to our new Acme folder

Then, we can browse out to the site and see the change has been made.

If you think that is still not enough and you need to change the wording of the button, you can do so. Just a few more lines down you will find the text Text='<%# DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem, "ClaimProviderName") %>'. Replace everything in the quotes with the text you want to appear.

Browse out to the site and see your new button text;

But that is all the simple stuff, what if we want to get fancy with it. Lets add an image or change some colors… where do we go for that? This page was built so that anyone with web design experience could easily work with and build a great looking page. So, if you really want a snazzy portal, I suggest you find yourself a designer and ask them to help. With the way this custom page was built, it should be very easy for them to get you the desired look in no time and it be done the correct way.
For now, we will show you how to add an image with some simple HTML. If you wanted to add an image just above the “Acme users click below” text, you can navigate to the section of the page just above the “Acme users click below” line and add the following line of text;

My image is sitting in the 15/template/images folder and thus my image source points to my desired image.
Now, when I browse out I should see an image

In short, we offer a great page that has been designed so that a professional designer could make quick work with customizing your entry page and it will be able to fit the size of any device that browses out to the page. However, if you want to make some quick edits, you should be able to do so with these instructions.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Decomission That Old Server (Move Extranet Service)



So you have an old Web Front End server. It has been a good ‘un (as we say in the south) a real work horse, but for numerous different reasons, it is time to “decommission” the ole gal and get a new work horse in place. You are going to keep the old WFE in place while you build up a new one and get them to look identical before taking the old one offline. One problem, you notice you are running this extranet service and you cannot get it installed on the new server. What is a horse farmer, I mean server admin to do?

First, Add the new server to the farm. Provision all necessary services except those that can only run on one server (like UPS and probably Search topology and of course the Extranet Service). For the rest of these steps, I will only focus on the ExCMExtranetService, additional services will need to be deployed as needed in your environment.



Next, stop the ExCM Service.




Once stopped, delete the ExCM service application (if there is one). Now you are ready to remove the extranet service using the Remove-ExCMExtranetService.



Now you are ready to remove the server from the farm.

With the old server out of the farm, you will want to retract and redeploy the ExCM solution. Now, you will need to start the service on the new farm. The way the service gets started is when you activate certain features of ExCM; features like Extranet Account Managers, Authentication Provider Mapping, user automation, etc. Chances are you have already activated these features, which is why you see the service in your farm to begin with. If you do not need to activate one of these features, then you can also start the service by running the “New-ExCMExtranetService”


As you can see from the below screenshot, I now have the service running on the new server.





Lastly, browse out to your extranet site and ensure that you can log in. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Business Extranets that are Cost-effective and Highly-secure


In this webinar we cover many of the features that make SharePoint a highly-secure and cost-effective business extranet platform:



Monday, March 13, 2017

Upcoming Webinar: Business Extranets that are Cost-effective and Highly Secure


We'll be conducting a one hour webinar on cost-effective and highly secure business extranets on Wednesday, March 15 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

To attend, go register here:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5539599446641350659

Here is the description for what we will be covering:

Join us for an informative look at how to use SharePoint (2016, 2013, or 2010) to provide cost-effective, highly secure, and user-friendly on-premises business extranets for collaboration with customers, vendors and other business partners.

We will look at techniques for:

  • Allowing internal users to easily and securely invite external business partners to join private extranet collaboration sites 
  • Automatically enforcing security and governance policies as external users create accounts from invitations and join sites 
  • Oversee and govern external user Forms-based Authentication (FBA) accounts with minimal workload for SharePoint Administrators 
  • Automating the extranet site request and provisioning process for extranet sites to ensure that it is fast and easy for users to obtain properly provisioned sites as new customers\vendors\projects are initiated 

Questions are welcome during and after the webinar.

We'll be doing the demos using SharePoint 2016, but SharePoint 2010 and 2013 are still applicable as well.

Come join us and learn about how to have a business-grade extranet!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Webinar: Using SharePoint for Client Extranets for Law, Accounting, Engineering, and Consulting Firms


Webinar Date: Wednesday, January 18
Using SharePoint for Client Extranets in Professional Services Firms


Time: 11 a.m. EST U.S. 

Register here

SharePoint, combined with Extranet Collaboration Manager (ExCM), makes an excellent platform for a Client Extranet for professional services firms such as:


  • Law Firms,
  • Accounting Firms,
  • Engineering Firms,
  • IT Consulting Firms,
  • Management Consulting Firms,
  • Advertising and PR Agencies,
  • and other Professional Services firms,