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Self-Service Site Creation Isn’t Exactly About Creating Sites

Like many SharePoint consultant types, I’ve been exposed to a lot of SharePoint functionality.  Some times, I dive pretty deep.  Other times I just notice it as I’m flying by to another set of menu options.  One of those is "self-service site creation."  I haven’t had a need for it until this week.

This week, I need to solve a business problem which I think is going to become more common as companies loosen up and embrace more direct end user control over SharePoint.  In this case, I’ve designed a site template to support a specific end user community.  Folks in this community should be able to create their own sites at will using this template whenever the urge strikes them.

I recalled seeing "self-service site creation" before and I’ve always tucked that away in the back of my head thinking that "self service site creation" is SharePoint lingo meaning, obviously enough, something like "turn me on if you want end users to be able to create sites when they want to."

So, I turn it on, try it out and for me, it’s not creating sites.  It’s creating site collections.   Pretty big difference.  That’s not what I want, not at all.

It is possible to let end users create new sub sites via a custom permission level.  This is exactly where I would have gone in the first place except that the label "self-service site creation" label deceived me.  Via twitter, I learn that it’s deceived others as well 🙂

I’m still working out how to provide a little bit of a more streamlined process while staying purely out of the box, but there’s a definite path to follow.  Just don’t get distracted by that label.

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6 responses to “Self-Service Site Creation Isn’t Exactly About Creating Sites

  1. Dan May 4, 2009 at 12:16 am

    You\’re right that this can be deceiving. The one thing to realize though is that if you have a purely collaborative environment for a particular web application outside of the core locked down web app in your environment, this comes in pretty handy 🙂 Power to the people! Viva las SharePoint! Course, if you turn this on, make sure that quotas are applied by default, else it could get messy…

  2. Eric May 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I have a question…is it possibel to create a workflow that the user can kick off to generate a site based on a template?

  3. Paul May 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Eric, yes, it\’s definitely possible. However, it\’s not available out of the box. I\’ve done this using a custom action in SharePoint Designer workflow that invokes a web service that creates the site… It\’s not terribly hard, but it takes some effort.Are you comfortable coding and that kind of thing? If so, I can give you some pointers.

  4. Ved May 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I was wondering….When SharePoint allows creating Top level site collection by "Self Service enabling"; why do they not provide the functionality of selecting quota templates for sites being created from this page. Anybody havind any idea if this is possible?

  5. Jason May 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I agree with Dan, collaboration sites especially those that users can create on a whim should be site collections in a "siloed" off area of the farm. In my experience, collaboration sites within the IA of the "Information Portal" causes more issues down the track like database size, archive/recovery of sites, maintainability… I say give collaboration users the autonomy by giving them their own playground (site collection) and have policy in place for when they do something stupid like accidently delete thier own site – hey since it\’s a site collection at least it\’ll be easier to recover!

  6. Unknown October 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Ved, you have to set the default quota in the \’Web application general settings\’ in Central Administration. Once this is set, any new site collections created on the specified web app using SSSC will have this quota applied.

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