Enabling Declarative Workflows for Anonymous Users in SP2010/2007

Christophe asked a question about how to allow anonymous users to start workflows in SharePoint 2010. The question spread on both Twitter and SharePointOverflow before I had a chance to answer directly, so I’m posting the response here rather than trying to chase all the locations Smile

By default, anonymous access to run declarative workflows are disabled. This only affects anonymous users because a workflow started by an anonymous user would need to be assigned special credentials that would exceed the normal permissions of the anonymous user. For authenticated users, the workflows run with the credentials of that user, but there are no such credentials for anonymous users.

This situation occurs when you’re trying to email enable lists that have automatically launched workflows attached. In these scenarios, anonymous users can send emails to a list and have a workflow start, regardless of their permissions on the list.

It’s actually a very useful feature, and I’ve described such a scenario as part of a solution in an article I wrote several years ago on SharePoint Designer Workflows. Back then, anonymous access was enabled by default. In WSS3 SP1, Microsoft changed the behavior to not allow anonymous access at all, but allowed it if you set a special property in WSS SP2.

You can enable anonymous workflow access by setting the declarativeworkflowautostartonemailenabled property on the farm, either using SharePoint Manager 2010 or through PowerShell or STSADM:

stsadm -o setproperty -pn declarativeworkflowautostartonemailenabled -pv true

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Why I Stick With Visual Studio 2008 for SharePoint 2010 Development

People seem surprised when I start up my development environment to to SharePoint 2010 development. The surprise comes from seeing the Visual Studio 2008 logo flashes before their eyes.

“What you’re not using the latest and greatest? How come?”

I’ll tell you why, and I’ve already given you a slight hint. “The Visual Studio log flashes before their eyes”, indicating speed. Visual Studio 2008 is lightning fast.

I tried working on every edition of Visual Studio 2010 from the early betas. Compared to the earliest versions, the RTM version seems like a race car where the old versions were various species of snail.

Despite this, Visual Studio 2010 feels like a snail when compared to its old brother. I write a lot, not just code, so perhaps my typing speed is higher than average. I always feel the IntelliSense is sluggish and just a bit too slow to keep up. I try this on massive machines as well, sporting 16 GB of ram, so it’s not a hardware issue. Granted, I run this in a VM, but I’ve never had problems with this in 2008, so I blame 2010.

The thing I’m missing from 2010 is the smart IntelliSense that searches the entire words of methods and properties. I’ve grown so accustomed to the SharePoint object model, however, that the times when I need to search for methods and properties are few. It’s nice for exploration, but not enough to warrant the slower speed.

The next thing people ask is why I’m not using the fancy SP2010 tools. I’ll tell you why: They suck.

Yeah, there you go, I used the word again. I just don’t think the hype is worth the quality of the final product.

When I meet SP2010 developers who have previously worked with SP2007 development, they all say the same thing: the tools are bells and whistles, and takes away your feeling of control. Sure, for kids, it is nice to click around to give the impression of doing stuff. Compared to VSeWSS, I’m sure it’s great.

The two developers I’ve met that used the horrible VSeWSS tool previously are thrilled, and I can understand that. When what you’re coming from is your balls in a thumbscrew (ladies will just have to imagine something extremely painful, and no, giving birth isn’t as painful), then sitting on a bicycle with a missing seat must seem like heaven.

So what do I use? I stick with trusty old WSPBuilder. Heck, the experience is just as good as it always has been and the control is rivaled by no other tool.

Despite what seems to be a rumor, WSPBuilder is far from dead. I heard that Carsten Keutmann had decided to cancel the WSPBuilder project. I wrote him asking if this was true and he said that he was just pausing to see where the SP2010 tools and community headed.

I can tell you right now, Carsten, it’s headed for disaster, but because the lack of competition. With the SP2010 tools, you’re stuck in a maze trying to get control over your project, but ending up with nothing what you expect.

So the SP2010 fanclub says: “The tools are great once you learn how to use them!” to which I can reply that, you know, even if that were true, and I doubt it, I want to learn SharePoint, not how to use a particular tool. When there’s a learning curve for a tool beyond 5 minutes, the tool is faulty.

WSPBuilder FTW! Carsten, get yer behind in gear and get back to giving us the development experience we want.


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SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflow Issue Out

Phew… USP Journal issue 2/2 is out.

I announced the plans to write a journal issue on SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows back in February and started working on it at the same time.

I had originally intended to use this announcement blog post to complain and moan about how long it took, how hard I’ve worked, and so on, but honestly, that’s not what you want to hear, so let me just skip to the facts, deviously stolen from the journal web page.

This issue targets beginning developers and business users looking to save organizations time and money by automating business processes (that’s written for your boss, not you).

With your purchase, you will get the beautifully illustrated (not my words, honest) 143 page journal issue plus over four hours of video content, including a recorded lecture from USPJ Academy on SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow types.

Topics covered in the issue are:

  • Workflow in a NutShell
  • Introduction to SharePoint Designer workflows
  • Your first SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow
  • Initiation forms and parameters
  • Working with variables
  • Collecting data from users
  • Workflow lookups
  • …plus many more

What else do you need to know?

Ah, where to buy:


Go on, you know you want it. And I want to get rich, so why not buy two copies, so you can have one in your wallet and one in the bedroom?


PS: I searched for SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows and found an article I wrote over a year ago about SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow features, before any public beta, based on what I found in the menus of an early version of SPD2010. Funny how virtually everything is spot on, even thought at the time I hadn’t seen anything beyond two error messages 🙂

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