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CSOM

Removing Permissions for Viewing Modern Personal Blogs in Office 365

A personal blog can be a great tool for you to contribute your thoughts and ideas. Office 365 provides the capability for everyone to have a personal blog that can be accessed via your profile page. 

When you create a new blog post this will be automatically be view-able by all employees. If you do not want to have this capability or manage this in any way it can be done via PowerShell. The example I put together will remove viewers access from all existing blogs so they can only be seen by the owner.

To get started we need a high level understanding of what these blogs are and how they work. I won’t go into all of the details of this because Benjamin Niaulin has already put it together in this great post:

The highlights to support this post are:

  • When a user follows the links to create a new blog post a new site collection is built with the managed path of /portals/personal with a site name of your user account
    • i.e. tenant.sharepoint.com/portals/personal/dmadelung
    • These are not viewable in any SP Admin center and Get-SPOSite will not work
  • Site collections are only built after a user initiates the creation so not all users will have one
  • Blog posts (stories) are creates at pages in the pages library on your site collection
  • Permissions are handled with SharePoint permissions and inherited down with a Contributors, Creators, and Viewers SharePoint Group
    • The viewers group includes “Everyone except external users” by default
  • The blogs are NOT deleted when a user leaves like their OneDrive site collection

And here are details the details from Microsoft around personal blog posts in Office 365:

Removing existing permissions via PowerShell

As this is all hosted in SharePoint there could be multiple ways that we can control these. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to control things as scale but there is a small UserVoice submission for it. What I wanted to ensure was that creators could still get to their content but no one else could view anything. The path I took to manage these was through PowerShell and CSOM (Client Side Object Model)

Here is link to the GitHub repo and I will break it down below along with the script.

Here are some key things to note:

  • I can not confirm that doing this is the best practice but it was the easiest way I found to control these without a any administrator controls available to us. 
  • This is currently built to run on demand but could be updated to run on a schedule via something like Azure Automation.
    • To catch everything it will need to run on a schedule because any future sites will not be caught.
  • This could be updated to be used as a reporting tool or identification tool for cleanup.
  • I would comment out the actual removal of the permissions and put some logging in to test before fully running.
    • Also if you have any changes please update the repo!
  • This queries the user profile service in SharePoint Online to get the full list of users which could be huge.
    • I didn’t test this on a very large environment so this could take awhile to run or need to be enhanced for scale.
  • All of the user profile gathering was copied from this post from Microsoft on how to display a list of OneDrive for Business site collections

To get started with CSOM & PowerShell with SharePoint Online here is a good blog post from Chris O’Brien. You can get the latest version of SharePoint Online CSOM here. If you download the nuget file you can change the file extension to .zip and extract the .dlls.

To utilize the script make sure you fill out the appropriate variables and more information about what this will do is below the script. Make sure you test any script you get online before you really run it!

The end result will be that all existing blog sites will have anyone in the Viewers SharePoint Group removed

Before…

After..

Sharing a File in SharePoint Online or OneDrive with PowerShell

I have been diving into doing larger scale operations in SharePoint Online using the Client Side Object Model (CSOM) utilizing PowerShell and ran into a scenario that I couldn’t easily find documented anywhere. What I wanted to do was technically “share” a file with a specific user and have that user receive an email just like if it was done through the GUI. What I didn’t want to see is just the breaking of permissions. What I found was the Web.ShareObject method and this great blog post from Vesa Juvonen in 2015

Once I found this I started working on putting this into a useful PowerShell format. To get started with CSOM & PowerShell with SharePoint Online here is a good blog post from Chris O’Brien. You can get the latest version of SharePoint Online CSOM here. If you download the nuget file you can change the file extension to .zip and extract the .dlls.

Here is link to the GitHub rep and I will break it down below along with the script. Here are some key things to note:

  • The Web.ShareObject method has been updated since the Vesa blog post with a parameter called useSimplifiedRoles that can be used for utilizing modern sharing
  • SharePoint PnP has extended the sharing APIs and built a sample that can be used
  • This script is built to share a file based on filename within a site to a single user
  • This works on SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business
  • It will share as the user who runs the script
  • This script could be updated to share a site or to multiple people
  • You can share with Edit or View permission based on the roleValue
  • It doesn’t replicate the modern sharing UI in capabilities exactly (more of what occurs details below)

To utilize the script make sure you fill out the appropriate variables and more information about what this will do is below the script. 

Starting from a non shared file this is what you will see based on different configurations:

Sharing with useSimplifiedRoles set to $true and sendEmail set to $true

  • The file does not have inheritance broken

  • After initiating the ShareObject, inheritance is broken but you don’t see any changes

  • The person being shared to receives an email that the person who ran the script wants to share a file with you and you will see the email subject is preset but the email body is included

  • Once the person being shared to clicks on the link you can see a new ‘Managed Links’ section in the item permissions

  • If you follow that link you will see the item is now shared with that individual

Sharing with useSimplifiedRoles set to $true and sendEmail set to $false

  • The file does not have inheritance broken
  • After initiating the ShareObject, inheritance is broken but you don’t see any changes if the user tries to access the file through the document library
  • There is a new link viewable in the modern manage access section showing a new sharing link and that someone can access via that link

  • If the user accesses the file via that link you can see a new ‘Managed Links’ section in the item permissions and you can see that user in the Shared with section

 

Sharing with useSimplifiedRoles set to $false and sendEmail set to $false

  • The file does not have inheritance broken
  • After initiating the ShareObject, inheritance is broken but you don’t see any changes even after a user accesses the file, that means this does nothing but break inheritance

Sharing with useSimplifiedRoles set to $false and sendEmail set to $true

  • The file does not have inheritance broken
  • After initiating the ShareObject, inheritance is broken but you don’t see any changes
  • Once a user accesses the file via the link in the email they are granted permissions directly to the file (contribute instead of edit)

Ending…

After putting this together I realized I don’t really have a great use case to actually use this. Either way it was a good learning experience for me as I am just getting started into this kind of CSOM & PowerShell work and maybe it will come in handy for someone else in the future. 

Hide Sync for Sites via PowerShell in SharePoint Online – Offline Client Availablity

Offline Client Availability is built within SharePoint to “Prevent users from downloading content from a site” via MS support.   There is not a way that I am aware of to fully stop existing syncs, but what is capable is to hide the Sync option from the views within the document library.  This setting can be done at the site and the library level.  

When working at the site level, this setting actually exists at the “Web” level within SharePoint.  This means its not a site collection level and needs to be set per site, including all subsites. 


What it looks like when done

This is what you will see with this setting set to NO:

Modern experience (no sync option)

Classic experience (sync option greyed out)


This is what you see with this setting set to YES:

Modern experience

Classic experience


Setting via Browser

The Offline Client Availability option can be set by single site under…

  1. On the site, click Settings > Site Settings.
  2. Under Search, click Search and offline availability.
  3. In the Offline Client Availability section, select No.


 

Setting via PowerShell powershell2

There was a good discussion going on within the MS Tech Community site around the ability to restrict sync via scripting and I tried to put together what I could to support it.  Obviously it would be tedious to try to set that for all sites and subsites across your tenant.  This was my first published attempt for CSOM so I used some great references to get me through it and this is probably rough around the edges.  All feedback is helpful!

Setting this CSOM web property (ExcludeFromOfflineClient) to true does not disable synchronization. Instead, it represents a recommendation to the client not to attempt synchronization via technet.

Ensure that you update the <script path> section near the header with the path to your CSOM files. Ensure you have at least the August 2016 version of CSOM.  Link to latest Nuget for download.

Link to download most recent version of powershell script from TechNet gallery

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Used helpful references 

So much good info already out there that helped me get started; Thank you!