posted on June 1, 2006 2:23 PM by Kurt
Forms Authentication in SharePoint 2007 - still not stable in beta 2
Ever since Microsoft announced that SharePoint 2007 would include the ability to use pluggable authentication providers, I have been psyched about upgrading to 2007. For each project that I do at Infusion, there is nearly always the request of setting up a collaboration site, usually in SharePoint. In 2003, we were forced to use Active Directory authentication, so I would have to pollute our CORP domain with the outsider authentications.
Yes, I know there were probably better ways of doing this. If you're a Network Admin, you've likely come up with at least 3 different ways as a work around, but the key is that none are out-of-the-box and easy to set up. The attraction of SharePoint 2007 is that it promised out-of-the-box support for the AspNetSqlMembershipProvider - a new feature from ASP Net 2.0. It has it's own database structure for managing your logins, just run some install scripts and you're done. Managing the users in the database is a little annoying, but it's definitely a manageable thing.
From my experiences, SharePoint 2007 provides the functionality out-of-the-box. But it isn't easy to set up.
In each version of SharePoint that I've worked with (DogFood 4/Alpha 1, Beta 1, Beta 1 TR, and Beta 2), Forms Authentication was a *nightmare* to implement. And I'm not trying to exaggerate - I've never been able to get it in less than 4 - 5 hours of tinkering. That's including the latest version, Beta 2.
This week I will be writing a series of articles that deal with the majority of the problems I've encountered while using Beta 2 Forms Authentication. I am pretty sure that if you use Forms Auth, then you've run into them. After fixing these problems, Forms Authentication works. And it's wonderful - it's one of those features that once you have it working, it's tough to live without.
A great feature it will be, once this code finally makes it to production quality. But until then, it's at least a 4 hour head ache - fair warning. Hopefully these posts will be able to save you a little time.