User Profiles and My Sites

Excerpt by John Underwood | August 20, 2013

Although you can view and modify a user's profile properties in Shared Services Administration, your users cannot, and they need a way to update their information. SharePoint Server provides this functionality with My Sites. However, My Sites have much more functionality than the basic ability to work with profile properties. A My Site is a self-service personalized site that contains private pages that are visible only to the owner of the site. A My Site allows consumption and manipulation of data of interest to the owner-a private dashboard. It also contains pages that are visible to the public and/or the site owner's colleagues. My Sites also serve an important role in creating a unified experience between SharePoint and the Office client applications and in targeting links to specific audiences based on profile data.

Configuring My Sites

You configure My Sites by using SharePoint Central Administration and The User Profile Service Application page you used earlier in the chapter. A My Site uses a normal site definition. The site definition specifies a dependency that requires you to create My Site instances only within a specialized site collection based on the My Site Host site definition. You can create a My Site Host by using either the standard Create Site Collection page or by specifying that SharePoint create one automatically when you create a new User Profile Service Application.

A single instance of the User Profile Service Application supports exactly one My Site Host. However, it is possible to have more than one instance of the User Profile Service Application in an environment, and therefore more than one My Sites host. This is common in large portals that span multiple geographic locations. The My Sites Settings configuration includes:

  • Setup My Sites: Specifies the location of the My Site Host as well as the managed path for My Sites.
  • Configure Trusted Host Locations: Connects multiple instances of the User Profile Service Application.
  • Configure Personalization Site: Adds personalization site navigation links to the My Site left navigation.
  • Publish Links to Office Client Applications: Publishes links to SharePoint sites and lists when opening and saving documents from Office client applications.
  • Manage Social Tags and Notes: Finds, manages, and deletes social tags.

Linking to Office Client Applications

You can cause a user's My Site to associate specific document libraries with their local machine profile. These libraries will appear in the Save dialog box when users work with Microsoft Office applications. This important functionality can encourage users to save public documents to appropriate libraries. Without this functionality, they are much less likely to put their documents in appropriate locations because they must manually add the locations. You can target links to users with simple rules based on information found in their profile or by their group memberships.

Personalization Links

You can also target links to appear on a My Site's Quick Launch menu by creating personalization links. Personalization links, like links to Office client applications, are an invaluable way to direct users to content without a lot of effort or training. As with links to Office applications, you can target personalization links to users with simple rules based on information within their profiles or by their group memberships.  

John.UnderwoodThis post is an excerpt from the online courseware for our Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management course written by expert John Underwood.

John Underwood

John Underwood is a technical evangelist for a SharePoint consulting company with 30 years of programming experience, including 20 years on the Microsoft platform and 10 years with .NET. John also has extensive experience using, configuring, and programming SharePoint. He is a seasoned instructor with experience in classroom education, online/distance learning, and courseware authoring. John’s professional certifications include MCSD for .NET: Enterprise Applications and Microsoft Certified Trainer.

This course excerpt was originally posted August 20, 2013 from the online courseware SharePoint 2010: Enterprise Content Management by John Underwood