Creating mailing lists for SharePoint sites and blogs [No Code Required] – Introduction

NOTE : This article was published on EndUserSharePoint.com a couple of weeks ago and because of the wonderful feedback I received, I decided to cross-post it here too.

Last week, I worked on creating a mailing list for a public facing SharePoint site. I really had some constraints because I was only allowed to use SharePoint Designer and the browser. I’m not used to these situations because I am mainly a software engineer. However, it was a very nice experience. I applied lots of knowledge and I worked around the constraints. I decided to put the experience and workarounds together into an educational series of articles to help SharePoint end users and administrators create their own mailing list without writing a single line of .NET code.

Here is a snapshot of what I ended up with last week:

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Requirements
  1. A SharePoint form is needed, from which anonymous users can send requests to join the mailing list. We need this information to be stored somewhere on our SharePoint site.
  2. The form should be customized to validate the e-mail addresses entered by anonymous users. We also need the validation to be client-sided rather than the
    server-sided. Validation provided out of the box.
  3. When filling out the form, users should select their countries from a drop down list, which holds all the countries of the world.
  4. We need to first approve those requests before allowing users to receive our letters.
  5. Once a request is approved, an e-mail should be sent informing him/her of the approval of the request and telling how to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
  6. List administrators should be able to send e-mails to all the approved and registered users specifying some filters. For instance, the list administrator should be capable of sending e-mails to all the registered users from Canada.
After completing this set of articles, you should be capable of:
  1. Creating and configuring SharePoint Lists using SharePoint Designer.
  2. Configuring anonymous contributions for SharePoint Lists.
  3. Creating simple SharePoint Designer workflows for sending confirmation mail to list subscribers.
  4. Configuring content approval for share point lists.
  5. Creating custom SharePoint list forms.
  6. Creating Client-Side validation for SharePoint list forms.
  7. Using Data Form Web Part.
  8. Connecting SharePoint Lists to Outlook.
  9. Using the Word 2007 Mail Merge feature with SharePoint Lists.
  10. Using and creating SharePoint List Templates.
  11. Hiding SharePoint lists.
  12. Using lookup columns in SharePoint lists.

In the next part, we will create a SharePoint list based on the Contacts template provided by SharePoint. We will configure the list to allow anonymous contribution but not anonymous access. In other words, anonymous users should be able to add items but not navigate to the list data. Stay Tuned

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