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SharePoint 2013 FBA Pack: Usable Forms Based Authentication for SharePoint

| by Jonathan Allen on May 27, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

While it supports some basic Forms Based Authentication operations, SharePoint lacks many of the features necessary to properly use FBA. Projects such as the SharePoint 2013 FBA Pack by Chris Coulson fill in the gaps.

InfoQ: SharePoint is usually thought of as a tool for building internal websites where authentication is handled by Active Directory. Why did you decide to create a forms based authentication system for it?

Chris: It’s true; SharePoint is mostly used internally and with Active Directory authentication. However there are many cases where organizations want people from the outside to access their SharePoint site, such as giving suppliers access or using SharePoint as a public web site. I was working on Charity Focus, a public website that was built on SharePoint, when I was surprised to find out that there was no built in functionality to manage forms based users. Even more surprising, I couldn’t find any add-ons for SharePoint 2010 that would do the job. I imagined that if I needed this functionality, many others probably needed it as well, which is why I decided to create the FBA Pack.

InfoQ: What were the specific features that SharePoint 2010 was lacking when it comes to forms based authentication?

SharePoint 2010 only comes with a login page for forms based authentication - it was missing everything else. So it needed facilities to register new users, allow users to change their passwords and allow users to reset their password if they forgot it. It also needed administration tools, so that administrators could add/remove/edit users and reset their passwords.

InfoQ: Have any of those areas since been addressed in later versions of SharePoint?

Not yet, no. SharePoint 2013 still only includes the login page. A SharePoint 2013 version of the FBA Pack was released to address these missing features.

InfoQ: Does this use the standard membership and role providers? Or is something else needed?

It works with the standard SQL membership and role providers.

The SharePoint 2013 FBA Pack is available on CodePlex under the Microsoft Public License.

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