I am working on writing up a concept for hosted Windows SharePoint Services environment through FPWeb for a potential customer. Here's my scenario.
Using a basic package (cheaper) to start off with, my customer wants to allow her customers to log in to simply swap files with her. Of course each customer should only see their own files. Also, my customer wants SharePoint to be themed to match her website.
Since we're starting off with the basic package I cannot install my own custom WSPs to handle this, instead I have to rely on SPD and out of the box SharePoint functionality.
My issue is the customer specific file swap. My customer could create a new site for each of her customers, which would take care of almost everything, except that when she creates the new site, she'll need to download the masterpage from the root site and then upload it to the daughter site for the theme to apply across the board. That might be too much administration for her.
If we didn't make a subsite for each customer, we could use basic permissions in a single document library, and she could override the permissions per doc. The issue here is when a customer uploads a file, the permissions won't be overridden automatically (unless I can do it through SPD?).
And my final option is to create a doc library for each customer. The issue here is when a customer logs in, how can I display a web part for only the doc lib they have access to, and not the other customer's webparts? If I put them all on the home page, the user will get a message stating they don't have permissions to view the data. That won't look good for her.
Other than that, I upgrade her hosting package which she won't for right now and I can create a more custom solution. What do you recommend?
I do very similar stuff with my FPWeb basic WSS site. (See my recent blog post on this: The Magic of Hosted WSS.) I would go with separate subsites. Expecting that manual permissions management will work consistently and safely is, to me, a recipe for disaster.
As for the theming, I simply use a custom master page with some custom CSS. Yes, you need to do a little work to set up a new site, but it's easily defined in a short list of steps. This is one of the trade-offs for the low end cost.
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