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Before describing the features of the Membership tool it is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of standard SharePoint.
SharePoint (on-prem and Online) does not offer a feature that provides a list the user has access to. This is a feature that has already been requested multiple times via
the Microsoft feedback portal (link).
Users can find a list with sites and subsites by executing the following search query:
(contentclass:STS_Site OR contentclass:STS_Web)
This is not ideal since the users need to enter a complex query and the search result list is shown as a flat list without an hierarchy for subsites.
Some organizations resort to adding a search web part to the start page that uses search to list the sites that are accessible for the current users. In most organizations this is sufficient but sometimes this is inadequate. For instance when the search index is not up to date or not available, environments with a large number of sites/subsites, when complex permissions have been configured or the search results contain so-called Alternate Access Mappings.
The Membership tool also uses search to retrieve the list with sites and subsites but offers the following features:
– no need to enter a complex search query
– shows subsites indented below the parent site
– validate access to each of the sites prior to showing the list. This circumvents users seeing sites they no longer have access to.
– can handle Alternate Access Mappings and use the links with the standard SharePoint URL.
– exclude sites or exclude paths (e.g., /portals)
– save list with sites as CSV (optional)
– also suitable for use by very large organizations (10000+ users)
The benefit for the users is that they can easily generate an accurate list with sites and administrators do not have to maintain a list with sites.
Another feature of Membership is to use REST API requests. This can be used instead of search or to complement the search results (so-called hybrid mode) to ensure the sites list contains all accessible sites.
The performance of the Membership tool is optimized by using parallel processes and by using batch requests.
The configuration of the tool is managed via a properties file.