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The question posed is as follows: Is it possible to Automate the Site configuration of Site and System Master Pages in the O365 online environment using workflow, a web service or a combination of workflow/web service or any other way?

Manual Configuration Process:

  • Go to Site Settings
  • Look and Feel->Master Pages
  • Specify Site Master Page and Specify System Master Page (select from drop down)

The use case for the above requirement is as follows. We have a parent site with many project sub sites that are automatically created from a custom site template as projects are registered at the parent Site level. These project sub sites are created by the Nintex workflow which uses the action Office 365 create site. It would seem that it would be standard for someone to want to automate the configuration of settings that can only be configured after a feature such as SharePoint Server Publishing has been enabled. SharePoint Server Publishing is not enabled in the template. The requirement is to automate the configuration of the Site and System master pages.

I have done some reading/research but I don't have a clear answer for this this requirement in the O365 context.

Firstly is it possible to do? If so, how can one go about implementing this solution?

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I think there is no straight answer. For common branding and site provisioning scenarios here is some info:

  1. Using Apps. If you look closely to Microsoft Office 365 Patters and Practices (o365 Pnp) guidance most of samples is demos or presentations is to use provider hosted apps. There you have your own pages with CSOM and you can do quite a lot (set master pages, provision wiki pages and content and so on). Theoretically, you could make web service in your provider hosted app and call it from Nintex workflow (haven't tried, but there could be some trouble with authentication). This option is quite complex solution, because you have to get Azure to deploy your app. But it is quite robust and you have a lot of possibilities with power of CSOM.
  2. PowerShell with CSOM. For one time provisioning of content, it could be quicker to use PowerShell with CSOM, to activate features and upload master pages. Here is sample how to use PS with CSOM on O365.
  3. REST API. In your scenario you are using Nintex Workflow for creating site. In this way the best option for you could try using REST API and call this web services. There are some methods to help you, like: Enable Features, Upload files (to master page gallery). But where is direct way to set master page

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