A Web Part is a Microsoft ASP.NET server control that serves a particular purpose, such as displaying data from a spreadsheet or streaming stock quotations from an online Web service. Web Parts are inserted in Web Part zones on Web Part Pages. Web Part zones are containers for Web Parts that group and organize Web Parts and provide a set of properties that configure the Web Parts in that zone. Web Part Pages consolidate data and Web content through Web Part zones to create dynamic information portals.
Note Web Parts can be inserted outside of Web Part Zones. However, Web Parts outside of Web Part Zones have reduced functionality.
Web Part Pages can be built into site templates in Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services to implement dynamic, data-driven sites. Users interacting with a site can create Web Part Pages and add Web Parts. Users can connect Web Parts so that one Web Part can be driven by data from another. Web Part zones and part-to-part connections are exposed in the Windows SharePoint Services user interface, allowing users to build dynamic Web applications made up of Web Parts without having to write any code.
Windows SharePoint Services includes a default set of Web Parts that users can immediately use to customize their sites. For example, the Web Parts available with Windows SharePoint Services include:
- Content Editor Web Part — Displays unstructured Web content, such as text or images.
- Image Web Part — Displays a picture.
- Form Web Part — Lets users add an HTML form.
- Contacts — Lets users display their Contacts list on a Web Part Page.
Web Parts are made available to users from Web Part galleries, which are collections of Web Parts. Depending on how you configure the server, users can add Web Parts from any of the following galleries:
- The Web Part Page gallery — A collection of Web Parts that are available to a specific Web Part Page but are currently inactive. Closing a Web Part on a page moves it to this gallery. Each Web Part Page has its own Web Part Page gallery.
- The site collection Web Part gallery — The most central Web Part gallery for a work group. This gallery is typically managed by the site administrator of the site collection (site collection: A set of Web sites on a virtual server that have the same owner and share administration settings. Each site collection contains a top-level Web site and can contain one or more subsites.), who decides which Web Parts are available and safe for the team's sites. By default, the gallery name is the name of the site, such as "Our Team Site Web Part Gallery." There is only one site collection gallery for each site collection. For information about managing a site collection Web Part Gallery, see Managing a Site Collection Web Part Gallery.
- The virtual server Web Part gallery — The central gallery available to all sites on a server or server farm. When an administrator installs a custom Web Part, the Web Part is available to users from this gallery. For information about installing custom Web Parts, see Managing Web Parts on Virtual Servers.
- The online Web Part gallery — A set of Web Parts that are available over a Web service. This permits many servers to share access to a common, centrally maintained collection of Web Parts. You can optionally make one online gallery available to your site users. By default, SharePoint sites connect to the online gallery that Microsoft maintains at http://r.office.microsoft.com/r/hlidAwsGallery. For information about managing an online gallery, see Managing Web Parts on Virtual Servers.
Custom Web Part packages are distributed to server administrators as cabinet (.cab) files. You use the command-line tool Stsadm.exe to add Web Parts from a Web Part package (in cabinet file format) to one or more virtual servers. Stsadm.exe installs Web Part executable code in the Bin directory of each virtual server or in the global assembly cache (GAC). Any resources used by an assembly are installed in the \wpresources folder for assemblies installed in Bin directories, or \_wpresources for assemblies installed in the GAC. Web Part definition (.dwp) files are installed in the virtual server Web Part gallery.
Note On a server farm, you should install custom Web Parts identically on each front-end Web server. Use the SharePoint Configuration Analyzer utility to check each virtual server's Web Part configuration. For more information, see Using SharePoint Configuration Analyzer.
For information about installing, upgrading, and deleting custom Web Parts, along with descriptions of other Web Part configuration tasks at the virtual server level, see Managing Web Parts on Virtual Servers.
For information about using SharePoint Configuration Analyzer, see Using SharePoint Configuration Analyzer.
For information about managing a site collection Web Part Gallery, see Managing a Site Collection Web Part Gallery.