Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services helps users work together. SharePoint sites provide a central repository for documents, information, and ideas, and allow users to work interactively.
Windows SharePoint Services is an update and revision to SharePoint Team Services 1.0 from Microsoft, and offers many improvements over SharePoint Team Services 1.0, several of which are detailed in the following sections.
Windows SharePoint Services Service Pack 2 extends Windows SharePoint Services to support advanced extranet deployments. Additional information about Service Pack 2 features is available in What's New in Windows SharePoint Services Service Pack 2.
What's New for Site Users
The following are a just few of the new features for users of Windows SharePoint Services.
- Document versioning and document check-in and check-out
Use document versioning to automatically create a backup copy of a file whenever it is saved to a document or picture library. Users can also check out a file to lock it while editing, preventing other users from overwriting or editing it inadvertently.
Create a picture library to share a collection of digital pictures or graphics. Create an Issue tracking list to maintain a history on a specific issue. Use the calendar Monthly, Weekly, and Daily views to view information in any SharePoint list that has a date and time column.
- Other improvements to lists
Users can add attachments to list items, including HTML pages, documents, and images. List owners can approve or reject items that are submitted to the list and add comments. List owners can also apply permissions to a list, allowing only specific users to make changes to the list.
- Support for list and site templates
Users can save SharePoint lists as templates, and reuse them or distribute them to other sites. Administrators and Web Designers can save sites as templates to capture best practices or to define a consistent look and feel.
- Support for Web Parts and Web Part Pages
Each list in a site is a Web Part that allows easy customization and personalization using the browser. Users can customize Web Parts or add new Web Parts to a page.
- Quicker page and site creation
Users can go to one page to create any SharePoint list, such as discussion lists, document libraries, and other lists. Users can also create sites on demand without involving the IT department by using Self-Service Site Creation.
For a complete list of new features and information about using these features, see the Help system for Windows SharePoint Services.
What's New for Developers
The following are a few of the new features for developers working with or adding on to Windows SharePoint Services.
- Built on the .NET framework
SharePoint sites are built on ASP.NET and are extensible by using the .NET framework. Service Pack 2 supports both ASP.NET 1.1 and ASP.NET 2.0.
Use the object model to create custom solutions on the Windows SharePoint Services platform.
- Remote programmability with SOAP
Access the object model from a remote location by using the SOAP protocol.
For a complete list of new developer features and more information about using these features, see the Windows SharePoint Services Software Development Kit.
What's New for Server Administrators
The following new features have been included to help administrators of Windows SharePoint Services.
Windows SharePoint Services scales from a single server to a server farm with multiple front-end Web servers and back-end database servers. Front-end Web servers are stateless, so the load can be balanced across them.
- Support for running multiple applications on a virtual server
You can exclude part of the URL namespace on a virtual server so that Windows SharePoint Services does not overwrite data for a Web application. Windows SharePoint Services can coexist with other applications on a single virtual server.
- Store all documents, metadata, and site data in a database
Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (WMSDE) is used to store all site data, including documents. This improves reliability by ensuring complete transactional integrity of the data, and enables the scale-out architecture. Using the database also allows for both full-text searching and backing up sites by backing up the database.
- Per-site full-text searching
Use SQL Server full-text indexing to provide site-wide searching of sites on your server.
- Comprehensive administrative object model
Enables rich scenarios for writing custom management tools to manage sites.
- Support for multiple language sites
Multiple language sites can be hosted on a single server or server farm running Windows SharePoint Services. Note that site language is independent of server language.
- Regional settings for each site
Each site can have its own regional settings, such as time zone.
- Create sites from SharePoint Central Administration or by allowing Self-Service Site Creation
Administrators can create sites for users or allow users to create their own sites automatically by using Self-Service Site Creation.
- Site quotas and notifications
Set quotas for site storage size and generate automatic notifications for the site owner when a site reaches its size limit. In Active Directory account creation mode, you can also set a quota to specify the maximum number of users that can be added to Microsoft Active Directory directory service from any single SharePoint site collection.
Site owners are notified on a periodic basis of all their sites, and asked to confirm that the sites are in use or delete them. If multiple notices are sent to the site owner without any response, the administrator can specify that the site be automatically deleted.
- Site-level backup and restore
Each site in a server farm can be individually backed up and restored. This feature can be used for archiving inactive sites prior to deleting them.
Server administrators can block the upload of specific file types (for example MP3 or .exe files).
Sites on one server can be moved to another by using the Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool (Smigrate.exe).
Setup and Upgrade
- Easy installation for small deployments
If you want to set up Windows SharePoint Services on a single server with WMSDE, you can run Setup with the default settings and have a working site within minutes.
- Support for server farm installations
With Windows SharePoint Services, you can set up a server farm configuration, which includes multiple front-end Web servers and multiple back-end database.
SharePoint Team Services 1.0 sites can be migrated to Windows SharePoint Services by using the Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool (Smigrate.exe).
- Works with standard Windows authentication and security methods
Use Windows SharePoint Services with any IIS 6.0 authentication method, including Kerberos authentication. Connect to the database by using Windows authentication or SQL Server authentication, and integrate Windows SharePoint Services with Microsoft Active Directory directory service.
- SharePoint administrators group
Allow members of a domain group to perform central administration tasks without granting them administrator rights to the local server computer.
- Manage users from SharePoint Central Administration
Use the SharePoint Central Administration pages to add or delete users on all sites and assign site owners.
Use domain groups to control access to your site.
- New in SP2: Extranet deployments made easier using Active Directory Federated Services (AFDS)
Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services can help people communicate within an organization, on the World Wide Web, and across these boundaries. The following scenarios illustrate how Windows SharePoint Services can be used in these situations.
Enhance Your Organization's Intranet
No matter how large or small your organization, the users inside your organization have data, documents, and thoughts to share with other users in the organization. You can install Windows SharePoint Services to a single server to support a small organization, or you can create a server farm environment to support a large, multinational organization.
Inside a Small Organization
In a smaller organization, you can install and run Windows SharePoint Services without a lot of overhead. For example, you can:
- Use the single server installation to get a site up and running quickly.
- Turn on Self-Service Site Creation to allow users to build sites as needed.
- Enable full-text searching so your users can easily find the information and documents they need.
Inside a Large Organization
In a larger organization, you can take advantage of more sophisticated administration features. For example, you can:
- Use a server farm configuration to support load balanced servers.
- Increase efficiency by running both Windows SharePoint Services and other Web applications on the same servers.
- Install language packs to allow for sites in different languages around the world.
- Prompt for site use confirmation, and automatically delete unused Web sites.
- Manage site users efficiently by using domain groups instead of individual users.
Host SharePoint Sites on the Internet
If you are an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can appreciate the large-scale management features available with Windows SharePoint Services. And because Windows SharePoint Services includes a comprehensive administrative object model, you can build custom administration tools to manage your servers and SharePoint sites.
For example, you can:
- Use a server farm configuration to allow load balancing for your servers.
- Take advantage of the new site and server architecture to help isolate server processes from each other.
- Set quotas for sites, so that you can predict how much space each site will take up on your servers, and set appropriate billing policies for larger sites.
- Use Windows SharePoint Services in Active Directory account creation mode so that new user accounts are created automatically, up to a configurable limit, based on the e-mail addresses.
- Provide automatic site backups for a monthly fee.
Communicate with External Partners by Using an Extranet
If you work with external partners, or if you have users who need to access data from outside of your organization's firewall, you can run Windows SharePoint Services in an intranet/extranet environment. In this configuration, you can:
- Allow both internal and external users to view and interact with the same content and data.
- Employ the antivirus protection and blocked file extension features to help protect your server integrity.
Using Windows SharePoint Services as a Platform
Windows SharePoint Services is a platform technology, and is designed to be extensible. Several products build on Windows SharePoint Services, and you can extend Windows SharePoint Services to work with your product. You can find information about ways to extend Windows SharePoint Services in the Windows SharePoint Services Software Development Kit.