Read an Excerpt
Beginning SharePoint 2010Building Business Solutions with SharePoint
By Amanda Perran Shane Perran Jennifer Mason Laura Rogers
John Wiley & SonsCopyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGetting Started with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:
* The differences between SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010
* Common usage scenarios for SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010
* An overview of important SharePoint concepts and features
The goal of this book is to provide you with the knowledge to set you on the way to becoming a SharePoint master. An important part of understanding how best to manage and utilize SharePoint Server from either a developer or IT pro perspective is first to understand the core capabilities of the product and how they can be extended to meet your organization's business needs. Along those lines, this chapter introduces you to the new and exciting features and capabilities of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. With it, you will learn how to put the platform to work for your organization to create scalable business solutions with and without the use of custom code. In this chapter, you learn about the following topics and concepts:
Before getting started on the technical tasks associated with managing and working with SharePoint content, it is important to understand the purpose of all common usage scenarios for the technology.
Organizational stakeholders often suffer from what's been termed as information overload. Because computers play such an integral part in any business, not surprisingly, more and more of the information that is created, consumed, and shared in an organization is digital. The more business that you conduct and the more successful your business becomes, the more information you have to manage. Usually, you have some form of document for just about every process and transaction that plays out during the day-to-day operations of your company. From proposals to legal documents, from sales receipts to human resources policies, the amount of information required for a company to function is staggering.
To manage your information overload, SharePoint offers tools with which you can build business applications to better store, share, and manage digital information. With it, you can create lists, libraries, and websites for your various company teams to help run your business processes more efficiently. By locating your organization's important business data in a single location, it becomes much easier and intuitive for users to find the right information when they need it rather than searching through disparate locations such as email, computer hard drives, or file shares.
What Is Portal Technology?
A corporate portal is a gateway through which members can access business information and, if set up properly, should be the first place an employee goes to access anything of importance. Portals differ from regular websites in that they are customized specifically around business processes. In SharePoint, a portal may actually consist of numerous websites, with information stored either directly on those sites or in other systems, such as file shares, business applications, or a regular Internet website. This allows SharePoint to be the central location users may visit to find information regardless of its actual storage location. Because making informed business decisions is key to becoming and remaining successful, it's important that the information you place on a portal be secure, up to date, and easily accessible. Because a business's marketplace may span the globe, an organization also needs to have the information that reflects the needs of employees from multiple specific regions.
As an example, consider a new employee who has just joined an organization. In addition to learning her new job responsibilities, this employee must quickly get up to speed on the various company processes and policies. A good portal should provide all the company reference and policy information that the employee needs to review, as well as links to all the information systems and websites that employee needs to do her job. Information should be stored in easy-to-browse locations, based on subject or topic. In situations where the location of a document or information is not obvious, the employee should be able to type words into a search box and receive suggestions. The employee should also be able to share information with others. In many ways, a good portal should act as a table of contents for all the information and websites related to an organization or topic.
Why Does an Organization Invest in Portal Technology?
The following list provides just a few of the reasons why many enterprise organizations opt to invest in portal technologies:
* The adoption of the web and web-related technologies makes portal technologies an obvious choice. Because portal technologies are web-based, decision makers can access important information via the Internet regardless of where they are located.
* Portal technologies allow information workers to handle day-to-day tasks from a single starting point, whereas previously things were spread out across multiple places and applications.
* With important regulatory initiatives, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, organizations are using portal technologies to ensure an accurate audit trail is kept on important documents and that business processes remain compliant.
* The file-share-based approach previously used to store most information was highly dependent on the habits and practices of the person creating it. Portal technologies store and share information based on the organizational structure, making them intuitive to use for everyone in the organization. This structure translates into productivity boosts because workers can more easily locate and retrieve information.
* Portal technologies, such as SharePoint, scale with an organization, offering a model that will grow as your company grows.
* While the typical business portal product incorporates many common business practices, your organizational needs may dictate a customized process. Because SharePoint offers an extensible infrastructure, you can build custom solutions. Custom solutions may be created with or without the use of code.
* Although a company may be tempted by the latest and greatest information management system, most organizations still have legacy systems and data sources such as file shares, databases or business applications. You can massage portal technologies so that they integrate with these systems, allowing easier data mining or migration.
* Much of today's digital information is created and managed using the Microsoft Office system. SharePoint, as a portal technology, integrates seamlessly with that system's tools, allowing you to create, store, manage, and collaborate on this information from a single location.
WHAT IS SHAREPOINT 2010?
SharePoint 2010 is an extensible and scalable web-based platform consisting of tools and technologies that support the collaboration and sharing of information within teams, throughout the enterprise and on the web. The total package is a platform on which you can build business applications to help you better store, share, and manage digital information within your organization. Because you can build with or without code, the package empowers the average business user to create, deploy, and manage team websites, without depending on skilled resources, such as systems administrators or developers. Using lists, libraries, and web parts, you can transform team websites into business applications built specifically around making your organization's business processes more efficient.
SharePoint 2010 is composed of two primary components:
* SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the free product that focuses specifically on the features and functionality related to content storage, team collaboration, and document control.
* SharePoint Server 2010 is the enterprise portal technology that includes all the features and functionality of SharePoint Foundation 2010, as well as more advanced capabilities related to business intelligence, search, content management, and data connectivity. For the purposes of this book, we have chosen to focus specifically on the capabilities of SharePoint Server 2010. In some cases, there will be overlap and features described in this book will also be available within the Foundation version of the product.
COMPARING SHAREPOINT FOUNDATION AND SHAREPOINT SERVER
Many organizations struggle with understanding which of the SharePoint products is most appropriate for their needs. The following sections identify some differences between the editions and usage scenarios for each. While this book has been written specifically to review features and functionality from the perspective of SharePoint Server, the following section discusses some comparisons between SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server. To start you off, you should remember the following:
* SharePoint Foundation 2010, previously known as Windows SharePoint Services, contains the core document management and collaboration platform features. With Foundation, the average information user can build web-based business applications without the need for technical resources or code. Because Foundation is available free with the Windows Server system, it has become a very popular collaborative tool for teams. This is largely because of the templates and existing site modules, which allow users to add documents, images, and information via a simple form rather than by using code. Users can create a new site based on an existing template in just a few seconds. SharePoint Foundation is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook, so users can create and share content using a familiar, comfortable environment.
* SharePoint Server 2010 is the nexus of Microsoft collaborative and portal technologies. It can accelerate the adoption of business process management, content management, and business intelligence across the intranet, extranet, and Internet. SharePoint Server 2010 delivers the tools to create, publish, and manage web-based content from a cohesive environment. SharePoint Server 2010 also offers the tools to automatically aggregate content from the SharePoint team sites, rolling up content from multiple sources to a central location, making information management even easier.
SharePoint Foundation Primary Benefits
The primary features of SharePoint Foundation revolve around document management and collaboration. The following sections outline the major features of the platform that have been responsible for its wide adoption in businesses.
* Effective document and task collaboration: Team websites offer access to information in a central location as well as the following capabilities:
* Workspaces for teams to share documents and information, coordinate schedules and tasks, and participate in forum-like discussions. These workspaces can be used by team members to share information regardless of their physical proximity or boundaries. Because of the use of user interface elements, such as the Ribbon, navigation within the workspace is familiar and easy to use for most business users.
* Libraries provide a better document creation and management environment. Libraries can be configured to ensure that a document is checked out before editing, track a document's revision history, or allow users to collaborate on its review and approval.
* Role-based security settings ensure that sensitive information is secure and available only to select individuals. * Advanced task-tracking lists and alert systems keep users updated on current and upcoming tasks.
* Templates for creating wikis and blogs allow you to share information across your organization quickly and easily.
* Reduced implementation and deployment resources: Because SharePoint Foundation is available to Windows Server customers as a free download, implementation time and cost are greatly reduced, resulting in the following benefits:
* Deploying team collaboration sites is easy, so organizations can free up skilled resources, and focus on more important and complex tasks.
* Users can immediately create and apply professional-looking site themes directly from within their browser.
* Customized workspaces have prebuilt application templates for most common business processes, such as workflows.
* Because SharePoint Foundation offers seamless integration with the Microsoft Office system, employees can use common applications, such as Microsoft Word, to create and manage documents, without the need for expensive training or process changes.
* Better control of your organization's important business data: SharePoint Foundation offers the following features for data and information management and security:
* Enhanced browser and command-line-based administrative controls allow you to perform site provisioning, content management, support, and backup. Subsequently, a business can become more efficient and reduce costs.
* Using advanced administrative features, IT can set the parameters under which business units can provision sites and allow access, ensuring that all units fall within an acceptable security policy.
* The Recycle Bin item retrieval and document versioning capabilities provide a safe storage environment.
* Embrace the web for collaboration: By extending and customizing SharePoint Foundation, you can:
* Create collaborative websites complete with document libraries that act as central repositories for creating, managing, and sharing documents with your team.
* Create, connect, and customize a set of business applications specific to scaling your organizational needs.
* Take advantage of SharePoint Designer 2010 to create reusable workflows and connect to external data systems, as well as customize and brand your team sites and applications.
In short, SharePoint Foundation represents the core content storage and collaboration features of SharePoint 2010. It is the ideal edition for teams and small organizations looking to improve on their ability to work with one another in a secure, easy-to-use collaborative workspace.
SharePoint Server Primary Benefits
SharePoint Server provides a set of enterprise tools that connect people, processes, and information in a central location. The following list outlines some of the more common benefits of using SharePoint Server.
* Enterprise content management: Business users prefer to use familiar applications, such as email, Microsoft Office, or their web browser to create, publish, and manage content within the enterprise. Built-in tools make it easy to:
* Control document access logging using detailed audit reports.
* Centrally create, store, and manage documents using built-in document library settings to define multistage approval and retention policies.
* Manage web content using page layouts and master pages to create reusable templates and variations to control multilingual content.
* Reduce the need for manual data entry with electronic web-based or InfoPath client-based forms.
* Improve the organization and structure of stored content through an in-depth classification system.
* Monitor key business activities: Using SharePoint Server, you can effectively manage and monitor business events across your organization to:
* Manage critical business data through business intelligence portals using dashboard capabilities, key performance indicators, chart web parts, and PerformancePoint features.
* Quickly connect people with information by using enterprise search. Use the Search Center to find people and information in your SharePoint environment and external business systems.
* Access important business information stored in external business systems in real-time right from the browser, using advanced features such as the Business Connectivity Services, external lists, and Excel Services.
* Aggregate information from a wide variety of SharePoint sites onto a single page to provide a personalized rollup of relevant information based on customizable criteria.
* Social networking and personalization: Enjoy the benefits of a single platform for connecting stakeholders throughout your organization.
Excerpted from Beginning SharePoint 2010 by Amanda Perran Shane Perran Jennifer Mason Laura Rogers Copyright © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.