A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Introduction

Enterprise portals are an important part of today's enterprise IT infrastructure. Portals are used as an entry point for a specific topic, organization, project, or team. Many enterprises have an enterprise portal, opened by default when an employee opens a browser, that shows general information about the enterprise, its strategy, its departments, and so forth. From this top-level enterprise portal, you find links to departmental or project and team specific portals. Departmental portals focus on information about the department itself, such as Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Professional Services, and so on. Project and team portals focus on an ongoing project or virtual team created for a specific objective. You also can find portals for specific topics, such as a learning portal or a management portal that provides information geared towards that topic. Each portal has relevant information, links to other Web sites, documents or resources, and the like. It is the starting point for a user to find information about a specific topic.

Microsoft provides two portal solutions—Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (SPS). The first article of this series explained the difference between WSS and SPS as well as how to install and administrate each. This second article focuses on how to use and customize portals provided by WSS and SPS. The third article in this series explains how to create your own Web parts that you then can place on WSS and SPS portals. This article assumes that you are familiar with the first article, especially the described administration features.

Users Used Throughout This Article

Portals by default allow only authorized users access. A virtual server enabled for WSS or SPS gets configured for integrated Windows authentication ("enable anonymous access" is disabled and "Integrated Windows authentication" is enabled). With integrated Windows authentication enabled, IIS requests from the browser the user name and password that the browser provides in hash format. This allows the browser to provide the user name and password it is running under in a secure format and it enables IIS to verify the user accessing the site. The browser shows a logon dialog box if the user it is running under has not been granted access to the portal. The user then can enter another user credential to use. After the third authentication attempt, the user is shown an error page that allows him to request access to the portal. This sends an e-mail by default to the site owner who can then add the user to the portal. You can change the recipient of the "request access" e-mail through the "Site Settings" of the portal (top menu bar). Under the "Administration" section, click the "Go to Site Administration" link. This brings up the portal site administration and under the "Users and Permissions" section you have an entry called "Manage access requests." This allows you to enter the e-mail address of the recipient of the "request access" e-mail.

Are there any browser settings neccessary for integrated Windows security to work?

For integrated Windows authentication to work, you need to enable the "Enable Integrated Windows Authentication" option in your browser (go to the "Tools | Internet Options" menu and then to the Advanced tab). The zone to which the site belongs needs to have the "Automatic logon with current username and password" or "Automatic logon only in Intranet zone" (only for the "Local intranet" zone) option enabled (go to the "Tools | Internet Options" menu, choose the "Security" tab, select the zone the site belongs to, for example "Trusted sites", and then click the "Custom Level" button).

Which site groups are availible in SharePoint and what are the default permissions?

When creating a portal, you enter the name of the primary and secondary site owner (in the format of "machine name\user name" or "domain name\user name"). These two users are added automatically as administrators to the portal. WSS and SPS have four different site groups that define which access users have to the portal:

  • Reader—Can access the portal and read information. Is not allowed to make any modifications to the information.
  • Contributor—Has read and write access and can modify the information and documents on the portal.
  • Web Designer—Has read and write access to the portal and is also allowed to modify the portal structure itself.
  • Administrator—Has full access, including administrative access to the portal.

Adding new users to your SharePoint site

Create the following four Windows users on the machine where you run WSS (go to "Computer Management" and then "Local users and Groups"): Reader, Contributor, WebDesigner, and Administrator. Each user will be added by default to the "Users" windows group. Open the portal you created in a browser running under the user credentials of the primary or secondary owner so you can add new users. In the top menu bar, select "Site Settings;" this shows the site settings. Under the "Administration" section, select the "Manage users" item. You already see the primary and secondary site owner added as administrators. Now, add the four users you created and make the user member of the site group with the same name. For example, you add the user "Reader" and make it part of the "Reader" site group. These four users are used throughout the article to demonstrate the differences among the different access rights.

Running your browser under a differnet user credential

You can run a browser or any other application under different user credentials by using the "runas" command. Open the command line and run the following command: runas /profile /user:machine name\user name "c:\program files\internet explorer\iexplorer.exe". You also can achieve this by right-clicking the browser icon in the "quick launch" Windows toolbar (in Windows 2000, you also need to press the SHIFT key) and selecting "Run as" from the popup menu. In the following dialog box, you select "the following user" and enter the user name and password. This works only for users which have already once logged on to the machine and have already a profile created. Without that, the browser will show you a logon dialog as soon as you hit a portal. It appears this happens when no Windows profile has been created yet for that user.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

The Basics of Using and Customizing WSS

This section assumes that you chose the "Team Site" template for your portal. Every portal has a menu bar on top and a navigation bar on the left side. In the upper-right corner, you see a search box that allows you to search all content in the current portal (only available when you use MS SQL Server as data store). Every object placed on a WSS or SPS portal is a Web part. WSS and SPS come with a number of Web parts out-of-the-box and allow you to create your own Web parts (see the third article to learn how to create your own Web part). The template you chose when launching into a portal the first time pre-configures the portal by placing a number of Web parts onto the portal. But, you still have full control over the portal by modifying or removing existing Web parts as well as adding new Web parts. You also can add so-called documents and lists that are more than Web parts. These are Web part pages that themselves have Web parts placed on them. These documents and lists can be linked up to the left side navigation bar. Click the "Documents and Lists" link in the top menu bar. This shows you a list of out-of-the-box documents and lists you can add to the portal. These are categorized in five categories:

  • Document Libraries—A library of documents and files. Allows checking in files, checking out files, viewing the history of each file, and so forth.
  • Picture Libraries—A library of pictures. Provides the same functionality as document libraries but targeted towards pictures. In addition, it provides a thumbnail and filmstrip view of the pictures.
  • Lists and Custom Lists—Lists of information such as announcements, contacts, events, links, and tasks.
  • Discussion Boards—Discussion boards that allow posting new threads and replying to existing threads.
  • Surveys—Surveys with questions and answers.

How to list all existing documents and lists and how to create new ones

There are already a number of documents and lists on the portal. You can filter them by clicking the category in the left side navigation bar. Select "All" to display again all documents and lists on the portal. Click the "Create" icon in the toolbar to add a new document or list. This shows a list of all available documents and lists to select from, followed by the properties to enter. To add a picture library, click the "Create" icon and from the list of available documents and lists select the "Picture Library." Next, you enter a title and description (for example, "My pictures"), whether the picture library should be shown in the left side navigation bar, and if a history version should be created each time a picture gets edited and checked in. This makes it easy to see the history of a picture but keep the space requirement in mind. A picture with a size of 1 MB checked in ten times requires 10 MB.

How to modify the settings of an existing document or list

You can change the settings of a document or list by selecting it from the left side navigation bar and, when shown on a new page, select "Modify settings and columns" in the left side navigation bar. Another way is to select "Documents and Lists" from the top menu bar, clicking the document or list that shows again the document or list on a new page, and then selecting "Modify settings and columns" again in the left side navigation bar. This shows three sections—"General Settings," "Columns," and "Views." Under the "General Settings" section, you have four options:

  • Change general settings—Change settings such as the title and description, if the document or list shows up in the left side navigation bar, whether versioning is enabled, and so on.
  • Save as template—Save the current document or list configuration as a template so you can reuse it.
  • Change permissions—Change the access users have. It shows all the users and their current permissions. You can add new users or change the permissions of current users. The default permissions are inherited from the site group the user belongs to; for example, a user belonging to the "Reader" group has only view access. But, through this, you can overwrite it and give the user, for example, "View, insert, edit, and delete" permissions for that document or list.
  • Delete—Allows you to remove the document or list from the portal.

How to change the columns and views of a document and list

Through the "Columns" section you can add new columns, delete columns (except out-of-the-box columns), and reorder columns. This is the list of available columns available to store information. Views determine whether or not a column is shown on a view. When creating a column, you determine its data type, size, requiredness, and the like. Document and lists can have multiple views and allow the user to select a view. For example, a "tasks list" has five views to select from (the views are shown on the left side navigation bar when the list is shown): "all tasks," "my tasks," "due today," "active tasks," and "by assigned to." The "Views" section lists all the configured views, which view is the default view, and allows you to modify a view or add a new view. Click the view name to modify it. You can change the following settings:

  • Name—The name of the view.
  • Columns—Lists all available columns (defined through the "Column" section). You select which columns are visible in this view and the order in which they appear.
  • Sort—Define the sorting by selecting the column and then "ascending" or "descending." You can sort only by two columns.
  • Filter—Define the filter to apply to this view by selecting the column, the operator (for example, equal, contains, less then, and so forth), and the filter value. You can combine each filter with AND or OR. You can filter on as many columns as needed. Click on "Show More Columns" to add a new column to the filter.
  • Group By—Allows you to group by up to two columns. Select the column and whether to group "ascending" or "descending." You can define if by default the grouping is "expanded" or "collapsed."
  • Totals—Allows you to apply totals to columns; for example, show the count by the "priority" column. This then shows in the list the total count and when grouping has been enabled, also the count per grouping. It depends on the data type of the column which totals are available. Date fields for example allow "count," "maximum," "minimum," and "average."
  • Style—Different styles the document or list allows.
  • Item Limit—The maximum number of items shown in the list and whether you allow to page through it with a "next" link.

How to create and manage sub-portals?

The "Create" item in the top menu bar performs the same as the "Create" icon under "Documents and Listings." You can do more than just add new document or list to the portal. You also can create new sub-portals. A good example would be to have a portal for your team or department and then have a sub-portal for each ongoing project. Select "Documents and Listings" in the top menu bar followed by "Sites" in the left side navigation bar. Click the "Create" icon; this opens the "New SharePoint Site" page. Enter the title and description of the new sub-portal and the URL name; for example, the project name. The URL of the sub-portal consists of the URL of the current portal followed by the URL name you entered; for example, "http://Enterprise-Minds/sites/Engineering/ProjectName". Click the "Create" button to create the sub-portal; this opens the "template selection" page. As with any other portal, you again select a template and the portal gets preconfigured according to the template. A sub-portal has on the right side of the top menu bar an item called "Up To Team Web Site" that allows you to navigate back to the top portal it belongs to. Users can navigate to a sub-portal by typing in its URL or through the "Documents and Lists" item in the top menu bar. On the next page, select the "Sites" item in the left side navigation bar; it then shows the list of all sub-portals. Click the sub-portal name to bring it up or again on the "Create" icon to create a new sub-portal.

How to create and manage Document Workspaces and Meeting Workspaces

The same way you also can create "Document Workspaces" and "Meeting Workspaces," which are also sub-portals, but sub-portals of a specific type. When launching into those the first time, you again select a template; this can be confusing. It does not make sense to create a "Meeting Workspace" and then select the "Team Site" template because then you would create a team site again. So, when creating a "Document Workspace," the only choice that makes sense is the "Document Workspace" template. Same with the "Meeting Workspace" but here you can choose between different meeting templates (see first article for a description of each); for example, "Basic Meeting Workspace."

The users' permissions determine the changes the user can make to the portal structure

Only users belonging to the "administrator" or "Web designer" site group are allowed to make changes to the portal structure. Other users will see these menu items and options but when clicking some of the links or submitting changes to the portal will be shown a logon dialog box. The portal determines that the user does not have the necessary rights to perform the operation, so it prompts the user with a logon dialog box so the user can enter different user credentials that have the right to perform those options. For example, the "Reader" user you created above sees the "Documents and Listings" item in the top menu bar. The user sees all the existing documents or lists. But, the user cannot add a new document or list or modify an existing one. Unfortunately, there is no consistency when the logon dialog box is shown. Sometimes, the logon is shown already when clicking a link and most of the time it shows the page where the user can make changes to the portal, but, when submitting the page, it shows the logon. For example, it shows the "New Document Library" page that allows you to create a new document library. The user can enter all details, but, when submitting, is presented with the logon. This can be very frustrating for users who may not have the permissions for operations they try to undertake. Canceling the logon form again shows the "request access" page so the user can request the required permission.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Modifying WSS Web Parts

How to switch between the personal view and shared view of a Web part page

Besides adding documents and lists, you also can add Web parts to the portal page itself. In the upper right corner, you see a "Modify Shared Page" link. (Readers do not see that link and Contributors see instead a link called "Modify My Page.") Clicking the link shows a popup menu that allows you to change the structure of the portal page. The bottom two menu items allow you to switch between a personal and shared view of the page. Click "Personal View" to see your personal view of this page. This allows you to customize the page for you but not for any other users. The link then changes to "Modify My Page" but brings up the same popup menu. Click the "Shared View" menu item to switch back to the shared public view. Any changes you make on the shared view take effect for all users, except users who are using their personal view and have customized that particular Web part on their personal view. For example, you have a Contacts Web part on the page but a user customized it so that it does not show any frames. Any change you make now to the Contacts Web part will not take effect for that user because he/she has customized it for himself/herself. But, any change to a Web part the user has not customized on his/her personal view will also take effect for that user. Also, adding a new Web part will take effect for users with personal views. A personal view really enables a user to overwrite public Web part settings with his/her personal ones and to add new Web parts only visible for that user.

Which views are available for users and how to reset your personal view

Readers cannot have a personal view, so they will always see the shared view. Contributors by default always see the shared view but can customize the personal view. Contributors cannot customize the shared view; therefore, they do not see the two menu items called "Shared View" and "Personal View." But, Web Designers and Administrators can customize both the shared and personal view and can switch forth and back between these two views with the two menu items called "Shared View" and "Personal View." When a user has customized the personal view, a new menu item called "Reset Page Content" shows up at the bottom of the popup menu. This allows you to reset the personal view back to the same as the shared view, meaning all your customizations are undone. All changes will be lost permanently.

How to enable the design mode of a Web part page and the basics of page design

The "Design this page" menu item switches to the design mode. It allows you to drag and drop Web parts to different zones on the page. For example, drag the Links Web part from the right zone to the left zone. You can hide a Web part by clicking the closing "x" in the title bar. Closing does not remove the Web part from the page; it makes it invisible. This allows you to enable the Web part again without losing any of the settings you made to the Web part. You also can click the "down arrow" in a Web part title bar to open the popup menu for that Web part. From here, you can close the Web part or delete it; this removes it permanently from the page. This permanently deletes any settings you made to the Web part. You also can minimize the Web part or restore it to its original size. You can modify the Web part through the "Modify Shared Web Part," which, of course, on the personal view is called "Modify My Web Part." This opens up the properties pane on the right side of the browser window. Here, you can change the following properties of the Web part:

  • View—If there are multiple views available, you can select which view to use. Remember that adding "Document and lists" to the portal adds a new menu item to the left side navigation bar (if selected in the "Documents and lists" properties); this brings up a new page. This new page is a Web part page that has a Web part on it—the actual "Documents and lists" Web part. For example, adding a Contacts list places a Contacts Web part on this new Contacts Web part page. As you remember, you can define multiple views. You can take the same Contacts Web part and place it on the portal page and then select which of the defined views to use.

    This way, for example, you can add an "Announcements" list that you don't add to the left side navigation bar and then take the actual "Announcements" Web part and place it on the portal page. Through the "Documents and Lists" item in the top menu bar, you can find the "Announcements" list, click it to open it, select the "Modify and Settings" item in the left side navigation bar, and then under the "Views" section, you can add new views or delete and change existing views. The views defined here are then available under the Web part properties.
  • Toolbar type—Choose whether you want to have a complete toolbar, summary toolbar, or no toolbar. As an example, look at the Contacts Web part. The summary toolbar adds an "Add new item" link at the bottom of the Web part. Through this link users can add new contacts. The full toolbar shows a complete toolbar on top of the Web part; it allows you to add new items, filter the contact list, link to Outlook, and import contacts. The full toolbar is always shown when the Web part is placed on the Web part page itself; for example, when the user selects contacts from the left side navigation bar and gets presented with the list of contacts on the new contacts Web part page.
  • Appearance—Under the appearance section, you can change the Web part title shown as well as the width and height. The width and height can be fixed (in pixels) or adjustable to the zone it is placed on.
  • Layout—Under this section, you can select the direction "left to right" or "right to left" (for languages where you read from right to left) and the part order. The part order gets also updated as you drag and drop the Web part around on the page zones. Through "Visible on Page," you can show or hide the Web part.
  • Advanced—The "Detail Link" URL is used to make the Web part title a link and allows you to jump to the "Documents and List" Web part page itself. For example the Contacts Web part placed on the portal links through that URL to the Contact Web part page itself (the same link as on the left side navigation bar). The Description is shown as ALT text of that link. The help link is the help page called when selecting "Help" from the Web part popup menu. With "Allow Minimize" and "Allow Close," you determine whether you allow the Web part to be minimized or closed through the Web part popup menu. "Allow Zone Change" determines whether users are allowed to move Whe Web part to a different zone on their personal views. Disable this setting to prevent users from moving Web parts to different zones. Users can still change the order within the same zone.

You can close the Web part properties pane with the closing "x" in the properties pane or you can bring up the popup menu of another Web part (through the arrow down in the Web part title bar) and then select "Modify Shared Web Part" or "Modify My Web Part" to bring up the properties of this Web part. Closing the properties pane also ends the design mode of the page. You also can bring up the properties of a Web part through the "Modify Shared Page" link, selecting "Modify Shared Web Parts," or "Modify My Web Parts" from the popup menu. From the new popup menu, select the Web part you want to modify. The personal view allows you only to change the "Appearance" and "Layout" Web part properties. The "Advanced" properties as well as the toolbar type and view cannot be changed on personal views. Changing these settings on shared views will also take effect on personal views if the user has customized the Web part on his/her personal view.

How to add new Web parts to a Web part page

The "Add Web Parts" menu item in the "Modify Shared Page" or "Modify My Page" popup menu allows you to add new Web parts to the portal. This shows a popup menu with three choices followed by the "Add Web Parts" pane on the right side of the browser window:

  • Browse—Shows you a list of four Web part galleries. Web part galleries are places where the system can find Web parts. The following four galleries exist:
    • Web Part Page Gallery—These are Web parts that have been placed on the portal page but have been closed later on. So, these are Web parts that exist on the page but are not displayed.
    • Team Web Site Gallery—These are Web parts that available on this top-level portal (including all its sub-portals).
    • Virtual Server Gallery—Web parts that are available to all portals on a virtual server. Used for Web parts that should be available to all top-level portals.
    • Online Gallery—A gallery of Web parts made available online by Microsoft. Right now, this is a series of MSNBC Web parts for news, stock quotes, and weather.
  • Search—Searches all Web part galleries and returns a list of Web parts matching your search criteria. For example, search for "Contacts" and it will show you one found Web part under the "Team Web Site Gallery."
  • Import—Allows you to import a Web part onto the portal page. This Web part will be available only on the page to you import it. You select the path to the Web part file (extension DWP) residing on your local drive or a network drive and then click the Upload button. It then shows the title of the Web part underneath the upload button. This has not yet imported the Web part. It just read the title from the Web part and displayed it so the user knows which part is really imported. Next, you click the Import button at the bottom of the pane that then imports the Web part and also shows it on the portal page itself. The third article will show how you can import Web parts so they become available to other Web part pages and portals.

When browsing for Web parts or after performing a search for Web parts, you see the four Web part galleries at the top of the "Add Web Parts" pane. Select one to see the list of available Web parts for the gallery. You then drag and drop the Web part onto the desired zone on the Web part page. When done, close the "Add Web Parts" pane. You also can export Web parts through the Web part popup menu (click on the "down arrow" in the Web part title bar). All Web parts created by "Documents and Lists" cannot be exported because they are specific to the portal they are on. All other Web parts show the "Export" menu item in the popup menu. This allows you to download the Web part DWP file that includes all files and information for this Web part. You then can import that Web part file to other portal pages or send it to users who can import it on their personal views.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Creating Web Part Pages and Basic Pages

You can place new Web parts or customize existing Web parts only on the portal page itself but not on the Web part pages created as part of documents and list. You can, for example, create a new contacts list and add it to the left side navigation bar. SharePoint shows a new contacts Web part page with the contacts Web part on it when the user selects that menu item. These pages do not show the "Modify Shared Page" or "Modify My Page" link in the upper right corner because they cannot be customized. But, you can create new Web part pages yourself which then allow Web parts to be placed on them again and to be customized. Select the "Create" item in the top menu bar or "Documents and Lists" and then the "Create" icon. This shows the "Create Page" and shows all the documents and lists you can create. At the bottom of the list, you see the "Web Pages" section. Underneath, you find the "Sites and Workspaces" link that allows you to create sub-portals (described above). You also find two other items:

  • Basic Web Page—Creates a basic page that allows you to place text and HTML on the page. Enter the name of the page and select in which document library you want to place it. These pages are stored as ASPX pages in a document library and your portal needs to have at least one document library. If you have multiple libraries, you can select in which document library you want to store the file. This creates the page and shows a "Rich Text Editor" window. In that window, you enter the text and HTML code to be shown on this page. When done, click Save and it will show the page. In the upper right corner, you find an "Edit Content" link that brings up the "Rich Text Editor" again and allows you to change the page content.
  • Web Part Page—Creates a page that allows you to place Web parts on it. Enter the page name, select the layout, and again which document library to store the page. These pages also are stored as ASPX pages in a document library. The layout defines which zones are available on this Web part page. Web parts can only be placed into zones. So, this determines your basic page structure; for example, you have a header, left column, and a body (which is the structure any portal page uses). This creates the page and brings up the "Add Web Parts" pane right away so you can start placing Web parts onto the page.

Users can open basic Web pages and Web part pages through the document library they have been placed in. For example, select the "Shared Documents" menu item that brings up the library. It lists the pages you created above. Click the page and it will open them in the browser. You also can send the URL of the page to users so they can launch into these pages right away. It would have been a nice feature to be able to add these Web pages to the left side navigation menu on your portal to make it easier to get to these pages.

Basics of Using WSS Portals

This section again assumes that you chose the "Team Site" template for your portal and will explain a few fundamentals about how to use portals. You are already familiar with the top menu bar and the left side navigation bar. The portal page itself includes a number of Web parts. Each Web part has in the title bar the "arrow down" symbol that brings up the Web part popup menu. Readers only see the Help menu item. All other users can minimize the Web part, restore the Web part to its original size, and close the Web part. Portals have in the upper right corner the search bar (except when it uses MSDE for its data store which does not support any search capabilities). It searches all content on the portal, including all document libraries, the content of documents and files, Web pages, and lists. Any "Documents and Lists" selected from the left side navigation bar provides the following features (again in the left side navigation bar):

  • Select a view—You can select from a list of available views. For example, for a document library you have an "All Documents" view and an "Explorer View." The Explorer view, for example, provides a Windows Explorer-like view of the document library.
  • Alert me—Sends an e-mail alert to the user when content is added, changed, and deleted or if any change happens. You can choose to get the notification immediately or as a daily or weekly summary. The later two options reduce the number of e-mails a user will get.
  • Export to spreadsheet—Creates an MS Excel Web Query (file extension IQY) that you can save and run as needed or run immediately. This pulls the data list into Excel where you can modify it and also add new items. You can, for example, get the list of contacts stored in WSS, modify contacts including adding new contacts, and then store the list of contacts back to WSS (through the menu "Data | List | Synchronize List"). For that to work, you need to stay within the area surrounded by the blue rectangle and you need to use MS Excel 2003. After you refresh the contacts page in the browser, you see the changed and added data.
  • Modify settings and columns—Allows you to configure the list (see earlier section).

Depending on the selected list and your configuration, you see a list of data; for example, announcements and a toolbar on top. The toolbar allows you to create new items, filter the list, create new folders, and so forth. As soon as you move the mouse cursor over the first column of an existing item, you see a drop down box appear. Clicking it shows a popup menu that allows you to do things such as view item, change item, delete item, and so on. Each item also supports "alert me," which allows you to subscribe to e-mail alerts when the item gets changed. The alert can be sent again immediately or as a daily or weekly summary.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Basics of Using Within Office 2003

MS Office 2003 has also a tight integration with WSS and SPS portals. Here are a few very useful integrations between Office 2003 and SharePoint:

  • Link events list with Outlook calendar—A SharePoint events list can be linked to Outlook and viewed in Outlook like a normal calendar. Go to your events list in SharePoint and select the "Link to Outlook" icon in the toolbar. This launches Outlook with a message saying that a folder is added to Outlook and that Outlook has not verified that this is a trusted SharePoint site. It asks whether you want to add this folder to Outlook; you confirm with yes. In Outlook, select "Calendar" in your navigation bar and now you see under the "Other Calendars" section (just below the small calendar in the upper left corner) an entry called "Team Web Site - Events" (the first part is the title of your portal; which might be different if you changed it). Select it and it shows you the SharePoint events list as a calendar beside your normal calendar. You can view the events but you cannot change or remove them, nor can you add new ones. You can remove it from Outlook again by right clicking the entry called "Team Web Site - Events" and then selecting Delete from the popup menu.
  • Link contacts list with Outlook—A SharePoint contacts list can be linked to Outlook and viewed in Outlook like any other contacts. Go to your contacts list in SharePoint and select the "Link to Outlook" icon in the toolbar. This again launches Outlook and tells you that an unverified SharePoint folder is being added; you confirm again with yes. In Outlook, select "Contacts" in the navigation bar. On the left side under "Other Contacts," you see a new item called "Team Web Site - Contacts" (it might be named differently if you have a different portal title). Select it and it shows the SharePoint contacts in your typical Outlook contact view. You can view contacts but you cannot change or delete them, nor can you add new contacts. You can remove it from Outlook again by right clicking the entry called "Team Web Site - Contacts" and then selecting Delete from the popup menu.
  • Create a SharePoint list from Excel—Open up an Excel spreadsheet or create a new one. Select the data you want to publish in SharePoint as a list (preferably with the first column being the column names). In Excel, select "Data | List | Create List." You can still change the data or add new data. When ready to publish in SharePoint, select "Data | List | Publish List" in Excel. Enter the URL of your portal; for example, "http://Enterprise-Minds", select "Link to the new SharePoint List" if you want to keep the list between SharePoint and Excel linked so it is easy for you to republish the list, and finally enter a Title and description. Click next and the Excel dialog will show you all the columns published as well as the data type used for each. Click finish to create the list in SharePoint and then show the URL of the new list. This creates a "Custom List in Datasheet View" that is not shown in the left side navigation bar, but you can reach it through the "Documents and Listings" item in the top menu bar in SharePoint and then change the properties to show it in the left side navigation bar (see earlier section).
  • Office "File | Open"—All Office 2003 applications are able to work with SharePoint document and picture libraries. In the Open File dialog box, enter the URL to your portal; for example, "http://Enterprise-Minds". This shows in the Open File dialog a Web page with all the available document and picture libraries in that portal (does not include sub-portals). Select the desired document or picture library to get a list of available files to open. Select the desired file type in the "file type" drop-down box. This opens the document and also shows the "Shared Workspace" pane on the right side. You see the following six icons/tabs:
    • Status—Shows status information such as who has the document checked out, and the like. Keep in mind that opening a file through an Office application does not automatically check out the file.
    • Members—Shows the list of portal members. Move the mouse cursor over the member to see a drop-down box that brings up a popup menu. You can e-mail the member, schedule a meeting, add it to your contact list, and so forth. At the bottom of the list, you see two links:
      • Add new members—Allows you to add one or more new members (which need to be valid Windows users) to this SharePoint portal. You also select the site group the users will belong to.
      • Send e-mail to all members—Brings up the Outlook e-mail editor and adds all members to the "To" list. This way, you can send an e-mail to all members of this portal.
    • Tasks—Shows the list of tasks from the first tasks list on the portal. If you have multiple tasks lists, it will ignore all the others. Moving the mouse over a task shows a drop-down box that opens up a popup menu. You can edit or delete the task or set up an e-mail alert. This opens the alert page of SharePoint in a new browser so you can subscribe to alerts around this task. At the bottom of the list you see two links:
      • Add new task—Allows you to add a new task. Brings up a dialog box to enter the task title, status, priority, due date, description, and task owner.
      • Alert me about tasks—Allows you to subscribe to alerts for the tasks list. Again, brings up the alert page of SharePoint in a new browser.
    • Documents—Shows a list of all files in the document or picture library the currently open document belongs to. Moving the mouse cursor over a file shows a drop-down box that opens a popup menu. You can open or delete the file or you can set up an e-mail alert. This opens the alert page of SharePoint in a new browser so you can subscribe to alerts around this file. At the bottom of the list you see three links:
      • Add a new document—Allows you to add an existing document from your local or network drive to the document or picture library.
      • Add new folder—Allows you to add a new folder to the currently selected document or picture library.
      • Alert me about documents—Allows you to subscribe to alerts for the currently selected folder. Brings up the alert page of SharePoint again in a new browser.
    • Links—Shows the list of links from the "Links" Web part you can place on the portal page. This is grayed out if you have no Links Web part on the portal. Moving the mouse over a link shows a drop-down box that opens a popup menu. You can edit or delete the link or set up an e-mail alert. This opens the alert page of SharePoint in a new browser so you can subscribe to alerts around this link. At the bottom of the list you see two links:
      • Add new link—Allows to add a new link. Brings up a dialog box to enter the URL, name and description of the link.
      • Alert me about links—Allows to subscribe to alerts for the Links Web part. Brings up the alert page of SharePoint again in a new browser.
    • Document Information—Shows information about the currently open document. It shows the member who created and last modified the document and when the document was last modified. At the bottom of the list, you see four links:
      • Restrict permission—Brings up the restriction dialog from Office 2003.
      • Alert me about this document—Brings up the alert page of SharePoint again in a new browser window.
      • "Check out" or "check in"—Allows you to check out or check in the file, depending on its current state.
      • Version history—Shows a version history of the currently selected document. Requires that you have versioning enabled in the document or picture library properties (otherwise, you will always just see the current version). You can open up a previous version, you can delete a previous version, or you can restore a previous version. Restoring means this version becomes the current version of this document.

    After opening a document from a document or picture library you can find a new menu item called "Check out" under the File menu. This allows you to check out the file. If the file is checked out, the menu item changes to "Check in" that allows you to check in the document. Saving a document that has not been checked out performs a check out, saves the file, and then performs a check in. Closing a file that you checked out but did not check in again brings up a new dialog. From there, you can check in the file, keep the file checked out, or discard the changes and undo the check out.
  • Browse as Web folder—You also can browse a portal as Web folder. Open a browser, select "File | Open," enter the URL of the portal, and select the "Open as Web Folder" check box. This opens up the portal in a Web folder view and shows you all files like you are used to from Windows Explorer. You also see all the document and picture libraries (as folders) and when opening them, you see all the files in those libraries. Previous versions of SharePoint offered, when right clicking a file, a check-out and check-in right from the Web folder view. These options have unfortunately been removed. But you still can open, delete, or rename files and create new folders.
  • E-mailing documents and files—When you add a document or file as attachment to your e-mail editor, you see beside the "attach" text box an "Attachment Options" icon. This brings up the "Attachment Options" pane on the right side of your e-mail editor. You can send the attachment as "Regular Attachments," which means nothing else than the file gets attached to the e-mail and sent with the e-mail. This provides no central management and versioning of the file. The other option is to send it as "Shared attachments." Under the "Create Document Workspace at" drop-down box, you can select from a list of already used portals or enter the URL to any other portal to use. Outlook will create a new "Document Workspace" at this portal, add a "Shared Documents" document library, add the "Shared Documents" Web part to the "Document Workspace" portal page, and add the attached files to the "Shared Documents" document library. The name of the new document workspace is the name of the first attached file. The sender becomes the administrator of this document workspace and is also sent an e-mail about the successful or failed creation of the new document workspace. The creation fails if there is already a document workspace with such a name or if any of the recipients is not a member of the selected portal. The recipients of the e-mail still get the file attached to the e-mail but also in the e-mail a short description and a link to the document workspace. Recipients are made Contributors of the document workspace and can then make changes to the document through the document workspace itself.
  • Research integration—All Office applications and Internet Explorer bring up a research assistant when pressing ALT and clicking on a word or a selection of words. This searches against a list of search sites and returns their results in the research pane. This allows you to search for the meaning of a word, a list of alternative words to use, and so on. You can add SPS portals to the list of sites to search. This makes it very easy for Office users to search your enterprise portal for references of words, phrases, and the like. To add your SPS portal, click the "Research options" link at the bottom of the research pane. In the "Research Options" dialog, click the "Add Services" button. Next, enter the SPS portal URL followed by "/_vti_bin/search.asmx"; for example, "http://Enterprise-Minds/_vti_bin/search.asmx". Click the Add button to show the "SharePoint Portal Server Search Service Setup" dialog with your portal listed in it. Click the Install button and click OK on the confirmation dialog. When done, scroll down in the list of available search sites and under the "Intranet Sites and Portals" section, you now see your SPS portal added and selected. This means future searches will include the SPS portal. Close the "Research Options" dialog with OK.

There are many more integration points between SharePoint and Office 2003, but those mentioned above are some of the most important ones. To find out more about these integrations, consult your Office 2003 help and search for SharePoint.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

SharePoint Portal Server 2003

The new concept of areas and how areas work

SPS portals work slightly differently by introducing the concept of areas. Areas are sections on your portal where you can group and place content. SPS portals also have a top menu bar that lists all the top areas and a left side navigation bar with navigational links for the currently selected area. The top area is always Home, like the home page of the portal, and is the area shown when accessing the portal. out-of-the-box underneath Home you have three child areas—Topics, News and Sites. The top menu bar always shows from left to right Home and its immediate child areas, which is out-of-the-box Topics, News, and Sites. The "Manage Portal Site" action appears under each area (in the left side navigation bar) and is used to manage the portal areas. It shows a tree view of all areas and with the plus or minus icon you can expand or collapse each node. You see, for example, that out-of-the-box the Topics area has five child areas—Divisions, Resources, Strategy, Projects, and Locations. Each area, except the Home area, shows at the top of the left side navigation bar the current location, which is the tree of parent areas to the currently selected area, the currently selected area and all its immediate child areas. For example, selecting the News area shows Home, which is the only parent of the News area, then News, selected as it is the currently selected area, followed by Company News, Press Announcements and External News, which are all child areas of the News area.

How to create new areas and manage the existing areas

The "Manage Portal Site" action allows you to create new areas and edit or delete existing ones. Moving the mouse cursor over a listed area shows a drop-down box that brings up a pop-up menu. You can perform the following actions:

  • Delete—Deletes an area and all its child areas. The Home area cannot be deleted.
  • Create Subarea—Creates a new child area to the currently selected area. This brings up the "Create Area" page where you enter the title and description of the new area. You also can enter a start and expiration date so the area only appears within that date range. This applies only when browsing through the areas and not when performing searches. Finally, you can change the location, which is the tree of parent areas, and is pre-set to the area where you selected the "Create Subarea" action.
  • Filter—Makes the selected area the topmost node in the tree view. This filters the tree view to show only this area and all its child areas. Select the "Reset" icon in the tool bar to show all areas again.
  • Manage Security—Shows the default access rights; site groups have the selected area based on the overall portal access rights. It also allows you to overwrite the default access rights. You can select a site group and change the access rights; for example, give the Reader site group "View, Insert, Edit, and Delete listings" rights for the selected area. Or, you can add individual users and set the rights for an individual user for the selected area. This also allows you to remove existing access rights; for example, remove the Reader site group. This means Readers have no access to this area.
  • Edit—Allows you to edit the properties of an existing area. This brings up the "Change Settings" page; it has five tabs:
    • General—You can change the title and description, enter the information of the area contact, and select the Location. The Location shows the tree of parents and can be changed through the "Change location" link. This again brings up the tree view of all existing areas and you select the new parent. It also shows the date/time of creation and last modification of the area.
    • Publishing—The start and expiration date for the area, blank meaning it is always shown. The Listing Approval section allows you to set whether new listings require approval by the area owner and, if so, to automatically approve any listings added by the area owner.
    • Page—The template to use for the area and the template to use for any new subarea created under this area. Templates define how the page looks, which actions are available, and also which Web parts are placed on a page.
    • Display—Through the "exclude from portal site navigation" checkbox you can hide the area from users. You also can associate images when a link is shown (icon URL) to the area or when the area itself is shown (image URL).
    • Search—Through the "include in search results" radio button, you can include or exclude the area in search results. Through the "include in Topic Assistant," you can include or exclude the area when content is automatically categorized by the SharePoint Topic Assistant (see more below).
  • Add to My Links—Adds a link of the selected area to your "My Site" portal, which is your personal portal. Users can access their "My Site" portal through the "My Site" link in the upper right corner of the SPS portal. Readers do not have any "My Site" portal capabilities. The "My Site" portal shows a "My Links Summary" Web part in the upper right corner; it lists all your links. You can add new links and edit or remove existing links.

Which actions are provided by areas?

Each area shows only actions the user has permissions to; for example, a Reader does not see the "Manage Portal Site" action. Not all actions are available on all areas. Here is a list of the most common actions:

  • Change Settings—Brings up the "Change Settings" page for the current area (same as selecting the "Edit" popup menu item on a selected area within the "Manage Portal Site" action).
  • Create Subarea—Brings up the "Create area" page to create a new child area (same as selecting the "Create Subarea" popup menu item on a selected area within the "Manage Portal Site" action).
  • Edit Page—Shows the "Modify Shared Page" link in the upper right corner of the page. This allows you to modify the page by adding, changing, or removing Web parts and works exactly the same as for WSS portals. The "Edit Page" action changes to "View Page," which, when selected, again removes the "Modify Shared Page" link and allows you only to view the page. Areas do not allow a user to have a personalized view. So, when you select "Personal View," you see only the two menu items "Personal View" and "SharedView." All other menu items to design the page, add new Web parts, or modify the properties of existing Web parts are not visible on the personal view. You can only switch back to the shared view through the "SharedView" menu item.
  • Manage Users—This action is only shown on the Home area and allows you to manage the users and their access rights to this portal. This shows the same page as the "Manage Users" links under the "Site Settings."
  • Manage Security—Allows you to manage the access rights of site groups and users to the selected area (same as selecting the "Manage Security" popup menu item on a selected area within the "Manage Portal Site" action).
  • Add to My Links—This action is shown on all areas except the Home area. Allows you to add a link to this area to your "My Site" portal (same as selecting the "Add to My Links" popup menu item on a selected area within the "Manage Portal Site" action).
  • Manage Content—Shows the "Documents and Lists" page for the selected area. This works the same as with WSS portals with the exception that each area has its own documents and lists. You can create new documents and lists, open existing documents and lists and change their settings, remove them or add new data; for example, new events if it is a event list. See "Basics of Using and Customizing WSS" the section of this article. Each area has also a "Portal Listings" added by default that you cannot remove (see more below).

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Portal Listings

SPS portals add a new concept called Portal Listings. A portal listing can be a URL to a Web page or some rich text to show. The special list "Portal Listings" is added to each area by default (under "Documents and Lists," which can be accessed through the "Manage Content" action). Only one "Portal Listings" instance can exist per area and you cannot remove it. Unlike other lists such as Events, Contacts, Links, Tasks, and so forth, you can target portal listings to audiences.

How to target content through audiences and how to manage audiences

out-of-the-box, SPS comes only with one audience, called "All portal users." As the name indicates, every user belongs to this audience and therefore the content is shown to all users. You can add new audiences through the "Site Settings" and the "Manage Audiences" link under the "User Profile, Audiences and Personal Sites" section. This brings up the "Manage Audiences" page. Select the "Create audience" link to create a new audience. First, you enter the name of the audience, a brief description, and select whether all or any (meaning one out of all rules) of the rules need to be satisfied for the user to belong to this audience. Next, you add a rule to this audience; the rule can be based on the Windows user name/group or a user property. Select the "User" radio button if you want to check the user name or user group. As Operator, select "Member of" to check whether the user belongs to a certain Windows group or "Reports Under" to check for a user with a certain name. As Value, enter the full Windows group or Windows user name ("domain name\user or group name" or "machine name\user or group name"). Select the "Property" radio button if you want to check for a user property. Select the name of the property from the drop-down box; for example, Department. Select one of the four operators: equals, contains, not equal, or not contains. As Value, enter the property value to check for. Next, it brings up the "View Audience Properties" page where you can edit the audience, add new rules, and view membership. From the "Manage Audiences" page, you also can select "View Audiences" to get a list of all defined audiences. You can add new audiences and edit or delete existing audiences. The "All portal users" audience cannot be edited or deleted. For any changes to take effect, you need to run a compilation. On the "Manage Audiences" page, select the "Start compilation" item to compile immediately or "Specify compilation schedule" to schedule a regular compilation. Finding out which user belongs to which audience can be time consuming. That is why a compilation is necessary. It walks through all rules and stores for each user to which audience it belongs.

The user profile and how to manage user profiles

The user property works only for users that have a user profile. A user profile exists for users that have entered the "My Site" portal at least one time. Entering the "My Site" portal the first time creates the personal portal structure and creates a user profile. On the "My Site" portal, you see a "Edit Profile" link in the left side navigation bar; this allows you to edit your profile information. Administrators can manage user profiles through the "Site Settings." Under the "User Profile Audiences and Personal Sites" section, select the "Manage Profile database" link to bring up the "Manage Profile Database" page. The "Add user profile" link allows you to create a user profile. On the "Add User Profile" page, select or enter the name of the Windows user and enter the profile information, such as first name, last name, department, and the like. Back at the "Manage Profile Database," select the "View user profiles" link to view all existing user profiles. You can add new user profiles and edit or delete existing user profiles.

How to create user profiles through the import

You can automatically create user profiles through a scheduled import. Select the "Configure profile import" link on the "Manage Profile Database" page. Under the Source section, select from where to import the user profiles. You can import from the current domain, the entire domain forest, or a custom source. Under the "Access Account" section, enter the Windows account that has the necessary access rights to the data source. Next, you can schedule a full import or, if using Active Directory, an incremental import. On the "Manage Profile Database" page, you also can start a manual import through the "Start full profile import" link and view the log of the last import through the "View import log" link.

How to add new profile properties and manage the existing profile properties

Under the "User Profile Properties" section, you can add new profile properties ("Add profile property" link) or view the existing profile properties ("View profile properties" link). When editing a property, you can specify its name, display name and data type, whether the property is visible to other users, whether the property can be edited by the user (under the "Edit Profile" link on the "My Site" portal), and so on. Changes to the profile information do not automatically update the audience membership. A manual or scheduled audience compilation is necessary to update the audience membership.

How to add new Portal Listings and how to manage existing Portal Listings

The Home area has in the upper right corner a "Links for You" Web part thathich shows all portal listings added to the Home area. It also has an "Add Listing" action on the left side navigation bar. This brings the "Add Listing" page that allows you to enter the title and description of the portal listing. Under the "Content" section, you can select the "Existing listing" radio button and enter the URL to a Web page or the "Add a listing by entering text" radio button that enables the "Open Text Editor" button. This button brings up a rich text editor where you can enter and format the text to show. The Group section allows you to assign the portal listing to a group. The Image section allows you to enter the URL to an image to associate with the portal listing. The Location section defines where this portal listing is visible. By default, this selects the area this portal listing is created under. But, through the "Change location" link, you can make a portal listing also visible on other areas. The Audience section allows you to select which user audiences will see the portal listing. It shows under the "available audiences" list all defined audiences and by default adds the "All portal users" to the "selected audiences" list. Through the "Manage Content" action, you can bring up the "Documents and Lists" page that also shows the "Portal Listings" list. Selecting it brings up the list that allows then to add new portal listings and edit or delete existing ones. An area owner can also approve or reject portal listings if approval is required (defined through the "Change Settings" action and the Publishing tab).

Topics Area and Topics Assistant

What are Topics and the basics of working with Topics?

The Topics area is used to categorize content and allow users to browse and find information by topic. The Topics page itself has a "Browse Topics By" Web part that shows all the child areas (out-of-the-box Divisions, Resources, Strategy, Projects, and Locations) as well as their children (out-of-the-box Sales, Support, Operations, Human Resources, and Marketing under Divisions; all other have no children). You can create new child areas or browse existing child areas. All child areas have a "Grouped Listings" Web part on it that shows a list of all portal listings grouped by the three out-of-the-box groups General, Highlight, and Expert. You also find an "Add Listing" action on the left side navigation bar that allows you to add a new portal listing (the same as described on the Home area). The "Add Person" action on the left side navigation bar allows you to add a person to the portal listing. This shows the "Add Person" page, which is the same as the "Add List" page with the exception that the Title is named Name (where you enter the name of an existing user) and the Content section is not present (so you don't enter a Web page URL or text to show).

What is the Topic Assistant and how do you train it?

SPS also comes with a "Topic Assistant" that can categorize content automatically into the Topics child areas. First, you need to train the Topic Assistant. Go to "Site Settings" and select "Use Topic Assistant" under the "Portal Site Content" section that brings up the "Use Topic Assistant" page. Select the "Enable Topic Assistant" check box, which tells SPS to assign areas when indexing content. Under the Precision section, select the desired precision, which by default is Average. The precision allows you to influence the quality of the automatic categorization. A higher precision means less content will be categorized under an area but the content categorized has a higher relevance to the area. Next, you click the "Train Now" link under the "Training Status" section. This enables the training mode for the Topic Assistant. Now, go and categorize about ten Web pages to each area through "Add Listing." Based on the words and properties in these portal listings, the Topic Assistant starts learning which content should be categorized to which area. Take, for example, a category called Learning and you add portal listings which have URLs to Web pages with many words like training, learning, understanding, and so forth. The Topic Assistant will look for such words in content it is indexing and will automatically link it up to the Learning category. While in training mode, the Topic Assistant builds a list of words and properties to associate with each area and uses that list then when indexing content.

A Comprehensive View of SharePoint, Part II

Managing Portal Sites

The Sites area of SPS allows you to create new portal sites and categorize them by Division and Region so that users can easily find and browse them. You can select from two different Views on the left side navigation bar. The Summary view shows the list of Divisions and Regions. Selecting a Division or Region brings up the "All Items" view with only the sites within that division or region. You also can click the "All items" view on the left side navigation bar, which then shows all the sites available. The Summary view also shows the "Newest Sites" list that shows the latest sites created, the list "Sites I Have Added" which shows the sites you have created, and the "Spotlight Sites" list that shows any site you spotlighted during the site creation. Here are some of the actions available on the Sites area:

  • Edit Page—Does not show the "Modify Shared Page" link; this means you cannot modify this page at all.
  • Customize List—Does the same as the "Modify settings and columns" link on WSS lists (see section "Basics of using and customizing WSS" of this article). It allows you to add new columns, create new views, change general list settings, and the like. You also can add, edit, or remove Divisions or Regions. Under the Columns section, click the Division or Region column. Under the "Optional Settings for Column" section, you find a list of available choices. This list is also used to build the list of Divisions and Regions on the Sites area page itself.
  • Create Site—Used to create new portal sites. On the "New SharePoint Site" page, enter the title and description of the new site, the e-mail address of the site owner, and the site URL name (is relative to the SPS portal URL itself; for example, "http://Enterprise-Minds/sites/Engineering"). This creates a new WSS portal site and brings up the "Add Link to Site" page. It checks the "List this site in the site directory" check box to show this site link to users when browsing for sites. It already prefilled the title, URL, and description from the "New SharePoint Site" page. Select the Division and Region under which this new site should show up. Select the "Spotlight Site" check box if you want to spotlight this site. Check the "Include in search results" check box if the new portal site should be included in search results. Through the "Areas" section, you also can link this new site up to other areas in the site. No area is selected by default. Click the "Change Location" link and select one or more areas. When done, this launches into the portal site and brings up the "Template Selection" page (see the "Basics of Using and Customizing WSS" section of this article). Through the "Up to Enterprise-Minds" link (depends what SPS portal name you chose during creation) in the upper right corner, you can get back to the SPS portal.
  • Add Link to Site—Brings up directly the "Add Link to Site" page so you can link up any existing portal site.
  • Manage Content—Brings up the "Documents and Lists" page that shows the list called Sites. This list is used to maintain the list of all sites to show. Selecting it brings up the "All Items" view.
  • Manage Sites—Brings up the "Edit View" which allows to view (shows the site properties), edit (allows you to edit the site properties), and delete sites. This view is also used by the area owner to approve or reject new sites if approval is required (defined through the "Change Settings" action and the Publishing tab).

Managing Portal News

The News area builds on top of the "Portal Listings" list. The "Add News" action brings up the "Add News" page that is identical to the "Add Listing" page with the addition of a Dates section. The Dates section allows you to enter the start and expiration date so the news item does not appear before a certain date and automatically expires after a certain date. The news item always appears in search results regardless of the start and expiration date. The News area and all its child areas have a News Web part that shows all the news items for its appropriate area. The News area itself has a "News Areas" Web part that shows out-of-the-box from any child area the three latest news items (can be set in the Web part properties). The Home area also has the News Web part with the Location pointing to the News area so it shows all the news items of the News area also on the home page. You could, for example, add a second News Web part to the Home area and change its location to "News\Press Announcements" to also show all press announcements on the Home area. The Location can be changed in the Web part properties through the Change Location link at the top of the properties pane. The location is set to None if no area has been selected, which means it takes the data from the area the Web part is placed on. Web parts also can be targeted to audiences. Open the Web part properties and on the properties pane at the bottom of the Advanced section you find a "Select" button under "Target Audiences". This brings up a dialog to choose for which audiences this Web part should be shown.

This article does not provide a complete explanation of all administration, usage, and customization features of WSS and SPS. There are many more, but the ones explained in this article provide a comprehensive overview of WSS and SPS. Please refer to the documentation for all other features or send me an e-mail with your questions to klaus_salchner@hotmail.com.

Additional SharePoint Resources

Summary

WSS portals are easy to create, simple to manage, straightforward to customize, and very easy for users to use. WSS portals provide a vide variety of documents and lists as well as Web parts to add to portals. It is an ideal choice to create portals for ongoing and new projects and virtual teams. The powerful integrations with Office 2003 make it easy to integrate and use WSS portals within the applications most users use every day. Knowing the URL to your portal is all you need to open and save documents to document libraries that are part of your WSS or SPS portal. Being able to integrate your SPS portal into the research assistant of Office provides easy access to the wealth of information in your portal right from the application users use most frequently. SPS portals provide powerful content targeting capabilities through audiences. SPS makes it also easy to create and categorize new portals so it becomes easy for users to browse and search for portals. This is very important when you manage a large number of portals in your organization. Areas of SPS are a powerful way to create different sections on your enterprise portal, have different owners and content approvers, and to categorize the content in your enterprise into different topics.

WSS and SPS are a big step forward compared to their predecessors. Their ease of use, powerful management, and customization capabilities provide you with tools to solve your immediate collaboration, document management, and knowledge management needs. The most convincing part for users is that there is one single starting point for their project or team needs, a portal dedicated to the project or team. Please read the third article, which explains how to develop Web parts and load them onto portal pages. If you have comments on this article, please contact me @ klaus_salchner@hotmail.com. I want to hear if you learned something new. Contact me if you have questions about this topic or article.

About the Author

Klaus Salchner has worked for 14 years in the industry, nine years in Europe and another five years in North America. As a Senior Enterprise Architect with solid experience in enterprise software development, Klaus spends considerable time on performance, scalability, availability, maintainability, globalization/localization, and security. The projects he has been involved in are used by more than a million users in 50 countries on three continents.

Klaus calls Vancouver, British Columbia his home at the moment. His next big goal is running the New York marathon in 2005. Klaus is interested in guest speaking opportunities or as an author for .NET magazines or Web sites. He can be contacted at klaus_salchner@hotmail.com or http://www.enterprise-minds.com.

Enterprise application architecture and design consulting services are available. If you want to hear more about it, contact me! Involve me in your projects and I will make a difference for you. Contact me if you have an idea for an article or research project. Also contact me if you want to co-author an article or join future research projects!



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