Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is an integrated suite of server capabilities that can help improve organizational effectiveness by providing comprehensive content management and enterprise search, accelerating shared business processes, and facilitating information-sharing across boundaries for better business insight. Additionally, this collaboration and content management server provides IT professionals and developers with the platform and tools they need for server administration, application extensibility, and interoperability.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is an integrated suite of server capabilities that can help improve organizational effectiveness by providing comprehensive content management and enterprise search, accelerating shared business processes, and facilitating information-sharing across boundaries for better business insight. Additionally, this collaboration and content management server provides IT professionals and developers with the platform and tools they need for server administration, application extensibility, and interoperability.

Site- or web-scoped Features can also be referenced within a site definition, so that as new sites get created your features will get activated.

Ultimately, though, not every behavior or kind of change you’d want to implement can be expressed in XML. For this reason, you can also define a feature receiver which contains callbacks which will get fired when the Feature is installed or activated.

Features are designed to be a way for developers to express building blocks for SharePoint, and for site admins to pick and choose new functionality they can add to their site. Out of the box, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and WSS have about 128 features defined, combined. That’s a lot of building blocks :)

First, one goal was to make it possible for people to choose a site template, but over time add (or remove) capabilities as people needed them -- the philosophy is that choice of site template shouldn’t be a binding choice to force particular functionality for a site forever. To implement this, we needed to express to site admins which set of capabilities they can turn on. Calling these capabilities "Features" seemed to be more intuitive than calling them something a bit geekier, like "modules" or "components". Because the UI term for these was "Features", it made sense to call the development capability called "Features" too.

Second, the design of features was in part influenced by the way things are defined in Windows Installer. Windows Installer has the concept of "features" and "components". Features are those things you see in some setups where you can pick and choose, in a tree view, which various bits of software to install. For a brief moment the idea for SharePoint was to have features and components too, but to simplify things a little bit we just put features in (not components.)
What are master pages
Master pages are a feature of ASP.NET 2.0; they work the same way in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 as they do in ASP.NET 2.0. Using master pages, you can create a single page template and then use that template as the basis for multiple pages, instead of having to build each new page from scratch.
Microsoft has made available a package of four sample master page sets that were built using new CSS and Master Page editing tools within Office SharePoint Designer 2007. These sample master pages:
Enable you to apply a pre-designed style and layout to SharePoint sites
Work with the forty new Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
Provide a starting point for deeper SharePoint site look and feel customizations
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is the platform on which all SharePoint Products and Technologies are built. WSS 3.0 is for is suitable for small teams, projects and organizations.
WSS’s project collaboration, document workspace, meeting sub-site, and discussion board features allow individuals and small teams to collaborate and share information online. Past versions of Windows SharePoint Services included Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and SharePoint Team Services. New features in WSS 3.0 include integrated workflows, RSS feeds, blogs, wikis and ASP-style Web parts.
SharePoint Designer 2007
Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is the next generation of Microsoft FrontPage that enables both the design and customization of SharePoint 2007 sites. SharePoint Designer 2007 allows organizations to automate common business processes through simple or complex custom workflows. Corporations can apply their corporate branding to their SharePoint portal providing a unified look and feel to all their end users. Companies can also create customized SharePoint sites based upon the unique needs of your company's end users, teams, or departments without having to turn to outside consultants.
No-code interactive solutions
With Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can build sophisticated no-code solutions such as Data Views, reports, and workflow tracking quickly and easily by using menus, task panes, and templates.
Incorporate data from a wide variety of sources into interactive Web pages
With Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can create custom Data Views and data forms that leverage Microsoft ASP.NET technology, allowing you to integrate external data into your Web site, including views that display data from multiple sources.
For example, suppose that your enterprise has a product database and a customer database, and you want to display product information on your SharePoint site — you can do this quickly and easily by creating a view on that data. Suppose that you also want a Web page that displays which customers have ordered which products. You can do this by linking your data sources — in this case, your two databases — so that you can view this information in a single joined Data View. What's more, you can use this Data View as a form, so you can write data back to your data sources.

Access a wide variety of data sources from the Data Source Library
You can create Data Views from a wide variety of data sources, including:
RSS feeds Add RSS feeds to the Data Source Library, and create Data Views by using the RSS feeds as a data source.
XML files Add XML files to the Data Source Library, and create Data Views that display XML data.
Office XML Create Data Views from 2007 Microsoft Office system documents. For example, create a view on data in Microsoft Office Word 2007 documents by using their new XML-based file format as a data source.
Create high-impact reports
Tools such as calculated fields, conditional formatting, and sorting, grouping, and filtering capabilities help you create high-impact reports in the form of Data Views. For example, you can apply conditional formatting to a Data View so that items in your inventory are highlighted when they drop below a specific number and need to be reordered.
Collaborate more efficiently with the built-in Workflow Designer
You can associate conditions and actions with tasks, lists, and document libraries to automate communications that are specific to your needs. For example, you can create a workflow to automatically route documents that are posted to the site for approval. With the Workflow Designer, you can refine the approval routing to actions that are based on the document being approved or rejected, or in case recipients are out of the office and have delegated their responsibilities to a colleague.
Apply SharePoint Application Templates
You can use built-in application Web sites such as Expense and Reimbursement Tracking and Absence and Vacation Management to share information more effectively. Each template is fully customizable and extensible by using Office SharePoint Designer 2007. (You can find links to more examples of application Web sites in the See Also section. These applications are for Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. Applications for Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 will be available in the future.)
Build interactive ASP.NET pages
You can create ASP.NET pages and insert custom ASP.NET controls by using the same powerful on-control activity menus and control property grid found in development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.
Professional design tools
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides the professional design tools that you need to create compelling SharePoint sites that are customized to your needs.
Enjoy an intuitive design experience
You can view and change SharePoint pages with advanced what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) capabilities.
Format SharePoint pages quickly and easily with powerful cascading style sheets (CSS) tools
New CSS tools such as the Apply Styles and Manage Styles task panes make applying and managing style sheets faster, easier, and more efficient.

New CSS task panes make it easy to edit and update the SharePoint style sheet.
Use ASP.NET master pages to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout your site
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 supports ASP.NET master pages, which you can use to control the layout of your entire Web site by creating and editing a single template.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 integration
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 includes ground-breaking new functionality that Office SharePoint Server 2007 users and portal site managers can take advantage of, enabling you to design and extend portal sites or portal pages with more flexibility and power than ever before.
Easily customize your portal site pages
Office SharePoint Server 2007 portal sites are fully customizable with Office SharePoint Designer 2007. You can edit the SharePoint style sheet with state-of-the-art CSS editing tools.
Extend business document workflows
With the Workflow Designer in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can extend the built-in business document workflows that are available in Office SharePoint Server 2007 and create custom workflows from scratch.
Create custom views of enterprise data
With the Office SharePoint Server 2007 Business Data Catalog and Office SharePoint Designer 2007 Data Views, you can:
Create custom views of vital business data, and even create Data Views that integrate information from multiple data sources into a single Data View.
Use conditional formatting to call attention to important information.
Use Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) data forms to quickly and easily create, update, and display data.
Enhanced management capabilities.
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 can be used by site administrators and IT managers to control the levels of access to ensure a consistent user experience across the site.
Use Contributor mode
By determining the levels of control for team members according to their roles, you can control which Office SharePoint Designer 2007 commands the users can access and what kinds of modifications the users can make to your SharePoint site. With Contributor mode, you can:
Create user groups and assign them specific permissions.
Create user groups that have access only to specified editable regions and content types.
Limit who can create and edit master pages, change cascading style sheets, and edit or delete the home page.
Control which master pages and style sheets can be used to create pages, and in which folders the site contributors can save their files.
Manage your site more efficiently
You can access tools and reports for a wide variety of site maintenance tasks, including hyperlink checking, CSS usage, and more.
Track customized pages
You can easily track customized pages by using the Site Template Pages report. With the Site Template Pages report, you can see a list of pages that have been customized, including the file name and file type, as well as the folder in which the file is located.
Roll back changes
You can use the Revert to Template Page command and the Site Template Pages report to restore previous versions of the page. Making changes to the live site is no longer a problem. If unwanted changes have been saved, you can now restore previous versions of the same page with the click of a button.
Office Diagnostics
Microsoft Office Diagnostics is a series of diagnostic tests that can help you to discover why your computer is crashing. The diagnostic tests can solve some problems directly and may identify ways that you can solve other problems. Microsoft Office Diagnostics replaces the following Microsoft Office 2003 features: Detect and Repair and Microsoft Office Application Recovery.
Proofing Tools
The following are some new features of the spelling checker:
The spelling checker has been made more consistent across the 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. Examples of this change include:
Several spelling checker options are now global. If you change one of these options in one Office program, that option is also changed for all the other Office programs. For more information, see Change the way spelling and grammar checking work.
In addition to sharing the same custom dictionaries, all programs can manage them using the same dialog box. For more information, see Use custom dictionaries to add words to the spelling checker.
The 2007 Microsoft Office system spelling checker includes the post-reform French dictionary. In Microsoft Office 2003, this was an add-in that had to be separately installed. For more information, see Change the way spelling and grammar checking work.
An exclusion dictionary is automatically created for a language the first time that language is used. Exclusion dictionaries let you force the spelling checker flag words you want to avoid using. They are handy for avoiding words that are obscene or that don't match your style guide. For more information, see Use exclusion dictionaries to specify a preferred spelling for a word.
Available Application Templates
Microsoft has developed forty application templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 that can be downloaded at no extra charge. Each application template addresses a business scenario and provides a base of functionality that can be either used directly out of the box, or customized for company specific needs.

Home page view of the Integrated Marketing Campaign Tracking application template.

Home page view of the Integrated Marketing Campaign Tracking application template

Customizing SharePoint Sites and Templates
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is a Web site development and management program that provides powerful tools to build, customize and contribute to Windows SharePoint Services sites. Using the latest Web design technologies and established standards, technical users are able to create and deploy interactive solutions without having to write or deploy complex code.
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 helps automate business process workflow such as document approval, custom event notification and other collaboration tasks with the workflow designer. It allows report creation data tracking applications using views and forms to gather and aggregate information from within the site and from locations on the Web. Advanced users can extend the power of Windows SharePoint Services with interactive Microsoft ASP.NET pages using the same powerful activity menus and control property grids previously found in the Microsoft Visual Studio® development system.
Application Templates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 are separated into two groups, site admin templates and server admin templates, providing the right combination of integration with the platform and ease-of-deployment within an organization.
Site admin templates are custom templates (*.stp files) that are easy for any SharePoint site administrator to install into the template gallery without requiring server administration access.
Server admin templates are site definitions (*.wsp files), enabling tighter integration and enhanced functionality within the Windows SharePoint Services platform. They require a server administrator to install.
Usama Wahab Khan and Atif Shahzad

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