An Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server
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by Joydip Kanjilal
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Introducing Windows SharePoint Services

Built on top of Windows Server 2003, IIS and ASP.NET, Windows SharePoint Services is a component of Windows Server 2003 information worker infrastructure that provides an easy application development and flexible application deployment platform and facilitates locating and sharing documents in a distributed and collaborative environment; hence, boosting productivity and meeting your business challenges. In a sense, Windows SharePoint Services lets you "share information, collaborate on documents, and collect team knowledge over the Internet or your corporate network."

It is an upgrade to Windows SharePoint Team Services that is available as a part of Microsoft FrontPage. SharePoint Team Services is a team Web site solution that can be instrumental in improving the team integration and team management activities. You have a host of features: document libraries, contacts, tasks, discussions, and what not! A SharePoint Team Services web site is easily customizable and provides a seamless and efficient collaboration amongst a team of members. Note that Windows SharePoint Services acts as both a product and a component, i.e., it is available as a free download product and also comes free with Windows Server 2003. It is also a component in the sense that it is a part of SharePoint Portal Server 2003. SharePoint Portal Server is discussed later in this article.

The following are basic features provided by Windows SharePoint Services:

·         Document sharing, security, organization, management and integration in a collaborative environment

·         Cost-effective and incremental deployment

·         Seamless integration with other tools

·         Easy extensibility

Note that Windows SharePoint Services uses MSDE or Sql Server as its database to store the site settings, content, documents, etc. for data security, integrity, manageability and transactional support.

The latest release, Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0, was released on November 16, 2006 as part of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite and Windows Server "Longhorn." You can download Windows SharePoint Services from the links below:

Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 download

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Ready to Download!

Windows SharePoint Services Downloads

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Software Development Kit (SDK)

Content and Configuration Databases in Windows SharePoint Services

Windows SharePoint Services depends on two types of databases for its operation.

·         A Content Database that stores the data of one or more Windows SharePoint Services web sites

·         A Configuration Database that contains the related configuration details

While the configuration database is instrumental in configuration and administration of all the WSS web sites on a server, the content database houses the data of one or more Windows SharePoint Services web sites. The size of the database for Windows SharePoint Services depends on the number and size of the Windows SharePoint Services web sites that are supported by the server.

Note that when you install Windows SharePoint Services in your system, you have multiple content databases, but one configuration database. Further, when you install SharePoint Portal Server consequently, it does not use any of these databases; instead, three more databases namely, Portalname_prof, Portalname_serv and Portalname_site, are created with the installation of SharePoint Portal Server and it updates the configuration database created earlier with the installation of Windows SharePoint Services.

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