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

Windows SharePoint Services is a component of SharePoint Portal Server and Sharepoint Portal Server runs on top of Windows SharePoint Services which actually acts as the base platform for SharePoint Portal Server. SharePoint Portal Server supports integrated document management with flexible document search options. It is a "flexible portal solution that lets you find, share, and publish information easily." SharePoint Portal server can be used to present the content in a customizable way and it provides a seamless integration with SharePoint Portal Farms, Windows SharePoint Services web sites, backend systems through BizTalk, profile Integration with Active Directory, etc.

When you have SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services installed in your system, you can find a folder structure of modifiable and customizable templates that gets created automatically, templates for both Windows Sharepoint Services web sites and for SharePoint Portal Server pages. As SharePoint Portal Server is built on top of Windows SharePoint Services, much of the underlying architecture of them is identical. I will discuss more on this in my forthcoming articles on these technologies.

Windows SharePoint Services should be installed prior to the installation of Sharepoint Portal Server since the later runs on top of the former. It should be noted that unlike Windows SharePoint Services, Sharepoint Portal Server does not come free with Windows Server 2003. However, you can still download a free 180-day trial copy of SharePoint Portal Server from the website of Microsoft.

The following are the basic features provided by Sharepoint Portal Server.

·         Easily customizable

·         Content administration and Aggregation

·         Integrated document management and scalable, enterprise search options

·         Web based shared Document Repository

·         Message board, Notification of Emails, Events, announcements, contact lists, etc.

·         Web Parts -- customizable, pluggable, reusable components that can be used to display specific information on a Web page

Installation Pre-requisites for Sharepoint Portal Server

This section highlights the pre-requisites that are mandatory for installing SharePoint Portal Server and make it up and running in your system. You need to have Windows Server 2003 installed on your system with IIS 6.0, Sql Server and ASP.NET version 1.1 or later. The installation would install Windows SharePoint Services prior to the installation of Sharepoint Portal Server on top of the former. It is possible to install Windows SharePoint Services individually without installing SharePoint Portal Server 2003 in your system. However, if you have installed SharePoint Portal Server 2003 on your server you have automatically installed Windows SharePoint Services.

It should be noted that both Windows SharePoint Services and Sharepoint Portal Server configure the IIS application pools to run under the identity of the NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE account; although it is also possible to reconfigure any IIS application pool to use a different Windows account.

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