If you've been doing any reading about Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, you've probably heard the word SharePoint. You've probably heard it mentioned in several contexts: SharePoint Team Services, SharePoint Portal Server, SharePoint Web Parts, and SharePoint Dashboards. You might be confused about how these items interact and how they can help you. This chapter explains a bit about each of these technologies and goes into detail about how to use the various SharePoint technologies to collaborate with others both inside and outside your organization to share documents. Throughout this chapter, SharePoint Portal Server refers to SharePoint Portal Server 2003, and SharePoint Team Services refers to the SharePoint Team Services that works with Windows Server 2003.
Sharing documents is only one benefit to SharePoint. You can collaborate on meetings by creating shared meeting workspaces that can be accessed via the Internet, the corporate intranet, or even Outlook. For every meeting, you can store the agenda, documents, tasks, and objectives, and manage the attendees for your meeting. A detailed explanation of shared meeting workspaces is beyond the scope of this book, but we'll cover briefly how you can store and access documents to help you better prepare for and follow up on your meetings. Mostly, however, this chapter covers the features of Word 2003 that allow you to work directly with SharePoint technologies. Word users can benefit from SharePoint by utilizing the document collaboration features, implementing document versioning, and using the discussion features to update documents between multiple editors.
So what's the difference between SharePoint Portal Server and SharePoint Team Services? If you don't know off the top of your head, you're not alone. The gist of the difference is that SharePoint Team Services was designed for smaller teams collaborating over an intranet or the Internet. SharePoint Portal Server was designed to be used over an entire enterprise, allowing users to index and search for documents over a wide variety of portal sites. SharePoint Team Services can run on any existing Windows Server 2003 (including one being used for other roles such as a file server or database server). SharePoint Portal Server is a standalone server product. Table 27.1 illustrates some of the key differences between these two products.
Individual team Web sites
Enterprise portal Web site
Documents within team Web site and subsites
Multiple types of data across multiple servers
Discussions, notifications, and surveys
Discussions and notifications
FrontPage 2003 and the SharePoint Team Services SDK
Web Parts and the SharePoint Portal Server SDK
Document Management Abilities
Publish documents, version control, check-in and check-out
Publish, version control, routing, check-in, and check-out
Administrator, Advanced Author, Author, Contributor, Browser
Administrator, Coordinator, Author, and Reader
Web Storage System
FrontPage 2003 Server license, no separate client access license
SharePoint Portal Server license and client access licenses
The SharePoint Team Services technology allows users to quickly create and contribute to team or project-focused Web sites from within their browser or Office applications. With SharePoint Team Services, anyone on the team can create a quick Web site for sharing information that includes documents, calendars, announcements, and other types of information. Team members can easily customize and manage these Web sites through FrontPage 2003 and the SharePoint Team Services SDK.
SharePoint Portal Server 2003 allows administrators to create a portal Web site that allows users to share documents and search for information across the entire enterprise, including SharePoint Team Services sites. All of these sites can be searched and indexed through the SharePoint Portal Server main site. SharePoint Portal Server includes the document management features companies need to manage their business processes with their portal solution.
So what does this all mean? Well, if all you want to do is share documents with a limited group of people (either within your organization or outside your organization), you should probably implement SharePoint Team Services. You don't need client access licenses (CALs) and you can publish documents easily for everyone to access. If you need detailed version control and document routing, as well as the ability to access various data across multiple sites, you should look into SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
This chapter's focus is SharePoint Team Services. However, most of the topics addressed here will work equally well with SharePoint Portal Server. A few of the topics covered in this chapter will work only with SharePoint Portal Server. Wherever that's the case, it will be noted in the text.