SharePoint 2013 For Dummies
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 provides a web-based platform that lets your organization be more productive and competitive. With SharePoint 2013, you can manage content, publish information, track processes, and manage your overall business activities. In addition, SharePoint 2013 provides social features such as microblogging, feeds, likes, mentions, and hashtags to get everyone in your organization on the same page and communicating effectively.
The SharePoint 2013 Technology Mix
SharePoint 2013 is a massive and complex product. Not only is SharePoint itself complicated but it also relies on a whole series of other technologies to make the magic happen.
The SharePoint 2013 technology stack consists of
Computer servers: At the root of any software system is a physical device called a server. A server is no different than your laptop, desktop, or even phone. They all use physical computer chips to make things happen in the digital world. A SharePoint server is just designed specifically for heavy-duty enterprise-type software.
Operating systems: A physical computer isn't much more than a paperweight without software to make it function. The software designed to make computers do stuff is called an operating system. In the Microsoft world, the operating system designed for servers is called, aptly enough, Windows Server.
Databases: A database is installed onto the operating system and is specifically designed and optimized to store and manipulate data. The Microsoft database product is called SQL Server. SharePoint takes advantage of the advanced capabilities of SQL Server to provide the features users need.
Web servers: SharePoint is software that you interact with using your web browser. A special software product called a web server is the engine that delivers web pages to your web browser. The Microsoft web server is called Internet Information Services (IIS).
You have a few different options when choosing SharePoint 2013:
SharePoint Foundation 2013: Basic collaboration using team sites, blogs, and apps
SharePoint Server 2013, Standard license: Intranet, portals, extranets, search, and My Site social network
SharePoint Server 2013, Enterprise license: Advanced scenarios for business intelligence, application integration, and Office 2013 services
SharePoint Online: The cloud-based version of SharePoint 2013, offered as a standalone product or bundled with Office 365, includes a number of different package options that are a mix of the SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server features.
Common SharePoint 2013 Site Templates
A site template is what you use when you create a new SharePoint site. It provides you with a starting setup for SharePoint. A number of site templates are available in SharePoint 2013. Site templates are grouped into categories such as Collaboration, Enterprise, and Publishing.
Note: Which site templates are available to you depends on which SharePoint 2013 edition you're using, as well as the features that are activated. For example, the Business Intelligence Center template is available only with the Enterprise license.
The site templates you should be familiar with include
Team Site: Enables teams to collaborate, share documents, and stay in sync.
Blog: Produces a blog site.
Project Site: Enables teams to manage and collaborate on a specific project.
Community Site: Allows community members to congregate and discuss common interests.
Document Center: Enables managing common documents in a central location.
Records Center: Manages company records.
Business Intelligence Center: Provides all the functionality required for business intelligence in SharePoint.
Enterprise Search Center: Enables search and includes a number of search results pages for specialized queries, such as searching for people, conversations, videos, and general.
Basic Search Center: Provides a general search center site. The basic lacks the multiple results pages of the enterprise class search center.
Visio Process Repository: Stores business processes in Microsoft Office Visio format.
Publishing Site: Creates a blank publishing site. A publishing site is used to publish web pages for mass consumption.
Publishing Site with Workflow: Provides the capabilities of the Publishing Site template and also includes approval workflows.
Enterprise Wiki: Captures and stores information from a group collective.
Common Apps in SharePoint 2013
When you create an app in SharePoint 2013, you choose the type of template it should use. What can be confusing is that apps are often named the same thing as their templates. (For example, an app called Document Library based on the Document Library app template.)
Note: The apps that you have available depend on the SharePoint 2013 edition you use as well as the features that are activated. For example, the Report Library app is available only with the Enterprise license.
The following are some common SharePoint 2013 apps:
Document Library: Holds documents.
Form Library: Holds business forms. This library requires a compatible editor such as InfoPath.
Wiki Page Library: Stores wiki pages.
Picture Library: Stores pictures.
Links: Contains HTML links.
Announcements: Creates and sends announcements.
Contacts: Stores contacts.
Calendar: Creates a calendar.
Discussion Board: Enables users to discuss topics in a threaded forum.
Promoted Links: Creates a place to store links to specific actions using a visual tile-based layout.
Tasks: Stores tasks.
Issue Tracking: Tracks issues.
Custom List: Creates a blank app based on a list.
Custom List in Datasheet View: Provides a datasheet view (similar to the Custom List template).
External List: Connects to external data.
Survey: Conducts surveys.
Asset Library: Stores site assets such as images, audio, and video files.
Data Connection Library: Stores data connections.
Report Library: Stores reports.
Access App: Provides the Office Access web-based app.
Import Spreadsheet: Imports a spreadsheet and its data.
Common SharePoint 2013 Web Parts
Web Parts are reusable components that display content on web pages in SharePoint 2013. Web Parts are a fundamental component in building SharePoint pages. A number of Web Parts ship right out of the box with the different editions of SharePoint, and you can also purchase third-party Web Parts.
Note: The Web Parts that you have available depend on which SharePoint 2013 edition you use as well as which features are activated. For example, the PerformancePoint Web Parts are available only with the Enterprise license and only when the PerformancePoint Services feature is activated.
The following is a list of the common Web Part categories:
Apps: Each app instance you have added to your site has an associated Web Part. The app Web Parts enable you to add a view into the data in your app to your web pages.
Blog: Provides Web Parts for a blog site.
Business Data: A group of Web Parts that display business information, such as status, indicators, and other business data. This group also includes Web Parts for embedding Excel and Visio documents and displaying data from Business Connectivity Services (BCS; a component of SharePoint that allows you to connect to data stored outside SharePoint).
Community: A group of Web Parts for the community features of SharePoint, such as membership, joining a community, and information about the community. In addition, there are tools for community administrators.
Content Rollup: Contains Web Parts that are used to roll up (aggregate) content, such as rolling up search results, providing project summaries, displaying timelines, and showing relevant documents from throughout the site.
Document Sets: Web Parts specifically designed for working with sets of documents.
Filters: Web Parts that can be used to filter information. These Web Parts are designed to be connected with other Web Parts in order to provide a useful filtering mechanism. For example, you might have a list of content and want users to be able to filter based on certain criteria. You could use these Web Parts to provide the filter mechanism.
Forms: Web Parts that allow you to embed HTML or InfoPath forms in a page.
Media and Content: Web Parts that display media, such as images, videos, and pages. In addition, there is also a Web Part for displaying Silverlight applications.
PerformancePoint: Web Parts specifically designed for PerformancePoint services.
Project Web App: Web Parts specifically designed for Project Server. These Web Parts include functionality for displaying information about a project, such as issues, tasks, timesheets, and status.
Search: Provides Web Parts for search functionality, such as the search box for entering a query, search results, and refinement of results.
Search-Driven Content: Provides Web Parts that display content based on search. For example, Web Parts that show items matching a certain tag, pages based on a search query, and recently changed items.
Social Collaboration: Web Parts designed for the social components of SharePoint, such as user contact details, shared note board, tag clouds, and user tasks.
SharePoint 2013 Page Types
A web page is a document that is displayed in your web browser. The only difference between a web page and a regular text document is that a web page has special markup that tells the web browser how to display it. SharePoint takes the details of the special markup and throws it behind the scenes. What you are left with is a few different types of pages you can add to your SharePoint sites:
Wiki page: Also known as a content page. You can add content to wiki pages by typing and formatting text. In addition, you can insert images and Web Parts. Adding content to a wiki page is much like working with Microsoft Word in that all the capabilities for formatting content are contained at the top of the page in the Ribbon. And as the name implies, a wiki page handles all of the wiki commands, such as the [ and ] characters.
Web Part page: A Web Part page is specifically designed for Web Parts. A Web Part page includes Web Part zones where you can add Web Parts. Using a Web Part page, you can drag Web Parts between zones and connect them to each other. You can choose from multiple Web Part zone layouts when creating a Web Part page.
Publishing page: The publishing page is used when you need to create a separation between the publishing of content and the layout of the content on the page. A publishing page allows you to create a standard page layout and then let multiple users enter content using the page layout. This allows users who are familiar with their content but not with SharePoint layouts to publish to the site while still maintaining a consistent look and feel.