SharePoint 2016 For Dummies
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Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 provides a web-based platform that your organization can leverage to be more productive and more competitive. With SharePoint 2016, you can manage content, publish information, track processes, and manage your overall business activities.

In addition, SharePoint 2016 provides social features, such as microblogging, feeds, likes, mentions, and hash tags, to get everyone in your organization on the same page and communicating effectively.

Understanding the SharePoint 2016 technology mix

SharePoint 2016 is a massive and complex product. Not only is SharePoint itself complicated but it relies on a whole series of other technologies to make the magic happen.

The SharePoint 2016 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 server is just designed specifically for heavy duty enterprise type software.
  • Operating systems: A physical computer isn’t much more than a paper weight or door stop 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 leverages the advanced capabilities of SQL Server in order to provide the features explored throughout the book.
  • 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).

It takes this entire stack of technology to make SharePoint possible. You could even say it takes a software village. When this stack of software is in place, your IT team can install SharePoint.

When your IT team installs SharePoint on your local premises it is called SharePoint On Premise. When you buy SharePoint as a service from Microsoft and access it over the Internet it is called SharePoint Online. With SharePoint Online the software stack is installed in Microsoft’s data centers and they take of things like installing, managing, backing up, and securing it all.

Letting Microsoft provide the SharePoint infrastructure lets your organization focus on your business. In particular, you can focus on leveraging SharePoint to increase your business value instead of worrying about the blinking lights of the servers and the intricacies of all of the software that makes up the stack.

You have a few different options when choosing SharePoint 2016. These options include:

  • SharePoint Server 2016, Standard license: Intranet, portals, extranets, search, and My Site social network.
  • SharePoint Server 2016, Enterprise license: Advanced scenarios for business intelligence, application integration, and Office 2016 services.
  • SharePoint Online: The cloud-based version of SharePoint. Offered as a standalone product or bundled with Office 365. SharePoint Online includes a number of different package options, which are a mix of the SharePoint Server features. In addition, from now on Microsoft will add the latest and greatest new features to SharePoint Online. At some point in the future (maybe SharePoint 2019?), they will take all of that work with SharePoint Online and create another On-Premises version of SharePoint. If you want to stay with the latest and greatest, then SharePoint Online is your best option.

Common site templates

A site template is what you use when you create a new SharePoint site. A site template just provides you with a starting setup for SharePoint. For example, if you choose a Team Site template then the site you create will include SharePoint components designed for a team. Things like a Documents App, Calendar App, Tasks App, and timeline visualization.

There are a number of site templates available in SharePoint 2016. Site templates are grouped into categories such as Collaboration, Enterprise, and Publishing.

The site templates that you have available depend on the SharePoint edition you are using as well as the features you have activated. For example, the Business Intelligence Center template is only available with the Enterprise license. And the Publishing sites are only available when you have the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure activated.

The site templates you should be familiar with include:

  • Team Site: A template designed for teams to collaborate, share documents, and stay in sync.
  • Blog: A template that produces a blog site.
  • Project Site: A template that creates a site for managing and collaborating on a specific project.
  • Community Site: A template designed to create a site that allows community members to congregate and discuss common interests.
  • Document Center: A template designed for managing common documents in a central location
  • Records Center: A template that creates a site to manage company records.
  • Business Intelligence Center: A template with all of the functionality required for Business Intelligence in SharePoint.
  • Enterprise Search Center: A template used to create a site for search. Includes a number of search results pages for specialized queries like searching people, conversations, videos, and general.
  • Basic Search Center: A template used to create a general search center site. The basic lacks the multiple results pages of the enterprise class search center.
  • Visio Process Repository: A template that you can choose when creating a site for storing business processes in Microsoft Office Visio format.
  • Publishing Site: A template that creates a blank publishing site. A publishing site is used to publish web pages for mass consumption.
  • Publishing Site with Workflow: A template that provides the capabilities of the Publishing Site template and also includes approval workflows.
  • Enterprise Wiki: A template for creating a site to capture and store information from a group collective.

Common apps in SharePoint 2016

An app is a component in SharePoint that performs some duty. An app might be created to store accounting documents or track customer contacts. If you are familiar with the idea of lists and libraries, then you are familiar with apps.

When you create an app you choose the type of template it should use. There are templates for things like libraries, lists, calendars, tasks, and discussion boards. When you add an app to your site you give it a name. For example, you might add a Calendar app and call it Company Holidays.

What can be confusing is that apps are often named the same thing as their templates. For example, if you are using a site with an app called Document Library based on the Document Library app template, then understanding apps would be very confusing.

If you create your own app called My Documents App and then choose the Document Library template then the differences are easy to notice. You can see that you could create a My Documents App 1, My Documents App 2, and My Documents App 3, which could all use the same template: Document Library.

The apps that you have available depend on the SharePoint 2016 edition you are using as well as the features you have activated. For example, the Report Library app is only available with the Enterprise license.

The following are common apps that you should be aware of.

  • Document Library: Used to create apps that hold documents.
  • Form Library: Creates an app that holds business forms. This library requires a compatible editor such as InfoPath.
  • Wiki Page Library: Used to create apps that store wiki pages.
  • Picture Library: Using this template you create apps to store pictures.
  • Links: Creates an app that contains HTML links.
  • Announcements: Results in an app that can be used for announcements.
  • Contacts: Creates an app to store contacts.
  • Calendar: A template used to create calendar apps.
  • Discussion Board: Creates an app where users can discuss topics in a threaded forum.
  • Promoted Links: An app template that creates a place to store links to specific actions using a visual tile based layout. When you create a new Team Site it includes an app based on the Promoted Links template. When you move the mouse over a tile, information pops up to describe what will happen when the link is clicked.
  • Tasks: A template used to create apps to store tasks.
  • Issue Tracking: Used to create an app to track issues.
  • Custom List: A template that creates a blank app based on a list.
  • Custom List in Datasheet View: This template is similar to the Custom List template but provides a datasheet view by default.
  • External List: Used to create an app that connects to external data.
  • Survey: Creates an app that is used to conduct surveys.
  • Asset Library: A template used to create an app that stores site assets such as images, audio, and video files.
  • Data Connection Library: Creates an app that stores data connections.
  • Report Library: Used to create an app to store reports.
  • Access App: A template used to create an app that is the Office Access web based app.
  • Import Spreadsheet: A template used to import a spreadsheet. The result is an app that contains the data in the spreadsheet. The equivalent could be done manually by creating the app using the Custom List template, adding all of the columns in the spreadsheet, and then keying in all of the data.

Common web parts

Web parts are reusable components that display content on web pages in SharePoint 2016. Web parts are a fundamental component in building SharePoint pages. There are a number of web parts that ship right out of the box with the different editions of SharePoint and you can also purchase third-party web parts that plug right into your SharePoint environment.

The web parts that you have available depend on the SharePoint 2016 edition you are using as well as on the features you have activated. For example, the PerformancePoint web parts are only available with the Enterprise license and when the PerformancePoint Services feature is activated. And the Project Web app web parts are only available when you have installed Project Server.

The following is a list of the common web part categories that you should be familiar with:

  • Apps: Each app instance you have added to your site has an associated web part. The app web parts allow 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 grouping of web parts designed to display business information such as status, indicators, and other business data. This grouping also includes web parts for embedding Excel and Visio documents and for displaying data from Business Connectivity Services (BCS). BCS is a component of SharePoint that allows you to connect to data that is stored outside of SharePoint.
  • Community: The Community grouping contains web parts for the community features of SharePoint. This includes things like 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 rollup (aggregate) content. There are web parts for 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: This category provides 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, there are web parts to show items matching a certain tag, pages based on a search query, and recently changed items.
  • Social Collaboration: This category contains web parts designed for the social components of SharePoint such as user contact details, shared note board, tag clouds, and user tasks.

SharePoint 2016 page types

There are a few things you should know about SharePoint 2016 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.

These include:

  • Wiki page: A wiki page is also known as a content page. You can add content to them 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 Office Word in that all of 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. There are multiple web part zone layouts you can choose from 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 you to have users familiar with their content, but not SharePoint layouts, publish to the site while still maintaining the look and feel.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Rosemarie Withee is President of Portal Integrators LLC and Founder of Scrum Now with locations in Seattle, WA and Laguna, Philippines. She is also the lead author of Office 365 For Dummies.

Ken Withee writes TechNet and MSDN articles for Microsoft and is the author of SharePoint 2013 For Dummies.

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