Network Administration: SharePoint Basics

SharePoint is a web application that lets you create team websites designed to let your Windows Server 2008 network users work together on projects. Among other things, these team websites can include the following features:

  • Announcements and news

  • Document libraries that can store and track documents

  • Discussion forums where team members can discuss issues

  • Task lists that help keep track of things that need to be done

  • Contact lists

  • Wikis, which are collections of pages where users can work together to build a repository of interlinked articles.

Users access SharePoint sites by opening a web browser and browsing to the server that hosts SharePoint. For example, the following illustration shows the default home page of the SharePoint site on a server named sharepoint.lowewriter.pri.

image0.jpg

The default SharePoint site consists of the following pages:

  • A home page with announcements, a reminder of upcoming events on the site’s calendar, and an area where you can add favorite links

  • A document library named Shared Documents, where you can store files that can be accessed by other SharePoint users

  • A calendar

  • A task list

  • A discussion area named Team Discussion

All the pages on a SharePoint site have several elements in common, including the following:

  • Near the top left is a title area that displays the name of the SharePoint site — in this case, simply Home.

  • At the top left (above the title area) is a button labeled Site Actions. When you click this button, a menu appears with commands that let you create additional pages, edit the current page, or manage site settings.

  • At the top right is a log-on control that displays the name of the current user and includes a drop-down menu that lets you sign out, change users, or update your user settings.

  • Beneath the log-on control is a Help button that displays useful information about how to use SharePoint.

  • To the left of the Help button is a search box that lets you search the entire site for specific text. Just enter the text you want to search for and then click the magnifying glass icon.

  • Below the title area is a series of one or more tabs called the Top Link Bar. Initially, the Top Link Bar contains a single tab named Home, which takes you to the home page for the site. But you can add links.

  • A navigation menu called Quick Launch runs down the left side of the window. It provides quick access to the individual pages on the site.

  • The main display area, in the center of each SharePoint page, contains one or more gadgets called Web Parts. SharePoint comes with a collection of Web Parts that can be added to this area, and additional web parts are available from various sources. If you’re handy with ASP.NET web programming, you can even create your own web parts.