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Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) is a portal-based platform for creating, managing and sharing documents and customized Web services. WSS is available as a free download included with every Windows Server license and is considered to be part of the Office 2003 productivity suite.
WSS is often confused with Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS), a stand-alone server product with enhanced features, including enterprise content management and enterprise search.
A SharePoint page is built by combining components. The components, which are called Web parts or modules, are enhanced ASP.Net pages. Pages can be linked together to create a portal or site.
"Out of the box" Sharepoint includes:
Alerts - An opt-in feature that allows users to be notified about changes or additions to specific SharePoint sites.
Audiences -- Groups of users who meet certain criteria. Users are said to be a member of an audience if they meet that audience’s membership criteria. Permissions are granted through Active Directory.
Discussions -- Traditional newsgroup forums, document discussions and wiki discussions.
Document Workspaces -- Sometimes called a page, a portal or a site. Contains a document library, tasks, links and other components.
Libraries -- Shared storage. The default segments are document libraries, form libraries and picture libraries.
Lists -- A collection of information items displayed in an area or on a site. List types include: announcements, links, contacts, events, tasks and issues.
My Site -- A single page portal that contains the user’s personal sites, links, etc. My Site consists of both a public and private view. The private view is intended as a personal workplace for the individual end user. The public view acts like a business card that can be accessed by other portal users.
Site groups -- A custom security group with read or write permissions for a specific SharePoint portal.
Site templates -- Pre-defined architecture and page designs to simplify the creation of new elements for a site.
Subsites -- A named subdirectory of the top-level Web site. Each subsite can have independent administration, authoring, and browsing permissions.
Surveys -- A Web site component that enables users to respond to a set of questions specified by the creator of the survey. Results are tallied in a graphical summary. Surveys support a wide variety of response types from simple Yes/No answers to free-form text.
Web parts -- Customizable Web page elements (components) that can be added to Sharepoint pages.
SharePoint was originally added on to Windows Server at the same time as Office XP under the title "SharePoint Team Services" or STS. The 2.0 version advanced the functionality of the platform by storing both documents and meta data in a SQL Server and the .NET framework.