The Microsoft Stack: Microsoft's SharePoint Hits Sweet Spot as the Next Killer App
July 15, 2008 —
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SharePoint is on fire across the country and across the globe. Everywhere I go, I see organizations, especially in the Federal government and defense sector, adopting or digging deeper into SharePoint implementations.
I have been around SharePoint since before it was a thought, because I was steeped in Site Server, which was the precursor product that included the search technology that became the core of the original SharePoint.
Now it has made the vital jump to Microsoft Office interoperability and has been doing it for enough versions to have survived the "will it continue to be supported?" waiting period that many of us use as a measure of whether something is safe to adopt.
If you are not well versed in what SharePoint offers, it is worth your time to pay some attention, as it might well be in your future. The big draw is that SharePoint takes a big chunk of unstructured data off the file servers and puts it into structured SQL Server storage. A lot of really useful extra functionality comes with it, such as content-based search, user maintainable metadata, versioning and powerful collaboration functionality for things like creating project Web sites.
SharePoint is a glue technology that holds together database storage in SQL Server, Web provisioning for easy manipulation, and, as I mentioned before, easy integration with Microsoft Office. Support for lists and document versioning make it very easy to justify in project-based environments, where a portal for team coordination and document libraries for data consolidation make sense.
One major stumbling block in wrapping your mind around this technology is that there are Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS). WSS comes with built-in Windows 2003 Server and Windows 2003 Small Business Server, and includes the base features that enable the setup and use of project-based and individual Web sites. MOSS adds the massive collaboration and search features that make it a compelling solution.
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