I attended Windows Sharepoint Services training all week. I’ve recorded odds and ends about the product here.

First two days were to devoted Microsoft curriculum class 5060, Implementing Windows Sharepoint Services.

I can see why Sharepoint is so popular. It handles virtually all basic web application functionality needed by application developers. It’s all ready to go after installing. Web sites, lists, calendars, project tasks, work flows, document management with versioning, blogs, wikis, you name it. A single sharepoint installation creates an overall application. Within that application, one can make multiple web sites. Virtually all Sharepoint data and configuration gets stored in SQL Server databases. Documents get stored in the database, so plan for big SQL Server databases if you will store many documents.

Standalone Sharepoint can be installed with any edition of SQL Server that you want. One VM used in the class had SQL Server Embedded Edition deployed, which I hadn’t used before. I wanted to connect to it, but got an error when connecting to it by name. The instance name is Microsoft##SSEE. A google search led me to a thread indicating that one can connect to the instance via named pipes. Use this string as the server name: \\.\pipe\mssql$microsoft##ssee\sql\query

Mobile users get a plain text interface. Just add /m to the url. http://sharepointsite/m .

There are command line utilities for Sharepoint in this directory. C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\BIN. Some of the tools are:

  • prescan.exe (used to see if 2.0 sites will upgrade to 3.0 sites)
  • stsadm.exe (used to automate sharepoint admin tasks for existing sites)
  • psconfig.exe (used to do higher level sharepoint configuration tasks)

Good document on microsoft.com on the feature matrix among sharepoint 2.0, sharepoint 2007 and MS Office 2003 and 2007. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e0d05a69-f67b-4d37-961e-2db3c4065cb9&DisplayLang=en

Days 3, 4 and 5 were Microsoft class #5061A, Implementing Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007, also known as MOSS 2007, also known as Sharepoint Portal Server… MOSS 20007 is a superset of Sharepoint Services functionality. It enables managing multiple Sharepoint applications and ties in Microsoft Office and other Microsoft server components.

Sharepoint guru: Joel Oleson. Has many blogs on Sharepoint. http://blogs.msdn.com/joelo/

c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc has several useful text files: services, hosts, protocols…

Office 2007 file extension changes: *.docx have no macros, *.docm have macros.

Did I say Sharepoint is integrated? MS claims it connects with virtually all other MS products!!! All the desktop stuff works with it. Project server works with it. Exchange, Excel services…Workflows? Do built-in sharepoint ones, design your own graphically with Sharepoint Designer or code up tricky workflows with Visual Studio. Secure stuff with ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) server. The ISA allows extranet (company to company) security and will also translate links if urls are different internally and externally. Integrate with Active Directory so that Active Directory groups define Sharepoint security policies. Whewww. Where’s the advil?

IIS stuff: Don’t mess with IIS! Just use the Sharepoint configuration tools. Don’t edit IIS settings directly in the IIS admin tool. IUSR_{machinename}: The microsoft anonymous account user. Enabled by default. The file web.config contains settings and configurations for ASP.NET apps. Placed in root directory for a web app. On a machine with multiple apps, there may multiple copies.

The Sharepoint architecture hierarchy: FARM (has one or more machines) >> WEB APPLICATION >> SITE COLLECTION >> SITE. Sharepoint allows administrative features to enforce deployment of configuration across each level.

Virtual PC download: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx

Day 2 of class 5061 mostly covered document management functionality. It’s enough to cover most company’s document management needs. Versioning, check-in, check-out, routing, workflows, retention policies, drag and drop to explorer, integration with Microsoft office…

Day 3 of 5061: Business Intelligence (BI), Search and Indexing and lastly optimizing SharePoint.

BI: A new database connectivity concept is Business Data Catalog (BDC). A BDC app is comprised of one or more data connections to external sources (ODBC, ADO.NET, etc). The BDC app can drive Sharepoint lists or allow users to browse the BDC data. There’s also Excel Services, which makes it possible to display output from spreadsheets in web pages.

The web is the new desktop, and all things desktop now get web equivalents. For example, the File Browse dialog that is part of every desktop application now has a Web Page dialog equivalent, modeled to look like the file browse dialog. Web Page dialog traverses web site hierarchies and also Sharepoint hierarchies. You can even double-click to select, something that was missing from web functionality for years.