One of the killer apps in SharePoint 2007 is the introduction of the capability for SharePoint to accept emails directly into site content. For example, emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org can drop directly into a SharePoint document library for easy searching and accessing of the attachments, subject lines, and email bodies. In addition, emails can go directly into Discussion Groups and other SharePoint lists. Administrators can configure servers either to allow access from anonymous emails or to restrict access to authenticated users on the internal email platform.
"SharePoint 2007 Unleashed" learn more
Configuring a SharePoint 2007 environment to accept inbound mail is not complex. It involves simply adding the SMTP Server service to a system and then configuring the server role in SharePoint, as shown in Figure 1.12 (SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). SharePoint 2007 also allows direct integration with Active Directory, making possible the automatic creation of contact objects, in Active Directory, which correspond to the SharePoint email-enabled content. More information on configuring SharePoint for inbound mail access is in Chapter 18, Configuring Email-Enabled Content and Exchange Server Integration.
Presenting and Navigating Content in SharePoint 2007
One of the most often heard complaints about the SharePoint 2003 product line related to the unfriendliness of navigation. Help desk resources continually fielded requests for navigational improvements but, unfortunately, third-party products were generally required to meet the needs of the masses. SharePoint 2007 greatly improves the navigation options with the inclusion of tabs, tree navigation look, and breadcrumb trails. Figure 1.13 shows a sample site hierarchy tree that can greatly facilitate intersite navigation.
The following are additional tools available to affect the navigation experience:
Specify whether this site should display subsites and publishing pages in navigation
Specify whether to sort subsites, pages, headings, and navigation links automatically or manually when displayed in navigation
Specify whether to display the same global and current navigation items as the parent site, or only the navigation items below the current site
Customize the Quick Launch area by moving the location of different types of lists and libraries, adding headings, adding links, and deleting entries
The overall result of these tools is a highly customizable interface that should allow site administrators to customize their navigational environments fully without resorting to the use of tools such as SharePoint Designer 2007.
Using the Sites Directory to Find Information
The Sites directory is very customizable and allows a site collection administrator to fine-tune both the categories used to manage and display different sites and the layout of this information. In addition, site administrators can change the name of a site, move a site to another location, or change permissions for a site from the top-level Sites directory.
The configuration of the Sites directory can be quite important in more complex environments because without a logical configuration, users might have a difficult time locating the specific site they are looking for.
Managing Content in SharePoint 2007
Because organizations are under increasing scrutiny from governmental and auditing organizations, IT managers find themselves tasked with ensuring that unauthorized individuals neither change nor access critical data and with keeping reliable audit logs available for immediate access. Restricting Data Abilities Using Information Rights Management SharePoint 2007 gives organizations the capability to integrate directly with an information rights management (IRM) platform, such as the one included with Windows Server 2003 Rights Management Services (RMS). IRM technologies allow for the placement of granular restrictions on document use, enabling an organization to define whether an item can be printed, forwarded, copied (using a cut and paste operation), or opened after a specific date. Using RMS with Windows Server 2003 makes this functionality available, and the SharePoint platform can then take advantage of IRM policies, such as those shown in Figure 1.15, which are accessible via the SharePoint Central Admin tools.
Assigning Retention and Auditing Policies
SharePoint 2007 offers enhanced auditing tools to help administrators keep records of what is happening with important content. Events available for auditing include the following:
Opening or downloading documents, viewing items in lists, or viewing item properties
Checking out or checking in items
Moving or copying items to another location in the site
Deleting or restoring items
Editing content types and columns
Searching site content
Editing users and permissions
Administrators are now able to retrieve the entire history of actions taken by a particular user during a particular date range. Excel-based audit reports capture all the events selected for auditing, and those reports are accessible from the View Auditing Reports page, shown in Figure 1.16. Reports are available in the following categories: Content Activity Reports, Custom Reports, Information Management Policy Reports, Security and Site Settings Reports.
Finding Information with SharePoint Indexing and Search
The completely redesigned search engine now offers easy-to-use, enterprise class functionality. A number of clients have justified their upgrade to SharePoint 2007 based on the enhanced search functionality alone!
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 offers enhanced functionality, but it lacks many of the capabilities found in SharePoint Server 2007s search function. In Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, the query searches only the current site and any subsites below it. The search engine will not search for content outside of Windows SharePoint Services, even if the other site is compatible with Windows SharePoint Services. SharePoint Server 2007 is required for this extended functionality, and provides many other powerful tools, as covered in detail in Chapter 13, Benefiting from the Enhanced Search Capabilities in SharePoint 2007. A brief summary of enhancements and new features follows.