SharePoint 2007: Getting to Know SharePoint: Page 4

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Providing Collaborative Structure with Workspaces, Pages, and Sites

Managers, administrators, and SharePoint architects must focus on some of the larger organizational elements in SharePoint to ensure that the overall structure facilitates collaboration and document management. Sites are the basic building blocks in SharePoint 2007. After creating a web application in IIS (Internet Information Services), you can extend the web application and create a site collection. A site collection can grow to a virtually unlimited size, and contain hundreds or thousands of subsites, and sub-subsites, but will always have only one top-level site. Windows SharePoint Services offers fewer options for types of sites that can be created and templates that can be used for the top-level site.

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"SharePoint 2007 Unleashed" learn more

SharePoint Server 2007 provides a powerful management tool, the Site Content and Structure tool, to help site collection administrators manage even the most complex environments. The Central Administrator console provides additional tools to manage services and resources shared by multiple site collections and to provide advanced functionality, such as Excel Services and Search. Figure 1.6 shows a sample Site Content and Structure page for a SharePoint Server 2007 site collection. The top-level site is titled Site Collection 1 and identified with the number 1, whereas the subsites (also called subwebs) are indicated with the number 2, meeting workspaces with the number 3, and a document workspace with the number 4. The tree view in Figure 1.6 shows that top-level sites, subsites, and workspaces can contain lists and libraries, so each is a type of site. Chapter 9, “Designing and Managing Pages, Workspaces and Sites in SharePoint 2007,” goes into more detail about the use and management of workspaces and sites in SharePoint 2007.

Pages, a new feature in SharePoint 2007, enhance SharePoint’s publishing capabilities. Astute users of SharePoint 2007 will notice that the home pages that load for a site are actually located in the Pages folder, rather than in the root folder of the site. Figure 1.7 shows the Site Content and Structure page with the root-level Pages folder selected. Pages in SharePoint 2007 can be copied and reused among sites; have page settings (such as page layout templates and audience targeting) and properties to edit; permissions; and versioning is on by default. By default, each page requires approval before publishing. Chapters 9 and 12, “Implementing Records Management and Enabling Web Content Management in SharePoint 2007,” provide additional information about managing and editing pages.

Default site templates include Team Site, Blank Site, Document Workspace, Wiki Site, Blog, Meeting Workspaces, Document Center, Records Center, Personalization Site, Site Directory, Report Center, Search Center, Publishing Site, and News Site. With this variety of templates available, site collection administrators as well as site administrators can create a wide range of different sites to meet different end user needs. For more complex environments, administrators can create multiple web applications from the Central Administrator console. Then they can create site collections that are completely separated, which enables different site administrators to be assigned to different site collections, as well as different time zones, types of calendar, and time formats. Administrators can deactivate advanced features, such as forms services and Excel services, if less advanced users do not require them.

Personalizing SharePoint Server 2007 with Personal Sites

Personal sites allow individual users to create a site where they can manage personal information in their profile and store personal documents, links, and contacts. This is available only in SharePoint Server 2007. This feature has been greatly enhanced since SharePoint 2003, and now plays a key role in facilitating social networking, and helping co-workers understand others’ skills and experience. One important benefit of My Sites (also called Personal Sites) is that they encourage users to stop saving files locally in favor of a central location. In addition, each user is now empowered to create a custom working environment, portions of which they can share with the general population.

Personal sites allow a great deal of customization. A user can customize the site to his or her heart’s content, and has access to the full range of web parts located in the Web Part Gallery, which the site collection administrator can control. A My Site can also serve as a training tool, and encourages users to experiment with different web parts, libraries, and lists, to bring those skills to other sites they manage, and to make requests for new functionality.

Personal site profiles can be part of individual personal sites as well. A user can customize which pieces of information are available to different audiences (such as My Manager, My Workgroup, and My Colleagues). Information entered in the About Me field in the profile is shown (in this case, in the style of a resume) and beneath it other information from the user’s profile, including responsibilities, skills, past projects, schools, birthday, and contact information. The site collection administrator can modify, delete, and add new fields to the fields tracked in the user’s profile to suit the needs of the organization.

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