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Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001. SharePoint is typically associated with web content management and document management systems, but it is actually a much broader platform of web technologies, capable of being configured into a wide range of solution areas

SharePoint is designed as a broad, central application platform for common enterprise web requirements. SharePoint's multi-purpose design allows for managing and provisioning of intranet portals, extranets, websites, document & file management, collaboration spaces, social tools, enterprise search, business intelligence, process integration, system integration, workflow automation, and core infrastructure for third-party solutions. SharePoint's core infrastructure is also suited to providing a base technology platform for custom developed applications.

SharePoint is capable of supporting multiple organizations on a single "server farm". Microsoft provides SharePoint Foundation at no cost, but sells premium editions with additional functionality, and also provides SharePoint as a service in their cloud computing as part of their Office 365 platform (and previously as part of their Business Productivity Online Standard Suite(BPOS) offering). The product is also sold as a cloud solution by many third-party vendors.

Microsoft's SharePoint marketing refers to the "SharePoint Wheel" to help describe the package of functionality built into the SharePoint platform. The wheel refers to six abstract functional capabilities:

  • Sites: The SharePoint platform fundamentally enables users to provision "sites" (public or private) without a requirement for specialized knowledge. SharePoint is designed to become the central location for management of sites in an organization.
  • Communities: SharePoint aims to support the formation of communities within an organization - these communities may form around teams, projects, clients, geographic locations, etc. SharePoint also provides social features and social integration.
  • Content: SharePoint provides a central location to put content such as files, documents, or general information. This can be accessed and modified within a web browser or using a client application (typically Microsoft Office) via desktop or smartphone. SharePoint 2010 also provides a concurrent edit ability with Office 2010.
  • Search: SharePoint provides a range of search abilities, including in documents, in external content (such as network shares or public websites), and in user profiles.
  • Insights: SharePoint provides data integration, data crawling, and report design to enable business decision making. SharePoint can integrate with SQL Server Reporting Services to surface business intelligence.
  • Composites: SharePoint provides an application platform based on ASP.NET 3.5 allowing no-code solutions to complex business problems using SharePoint Designer. SharePoint also allows custom code solutions to be deployed using Visual Studio.