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Review: SharePoint Server eases collaboration

By Travis Berkley
April 17, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Network World - With the release of Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft has made some dramatic changes to its popular collaboration software. Our Clear Choice Test of the SharePoint collaboration and content-management server found the new version easier than its predecessor to install and use.

Installing SharePoint Server was very straightforward. The only prerequisites are a Windows 2003 server, Internet Information Server (IIS) and Version 3.0 of the .Net framework. It took only one mouse click to get the first server in our SharePoint "farm" up and running. A single server with plenty of disk space could be a large enough environment for most small to midsize businesses.

For large SharePoint deployments, a customized installation might be preferable, so that portions of the software can be installed on different servers. The SharePoint installation program automatically installs and configures a version of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 and then configures IIS for use with SharePoint Server 2007. Once that's done, you're ready to go, as long as your IIS Web server can be seen on the network.

SharePoint is managed through a Web browser. For the majority of our administrative work, we used Versions 2.0 and 1.5 of Mozilla's Firefox. Internet Explorer's new Version 7.0, as well as its previous versions, is a little better at performing some of the drag-and-drop functions and selection boxes. However, all of SharePoint Server's features are available using a variety of browsers. You just have to work a little harder when using something other than Internet Explorer.

A sprinkling of data

Once installation is complete, the next task is to create the first SharePoint "site." SharePoint is now driven by templates, which lets site owners choose from a variety of predefined page layouts. There are four basic template categories: collaboration, meetings, enterprise and publishing.

Collaboration templates facilitate sharing of files and ideas, including new wiki and blog functions -- Microsoft calls functions "Web parts." The meetings templates include calendaring functions, as well as places to record events, decisions, agendas and tasks. The more business-oriented enterprise templates include functions for storing and searching for documents, tracking project status and showing key performance indicators (KPI), which provide a visual status of conditions being monitored. Finally, the publishing templates are for managing Web pages, and include functions for document management, approval workflow, version control and history.

In our test, we created a collaboration site and used the team site template. We added a calendar function to display upcoming appointments but removed the links function because we didn't need to share any site addresses. Finally, we put a link to

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2012 Network World, Inc. All rights reserved.
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