Over the last few years, Microsoft has made a significant investment in collaborative
technologies, Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server are two flagship
products positioned to dominate this space. This whitepaper is written to introduce
SharePoint\u2019s fundamental architecture and to discuss the opportunities that SharePoint
provides to you as a software developer using the .NET Framework.
2003 operating system. WSS supplies a framework for building collaborative Web sites which make it possible for a company to share information and documents across the members of teams, departments and large organizations with unprecedented levels of ease and reliability. Any user can access a WSS Web site using a Web browser or through the new collaboration features built into Microsoft Office 2003 products such as Word and Excel.
WSS also provides the underlying infrastructure for generating user interfaces through the
inclusion of Smart Page and Web Part technology. Smart Pages and Web Parts are a very
powerful aspect of SharePoint because each WSS site provides a browser-based user interface
that is extensible and fully customizable. Web Parts can also be used to store personalization
information on a user-by-user basis. We will discuss Web Parts in greater detail later at the end
of WSS. SPS compliments WSS by adding manageability features designed to assist users
navigating through vast amounts of information and documents. SPS also supplies additional
functionality to enhance portal sites using indexing, searching, audience targeting and single
There is a fundamental difference in the roles played by WSS and SPS. These differences are
shown in the table in figure 1. WSS is based on a collaboration theme in the sense that it\u2019s
designed to store and share list-based data and documents. SPS, on the other hand, is based
on an aggregation theme. An SPS portal site is useful for aggregating information and
documents from many different places. SPS adds value by providing users with a quick and
easy way to find information and documents that are spread out around a private network or
You should understand that SPS depends upon WSS to provide many essential services. For
example, WSS provides SPS with the capacity to track members and share lists and
documents. Furthermore, SPS doesn\u2019t supply any code for generating the user interface for a
portal site. Instead, SPS leverages the WSS Smart Page and Web Part infrastructure to
how the fundamental pieces of the WSS framework fit together. Note that before you can
successfully install WSS on Windows Server 2003, you must first configure the host computer
as an Application Server by enabling IIS6 and ASP.NET 1.1.
framework is similar to WSS in that it provides a collaborative framework for sharing list-based
data and documents. However, STS was not built upon on the .NET Framework or ASP.NET.
Instead, it was built using a proprietary ISAPI extension.
Customizing and extending STS Web sites has always been relatively difficult due to limited tool
support. Site customization is much easier with WSS and the second generation of SharePoint
because of WSS-compatible Web designers such as Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003. WSS also
offers a much better extensibility model because you can write custom applications and Web
Parts for WSS sites and SPS portal sites with Visual Studio .NET using either C# or Visual Basic
STS and the first generation of SharePoint products and technologies have also suffered from
scalability problems. The scaling limitations of STS are due to an underlying architecture that
runs a stateful design on front-end Web servers. This flaw makes it impossible to scale out STS
Web sites using a Web Farm environment. When Microsoft engineers started to design WSS
and the second generation of SharePoint products and technologies, they made it a primary
design goal to fix the scaling problems of STS. Consequently, they designed their architecture
to support WSS and SPS deployments with tens of 1000s of users and tens of 1000s of Web
WSS architecture is based on stateless front-end Web servers. Their architecture is founded on an integrated storage strategy where all the list-based data and documents associated with a Web site are stored within a SQL Server database as shown in figure 3. A key objective of this integrated storage strategy is that it allows a deployment of WSS Web servers to effectively scale out in a Web farm environment.
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