Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001.
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.