What Developers Need to Know About Windows SharePoint Services
You're probably at least vaguely aware that Microsoft has a collaborative product named SharePoint. Actually, they have several such products, and one of them -- the soon-to-be-released Windows SharePoint Services -- is poised to make a significant difference in the way that you write collaborative applications. As an optional (but free) component of Windows 2003, SharePoint Team Services provides a rich collaborative layer that any application is free to use. In this article and in other articles to come, I'll show you the basics of SharePoint Services, so that you can add this product to your toolbox for future solutions.
Getting Started with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0
Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 is the new version of the application that was formerly known as SharePoint Team Services. Under either name, it's Microsoft's solution for workgroup and department collaboration. (There's also SharePoint Portal Server, which is aimed at more enterprise-level applications). SharePoint Services allows you to communicate, share documents, and work together on projects using nothing more than a Web browser. Figure 1 shows a SharePoint Services Web site open in Internet Explorer.
Installing Windows SharePoint Services 2.0
SharePoint Services is free; you can download the current beta from the Windows SharePoint Services page on Microsoft's Web site. The final release of this version should be available at about the same time that Office 2003 comes out, later this year. You'll need to ensure that your system meets some minimum requirements to install SharePoint services. Note that these requirements only apply to the system where the server runs, not to client systems that access SharePoint sites:
- Intel Pentium III-compatible processor
- 512 megabytes (MB) of RAM
- 550 MB of available hard disk drive space
One of the following operating systems:
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
- Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition
- Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition
- Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
- Web Application Server with the following components:
- Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 with the following components:
- Common Files
- SMTP Service
- World Wide Web Service
One of the following versions of Microsoft SQL Server:
- SQL Server 2000, with the latest service pack
- SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition, with the latest service pack
- SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000)
- Multiple server configurations must be members of a Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows Server 2003 domain.
One of the following browsers:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 with Service Pack 2
- Internet Explorer 5.5 with Service Pack 2
- Internet Explorer 6.0
- Netscape Navigator 6.2 or higher
Given those prerequisites, installing SharePoint Services is easy. Just run the SETUPSTS.EXE file on the Windows SharePoint Services CD-ROM or from the downloaded file. This installs SharePoint Services on the default Web site for the computer, and sets up its own instance of the Microsoft Desktop Engine (MSDE) version of Microsoft SQL Server to store the SharePoint Services data. For more complex configurations (such as using an existing SQL Server to store SharePoint Services data), refer to the release notes installed with the product.