Microsoft SharePoint 2007 is an information management system for storing and managing information assets. The assets in the repository may be quite diverse in format type, but can exist with other all formats types in the repository. This makes an asset, a document, or a video clip, for example, centrally available to all SharePoint site visitors through a GUI (graphical user interface). Users navigate SharePoint repositories from a "home page" for the site. SharePoint manages "versioning" (keeping copies) of documents and other media flowing to and from the repositories, performs real time content updating, and performs different searching techniques.
Basic SharePoint Software Application Conventions
Software application GUIs use some form of design convention that standardizes the top level and sublevel pages of the GUI so that the user quickly grasps the look and feel of the application, or the graphical user interface the application can create, as is concerned here. SharePoint is qualified for both application conventions within its own application architecture, as well as providing the means for creating the conventions used by the SharePoint websites the SharePoint software helps create. When the system administrator begins designing the portal interface to the repository, he or she will start with a basic page template found in the SharePoint design software. Some of the conventions or "features" of the template include a banner for the top of the page with space for a SharePoint website home page and sub-level page titles and graphics; a menu bar; and a "quick launch" side bar that acts like a topic-linked site map. There are several layout options for the placement of these elements in relation to what SharePoint calls "Web Parts" (unique data containers--see following paragraph) that the site designer will use to fill in the body of the homepage and sub-level pages. The site designer employs a given set of layout options suited to his or her SharePoint site's users in order to make the design as interesting and usable to the varied needs of many user types.
Common Uses for SharePoint's GUI Portal Web Parts
The system site designer gathers Web Parts from the Web Part Gallery for site configuration and inclusion. These Web Parts, or "containers" of text, list hyperlinks, calendars, images, document library content lists and site map configuration displays help organize and combine the discreet elements that become collocated through the SharePoint site. Major Web Parts include team announcements and a feature for maintaining task lists and tracking task milestones. There are also Web Parts for creating configurable calendars, as well as for listing project meetings and other important project or team related dates along with a container used by team members to list hyperlinks of useful URLs for use by site visitors and a document library index. Finally, a contacts list feature for maintaining info on team members and customers is available, as is an images folder that is specific to the team owning the likely local-level team SharePoint Web site. This local site is most often a sub-site of the organization's overall SharePoint main website.
Some Additional SharePoint Training Opportunities for Hands on Experience
SharePoint has a rich variety of features that go well beyond the scope of this introductory SharePoint tutorial. Office SharePoint Server 2007 Training (Standalone Edition) downloads to an individual PC and works in a standalone environment. It provides the necessary hands on learning in which to practice and gain firsthand experience with SharePoint before using it in real time, online mode within an entire organization. Demos: A six-part series on getting the most out of SharePoint Designer 2007, which is a tutorial useful for gaining experience with SharePoint's helper application, SharePoint Designer, a Web design tool for simplifying and enhancing the look and feel of the SharePoint Web portal. SharePoint Designer assists in the design of a SharePoint website's "store front"-like user interface displaying the repository's content pages to visitors. Alternately, server application software, SharePoint Server 2007, manages the portable content within the repository that is in motion to and from of its repository home location at any given time. Thus, the most important element for managing mobile content in a real time environment is through dynamic indexing of the content. This means changes to the status of the content happen instantly, and give users real time, current, site information at all times. Updates in this kind of environment have to be immediate or users will not know whether to trust the designed repository's data currency or not, and SharePoint's repository design and development software is quite competent in doing this through its inherent application architecture.
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