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SharePoint: What Is It?

Got a sample of MS's "Advisor Guide To Microsoft Access" in the mail today -
accompanied by a sample "Advisor Guide To Microsoft SharePoint".

I skimmed both, but the SharePoint explanation is too abstract - it's going
right over my head.

Can somebody explain, in simple/concrete terms what MS SharePoint is?
--
PeteCresswell
Mar 22 '06 #1
15 3513
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> wrote in
news:1t******** *************** *********@4ax.c om:
Got a sample of MS's "Advisor Guide To Microsoft Access" in the
mail today - accompanied by a sample "Advisor Guide To Microsoft
SharePoint".

I skimmed both, but the SharePoint explanation is too abstract -
it's going right over my head.

Can somebody explain, in simple/concrete terms what MS SharePoint
is?


I'm pretty confused about it myself, but it's a server whose purpose
is data sharing/collaboration in an enterprise.

My understanding is that in Access 12 it will be the preferred
method for sharing Access data between multiple locations (with Jet
replication deprecated), but I don't know what that means on a
practical basis.

I see SharePoint as mostly a Microsoft marketing tool designed to
make you buy more Microsoft software and to keep your applications
wedded to Microsoft's products. For that reason, whatever benefits
it may bring seem to me to be worthless.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Mar 22 '06 #2
In message <1t************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> writes
Got a sample of MS's "Advisor Guide To Microsoft Access" in the mail today -
accompanied by a sample "Advisor Guide To Microsoft SharePoint".

I skimmed both, but the SharePoint explanation is too abstract - it's going
right over my head.

Can somebody explain, in simple/concrete terms what MS SharePoint is?


The technology is straightforward , the applications are far from it.
Sharepoint is a content-management system for the IIS web server. It
holds the contents of the web site in an SQL Server database. The web
server delivers virtual folders that function in very similar ways to
folders and files on disk, except that everything is inside the
database.

For Microsoft it's a way of tying users to MS web and database servers
for file storage. Users get an effective way of sharing documents,
customisable metadata and a search-engine that can index all of the
documents stored in Sharepoint, all of the files on disk and also
external web sites (Sharepoint can spider Internet sites.)

If you know what Microsoft has been trying to do with its database as
disk operating system you have some idea of what Sharepoint does, or
tries to do. If you expect to work with Microsoft document-sharing
systems then you have to understand Sharepoint. For some organisations
it is going to replace disk storage. Their documents will only exist
inside Sharepoint.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author.

Mar 23 '06 #3
Per Bernard Peek:

For Microsoft it's a way of tying users to MS web and database servers
for file storage. Users get an effective way of sharing documents,
customisable metadata and a search-engine that can index all of the
documents stored in Sharepoint, all of the files on disk and also
external web sites (Sharepoint can spider Internet sites.)

If you know what Microsoft has been trying to do with its database as
disk operating system you have some idea of what Sharepoint does, or
tries to do. If you expect to work with Microsoft document-sharing
systems then you have to understand Sharepoint. For some organisations
it is going to replace disk storage. Their documents will only exist
inside Sharepoint.


Suppose somebody has an MS Access application that generates and saves copies of
various customized form letters.

Right now, they're saving into the database a DOS path the actual .doc file.

Would SharePoint be an alternative place to put the document? i.e. They's
still just store a pointer, but instead of a DOS path it would be the PK of a
SharePoint record and they'd be able to retrieve it via some kind of API call or
just some SQL?
--
PeteCresswell
Mar 24 '06 #4
In message <5c************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> writes
Per Bernard Peek:

For Microsoft it's a way of tying users to MS web and database servers
for file storage. Users get an effective way of sharing documents,
customisabl e metadata and a search-engine that can index all of the
documents stored in Sharepoint, all of the files on disk and also
external web sites (Sharepoint can spider Internet sites.)

If you know what Microsoft has been trying to do with its database as
disk operating system you have some idea of what Sharepoint does, or
tries to do. If you expect to work with Microsoft document-sharing
systems then you have to understand Sharepoint. For some organisations
it is going to replace disk storage. Their documents will only exist
inside Sharepoint.


Suppose somebody has an MS Access application that generates and saves
copies of
various customized form letters.

Right now, they're saving into the database a DOS path the actual .doc file.

Would SharePoint be an alternative place to put the document? i.e. They's
still just store a pointer, but instead of a DOS path it would be the PK of a
SharePoint record and they'd be able to retrieve it via some kind of
API call or
just some SQL?


I assume that there must be a way of interrogating the database using
SQL but I've never investigated it. If your application supports
Sharepoint you just give a URL as the filename when saving the file, the
OS and Sharepoint handle the rest. Anyone else wanting to retrieve the
file just needs the URL but only needs to use a browser. It's similar to
the way you might use web folders now.

Linux can provide file storage and a database but can't, to the best of
my knowledge, replicate the Sharepoint functionality. I'm sure it will
in due course. For the moment if you need Sharepoint then you have to
have a Windows server, a version of SQL Server and at least Sharepoint
services if not Sharepoint Portal Server. As Sharepoint Services are
bundled with Windows 2003 and you can use the free SQL Server 2005
Express I can see Sharepoint being widely adopted, particularly in SMEs.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author.

Mar 24 '06 #5
Per Bernard Peek:
I assume that there must be a way of interrogating the database using
SQL but I've never investigated it. If your application supports
Sharepoint you just give a URL as the filename when saving the file, the
OS and Sharepoint handle the rest. Anyone else wanting to retrieve the
file just needs the URL but only needs to use a browser. It's similar to
the way you might use web folders now.


Aside from using URLs instead of a PKs how would using SharePoint be different
from storing BLOBs in a SQL Server DB?

I'm guessing that the main diff would be fewer layers for the end application to
go through and, maybe, a sort of transparency that would enable any browser that
accepts a URL to retrieve the document in question with no programming changes
needed.

?
--
PeteCresswell
Mar 24 '06 #6
In message <o1************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
"(PeteCresswell )" <x@y.Invalid> writes
Per Bernard Peek:
I assume that there must be a way of interrogating the database using
SQL but I've never investigated it. If your application supports
Sharepoint you just give a URL as the filename when saving the file, the
OS and Sharepoint handle the rest. Anyone else wanting to retrieve the
file just needs the URL but only needs to use a browser. It's similar to
the way you might use web folders now.
Aside from using URLs instead of a PKs how would using SharePoint be different
from storing BLOBs in a SQL Server DB?


Sharepoint is an end-user tool as much as it is a developer's tool. It's
a reasonably easy way for any user with the appropriate permissions to
create and edit web pages on an intranet. For instance they could create
a new folder on the server, save files on it, notify selected people
that it exists and set up a discussion forum. Sharepoint will track
document versions and you can set up a system where interested parties
can have the system notify them of any changes to the files or posts to
the forum.

There are third-party plugins that extend the functionality, or you can
use HTML/ASP if you want.

Sharepoint is mostly going to be used with Active Directory and
Exchange. The server can use AD and Exchange accounts for authentication
and can show different pages to people in different groups.

Sharepoint is a big subject and I'm not by any means the world's
greatest expert on it. I'm an IT Manager who has seen one person use
Sharepoint to set up intranet and extranet sites in two days each. I
made coffee and encouraging noises while he did them.

I'm guessing that the main diff would be fewer layers for the end
application to
go through and, maybe, a sort of transparency that would enable any
browser that
accepts a URL to retrieve the document in question with no programming changes
needed.


Yes. At the risk of sounding like a shill for Microsoft, if you want to
try it Microsoft will send you an evaluation version if you ask them.
The evaluation kit has a copy of Windows 2003 and Sharepoint. You can
try the Sharepoint services that are built into Windows 2003 or install
the full-blown Sharepoint Portal Server.

I'm not sure how Office 12 and Sharepoint will play together. My guess
is that MS will want to tie them together very strongly.

I haven't looked at how Access 2003 and Sharepoint work together either.
In the job where I worked with Sharepoint I did almost no work with
Access other than using it as a front-end to populate SQL Server tables
that were then used to feed simple HTML pages in Sharepoint.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author.

Mar 25 '06 #7
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com > wrote in
news:WC******** ******@shrdlu.c om:
I'm not sure how Office 12 and Sharepoint will play together. My
guess is that MS will want to tie them together very strongly.


On the Access 12 blog, Sharepoint has been mentioned quite
frequently. The new multi-value data type is being implemented
entirely for consistency with the corresponding Sharepoint datatype.
And while Jet replication will continue to be supported via the
maintenance of backward compatibility, the preferred method for data
sharing will now be via Sharepoint services, with replication
deprecated (according to my understanding of what's been written on
the Access 12 blog).

This shows a pretty significant degree of integration of Access 12
with Sharepoint.

And it disturbs me greatly.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Mar 25 '06 #8
In message <Xn************ *************** *******@127.0.0 .1>, David W.
Fenton <XX*******@dfen ton.com.invalid > writes
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com > wrote in
news:WC******* *******@shrdlu. com:
I'm not sure how Office 12 and Sharepoint will play together. My
guess is that MS will want to tie them together very strongly.


On the Access 12 blog, Sharepoint has been mentioned quite
frequently. The new multi-value data type is being implemented
entirely for consistency with the corresponding Sharepoint datatype.
And while Jet replication will continue to be supported via the
maintenance of backward compatibility, the preferred method for data
sharing will now be via Sharepoint services, with replication
deprecated (according to my understanding of what's been written on
the Access 12 blog).

This shows a pretty significant degree of integration of Access 12
with Sharepoint.

And it disturbs me greatly.


OK. That news doesn't surprise me. Sharepoint is here and if you want to
do anything non-trivial with MS Office 12 then you probably need to
understand Sharepoint.

Looking beyond Vista and Office, 12 I think MS may be trying to
implement a virtual filing system that merges domain-wide storage into a
seamless SAN. Physical location of data will perhaps be invisible to
end-users.

--
Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author.

Mar 25 '06 #9
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com > wrote in
news:YF******** ******@shrdlu.c om:
In message <Xn************ *************** *******@127.0.0 .1>, David
W. Fenton <XX*******@dfen ton.com.invalid > writes
Bernard Peek <ba*@shrdlu.com > wrote in
news:WC****** ********@shrdlu .com:
I'm not sure how Office 12 and Sharepoint will play together. My
guess is that MS will want to tie them together very strongly.
On the Access 12 blog, Sharepoint has been mentioned quite
frequently. The new multi-value data type is being implemented
entirely for consistency with the corresponding Sharepoint
datatype. And while Jet replication will continue to be supported
via the maintenance of backward compatibility, the preferred
method for data sharing will now be via Sharepoint services, with
replication deprecated (according to my understanding of what's
been written on the Access 12 blog).

This shows a pretty significant degree of integration of Access 12
with Sharepoint.

And it disturbs me greatly.


OK. That news doesn't surprise me. Sharepoint is here and if you
want to do anything non-trivial with MS Office 12 then you
probably need to understand Sharepoint.


I think that's an artificial imposition on Microsoft's part, not
anything natural to Office. None of my clients are clamoring for the
features Sharepoint offers.
Looking beyond Vista and Office, 12 I think MS may be trying to
implement a virtual filing system that merges domain-wide storage
into a seamless SAN. Physical location of data will perhaps be
invisible to end-users.


It would be nice if MS would implement such things based on
industry-wide standards, instead of building them around proprietary
software.

--
David W. Fenton http://www.dfenton.com/
usenet at dfenton dot com http://www.dfenton.com/DFA/
Mar 25 '06 #10

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