An in-depth look at Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Microsoft's five new Office Servers give Office 2007 users a wealth of new features and capabilities. We examine how in this four-part series, starting with SharePoint 2007

2005. A good year made more pleasant because we were still living under certain illusions. For one, we thought Paris Hilton headlines were in a decline. I was still 39 and therefore didn't have to worry about not being married. And Microsoft leaked that Office 2007 was going to have "a server component." Foolish technology journalists that we are, we assumed this meant 'a' server. As in one. As in single. As in my Friday night.

But Microsoft wasn't building a lonely-heart wallflower of an Office server. They were building a swinging frat party of servers; the Alpha Beta RTM fraternity complete with hazing ritual and a kegger on release day. Five Office servers is the final tally -- almost as many servers as there are front-facing productivity apps. We were tempted to have Dean Yager simply close down this Animal House with some light-hearted comments on fixing things that aren't broken, or vast complexity designed mainly to squeeze ever more revenue out of an already starving customer base.

But then I realized it was a great excuse to go back to Hawaii.

I told Brian Chee he'd hardly know I was there, and then suckered him into doing all the hard work of setting up server hardware and managing product engineer visitors at the Advanced Network Computing Lab at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. The result, however, was too much for one review. So we're going to turn this venture into a four-part series covering all the new Office Servers in four categories, beginning with MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007) because it's not only feature rich, it also acts as the central hub for the others.

We'll start by looking at MOSS on its own, enough for a solid summary of its purpose in life. In the next three articles, we'll look at the other servers in the Office Server family, examining how they work with their Office client counterparts and what advantages they gain when paired with SharePoint on the back end. We'll start with Groove and Groove Server, hit InfoPath and Forms Server, and last we'll look at Project and Visio and how they work with Project Server.

As far as SharePoint goes on its own, this article can give only a skeleton outline of what can be accomplished with this platform; a complete accounting would turn this into one of those musty tomes a librarian can't move without a handcart. For now, let's just say that calling MOSS a collaboration tool with an Office front end is the new definition of oversimplification. MOSS is at once a collaboration platform, an application development platform, a homegrown workflow engine, and a business intelligence tool. We'll cover all these points in detail in this piece and the following three.

Installation

MOSS comes in Standard and Enterprise versions. In a slightly nasty pricing move, these two platforms aren't separate, they're cumulative. To buy Enterprise CALs (client access licenses), you'll first need a Standard CAL for every user. That may be some serious milking of the revenue cow on Microsoft's part, but the two platforms are different enough that most customers will take Enterprise seriously. Whereas Standard carries the basic SharePoint security, collaboration, and content management tools, only Enterprise has the advanced Business Data Catalog search extensions, the business workflow tools, and the electronic forms processing extensions.

You can download a MOSS eval license at Microsoft's Web site.

We, on the other hand, mentioned our Honolulu test lab and 24 hours later a couple of SharePoint product team members were knocking on the door wearing big grins and suntan lotion on their shockingly pale noses and clutching a set of MOSS Enterprise install disks. (We heard later that one of the Microsoft corporate jets temporarily went missing around this time, but so far authorities have been unable to establish a connection.)

Brian watched the SharePoint install process like a hawk, but it turns out he didn't need to. SharePoint's complexity is in the depth of its feature set, not in the install process. There are only a couple of things to watch out for. First, make sure the server has the .Net Framework 3.0 pre-installed, accent on "pre-." We tried it the other way here in New Jersey because we're slow learners on the east coast -- frustration is the operative word for this mistake.

The next issue is the SharePoint user account process and it'll continue to rear its ugly head as we go along. During the install process, Microsoft recommends logging into the Windows Server using a dedicated SharePoint account; one that's part of the Administrative user group, but not the actual administrator's account for the server. This initial account will be the "owner" account for all SharePoint sites on this box. Other users will still be able to own their particular site(s), but think of this initial account as a master account for the whole site collection.

Once the initial software load is done, SharePoint will run its Product and Technologies Wizard, which does different things depending on whether you initiated a Basic or Advanced MOSS installation. For example, for testing purposes, you're fine with Basic, but Microsoft was careful to point out that only by using an Advanced install can a MOSS server join a multiserver farm. This was not a big deal for a test server, but it is something most organizations will certainly want to plan for in a production environment. After this wizard casts its spell, you'll be able to play with the server's default top-level site (quite boring on its own) and begin organizing the business sites below it.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?