In this SharePoint tutorial, we would like to give you a brief insight, a small SharePoint guide without claiming to be complete. Unfortunately, we do not have enough space to explain all SharePoint functions comprehensively and in detail. For more detailed articles about SharePoint, browse the results on our website.
An overview of the SharePoint functions
In principle, there are six areas into which SharePoint is divided. But every single one of these areas relates to the subject of websites. For example, you can set up individual pages (called mySites) in communities and add discussion boards, calendars, and wikis, for example, to these pages. In SharePoint development and with the Composites function, you have the option of equipping your websites with various components – for example including applications from the world of Microsoft Office.
In the Content area, you version content from social media and integrate documents of all kinds. You can also set rules for controlling and storing this content yourself. It continues with the Insights feature, with which you can aggregate different data from different sources and display them as graphics on the website.
The Search option gives users the opportunity to search for any information they can think of, both within the tool and outside of it. Finally, there is the Sites function, which gives you access to all SharePoint functions through customizable websites. But of course, these are only rough insights – in the following chapter we will now go into more detail about the individual SharePoint functions.
SharePoint Guide – the SharePoint features in detail
Communities: Actually, this point is about communication. Websites, blogs, wikis and much more are supported, including social networks in companies. Each user can store information in the “My Website” item: media, files, mailbox, calendar and much more. The option to make this data accessible to other users, as well as the creation of a blog or a discussion forum, means that communication with other users gets underway quickly.
Composites: In this area, you can add self-developed components and applications to your website without having to master a programming language. For example, you can integrate tools developed under Microsoft Access into SharePoint. The SharePoint Designer, on the other hand, allows you to change layouts and designs, connect external data sources and develop workflows. You will also design forms for your websites and applications and display data from business systems in SharePoint.
Content: This area of Microsoft SharePoint can be thought of as a document management system. But SharePoint can also be used as a web content management system; it separates layout from content, provides templates, can publish content on a scheduled basis, delivers content automatically, and follows certain processes when it comes to content approval. In addition, the websites in SharePoint are barrier-free and the caching of pages can be individually adjusted.
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Insights: In this field, those program parts are aggregated that map the business intelligence of SharePoint. There you will find, for example, Excel Services, with which you can integrate diagrams and Excel sheets directly into SharePoint, and you can also display performance indicators such as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) graphically.
A chart assistant provides you with support when creating graphics, and you can also use a SharePoint list as a source in Microsoft SQL Server. With the help of SharePoint development companies, you can also create dashboards using the Microsoft PerformancePoint service and determine the layout.
Search: Every SharePoint page has a search field at the top right. Entering a term here triggers a full-text search. The SharePoint Foundation already provides indexing for the search, but only for the collection of websites in which the user is currently staying. If you use the server version, you get a few more options in the search function, such as refining the results, predefined searches, automatic search suggestions, searching for people using individual characteristics and expanding the search beyond your own collection of websites.
Sites: A SharePoint site can consist of any number of individual sites since it is a collection of pages. And these individual pages in turn contain the content – such as libraries for images, wikis and documents, lists with functions such as tasks, calendars, but also discussion forums.
The SharePoint sites are often divided into further subpages, which contain various templates in the Foundation version, for example, blank sites, team sites with a library, calendar, task list and a forum for discussions, and a template for blog pages and some more. Of course, if you use SharePoint in the server edition, there are also some templates, for example for news, press releases, company wikis, etc.
Which product is right for me?
If you are new to SharePoint and would like to test it out in a free version with a limited range of functions, you can download the tool directly from the Microsoft website. Although the tool was last updated in 2013, it is still able to create workflow-enabled and powerful solutions.
The SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server versions are significantly more comprehensive. SharePoint Online is cloud-based and can be used by all companies, regardless of the number of employees. Installation on each employee’s local computer is no longer necessary. With this variant, and with the assistance of a SharePoint development services provider, websites can be created in order to release information and files there – for partners, customers and colleagues.
SharePoint is undoubtedly one of these programs and SharePoint development tools are making it compatible with data management of all sorts of businesses. The software, launched in 2001, combines a multitude of features under one roof. Anyone who works with SharePoint can, for example, use the tool to coordinate tasks and projects, create team websites or intranet portals, establish document management including a search function and use a number of other functions.
We at Al Rafay Consulting (ARC) are providing SharePoint development service with an expert team of developers and assist companies of all sizes with SharePoint online solutions. For a professional piece of advice, please feel free to contact us.