SharePoint is a web-based, collaborative platform that integrates with Microsoft Office . Launched in 2001, [3] SharePoint is a highly configurable and highly configurable user interface.

Microsoft states that SharePoint has 190 million users across 200,000 customer organizations. [4]

There are various editions of SharePoint which have different functions:

SharePoint Server

SharePoint Server is a tool that can be used to create or modify a database. This product is installed on the customer’s IT infrastructure. It receives less frequent updates, but has access to a wider set of features and customization capabilities. There are three editions of SharePoint Server: Standard, Enterprise, and Foundation (free) which were discontinued in 2016. [5] These servers may be provisioned as normal virtual / cloud servers, or as hosted services.

SharePoint Standard

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation builds on the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation in a few key areas.

  • Sites: Audience targeting, governance tools, Secure store service, web analytics functionality. [6]
  • Communities: ‘MySites’, enterprise wikis, organization hierarchy browser, tags and notes. [7]
  • Content: Improved tooling and compliance for document and record management, managed metadata, word automation services, content type management. [8]
  • Search: Better search results, search results, search results, search results, search results. [9]
  • Composites: Pre-built workflow templates, BCS profile pages. [10]

SharePoint Standard licensing includes a CAL (client access license) component and a server fee. SharePoint Standard can also be licensed through a cloud model.

SharePoint Enterprise

Built on SharePoint Standard, Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise features can be unlocked simply by providing an additional license key.

Extra features in SharePoint Enterprise include:

  • Search thumbnails and previews, rich web indexing, better search results.
  • Business intelligence integration, dashboards, and business data surfacing.
  • PowerPivot and PerformancePoint .
  • Microsoft Office Access, Visio, Excel, and InfoPath Forms services.
  • SharePoint Enterprise Search extensions. [11]

SharePoint Enterprise licensing includes a CAL component and a server fee that must be added to SharePoint Server licensing. SharePoint Enterprise may also be licensed through a cloud model.

SharePoint Online

Microsoft’s hosted SharePoint is typically bundled in Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions, but can be purchased outright. [12] It is limited to a common set of collaboration, file hosting, and document management content scenarios, and is updated on a frequent basis, but is typically comparable with SharePoint Enterprise. [13] [14] Currently, additional capabilities include:

  • Support for SharePoint Framework extensions
  • New “Modern” (Responsive) SharePoint UX (partially included in 2016 – Feature Pack 1)
  • Yammer Integration & Office 365 Groups
  • Integration with Outlook Web App
  • Newer versions of Online Office Document Editor Tools
  • Removal of various file size / number limitations
  • Apps Concept

Missing capabilities include

  • Some search & UI customizations
  • Many web publishing capabilities
  • Service Application administration options
  • Many customization / solution types will not run
  • No ability to read error (ULS) logs

NB Changes in SharePoint Online are listed on the Office Roadmap .


SharePoint usage varies from organization to organization. The product encompasses a wide variety of capabilities, most of which require configuration and governance. [15]

The most common uses of the SharePoint include:

Enterprise Content and Document Management

Main articles: Enterprise content management and document management

SharePoint allows for storage, retrieval, searching, archiving, tracking, management, and reporting of electronic documents and records. Many of the functions in this product are designed in various ways. SharePoint also provides search and ‘graph’ functionality. [16] SharePoint’s integration with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office allow for collaborative real-time editing , and encryption / information rights managed synchronization.

This capability is often used to replace an existing corporate file server , and is typically coupled with an enterprise content management policy. [17]

Intranet and Social Network

Main articles: Intranet portal and Social Network

A SharePoint intranet or intranet portal is a way to centralize access to enterprise information and applications. It is a tool that helps organizations manage their internal communications, applications and information more easily. Microsoft claims this HAS That organizational benefits Such As Increased employee engagement , centralizing process management , Reducing new staff on-boarding costs, and supplier providing the means clustering to capture and share tacit knowledge (eg via tools Such as wikis).

Collaborative Software

SharePoint Team Collaboration contains groupware capabilities, Including: Project Scheduling (integrated with Outlook and Project ), social cooperation, shared mailboxes, and project related documents storage and collaboration. Groupware in SharePoint is based on the concept of a “Team Site”.

File Hosting Service (Personal Cloud)

Main articles: Personal Cloud and File hosting service

SharePoint Server hosts onedrive for Business , qui Allows storage and synchronization of an individual’s personal documents, as well as public / private file sharing Of Those documents. Typically This is combined with other Microsoft Office Servers / Services Such As Microsoft Exchange , to Produce a “personal cloud”

This capability is often compared to services like Box or Dropbox .

WebDAV can be used to access files without using the web interface. However, Microsoft’s implementation of WebDAV does not conform to the official WebDAV protocol and therefore is not compliant to the standard WebDAV. For example, WebDAV-have applications to supporting the language tagging functionality of the XML specification [18] qui Microsoft’s implementation does not. Only Windows XP to Windows 8 are supported. [19]

Custom Web Applications

Main article: Software framework

SharePoint’s custom development capabilities provide an additional layer of services that allow rapid prototyping of typically web-based applications. [20] SharePoint provides developers with integration into corporate directories and data sources through standards such as REST / OData / OAuth. Enterprise application developers use SharePoint’s security and information management capabilities across a variety of development platforms and scenarios. SharePoint also contains an enterprise “app store” which has different types of external applications with encapsulated and managed data access.

Content Structure


SharePoint provides free-form pages which may be edited in-browser. SharePoint environment. SharePoint environment.

Web-Parts & App-Parts

Web parts and Apps are components (also known as portlets ) that can be inserted into Pages. SharePoint and third party applications.

Lists, Libraries, Content, and “Apps”

A SharePoint library stores and displays files and folders.

A SharePoint list stores and displays data items.

Each item in a library or list is a content item. Examples of content items include “Document” – which may have a “Name”, “Contact” – with contact information fields, or “Sales Invoice” – with fields such as “Total” and “Customer ID”.

Content Types are definitions (or types) of items. These definitions describe things like what metadata fields a Document, Contact, or Invoice may have. SharePoint allows you to create your own definitions based on the built-in ones. Some built in types include: Contacts, Appointments, Documents, and Folders.

Some built-in happy kinds Such As ‘contact’ or ‘appointment’ allow the list to expose advanced features Such as Microsoft Outlook or Project synchronization. [21]

In SharePoint 2013, in some locations, Lists and Libraries were renamed ‘Apps’ (despite being unrelated to the SharePoint App Store). In SharePoint 2016, some of these were renamed back to Lists and Libraries.


A SharePoint Site is a collection of pages, lists, libraries, apps, configurations, features, content types, and sub-sites. Examples of Site templates in SharePoint include: collaboration (team) sites, wiki sites, blank sites, and publishing sites.

Configuration and customization

Web-based configuration

SharePoint is a web browser. The web-based user interface provides most of the configuration capability of the product.

Depending on your permission level, the web interface can be used to:

  • Manipulate content structure, site structure, create / delete sites, modify navigation and security, or add / remove apps.
  • Enable or disable product features, upload custom designs / themes, or turn on integrations with other Office products.
  • Configure basic workflows, view usage analytics, manage metadata, configure search options, upload customizations, and set up integration. [22]

SharePoint Designer

Main article: SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Designer is a semi-deprecated product that provides ‘advanced editing’ capabilities for HTML / ASPX pages, but remains the primary method of editing SharePoint workflows.

A significant subset of HTML editing features were removed in Designer 2013, and the product is expected to be deprecated in 2016-7. [23]

Microsoft SharePoint’s Server Features are configured either using PowerShell , or a Web UI called “Central Administration”. Configuration of server farm settings (eg search crawl, web application services) can be handled through these central tools.

While Central Administration is limited to farm-wide settings (config DB), it provides access to tools such as ‘SharePoint Health Analyzer’, a diagnosis health-checking tool.

In addition to PowerShell’s farm configuration features, some limited tools are available for administering or adjusting settings for sites or site collections in content databases.

SharePoint’s SaaS providers, including Microsoft.

Custom Development

  • The SharePoint “App Model” provides various types of external applications that offer the capability to show authenticated web-based applications through a variety of UI mechanisms. Apps may be either “SharePoint-hosted”, or “Provider-hosted”. Provider hosted apps may be developed using most back-end web technologies (eg, NodeJS , PHP ). Apps are served through a proxy in SharePoint, which requires some DNS / certificate manipulation in on-premises versions of SharePoint.
  • The SharePoint “Client Object Model” (available for JavaScript and .NET ), and REST / SOAP APIs can be referenced from many environments, providing a wide variety of SharePoint capabilities. [24]
  • “Sand-boxed” plugins can be uploaded by any end-user who has been granted permission. These are security-restricted, and can be governed at multiple levels (including resource consumption management). In multi-tenant cloud environments, these are the only customizations that are typically allowed.
  • Typically Farm features are fully trusted code That need to be installed at a farm -level. These are considered deprecated for new development.
  • Service applications: It is possible to integrate directly into the SharePoint SOA bus, at a farm level.

Customization may appear through:

  • Application-to-application integration with SharePoint.
  • Extensions to SharePoint functionality (eg custom workflow actions).
  • ‘Web Parts’ (also known as “portlets”, “widgets”, or “gadgets”) that provide new functionality when added to a page.
  • Pages / sites or page / site templates. [24]

Server Architecture

SharePoint Server can be scaled down to operate entirely from one machine developer. [25]


A SharePoint farm is a logical grouping of SharePoint servers that share common resources. [26] A farm typically operates stand-alone, but can also subscribe to functions from another farm, or provide functions to another farm. Each farm has its own central configuration database, which is managed by either a PowerShell interface, or a Central Administration website (which relies partly on PowerShell’s infrastructure). Each server is able to directly interface with the central configuration database. Servers use this to configure services (eg IIS , windows features, database connections) to match the requirements of the server

Web applications

Web Applications (WAs) are top-level containers for SharePoint farm. A web application is associated with IIS configuration. A web application consists of a set of access mappings or URLs defined in the SharePoint central management console, which are replicated by SharePoint across every IIS instance (eg Web Application Servers) configured in the farm.

Site collections

A site collection is a hierarchical group of ‘SharePoint Sites’. Each web application must have at least one site collection. Site collections share common properties ( detailed here ), common subscriptions to the service applications, and can be configured with single host names. [27] A site collection may have a distinct content databases, or may share a database with other site collections in the same web application. [25]

Service applications

Service applications provide granular pieces of SharePoint functionality to other web applications in the farm. Examples of service applications include the User Profile Sync service, and the Search Indexing service. A service application can be turned off, exist on one server, or be load-balanced across many servers in a farm. Service Applications are designed to have independent functionality and independent security scopes. [25]

Administration, Security, Compliance

SharePoint’s architecture allows ‘least-privileges’ execution permission model. [28]

SharePoint Central Administration (the CA) is a web application that typically exists on a single server in the farm, but it can also be deployed for redundancy to multiple servers. [25] This application provides a complete centralized management interface for web and service applications in the SharePoint farm, including AD account management for web & service applications. In the event of the failure of the CA, Windows PowerShell is typically used on the CA server to reconfigure the farm.

The structure of the SharePoint platform allows multiple WAs to exist on a single farm. In a shared ( cloud ) hosting environment, owners of these WAs may require their own management console. The SharePoint ‘Tenant Administration’ (TA) is a web application used by the web application to interact with the shared resources in the farm. [25]

Compliance, standards and integration

  • SharePoint integrates with Microsoft Office .
  • SharePoint uses Microsoft’s OpenXML standard document for integration with Microsoft Office. Document metadata is also stored using this format.
  • SharePoint provides various application programming interfaces (APIs: client-side, server-side, JavaScript) and REST , SOAP and OData -based interfaces.
  • SharePoint document can be used to achieve compliance with many document retention, record management, document ID and discovery laws. [29]
  • SharePoint is compatible with CMIS – the Content Management Interoperability Standard, using Microsoft’s CMIS Connector .
  • SharePoint by default produces valid XHTML 1.0 that is compliant with WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards.
  • SharePoint can use claims-based authentication, relying on SAML tokens for security assertions. SharePoint provides an open authentication plugin model.
  • SharePoint has support for XLIFF to support the localization of content in SharePoint. [30] Also added support for AppFabric. [31]

Other SharePoint-related Microsoft products

Product name Description Status
Microsoft Teams A platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. It was designed by Microsoft as a competitor to Slack , and was officially announced in November 2016. active
Search Server An enterprise search platform based on the search capabilities of SharePoint. A Freeware Express edition was once available. Discontinued
FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint SharePoint Foundation. Discontinued [32] [33] [34]
SharePoint Designer A free, client-side customization and configuration tool for SharePoint. deprecated
Microsoft Visio A diagramming tool qui peut être used to design SharePoint workflows. Can be added to an Office 365 subscription. active
Microsoft Office Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet-based Office Productivity Suite. Also available for Mac. Included in some Office 365 plans. active
Office Web Apps Web-based, online, cross-browser compatible versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. Directly Integrate with SharePoint. active
Microsoft Project Server An extension to SharePoint providing integration with Microsoft Project . active
Microsoft Project Online An extension to Office 365 providing integration with Microsoft Project . active
Microsoft Project A client-based project planning tool that can be connected to a SharePoint task list for task and gantt-chart sharing. Comes with Project Online. active
Power BI An extension for Office 365 or SharePoint providing advanced Business Intelligence capabilities. active
Microsoft Exchange Server A mail server that integrates with Microsoft SharePoint. Included in 365. active
Skype for Business A client and server that provides VOIP telephony integration, IM, conferencing, and video / screen-sharing. Integrates with SharePoint for presence. Included in 365. active
Yammer A cloud-only enterprise social network that connects and closely integrates with SharePoint and is included in Office 365. active
Microsoft Dynamics CRM A CRM system with SharePoint & Office 365 Groups integration. On-premises or 365 holding deployment options. active
InfoPath Forms Services Allows InfoPath to be hosted in a SharePoint web site and served via web browser. deprecated
Excel Services A server technology included in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007 that enables users to load, calculate, and display Excel 2010 workbooks on SharePoint Server 2010. active
SharePoint Workspace A SharePoint client-side site synchronization component included in Microsoft Office 2010 (Professional Plus edition and higher). Discontinued
OneDrive for Business A client-side file synchronization component included in Microsoft Office 2013-16 and available for free download. active
OneDrive for Mac A client-side file synchronization component available for free download. active



SharePoint evolved from projects codenamed “Office Server” and “Tahoe” during the Office XP development cycle.

“Office Server” evolved out of the FrontPage and Office Server Extensions and “Team Pages”. It targeted simple, bottom-up collaboration.

“Tahoe”, built on shared technology with Exchange and the “Digital Dashboard”, targeted top-down portals, search and document management. The search and indexing capabilities of SharePoint came from the “Tahoe” feature set. The Microsoft SQL Server Server is a tool that allows you to create and manage your database. [35]


Successive versions (in chronological order):

  • SharePoint Portal Server 2001
  • SharePoint Team Services (2002)
  • SharePoint Services 2.0 (free license) – SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (commercial release)
  • SharePoint Services 3.0 (free license) – more Office SharePoint Server 2007 (commercial extension) [3]
  • SharePoint Foundation 2010 (free) – plus SharePoint Server 2010, and SharePoint Enterprise 2010 (commercial extension for Server)
  • SharePoint Foundation 2013 (free) – plus SharePoint Server 2013 (extension on top of Foundation), and SharePoint Enterprise 2013.
  • SharePoint Online (Plan 1), and SharePoint Online (Plan 2)
  • SharePoint Server 2016 – plus SharePoint Enterprise 2016.

Notable changes in SharePoint 2010

Changes in end-user functionality added in the 2010 version of SharePoint include:

  • New UI with Fluent Ribbon , using wiki-pages rather than ‘web-part pages’ and offering multi-browser support.
  • New social profiles, and early social networking features
  • Central Administration rebuilt.
  • Restructure of “Shared Service Providers” – Introduction of “Service Applications” SOA model.
  • Sandboxed Solutions and a client-side object-model APIs for JavaScript, Silverlight, and .NET applications
  • Business Connectivity Services , Claims-based Authentication , and Windows PowerShell support

Notable changes in SharePoint 2013

  • Cross-browser drag & drop support for file uploads / changes, and Follow / Share buttons
  • OneDrive for Business (initially SkyDrive Pro) replaces MySites and Workspaces.
  • Updates to social network feature & new task aggregation tool.
  • Database caching , called Distributed Cache Service [36]
  • Content-aware switching , called Management
  • Audit center (service called eDiscovery)
  • Rebuilt and improved search capabilities
  • Removal of some analytics capabilities
  • UI: JSLink, MDS, theme packs. No WYSIWYG in SP Designer.

Notable changes in SharePoint 2016 [37] [38]

  • Hybrid Improvements
    • Single Sites View
    • Unified Search
    • Search Sensitive Information in Hybrid Search
    • Unified UI (O365)
  • Performance, Scaling & Deployment Improvements
    • Search Scaling Capabilities
    • Site Collection Enhancement
    • Deterministic View Threshold – Removing 5000 Limit
    • Durable Links and Large Files Support
  • Deployment Improvements
    • MinRole
    • Zero Downtime Patching

Related Software and Competitors

Enterprise Content Management [39] Personal Cloud for Business [40] Intranet & Corporate Social Network [41] Web Content Management
  • EMC Documentum
  • OpenText
  • OnBase
  • IBM FileNet
  • Oracle WebCenter Content
  • Perceptive Content
  • Newgen Software
  • SpringCM
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Google Drive
  • Tonido
  • Resilio Sync
  • Yammer
  • VMWare SocialCast
  • Slack
  • Salesforce Chat
  • Jive
  • TIBCO Software
  • IBM Connections
  • IGLOO Software
  • Jostle Corporation
  • Oracle WebCenter Portal
  • modx
  • Umbraco
  • Alfresco (software)
  • Nuxeo
  • EXo Platform
  • Typo3
  • AeroFS
  • Nextcloud
  • onlyoffice
  • OwnCloud
  • seafile
  • Syncthing
  • Diaspora (social network)
  • EXo Platform
All major competition is open-source.

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • DotNetNuke

For more see: List of CMS

See also

  • Enterprise portal
  • List of collaborative software


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