SharePoint Terminologies

I recently posted on the step by step guide on how to install Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. After installing MOSS 2007, MOSS automatically creates three web applications for you. These three Web Applications will be used as follows

  1. For your Central Administration Page
  2. For your Shared Services Provider
  3. For your public/private site

Note: The above Web Applications are created automatically only when you do a basic installation. If you do a farm installation then you will have to manually create these Web Applications except for the Central Administration Web Application.

If you are planning to have the “My Site” functionalities in MOSS 2007 then you would be required as a best practice to create a Web Application for this.

Now, you might be wondering on what is this so called Web Application is? In Context with MOSS a Web Application is an IIS Web Site and was previously called as a Virtual Server in IIS. In fact Web Application were called Virtual Servers in WSS 2.0 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and then Microsoft released there server virtualization product named Virtual Server 2005 which made the IIS Virtual Server to be renamed as Web Application. So, as I said earlier a Web Application is an IIS Web Site which is an empty web service. you can host multiple Web Applications under a IIS Server with the help of Sockets. These Sockets are made out of a Port number, an IP and Host Name. The Public/Private site Web Application is what your users will be accessing as front end in order to browse your SharePoint Portal.

A Web Application can be created by going into the Central Administration page and under Application Management. Now you might be wondering, if it is a IIS web site then why should i create it through MOSS? Wouldn’t it be easier if I just go to the IIS Management Snap Console and create? The reason why you should create it through SharePoint is simply because, SharePoint will create with all the settings and configurations the way it wants. 

Next we will be looking at Site Collections,

Since a Web Application is an empty web service as I have mentioned earlier, you will have to create a Site Collection and attach it with the Web Application. A site collection is like a container or a folder or like an Organizational Unit inside the Active Directory. Under a single Web Application you can create multiple Site Collections depending on your requirement.

Inside a Site Collection you can have one or more sites and a site collection will share a common set features and functionalities between these sites. Usually inside a site collection you will have a hierarchy of sites, this hierarchy can be based upon your organizations requirement. It can be department based, project based, etc. Meaning, every department will have its own site/sub site.

Let’s look at an example. The Central Administration Page. The URL you type in in order to access will have a “http://hostname:port number” this can be considered as the Web Application under which you find the Central Administration Site Collection which hosts three sites namely, The Home page, The Operations page and the Application Management page.       

Every Site you create in MOSS will be based on a template and these templates will have unique settings and navigation options accordingly.

To create a Site Collection, you would have to visit the Central Administration and Operations page.

Alright, I think i should bring this post to an end now 🙂 and I hope the above was useful and helpful to you. 


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