SharePoint 2016 is a collaboration tool at its heart. Its primary goal is to make it easy for users to find and share information, and there are many features built into SharePoint to facilitate this. SharePoint's library system feature can provide a superior alternative to the traditional file server. SharePoint lists can be an easy-to-design and easy-to-use alternative to sharing spreadsheet files or more formal database tables. Both lists and libraries can be customized and extended to provide enhanced appearances and functionality, such as calendars and discussion boards, to name a couple. All of this collaboration can be done through a browser interface and in some cases through integration with Microsoft Office applications.
Lists are a fundamental building block in SharePoint that provides a way for users to store and view data. SharePoint comes "out of the box" with many predefined list templates that are easy to use. Lists can be further customized by adding columns to store just about any type of information. Additionally, list columns can be validated as well as linked between other lists. Lists are a very flexible and powerful tool in SharePoint.
SharePoint Libraries share the same characteristics as SharePoint lists such as columns, views, and validation to name a few. What distinguishes SharePoint libraries is that each item in a library has a underlying document. So in addition to the data stored in library columns, the document stores its own data based on the type of document. Because of the extra data that can be stored in columns that can be used to filter and search by and features such as versioning, libraries are considered a great replacement for the more traditional file server system. Libraries are, like lists, a fundamental building block in a SharePoint site.
Views provide a flexible system to display SharePoint list and library data in an easy-to-read and easy-to-use manner. Every SharePoint list and library can have multiple views created and configured, and some list and library templates come with special views preconfigured. Views can be defined for personal use or shared use.
All SharePoint content is accessed through a site. A SharePoint site is the container for lists and libraries and
provides a starting point for basic administration. The content, lists, libraries, and basic look and feel of
a site is initially determined by the Site Template used to create the site.
SharePoint offers a couple of ways to add content to the pages in a site. The
latest technique and the one implemented by the Team Site template is through
wiki style pages. Another method that has been part of SharePoint since the
beginning is the use of Web Parts and Web Part pages. Both techniques are
similar in the output that can be created, and both Web Part pages and wiki
pages share the ability to add Web Parts to them.
A SharePoint Forms library is a special library designed to store Microsoft InfoPath form documents. Microsoft InfoPath comes with a designer tool for graphically creating forms with a wide assortment of fields and
controls. The InfoPath Designer can then be used to publish the forms you design to SharePoint rendering them as web page templates for Forms libraries.
At the time of this writing Microsoft had stated that InfoPath would be retired. For SharePoint 2016 they left support for the tool in but there is not a 2016 version of the client tools. This means you can still use it in SharePoint 2016 but to create custom forms you use the InfoPath 2013 Designer tool. It is possible that future version of SharePoint will not support InfoPath forms at all. For this reason coverage of this chapter is optional for this course.
One method of customizing SharePoint, in a way that can be reused throughout the site or site collection or even the whole farm, is to create Site Columns and Content Types. Site columns are the simplest element; they are essentially the
same as list and library columns except that you create them at the site level and then they can be used throughout that site and any child site. Content Types are a combination of Site Columns as well as additional settings
and information such as document templates and workflows. Content Types, once created, can then be linked to lists and libraries.
One of the nice features of SharePoint is its ability to integrate with Microsoft Office applications. Just about every Office application offers some level of integration with SharePoint whether it be simple, such as using an Excel spreadsheet to create a new list, or more full featured, such as Outlook integration. Some integration features enhance what is available online through a browser while others allow access to SharePoint content
offline such as a mobile computer environment. This lesson will use a series of
walk-throughs and exercises to show how each Office application can integrate with SharePoint.
Note that this chapter is exploring integration with Office locally installed on the machine connecting to SharePoint. Office Online Server is a browser based version of Office that allows you to create and modify office documents. With SharePoint 2016 Office Online Server can be integrated and is considered an essential piece for many SharePoint installations. That being said, since it is a separate product from SharePoint it is not covered as part of this course.
Permissions on a SharePoint site are assigned when a site is created. The default is that permissions assigned to the root of a site collection are inherited by child sites. At any time, permissions inheritance
can be turned off at a site, list, library, or even at the item level in a list or library. The permissions themselves can be assigned to either SharePoint groups, individual users, or groups created outside of
SharePoint such as Windows groups.
SharePoint offers users a place for social collaboration in the form of personal sites. The experience and functionality is very similar to popular social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The main difference being that it is controlled by the SharePoint Farm and exposure is typically limited to internal networks.