WSS terminology

I am new to WSS, so I’ll start to learn the WSS terminology and how to find my way through this wilderness.


Managing Tools:

SharePoint Central Administration (SPCA): (Start menu – Admin tools)
A web app created at WSS installation for managing WSS Web Apps and Sites. Alternatively use STSADM.EXE cmd line tool.

SharePoint P&T Configuration Wizard: (Start menu – Admin tools)
A wizard that fixes configuration problems. Uses the underlying PSCONFIG.EXE cmd line tool.

Developing Tools: 

Microsoft Office Sharepoint Designer: A program that graphically creates or modifies WSS site pages like Visual Studio is used for modifying ASP.NET pages.

Visual Studio: Create/edit application pages, Web Parts and everything custom to WSS.

SharePoint Solution Generator:

Servers and Databases

Configuration Database: One DB is needed for one farm. One farm contains of several web servers, which each has a cpoy of the same Web App. One server can serve more Web Apps.

Content Database: One DB is needed for one Web App.

Server Architecture
Server Architecture


Site Architecture
Site Architecture

Some site definitions needs a table:

IIS Url sample SP obj STS 1.0 WSS 3.0 Comment
Website http://foo.tst/ SPVirtualServer Virtual Server Web App Extend web.config with WSS sections
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/sites/Sales SPSite c = this.Site; Site Site Collection Set security for the group. Other common settings
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/sites/Sales SPWeb s = this.Web; Root Web Top Level Site  
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/sites/Sales/East SPWeb Child Web Child Site  

A provisioned (created) sharepoint web app contains:

IIS Url sample Path Comment
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/_layouts %wse%\12\template\layouts Templates for Application pages
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/_controltemplates %wse%\12\template\controltemplates ASP.NET user controls
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/_wpresources %wse%\wpresources Resources for web parts
Virtual dir http://foo.tst/_vti_bin %wse%\12\isapi HttpHandler code. Dll’s and Web services

where %wse% = %ProgramFiles%\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions.

Additional virtual folders:

Site Definitions: A site definition defines a unique type of SharePoint site.

  • STS includes the site definition configurations for Team Site, Blank Site, and Document Workspace.
  • MPS includes the site definition configurations for Basic Meeting Workspace, Blank Meeting Workspace, Decision Meeting Workspace, Social Meeting Workspace, and Multipage Meeting Workspace.
  • CENTRALADMIN provides a site definition configuration sfor central administration Web sites.
  • WIKI provides a site definition configuration for Web sites that support community content using wiki technology.
  • BLOG provides a site definition configuration for blogs.

A list of Site Templates

Site Templates: Changes made to a Site Definition.


Modification possibilities:

  • Development:
    • Changes stored in application pages, assemblies, config files, feature files and more…
    • Includes Application pages, custom Web Parts and a lot more…
    • Changes made using:  Visual Studio
  • Customization:
    • Changes recorded in the Content Database.
    • Includes Site Pages, Site Definitions and List Definitions.
    • Changes made using:
      • “SharePoint Solution Generator”
      • “SharePoint Designer”
      • Edit Shared (Site) Page
    • Don’t customize a performance critical page, since page ghosting can slow things down.
  • Personalization:
    • Changes made using:
      • Edit Personal (Site) Page

Page templates: A file which is shared betwteen a WSS Web App and several sites. Each of these template has a template ID.

Page Ghosting: When a Page template has been customized using the Sharepoint Designer then that page is stores in the content DB.
The page could also/instead be edited from within the site by a site admin for a site (shared version – called customization) or by a member user (private version – called personalization).
Q1: Is the nonmodified page template retrieved for the rest of the sites/users from file system or DB? I guess the file system.

Site Pages:

  • Pages that supports user customization (ghosting) such as default.aspx.
  • In the default policy Site Pages is run in no-compile mode and
  • In-line scripting is prohibited for security reasons.

Application Pages: Opposite of Site Pages:

  • No customization (no ghosting) such as settings.aspx.
  • Does support in-line scripting.
  • They are deployed in the _layouts folder.
  • Reachable from each site by adding /_layouts/ to the URL.
  • They are common for all Web Apps in a WSS farm. Therefore they are compiled into a DLL and loaded into memory only once for each Web App.
  • Site Page editors will not by default have permission to edit them.
  • Several standard App Pages links to /_layouts/application.master.

Page Content

Modules: A module is a collection of file instances, which are instances of files that are provisioned in a site. Modules are frequently used to implement a Web Part Page in the site.

Web Parts: A Page can be composed of personizable web parts. When a user creates a new site (Web Part) page he must select a Web Part page template, that has some predefined Web Part Zones.
When the page is created it is stored in a dedicated document library – by default Shared Documents. Now the user can edit the page to be able to add some Web Parts to the zones of the page.
The Web Parts to choose from is stored in the document library Web Part Gallery. They have extension .dwp or .webpart. Go to Site Settings – Galleries for adding new web parts.

Lists: Collections that can be stored/retrieved from a page. A list is often rendered through a web part. Comes in two flavours:

  • Generic Lists:
    • Announcements
    • Calendar
    • Links
    • Tasks
    • Team Discussion
    • User Information List
  • Document Libraries:
    Promoting and Demoting Document Properties in Windows SharePoint Services
    Promoting and Demoting Document Properties in Windows SharePoint Services
    • Shared Documents
    • List Template Gallery
    • Site Template Gallery
    • Master Page Gallery
    • Web Part Gallery

List Templates: Sounds like this is same a List Definition.

Content Types: An object. Many of the items in the lists are implemented as Content Types

What Are Content Types, Anyway?
3 Things I Got Wrong About Content Types
What are Content Type IDs?

The Windows SharePoint ServicesContent Type Object
The Windows SharePoint ServicesContent Type Object
Using Columns and Content Types to Organize and Manage Your Content in Windows SharePoint Services
Using Content Types in Windows SharePoint Services
Using Content Types in Windows SharePoint Services
  • System
  • Item
  • Document
  • Office Data Connection File
  • Universal Data Connection File
  • Form
  • Picture
  • Unknown Document Type
  • Master Page
  • User Workflow Document
  • Wiki Page
  • Basic Page
  • Web Part Page
  • Link to a Document
  • Dublin Core Columns
  • Event
  • Issue
  • Announcement
  • Link
  • Contact
  • Message
  • Task
  • Workflow Task
  • Administrative Task
  • Workflow History
  • Person
  • SharePointGroup
  • DomainGroup
  • Post
  • Comment
  • Far East Contact
  • Folder
  • RootOfList
  • Discussion

Fields: A property of a Content Type. A few samples:

SharePoint Terminology: Column vs. Field vs. Property

  • Other Address Country
  • Categories
  • Manager’s Name
  • Children’s Names
  • Date Modified
  • Company
  • Event Canceled
  • UID

Workflow Types: A workflow is a package of functionality used to enable a process that can be applied to documents and list items. As an independent entity, a workflow can be associated with any number of containers (lists) or content types.

Events: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides an extensive set of events that you can integrate into library, list, site, and user operations.

Custom Actions: A custom action represents a link, toolbar button, menu item, or any control that can be added to a toolbar or menu that a user sees. Custom actions can be bound to list type, content type, file type, or programmatic identifier (ProgID).

Features: Many of the above lists are implemented as features. Features must be activated in the context of a Farm, a Web app, a Site Collection or a Site. Features are configured in feature.xml files which includes zero or more elements. Elements can be list and/or what a lists consists of like content type, list items and fields, but also other kind of site content.

If the feature has zero elements then it is only code in the activation/deactivation eventhandler that makes up the feature, but that code is optional.
With that definition a feature is a plug-in to sharepoint, that adds more than the standard elements.

  • DocumentLibrary
  • WebPageLibrary
  • NoCodeWorkflowLibrary
  • PictureLibrary
  • DataSourceLibrary
  • XmlFormLibrary
  • AnnouncementsList
  • LinksList
  • TasksList
  • DiscussionsList
  • IssuesList
  • WorkflowHistoryList
  • SurveysList
  • GridList
  • GanttTasksList
  • workflowProcessList
  • ContactsList
  • CustomList
  • EventsList
  • TeamCollab
  • MobilityRedirect

Features in WSS3.0 and MOSS2007.

Elements: One feature can be made of elements.

  • Content Type
  • Content Type Binding
  • Control
  • Custom Action
  • Custom Action Group
  • Document Converter
  • Feature/Site Template Association
  • Field
  • Hide Custom Action
  • List Instance
  • List Template
  • Module
  • Receiver
  • Workflow

Groups: Groups replaces Roles

Users: Users can be part of groups

More info here:

See DotNetNuke compared to WSS/MOSS:

The topic WSS: What is installed on a WSS3.0 server with VS2005? is now moved to its own article, since this one was growing so much.


One Comment

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  1. Thank you for the reference. Good article.

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