This book is intended for IT administrators to get a handle on SharePoint Foundation and is an
update of Mastering Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. It is meant to be used both as a reference
for overworked network administrators who don’t have a lot of time to spare slogging through
articles and forums, and as a cover-to-cover guide to mastering the fundamentals of SharePoint
Foundation (and then some). Most of us don’t have time to waste struggling with the ins and
outs of a new product. We just need it to work. We also don’t have time to waste on taking
classes, so having a reference to use at work (or at home) can be handy. SharePoint is a really
complicated beast—poorly documented, with oddly named settings, in even odder places. It’s
not for the faint of heart.
SharePoint is several things at once. It is a developer’s platform, leveraging components such
as ASP.NET, Windows Identity Foundation, and PowerShell. It is a robust front end over the
power of SQL Server on the back end. And finally, it’s a web collaboration tool, a useful front
end to help increase the productivity of the information worker. It’s a network product, it installs
on a server, and it inevitably ends up being the responsibility of the server administrator.
When I started using SharePoint, I just couldn’t find any detailed, accurate documentation
for the free version (at that time, WSS). There was almost nothing reliable out there that was for
administrators using WSS (unlike the paid-for SharePoint Server product). A large percentage
of the documentation, especially the books, that I could find about SharePoint were written for
developers. There was almost nothing for the busy administrators who have an entire network
to run, for whom SharePoint is essentially just another server role. And, I’ve found, that is still
the case with SharePoint Foundation today.
With SharePoint Foundation, I feel an obligation to let the world know about the product’s
power, its extensive capabilities, and the fact that those capabilities are free. I fear that many organizations
are being oversold the SharePoint Server product, when they would be much better off
with SharePoint Foundation. SharePoint Foundation might do all they need and more, without
having to spend so very much on the software and client licenses (notice the plural—there can be
need for two per user). Too many businesses have found, with their SharePoint Server installations,
that the capabilities they use day to day aren’t actually the ones they paid for.