SharePoint Technologies Dependencies
In previous posts, we explained how to determine the hardware pre-requisites of SharePoint installation, in addition to some fundamental concepts about SharePoint and the SharePoint workloads (Wheel).
In this post I am going to explain the software pre-requisites, concepts, components and how it’s related to the process of building experimental environment that you will start journey from. SharePoint installation is confusing somehow, especially for the beginners because it requires a good understanding of some networking, infrastructure components and concepts that SharePoint really depends on.
Software and Concepts Pre-requisites:
I am going to explain some of the basic concepts that every SharePoint engineer need to have a background about, but without digging in details, in order not to loose the purpose of this series.
- Microsoft Windows Server: Windows Server is Microsoft’s operating system for Servers, – That doesn’t mean you cannot install it into a PC/laptop hardware – and it consists of various services and components that provide advanced networking features. Read More
- Windows Domain and Domain Controller (DC): Imagine Windows Domain as a group of computers and devices (printer, scanner,etc.) that’s may operate on Windows OS, grouped together, managed by a central place which is called Domain Controller (DC), usually the network administrator is responsible of setup, configure, and administer the DC, but in our case you have to do it by yourself. Read More
Active Directory (AD): AD acts as a data repository that the domain controller registers the information inside, it’s simply a database that the administrator and other network components can store information inside; such as: user names and password, IP addresses, Organizational structure of the company (Departments, Who’s the manager of who), etc., This technology is very huge, and there is some experts that have dedicated their career for Active Directory. SharePoint Installation may use Active Directory, so you have to read some information about it. Read More
- Internet Information Services (IIS):IIS is a Web Server application developed by Microsoft, and it comes as a part of Windows Server Components, IIS is responsible for hosting the web sites, managing the requests and responses from and to the clients (I mean by client here browsers), in order to get a clear idea of web server, you need to get familiar with the concepts of HTTP protocol. Read more about HTTP here, Web Server, and IIS.
- Windows Registry(regedit): Win Registry is representing the database that Windows and other software’s depend on to store configuration and some settings that may include the drivers Setting, personalized settings, etc. Read more here about windows registry definition, and here is a tutorial that teaches you how to deal with it.
.NET Framework (DotNet Framework): a large group of libraries that every Desktop/Web Developer needs in order to develop applications that are running over Windows Technologies. Read More
- Microsoft SQL Server: The competing Microsoft Database technologies against Oracle Database, IBM DB2 Database, and MySQL. SharePoint is very dependent on SQL Server and it stores almost every thing including contents and some customizations, so you need to have an idea about it. Read More
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (VS2010): VS is the development environment for .NET platform, you can imagine that VS is like editor tool for .NET developers, and SharePoint – as you can guess – is built on top of .NET Technologies, so if you are planning to become a SharePoint developer, you will definitely need to play with Visual Studio. Read More
- Intranet: Intranet is the opposite of internet, which means private network instead of public network, you can use the term Intranet for the internal network inside your university, or the private network inside companies and organizations that are used to share files and data. Read More
- Out of the box (OTTB): A term used to describe the ability to use features and/or function in SharePoint without the need to write a single line of code in order to compose a new feature.
- No-Code Solution: A term used to describe the artifacts of OTTB features combined together to solve a business problem/requirement.
SharePoint Installation Dependencies:
Now after spending sometime in reading about the mentioned technologies, you will be ready to understand what’s going on here and why these components are really important to understand.
To make it simple, I will list the relation between SharePoint and the mentioned technologies into points as the following:
- SharePoint is a Server-Based Technology, to be able to use and get benefit from all the features, you must install it over Windows Server. Although you can install it in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, but it’s preferred to start your learning journey from Windows Server.
- Creating Intranet sites in SharePoint is as easy as simple clicks, in order to run a SharePoint Intranet site, usually you will need some Windows Server feature such as Domain Controller to control and manage your network, in addition to the Active Directory to store system users’ information and credentials, and to determine the permission for the Intranet users, although you can do this without AD, but it’s preferred to try it out, and get used to it. many SharePoint customers are depending on the Active Directory.
- SharePoint is a Web-Based technologies – I mean here it lives in browser – so it needs a web server, which means IIS (the web server component of Windows Server). There is also an IIS component in Windows 7 and Vista, but it doesn’t provides the full functionalities as Windows Server.
- SharePoint is built using a web technology called ASP.NET (Active Server Pages) which is dependent on .NET Platform and technologies, without .NET Framework, SharePoint cannot be installed. .NET Framework became part of Windows Server 2008 R2, so you will not need to download the .NET from the web. In order to run ASP.NET you will need a web server technology that can host this technology and allow the applications to get use of it, in our case the IIS is playing this role.
- SharePoint is using SQL Server to store the contents and customization, for example; all pages that’s created by the user are stored into the SQL Server in a special database called “Content Database” in addition to that SharePoint is depending on another Database called “Configuration Database”, which is used in storing all the configurations of SharePoint including the email notifications, some security settings, services, and features.
- SharePoint is very extensible, it’s like plastic; you can shape a lot of things and into different forms, Customization of SharePoint can be done with or without code, when we are talking about code, we definitely need a tool that can be used to develop on top of .NET Framework, and in this case: Visual Studio Development Environment, which allows you to do a lot of development very easily using the SharePoint Tools for Visual Studio.
In the next post we are going to talk about the naming of the product and the differences between the free version and the commercial version.