Appendix B. Just What Is SharePoint Anyway?

SharePoint Designer includes a broad array of features and functions that make it a powerful tool, not only to "make it look less like SharePoint," but also to leverage and build upon a number of SharePoint's features. What does that mean? What is SharePoint? Remember that you (or your clients) are implementing SharePoint for a reason. In your efforts to customize its look, you must be sure you retain its feel — its core capabilities.

Many SharePoint elements can be configured to some extent through the web interface. Although you will have a much greater capability to customize them in SharePoint Designer, understanding this built-in functionality gives you a better foundation for your construction. Some of the useful building blocks you will find in SharePoint include its

  • Basic structure

  • Lists and libraries

  • Web parts

  • Navigation

  • Site management

  • Server architecture


On the surface, SharePoint is a fully functional web application. Out of the box, you get pages you can browse, places you can put information, and many ways to get that information back out again. Figure B-1 shows a basic SharePoint site.

Scratch that surface, and you find a whole lot more, including the capability to define new forms of information, to pick and choose what gets displayed on a page, and to create new pages. You can do it all without programming or even leaving the friendly confines of your web browser.

Figure B.1. Figure B-1

The first instinct ...

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