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Sharepoint Foundation is free, while both Standard and Enterprise possess the ability to make your wallet shriek in terror.

A Sharepoint site or application is comprised of a handful of components: A typical Sharepoint application may contain many sites and/or search sites, which may in turn contain many sub-sites.

It can all become quite a behemoth, as you can likely imagine.

Add to this the fact that users of the Sharepoint application may be able to create their own sub-sites, and you begin to see just how enormous the sheer scope of a Sharepoint application could become, especially for a larger corporation with thousands of employees.

In general, a single Sharepoint site (of which there could be many within the whole application, remember) is composited in the following manner: That is, a list/library full of data is fed into a web part, which displays that data on a page, which is a portion of an overall site or sub-site. If you’ll recall, I mentioned that Sharepoint does bear some similarities to other CMSes you might be familiar with; for example, you’ve probably grasped that this flow of information is pretty similar to the way a CMS like Wordpress would display data via a widget that you’ve placed on the page.

If it weren’t for Microsoft having some insatiable urge to give things convoluted names like “web part” and “list/library” instead of “widget” and “database/datastore,” you probably would have grasped that even more quickly. Unfortunately, you’ll find that’s a recurring trend within Sharepoint; Microsoft loves to rename things that are already commonly-understood within the web development community.

Corporations tend to be the most common adopters of Sharepoint, and as many of these organizations explicitly utilize Windows machines, it can be assumed that Internet Explorer will generally be the most common browser used to access the Sharepoint site.

As far as browser support goes: As a general rule, your site must look great and function perfectly in IE7/8.

If you’re familiar with web development using any other CMS or collaborative web application platform, such as Wordpress, Drupal, Umbraco, Dot Net Nuke, Magento, and so on, you’ll be able to grasp Sharepoint conceptually without too much difficulty.

Don’t worry, there’s a glossary coming up to address just that.

Okay, okay, so they’re not ALWAYS totally in the wrong.

Sharepoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft.

Though you’ll find a wide array of explanations as to what Sharepoint is, it could most accurately be described as “a terrifying, monolithic CMS on crack.” It’s most often used as an intranet site for businesses of all shapes and sizes, offering a range of features: Conversely, my personal tagline for Sharepoint is the soothing sound of me violently smashing my laptop with a cinder block while my head rotates three-hundred-and-sixty degrees and blood spouts from my eyes.

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