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I'm investigating the use of SharePoint for relatively simple content management functionality service for use within university systems.

I'm totally new to SharePoint (and originally from a Linux background), so am not very up-to-speed with the various versions and licenses.

What I'm wondering is, does the basic Windows SharePoint Services provide content management functionality, or is that something that only comes with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server?

The content management required is quite basic I feel -- a web-based interface to allow for the creation of public-facing web-based HTML content. The content will be mostly textual information, with images and links to documents contained within. Customisation of the public-facing side is important. And, ideally, the actual content-editing on the administrative side should be fairly easy for non-technical users. The features required are along the lines of:

  • Image upload, and subsequent inclusion in textual content
  • Document upload, and subsequent inclusion in textual content
  • Link creation (both to internal and external content)
  • WYSIWYG content creation
  • Suitability for non-technical users
  • Role-dependent content visibility
  • Preview content before publishing
  • Highly customisable layout and look’n’feel (for public facing sections)
  • Customisable links in menus

From perusing the Wikipedia pages for both products, I get the impression WSS does provide content management, but perhaps MOSS provides more advanced CMS on top.

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@ngm - can you expand on what you mean by "content management" - that is a pretty broad term and can mean different things to different people. – MattB Feb 12 '10 at 14:50
Thanks for your comment MattB -- I've updated the question. – ngm Feb 12 '10 at 16:31
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Based on your requirements - you are most interested in Web Content Management, which WSS isn't great at but you can make it workable. The big things in your list that are missing from WSS compared to MOSS are related to previewing and approving page content before publishing (and the built-in workflows related to such.) You should be able to create custom libraries with (custom-built) workflows attached that add this functionality though.

There is a codeplex project that supposedly adds some of this stuff without you having to do the work manually:
but I can't vouch for how good it is.

Also, SharePoint (both WSS and MOSS) do WYSIWYG stuff out of the box, but some people find it...lacking. If your users have non-IE web browsers, there is basically no WYSIWYG support. Even if you are an IE only shop, I would recommend adding the (free) Telerik RadEditor component to your installation.

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Running through some MOSS 07 training material this week, so your question gives me a good chance to chew on what I'm reading.

I can't speak to SPS, but I'm assuming it's got some basic document management features. I can tell you that MOSS has Workflow features & version tracking, so various people can submit, edit, approve, and publish content. Depending on what else you've got installed on campus, you'll be able to integrate this with Exchange, and stick items on peoples' task lists & calendars related to deadlines & to-dos in that Workflow. Similar integration with Project server.

As MattB said, though, it might be better to find out what you want it to do rather than rattling off the various items I can remember.

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WSS will give you the guts of what you require. The full MOSS product would only really be needed if you wanted to aggregate multiple WSS sites, perform indexing on them, and so forth.

Where both will fall down is on the customization side. They are customizable for sure, but only so long as your customizations play nicely with how they operate behind the scenes. If you try to go further than that you will fairly quickly hit what I used to call "the SharePoint Wall".

Having said that, the ability to build your own web parts might overcome the limitations.

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