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Microsoft Brands, Previews Portal Server

Microsoft Corp.’s forthcoming portal server, formerly codenamed “Tahoe”, has reached Release Candidate 1 status. Microsoft also announced the product will be branded as  “SharePoint Portal Server” when it hits the market this spring.

“SharePoint Portal Server is able to search and index a variety of information services,” says Trina Seinfeld, product manager for SharePoint Portal Server. Adminstrators can set SharePoint Portal to cull information from Office Applications, as well as enterprise servers like SQL Server, Exchange, and Lotus Notes.

Microsoft says that the server is intended to ease the creation of portals, so enterprises can better relay information to workers. Microsoft has deployed SharePoint Portal in-house to maintain its intranet and dynamically update information, but Seinfeld says that its JDP partners are using the server for diverse tasks like research sharing, legal work, and purchase order management.

To construct a portal, adminstrators set up templates or “digital dashboards,” embedded with “Web Parts.” Web Parts are HTML and XML-based objects for adding information to the site. “You can create web parts to access any type of information,” Seinfeld says.

When SharePoint Portal was first announced it was billed as Microsoft’s entry into the document management arena, but, as its name suggests, it is now marketed as a portal server. Seinfeld says that its document management features should not be overlooked. “We view document management as a value add in a portal solution,” she says.

SharePoint Portal is one member of the SharePoint family of brands. A second product, SharePoint Team Services, will ship with Microsoft’s upcoming Office 10 release. Formerly know as Office Extensions, SharePoint Team Services will offer document sharing and web publishing for workgroups and small businesses.

Notably absent from the branding announcement was mention of the .NET initiative. “There are a lot of .NET core technologies integrated in the shipping product,” Seinfeld says. She says that Sharepoint Portal was architected before .NET was announced, so some of the technologies were not integrated into the current product, but future versions will be fully compliant with the .NET intiative.

The SharePoint Portal Release candidate is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/.- Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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