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Integrating Publishing Sites and Collaboration Sites

Two distinct facets of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 are its collaborative capabilities and its publishing capabilities.

SharePoint provides collaboration sites, which are workspaces where users can contribute information and work together. For example, collaboration sites can host discussion threads, allow you to share documents, and coordinate tasks. When you create a collaboration site, it is important to structure it in a logical and straightforward way. Users are active contributors who must be able to add and find information easily. Typically, collaboration sites have more contributors than readers.

SharePoint's publishing capabilities provide the ability to author content that is meant for Internet Web sites. In the case of publishing sites, the information is primarily meant to be seen. The aesthetic appeal and branding of that information is more important than how the information is used. Publishing sites should make it possible to easily author new content. Typically, publishing sites have many more readers than contributors.

Combining a collaboration site with a publishing site provides compelling opportunities for creating innovative enterprise-scale applications. The collaboration portal site definition that is provided by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an example of how SharePoint's collaboration features work together with its publishing features.

When you create a site collection that is based on the collaboration portal site definition, SharePoint generates subsites for you. Some subsites are meant for collaboration and some are meant for publishing. The News subsite is an example of a publishing site. A publishing site allows a small number of content developers or authors to contribute news articles that many more users will read. The content can be authored with rich HTML, images, and media. The Document Center subsite is an example of a collaborative site. Many users can upload documents that can then be shared and worked on by other users. The Document Center also includes lists such as the Tasks list that coordinates the efforts around the documents.

The Partner Portal application that is included with this guidance integrates SharePoint's publishing features with its collaboration features. The Partner Portal is a centralized extranet site where Contoso partners can collaborate with Contoso employees to resolve incidents and order exceptions. The Partner Portal uses tasks and document libraries for collaboration. Each partner can contribute to the Tasks list and to the document library.

The Partner Portal also provides a central location where partners can receive communications and information that is meant only for them. For example, partners see promotions, company news, and partner-specific news. The attractiveness and branding of the content on these sites is more important than how the information is structured. Partners are viewers, not contributors.

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