User Profiles Overview
User profiles contain each user's personal information and enable you to search for and connect with people within your organization. User profiles are a core feature in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The user-specific profile information is stored in the user profile store.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 supported the import of user profiles only from the Active Directory directory service. For customers who did not have Active Directory deployed, there was not an easy way to bootstrap the profile database as well as keep it up to date in SharePoint Portal Server.
Office SharePoint Server 2007 addresses this issue by bootstrapping and synchronizing the profile database from most data sources, including directories, Web services, and databases, including:
Active Directory directory services
LDAP directory (other than Active Directory)
Databases and Web services via Business Data Catalog
Custom sources via the User Profiles object model
Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a new search scope for searching people. The Index server crawls the user profile store to get the user's information. The Profile page of the user's My Site displays the user's profile information, and the Audiences feature uses user profiles to build audience rules.
You can also customize the properties of the user profile according to the needs of your organization You can map the user profile properties to properties in Active Directory or other LDAP servers, or to entities in the Business Data Catalog. See the following topics for more information about user profiles:
The UserProfile Object
The UserProfile object is the key object in the Office SharePoint Server 2007 User Profiles object model that represents a user's profile. Each user profile contains information about one user. A user profile is a set of name/value pairs that describe the user's personal information. This information can be listed, searched, and displayed by other users in an organization. The Index server crawls the user profile store to get the user's information, and Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a new search scope for searching people. Information in user profiles can be imported from Active Directory, LDAP servers, and Business Data Catalog, or entered by the users themselves, or both.
The UserProfile object enables you to read and update user profile properties, as well as a user's memberships, personalization links, and My Site.
The UserProfileManager and UserProfileConfigManager objects are key administration objects in the object model that allow you to create, edit, and retrieve user profile objects and properties from the user profile store.