What is SharePoint? Part 5: In Which We Consider SharePoint as a "Living" Environment of Sorts

As you may recall, the other day I was writing about my favorite of the new SharePoint 2010 features which Microsoft have revealed thus far.  That combined with my mention of the "SharePoint: Past, Present and Future" keynote that Microsoft's Arpan Shah will be delivering Monday morning at the Best Practices Conference got me thinking about another aspect of what I think SharePoint is - in a sense, SharePoint is the platform equivalent of a "living document."

What do I mean by that?  Here's what I'm thinking in a nutshell: with its releases over the years, to say nothing of the ability to enhance and customize the out-of-the-box SharePoint experience with modular third-party products, SharePoint is in a near-constant state of improvement, and that's a pretty powerful thing.

Speaking of SharePoint releases over the years, regarding its past, I'm just going to provide a broad strokes timeline of the core components here, by way of showing the progression of releases.  As an aside, I'm honor-bound to note that this information was culled from the excellent SharePoint History post at Joining Dots.  If you're interested in SharePoint history beyond my (extremely) basic name-and-timeline-based information, the Joining Dots post, along with Joel Oleson's 7 Years of SharePoint - a History Lesson, is absolutely essential reading.  So, regarding SharePoint's past, both SharePoint Portal Server 2001 (SPS 2001), and SharePoint Team Services (STS) were released, as you would imagine, in 2001.  STS morphed into Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) with the release of Office 2003, and that same year SPS was updated to SPS 2003.  This 2003 release constitutes what's known as WSS 2.0. 

The present, in the case of SharePoint anyway, began in 2007 with the release of WSS 3.0, along with MOSS 2007, and MOSS Enterprise, considerably expanding the offerings available under the SharePoint umbrella.

The future of SharePoint, or at least the immediate future, is called SharePoint 2010 and, as of last month's launch of the official SharePoint 2010 Sneak Peek site, we're starting to get an idea of what the future of SharePoint's will look like.  And from what I've seen so far, the future looks bright, especially for end users. 

Again, there's much more detailed information available (and from primary sources at that) on the history of SharePoint, but I hope I've demonstrated that the SharePoint development effort has been an ongoing concern for the better part of ten years now, and with major enhancements introduced with each release (and SharePoint 2010 certainly looks to be no exception to that rule), alongside the ability to code (or buy and install) modular solutions to SharePoint, I believe that there is an argument that could be made that SharePoint is a "living" environment.  On the other hand, maybe I'm just crazy.  What do you think?

Following the aforementioned keynote at the Best Practices Conference, I may have some further thoughts on the future of SharePoint in my next installment.  Oh, and that reminds me, since I'll be covering the Conference (over on the Bamboo Team Blog) for the better part of next week, I'll be returning to SharePoint Blank duty next Friday, just in time for the next entry in the "What is SharePoint?" series.  See you then!

Catch up on the entire "What is SharePoint?" series:


Posted Aug 21 2009, 02:53 PM by John Anderson

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About John Anderson

John Anderson joined Bamboo Solutions as Manager of Content & Syndication in May of 2008 after a 12-year career at AOL.  New to SharePoint at the time of his hiring, John was tasked with creating a new blog for the just-launched Bamboo Nation community in which he would document his daily SharePoint learning process.  Thus was born the end user-centric SharePoint Blank, for which John authored 200 posts within a year, and which he continues to write today (albeit much more sporadically).  Currently serving as Managing Editor, John sets the tone for Bamboo Nation as its lead blogger, and oversees content across Bamboo properties.

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