How SharePoint Succeeded To Rise Above the Competition in the CRM Market – Part II

This article was originally written by Concept- EU, and translated from German. This is part 2 of a 3-part series of articles.


2003 was an excellent year for Microsoft: the product family grew, and joint intellectual work was the new trend. In short, 2003 was the finest hour of collaboration.

Because it was so lovely, we start the second part of our history of SharePoint with an overview of all members of the Office 2003 family:

  • Access
  • Excel
  • FrontPage
  • InfoPath
  • Live Communications Server
  • Live Meeting
  • OneNote
  • PowerPoint
  • Project
  • Publisher
  • SharePoint Portal Server
  • Visio
  • Word

In the past, Microsoft products were distributed and offered separately. This approach was completely revolutionized and turned upside down by Office 2003, which was available as a package for the first time.

Launch pad for real collaboration: SharePoint 2003

SharePoint 2003 had been developed as the first integrated and extensive solution for the exchange of information, data, files, and websites in a network. The feature of the Messaging Server was the center of attention, while possibilities for further online cooperation were being enhanced in general.

SP 2003 incorporated the abilities of STS and SPS (see also part 1 of our SharePoint History), which made it Microsoft’s first collaboration platform. Knowledge of code in order to create websites wasn’t needed anymore, due to the use of dashboards and its simple user-interface. The SP-Designer was additionally available as a kind of toolbox for bigger changes. Users were able to add, remove, copy, and edit files. Additionally, adding data to a SP-website was facilitated. The division between users and administrators became clear in the following way: users were able to use SP 2003, while administrators could also manage it.

One highlight was the synchronization of Excel 2003 with SharePoint lists, which had not been possible until that time, and which brought a big additional value.

The milestones of SP 2003: “SharePoint-Team Sites” and new functions

You either hated it or loved it: like for the rest of Office XP, the increased integration in web services, especially SharePoint-Team Sites, of the newest version of Microsoft’s WYSIWYG web-creating tool, FrontPage 2002, now provided new web components. Additionally, there were noteworthy new functions, like drawing tools that were based on PowerPoint, a dialogue for editing multiple pages, new report tools, a publishing assistant, which allowed you to transfer data via drag and drop in combination with FTP-clients, like WSFTP or CuteFTP, and a database assistant.


“SharePoint Server” and web components

“SharePoint Server” made FrontPage the preferred tool for internal webmasters, who could adjust and tag “SharePoint-Team Sites” with it. The merger of SharePoint and FrontPage 2002 made the creation of forums, online surveys and lists that are able to be edited in browsers very easily, both for the internet and for the intranet.

Photo Gallery

The Photo Gallery assistant facilitated publishing several pictures at once: the shortcut with FrontPage made for an automatic preview, which even allowed picking a desired layout out of four default design templates. When visitors selected a picture, it then was loaded from the preview page and displayed on full screen. Unfortunately, the assistant created just one single page, which limited the galleries to only a few pictures. The possibility to create multiple pages for a larger number of pictures would have been desirable.

Website administration, publishing assistants and data-based websites

For web-authors, the improved website administration, especially by integrated access reports, was a real gain. They were enabled to observe their page’s traffic by FrontPage reports, with daily, weekly, and monthly overviews, including visitor history, referring domains, and URLs as well as search requests. The improved publishing assistant made it easier to display the page’s source and target directories.

Everyone was especially fond of the new interface: at last new files could be – free of complications – published via drag and drop.

Marissa Hart is the Lead Author & Editor ShareMe. ShareMe is a blog focused on SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online delivers the powerful features of SharePoint without the associated overhead of managing the infrastructure.