- I want to take a moment to address where you are in SharePoint via an analogy I like to call the SharePoint Mall Map. If you've ever been into a large mall, or shopping center, sometimes it's difficult to remember where you parked, or you're not sure how to get to the location you're trying to get to. There may be hundreds, or even thousands of stores in the gigantic super malls of today. Well, SharePoint has the same issue. SharePoint can have literally thousands of things we call site collections, and each of those site collections can have one to hundreds to potentially thousands of sites.
Each of those sites can have lists and libraries, and if you're trying to find a document that's in a folder, that's in a library, that's in a site, that's a sub-site of a sub-site of a sub-site in a site collection, you need to find that. Now you can use Search, which is very handy, but it also helps to understand how these different objects fit together. Thus, the SharePoint Mall Map. I want to help you understand where you are in the context of SharePoint, especially as you're thinking about giving others access to, or finding out why you don't have access to something that's being stored inside of SharePoint.
So here we go. It all starts with this thing called the SharePoint Farm. Now the SharePoint Farm is one or more machines, physical or virtual, with the SharePoint bits installed on them connected to one configuration database. It's not that you need to understand how to set all that up, and you may even be in SharePoint online via Office 365, in which case Microsoft is managing the farm. But there is a farm, that's the largest boundary inside of SharePoint. When we talk about SharePoint permissions, or security for users, we're not really talking about things going on at this level.
It's just good to know that this exists. Now the SharePoint Farm will have one more more SharePoint web applications. Now outside the world of SharePoint, generally a web application is in fact a website. But inside of SharePoint, while it does exist as a website inside if IIS, and you don't need to worry about what that is in this course, but it is actually a website. However this is not where we're coming to to access our content inside of SharePoint. We're still two levels up from the home page of a site.
The web application does however provide a connection that things we're very familiar with working with SharePoint for awhile, like Search, or the user profiles service application, or Excel services, which is providing calculations for large workbooks and other functionality inside of SharePoint. All that stuff's coming to us via the service application layer which is passed in to the SharePoint web applications. Now in this course we're really not going to be focusing on configuring permissions, or security, for the service applications or for the web applications.
We are going to briefly talk about how security settings at the web application layer can affect the experience of users. But this is still a llittle bit higher than what we're focusing on in this course if we're talking about a hierarchy of SharePoint objects. This is our sweet spot, the site collection. Site collections exist in the context of being what we would call attached to a web application. Now you can have many, many site collections in a SharePoint web application.
In fact, it's not uncommon at all to work in a situation where you have more than 10, possibly hundreds, sometimes even thousands of site collections in a larger SharePoint farm. The site collection is a natural security boundary. And this is where our site collection administrators are really gonna focus on setting up the SharePoint permissions, then security access controls for the items stored in the sites that are in the site collection. So the site collections are a collection of one or more sites.
There's always gonna be a top level site, and each of these sites is gonna be based on a template. That template that the top level site is based on will set in motion the way that the security is initially configured for SharePoint. It will also tell SharePoint which lists and libraries that are gonna be included in that top level site, as well as what the home page and other pages will look like. The top level site template is a very important decision for people who are working wtih site collections.
Inside the SharePoint site are gonna be lists and libraries, and that's where we're gonna store the majority of our content, in SharePoint lists and SharePoint libraries. It's where our documents are gonna go, our expense reports, our purchase orders, anything that we may be asking SharePoint to handle for us. In fact, those things are actually referred to as list or library items. And they optionally can be housed inside of folders. So the items themselves may or may not be in folders, but the items and the folders will be in SharePoint lists and libraries.
So when we're talking about setting up security for SharePoint in this course, we're gonna be focused on this area here, the site collection, the site, the list, the libraries, folders and items that are inside of them. We're gonna be providing access to users to do certain things inside of the context outlined here.
- Understanding authentication and authorization
- Configuring groups and permission levels
- Accessing the site, lists and libraries, and documents
- Restricting access
- Building custom security levels
- Creating roles for site users and site publishers
- Viewing group membership
- Managing access requests
- Showing and hiding content with audiences and views
- Planning worksheets