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Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server: Programming with Features and Solutions

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Kevin Hoffman and Robert Foster illustrate how to work with site Features, Feature definitions, and Solutions using the SharePoint object model.
This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

  • Overview of Features and Solutions
  • Programming with Features
  • Programming with Solutions

Features and Solutions are two new aspects of Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) that make it dramatically easier to customize sites and site templates. This chapter focuses on illustrating how to work with site Features, Feature definitions, and Solutions using the SharePoint object model.

For an introduction to the concepts behind Features and Solutions as well as information on how to build your own Features and Solutions, refer to the Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Unleashed book (ISBN: 0672329476) that contains the best administrator's reference available for SharePoint.

Overview of Features and Solutions

Features provide the ability for sites to reuse functionality that exists in other sites without requiring the tedious task of copying and pasting complex Extensible Markup Language (XML) code from one template to another.

By installing Feature definitions at the farm level, Features can then be activated at any site within the farm. This allows reusable pieces of functionality to be created and deployed without modifying site templates, and it allows site templates to be far less complex than they used to be by referring to Features instead of directly embedding mountains of complex XML.

Using Features, you can do everything from adding a link to the Site Settings page to creating a complete, fully functioning Project Management suite that can be added to any SharePoint site.

Solutions allow you to package Features in a cabinet (.cab) file and define important metadata about those Features. After a Solution is installed on a server in the farm, you can then use SharePoint's Solution management features to automate the deployment of that Solution to other sites within the farm. This kind of hands-off deployment of reusable pieces of SharePoint functionality has never been possible in SharePoint before and developers are sure to love how easy it is to deploy new functionality in this version of SharePoint.

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