Microsoft recently released Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (SS). Great! Now, what is the difference
between two products that have very, very similar names?

Let’s start with the packaging. (No, not the physical
wrapping.) WSS is included as a free add-on for Windows
Server 2003. As long as you own a Windows Server 2003 license, you are entitled
to use WSS. SS, on the other hand,
is a completely separate product with a separate licensing structure. That
means that SS costs more.

Why? Simply put, WSS
contains a subset of the full functionality provided by SS. For example, while both products provide enterprise content management
features, WSS provides templates to build a Web site based on the tool, SS
provides a whole host of other features, including content authoring from
within the browser, information retention policies, and business document
workflow.

Here’s a quick look at both platforms.

Collaboration:
Both products provide a variety of collaboration features, including wikis,
blogs, surveys, document collaboration tools, shared calendars, and more; SS
also provides a social networking feature that is not present in WSS.

Enterprise Content
Management:
SS handily beats WSS in this area; SS has now absorbed
Microsoft’s Content Management Server product. As such, SS maintains its
powerful portal roots while also providing content management capabilities. WS
is designed mainly to add collaborative capability to existing Windows Server
users and does not provide much in the way of content management.

Forms: There is
another member of the WSS/SS family, too. Called Forms Server, it does exactly
what its name implies: The server provides significant online forms capability.
Forms Server is also a subset of the full SS product; in fact, WSS contains
none of the main functionality provided in SS’s forms offerings.

Business
Intelligence:
WSS does not contain any BI capability. SS includes a
ton of it, though.

Summary

The short story is this: Windows SharePoint Services
contains a subset of the capabilities provided in the full SharePoint Server
product. Intended mainly for collaboration with others inside the company, WSS
can provide an outstanding (and free) place to begin determining what you can
accomplish with the full (and very expensive) SS product.

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