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We’re excited to announce that Phillip Wicklund’s Deploying Cloud-Based Microsoft SharePoint 2010 (ISBN 9780735662100; 470 pages) is now available for purchase!  

You can find the book’s chapter-level table of contents and Introduction to customizing Microsoft SharePoint My Site in this previous post.

In today’s post, please enjoy reading an excerpt from Chapter 4, “Administering SharePoint Online.”

Chapter 4 - Administering SharePoint Online

In this chapter, you will:

· Learn how to manage site collections in SharePoint Online.

· Configure InfoPath Forms Services settings.

· Administer the term store and apply metadata.

· Manage user profiles and properties.

Now that you’ve had an introduction to Microsoft SharePoint in the cloud as well as a thorough look at Microsoft Office 365, it’s time to really dig in and start administering SharePoint Online. After you are first assigned your Office 365 site, you’ll also receive a single SharePoint Online site collection. It’s your job to create more site collections and assign owners to those site collections. Also, with SharePoint Online, you can host one public-facing website, so you’ll need to go through the process of registering your domain and provisioning that website.

In addition to creating sites, you’ll also want to pay attention to site quotas. You’ll only have a certain amount of disk storage and server resources available to you, so it’s important to carefully evaluate how and where to apply those resources. Disk space is somewhat predictable: “how much space will this site need?” is usually translated into number of documents × average size × number of versions. However, server resource allocation is a bit trickier. Resources are a point system that SharePoint assigns to you based on how many CPU cycles, database queries, and so on that your sandboxed solutions use. It’s your job to grant your sites the appropriate amount or all of your sandboxed solutions will stop working for the day when you hit your quota. Beyond quotas, there are other important administrative tasks, such as granting site collection administrator rights, assigning a default site, as well as managing external access to sites.

After you have a good handle on managing sites in SharePoint Online, the next step is to familiarize yourself with how to administer Microsoft InfoPath Forms Services, User Profiles, and the Managed Metadata Term Store. The Term Store is of particular significance. When Microsoft creates your first site for you, all you have is an empty shell. Without careful planning, such as how to tag and surface that content via content types and Search, your users will struggle to find their documents. By creating managed metadata, you can dramatically increase the discoverability of information; thus extracting much more value out of your site.

Managing Site Collections

Probably the most important thing you’ll being doing in the Administration Center is creating and modifying the site collections for your business. There are several administrative actions that you can execute on new or existing site collections on the Site Collections tab, as shown in Figure 4-1, which include:

• Creating and deleting site collections, including public-facing websites

• Viewing properties of existing site collections

• Assigning site collection administrators

• Managing site collection quotas

• Specifying the default site collection

• Managing external sharing (Partner Access)

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Figure 4-1 From the Site Collections page within the Administration Center, you can create new site collections and modify existing ones.

Creating a New Private Site Collection

Creating a new site collection is a very simple process. On the Site Collections tab (see Figure 4-1), on the ribbon, click the New button. A familiar dialog box opens, in which you can specify the site collection’s properties before you provision it, as illustrated in Figure 4-2.

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Figure 4-2 When you create a new site, you must specify the title, URL, and the template for the site (among other properties).

The following are the properties that you need to specify before the site collection can be provisioned:

Title The title of the site collection will appear in bold font at the top left of the site after it has been created. This value can be changed later by using Site Settings.

Web Site Address This property specifies the URL/domain where the site can be accessed. First you need to specify the root URL, which is most commonly your company name followed by “.sharepoint.com”. Next, specify the path under the domain in which the site will be created. This will be either “sites” or “teams”. Finally, pick a URL path that is unique to this new site, preferably with no spaces.

Note If you registered a custom domain through the Office 365 admin overview dialog box, that custom domain will appear in this drop-down list.

Template Selection You must specify the site template that you want the site to use. If you want to specify the template later, on the Custom tab, you can specify to apply no template. Table 4-1 presents the available templates, along with their descriptions.

Table 4-1 Available Site Templates in SharePoint Online

Template name

Template description

Team Site

This site template is the most common one that you will likely use. When provisioned, you get a host of starter content such as an announcements list, events list, document and picture libraries, and a tasks list. Additionally, for each of those lists, there is a corresponding Web Part on the Home page to make it easy for users to retrieve to their team’s information.

Blank Site

This template creates a blank site with no lists, libraries, or Web Parts. If you want to build your site from scratch, use this template.

Document Workspace

This template helps your team to collaborate on a single document. Perhaps the document is a sales proposal, and the proposal has associated tasks, meetings, or other documents. The Document Workspace template is a great way to create a workspace to manage all of that associated content in a single, accessible location.

Blog

The Blog template is self explanatory; it helps you create and manage blogs in your SPO deployment. It includes some nice features such as comments, categories, and a tag cloud. Also, you can author your posts in Microsoft Word and publish them directly to the cloud, or you can author the posts from within the browser.

Group Work Site

The Group Work Site is similar to the Team Site, with the exception of a few additional lists, such as the Group Calendar, Circulations list, and the Phone Call Memo list.

Express Site

The express site is a cross between a wiki library and a Team Site. You get a document library for document sharing, a note board on the Home page for quick updates, and wiki pages for quick authoring of page content.

Visio Process Repository

This template helps you to manage your business process diagrams. You can centralize all your processes and keep standards and templates for users. It also provides browser-based rendering of diagrams as well as surfacing of validation errors in those documents.

Meeting Workspace(s)

A meeting workspace is used to track the agendas, decisions, and outcomes of a meeting or series of meetings. Often, they are used in conjunction with a calendar, in which each recurring meeting has its own workspace.

Document Center

A document center is essentially a dedicated site for a large document library.

PowerPoint Broadcast Site

You can use this template to broadcast a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to remote user devices. All the user needs to do is click a link to begin watching your broadcast. By default, the broadcast mechanism is a public service hosted by Microsoft, but if you want a friendly URL, you can create a broadcast site and point your presentation at that site, instead.

Basic Search Center

A search center allows you to customize the Search Web Parts, thereby altering the look and feel of the search experience.

Publishing Portal

The Publishing Portal template is the main web content management template for SharePoint. Most public-facing websites built on SharePoint use this template because of its built-in workflow and publishing capabilities.

Enterprise Wiki

A wiki is similar to a Team Site. Users can easily create new pages of content, but in addition, there’s built-in rating and commenting.