Microsoft does not intend SharePoint to replace a full file server or to function as a single-use solution. Instead, it positions the product to play various roles in a business environment. SharePoint users access the web-based user interface through a browser. While the product supports all browsers, only Internet Explorer, which Microsoft designates as a "Level 1" browser, is fully integrated and able to utilize the full functionality of SharePoint.
SharePoint sites are functionally ASP.NET 2.0 web applications, served using IIS and using a SQL Server database as a data storage back end. All site content data, such as items in document libraries and lists, are stored within an SQL database named by default as "WSS_Content_[ID]".
Microsoft Search Server (MSS)
Microsoft Search Server (MSS), an enterprise search platform, builds on the search capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). MSS shares its architectural underpinnings with the Windows Search platform for both the querying engine and the indexer. MOSS search provides the ability to search metadata attached to documents. Microsoft made Search Server available as Search Server 2008 in March 2008. A free version, Search Server 2008 Express, is also available. The Express edition features the same feature-set as the commercial edition, including no limitation on the number of files indexed. However, the free version is limited to a stand-alone installation and cannot be scaled out to a cluster.. Various plugins can index third-party files, like Adobe's pdf files.
Microsoft SharePoint 2010
SharePoint 2010 was released to manufacturing (RTM) on April 17, 2010 and will be available in two editions: SharePoint Foundation Server and SharePoint Server 2010. Microsoft has described the new version as the "Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web" and advertises the following improvements over its predecessor:
Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer is a WYSIWYG(X)HTML editor which is primarily used for designing SharePoint sites and end-user workflows for SharePoint Server and SharePoint Foundation sites. SharePoint Designer also allows developers to manipulate data from SharePoint or external sources (such as Microsoft SQL Server) without coding directly against the .NET Framework. SharePoint Designer and Expression Web replaced FrontPage as the primary web design tools in versions of Microsoft Office since Office 2007. SharePoint Designer 2010 is the successor to SharePoint Designer 2007, although the two versions are not compatible.