Chapter 1, "Introducing Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007," briefly mentioned that Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes a new set of publishing features and controls that enable site owners to host content-centric sites on the SharePoint platform. These capabilities were adopted from another Microsoft product: Microsoft Content Management Server 2002 (CMS). Microsoft has decided to not continue evolving CMS as a separate product; instead, it has incorporated the rich content authoring experience, site branding, and publishing controls as Web Content Management (WCM), which is included in Office SharePoint Server 2007. WCM, along with records management, document management, and policy management, make up what Microsoft refers to as Enterprise Content Management (ECM), which is part of SharePoint Server 2007.
Managing a content-centric Web site can be a daunting task for an organization. Typically, the only people who have the rights to make changes to a company Web site are the IT staff of Web developers. Content owners send their updates to the Web developers, who then incorporate them into the company Web site, formatting the updates to match the site's navigation tools, organization, look and feel, and standards.
This process can result in bottlenecks because everything must route through the IT staff. Most likely, the IT staff isn't just managing the company Web site, but instead they are tied up with other projects. WCM addresses this problem by providing a platform that gives site developers and designers the capability to define the branding, look and feel, and organization with templates, as well as establish publishing rules within the site.
Content owners can then make their changes directly in pages based on the templates within specific areas the development team has carved out to allow for content. After content owners save their changes, the page can initiate workflows that follow the company Web site publishing guidelines, such as getting approval from the legal department before posting new content. After the page progresses through all the necessary workflows, it is published and made available on a public version of the Web site.
A site that uses the WCM features is called a publishing site. A publishing site is typically a SharePoint site, but it is one that has had the Publishing feature activated.