WSS represents different things to different types of people. To users, WSS provides the foundation for Web-based business solutions that scale from simple team collaboration sites to enterprise-level applications. To site collection administrators, WSS provides the instant gratification of being able to customize sites by adding lists and document libraries and by customizing many aspects of a site’s appearance through the browser or by using a customization tool such as the SharePoint Designer.
To a company’s IT department, WSS provides a scalable and cost-effective solution for provisioning and managing a large number of sites in a Web farm environment. It also provides a reliable mechanism to roll out applications and to version them over time.
To a developer, WSS represents a rich development platform that adds a tremendous amount of value on top of the underlying ASP.NET platform. Developers build WSS-based software solutions using features, site definitions, and components such as Web Parts, event handlers, workflows, and custom policies. There is enough to the WSS development story that it will take us the rest of this book to describe how it all fits together.