Throughout this book, we have discussed how to design and implement features to define the structure, appearance, and functionality for various elements within a site. However, to this point, we have avoided a basic yet critical question about the origin of life in Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). We begin this chapter by telling you the story of the birds and the bees and by answering the inevitable question, “Where do SharePoint sites come from?”
In a WSS environment, each and every site is created from a site definition. Therefore, we must first explain what a site definition is and show you how to create and deploy one. Along the way, we will also cover additional techniques for creating WSS features that depend on and aggregate other features.
The next part of this chapter delves into how WSS supports localizing language-specific resources, such as literal text strings, so that you can implement and deploy custom WSS components that target international markets. These localization efforts involve creating and working with resource files within Microsoft Visual Studio and integrating these resource files into your WSS features and site definitions.
Once you develop and test custom WSS components, such as features, site definitions, custom application pages, Web Parts, and localized resource files, the last step is to learn how to package them for deployment. The conclusion of this chapter introduces solution packages as the standard WSS deployment mechanism used to push components out to front-end Web servers in a staging or production environment.