There are three main ways to install and use SharePoint − SharePoint Foundation SharePoint Server Office 365
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The first two options are SharePoint on-premise, while Office 365 has emerged as a third, fully cloud-hosted model for SharePoint.
SharePoint Foundation is the essential solution for organizations that need a secure, manageable, web-based collaboration platform. SharePoint Foundation provides you with the basic collaboration features that are included within SharePoint.
SharePoint Foundation ships as a free, downloadable install and represents the foundational parts of SharePoint.
It includes a number of features such as security and administration, user and Team site collaboration, and a number of Apps (such as document libraries and lists).
In essence, it provides a baseline set of features that enable you to get started with both using and developing for SharePoint.
SharePoint Foundation requires some features to build standard collaboration and communication solutions within your organization. The primary features of SharePoint Foundation revolve around document management and collaboration.
Key Features of SharePoint Foundation
Following are some of the major features, which are responsible for its wide adoption in businesses.
Effective document and task collaboration − Team websites offer access to information in a central location.
Reduced implementation and deployment resources − SharePoint Foundation is available to Windows Server customers as a free download, with the help of which implementation time and cost are greatly reduced.
Better control of your organizations important business data − SharePoint Foundation also offers features for data and information management and security.
Embrace the web for collaboration − By extending and customizing SharePoint Foundation
In short, SharePoint Foundation represents the core content storage and collaboration features of SharePoint. It is the ideal edition for teams and small organizations looking to improve on their ability to work with one another in a secure, easy-to-use, collaborative workspace.
SharePoint Server offers a wealth of features that extend upon those offered in SharePoint Foundation. It provide a richer, more advanced collection of features that you can utilize in your organizations solutions.
Key Features of SharePoint Server
Some of these additional features are described in the following list −
Advanced Search − The search features and functionality features available within the Server versions offer more flexibility. They allow customized Search Results pages that you can configure with customized search Web Parts.
Web Content Management − SharePoint Server supports web content creation and publishing for the internet.
Enterprise Services − These services provide ways for you to build custom solutions quickly and easily using tools that are available to you within the Office product family.
Business Connectivity Services − Business Connectivity Services (BCS) enables you to connect to these external data sources and display business data via Web Parts, user profiles, or SharePoint lists.
Social Networking and Computing − Social networking is everywhere and has become an expected feature set of many solutions.
Records management − SharePoint Server provides excellent support for the management of content throughout its entire life cycle.
Office 365 has emerged as a third, fully cloud-hosted model for SharePoint. It is the alternate option to hosting your own farm in your own on-premises Data Center.
Key Features of Office 365
The options for licensing SharePoint Online through Office 365 are based on factors such as the number of users you want to add, the amount of data you need to store, and the features you need to be available.
It has also become a great place where you can develop rich applications (both as SharePoint-hosted and cloud-hosted apps) and scale without the cost of managing the on-premises infrastructure.
It does not have all the same services and features as SharePoint Server, but does carry with it some great development capabilities.
As a developer, you have the capability to customize any of the SharePoint editions, whether it is SharePoint Foundation, Server, or Office 365.