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There are plenty of articles on the differences between MOSS 2007 and WSS v3, but I still get questions on this so here is a summary of what I have provided for clients in the past. Most of this is simply a compilation of data from different sources (referenced at the end of this post). This was originally compiled about a year ago, so there may be some tweaks necessary, but it should be a good start. It shows the features that MOSS provides above and beyond what is in WSS.

Sometimes I have taken the table below and added a column or two that is particular to my client’s needs. Then I discuss whether each feature is important to them and why.

Unfortunately, this does not differentiate between MOSS Standard and MOSS Enterprise.

FeatureDescription
Social NetworkingMOSS provides social networking features, including social networking Web Parts and profile linking. MOSS allows you to establish peer links between colleagues and identify hierarchical relationships. These relationships can be published on My Site pages and traversed wherever your personal profile appears on a site/web part.
My SiteMOSS provides the ability for individual users of a portal to create their own “My Site”. My Site is essentially a home page / landing page designed to provide you with a starting point through which to access content that you own and content that might be relevant to you. This is also the place where your personal profile is published. You can also create shared and private image and document libraries, as well as your own pages and publication areas. You can also create your own personal blog on your My Site. Some people think of a My Site as a “professional version of a MySpace site”. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you agree with that comparison or not.
Site DirectoryMOSS provides a new site template called “Site Directory”. When you create your first portal via MOSS, it comes with a Site Directory. This site template is designed specifically for tracking links to sites, displaying site maps and site navigation lists, as well as searching through the site directory. With a Site Directory in your portal, you will be asked if you want to publish a link to your new site every time you create a new site within the portal, regardless of its depth within the hierarchy. This single feature is, in my opinion, absolutely required for any kind of Intranet deployment of SharePoint. And yes, that means I think MOSS is a requirement for any real Intranet deployment of SharePoint on any kind of meaningful scale.
User ProfilesMOSS allows for Active Directory-integrated user profiles. It also provides security around profile properties. In other words, you can have information in your profile that is visible only to you, visible to your superiors, visible to your colleagues, etc. You can control what audience can see which user profile properties, and much more than that. Again, I feel that the enhanced user profile store features of MOSS make it almost a necessity, not an add-on.
Site ManagerMOSS provides for an easy drag-and-drop interface for managing navigation bars, navigation strips, portal hierarchy information, and much more. In general, managing sites, site hierarchies, and hierarchical site content is much easier (and in some cases simply made possible) with MOSS.
Portal or “Enterprise” templatesMOSS comes with new templates for a Portal Site (the default root-level site template of a portal site), Document Center, Search Center, Report Center (available only in the SharePoint 2007 Enterprise SKU, not Standard), and Site Directory.
SearchMOSS uses an enhanced relevance algorithm for its search engine, and is able to crawl content from multiple sites within an enterprise, as well as non-SharePoint web sites. In short, the MOSS search engine is a powerful enterprise search engine with a relevance algorithm, while the WSS site-local search engine is actually pretty useless beyond simple “dumb keyword” search.
Knowledge Network / People SearchMOSS provides an enhanced “people search” tool that can be used to try and mine hidden relationship data and show you people related to knowledge. For example, if my name is splattered all over dozens of websites that contain C#-related content, the idea is that MOSS will show you my name and profile in response to a search for people related to C#, and suggest me as a local expert.
Business Data Catalog / Business Data SearchI think this is quite possibly one of the most important features in MOSS. It allows you to extend SharePoint data by integrating Business Data from external sources such as Web Services or Relational Databases. This allows you to do things like display SAP data within your SharePoint portal, or add a column to a Requirements Document stored in SharePoint that points to data stored in a Requirements Management tool elsewhere in your enterprise. The possibilities for the BDC are limitless, and I really think every single SharePoint 2007 developer needs to learn this stuff in and out.
Document WorkflowI can’t stress how unbelievably powerful this feature is. You can use the stock (included “in the box”) workflows such as collecting feedback and performing a review of a document, or you can create your own workflows using a custom Workflow designer to create powerful (and really, really handy) workflows around specific types of documents like Whitepapers or magazine article submissions, chapter submissions (hint, nudge), etc.
Excel ServicesMOSS provides the ability, through its Shared Services facility, to have what amounts to an Excel server. This provides the ability to display the contents of excel spreadsheets within web parts, and to selectively allow editing of secured regions of that spreadsheet, including evaluation of formulae contained within the sheet and having the results display in real-time. There is also a UI-less version of this where you can access a stored central spreadsheet via webservices, establish a “session”, and programmatically feed data into the sheet and get formula-calculated values out of the sheet – all without interfering with other people using the same centrally located spreadsheet. The impact to businesses that do anything at all with Excel is huge.
Web Parts – Business DataBusiness Data Actions – Display a list of actions from the Business Data Catalog.
Business Data Item – Display one item from a data source in the Business Data Catalog.
Business Data Item Builder – Creates a Business Data item from parameters in the query string and provides it to other web parts. This web part is only used on Business Data profile pages.
Business Data List – Display a list of items from a data source in the Business Data Catalog.
Business Data Related List – Display a list of items related to one or more parent items from a data source in the Business Data Catalog.
Web Parts – Content RollupColleague Tracker – Displays your list of colleagues and any recent changes they made have had.
Memberships – Displays your site and distribution list memberships.
My Links – Use to display your links
My SharePoint Sites – Use to display documents authored by you on sites where you are a member and sites of your choice.
My Workspaces – Displays sites created under your My Site.
Site Aggregator – Use to display sites of your choice.
Web Parts – DashboardKey Performance Indicators – Shows a list of status indicators. Status indicators display important measures for your organization, and show how your organization is performing with respect to your goals.
KPI Details – Displays the details of a single status indicator. Status indicators display an important measure for an organization and may be obtained from other data sources including SharePoint lists, Excel workbooks, and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services KPIs.
Web Parts – OtherExcel Web Access – Use the Excel Web Access to interact with an Excel 2007 workbook as a Web page.
I need to… – Displays tasks and tools from a list
IView Web Part – Displays iViews from SAP portal servers.
RSS Viewer – Renders RSS Feed
This Week in Pictures – Use to display the images library in the News web
WSRP Consumer Web Part – Displays portlets from web sites using WSRP 1.1.
Web Parts – FiltersAuthored List Filter – Filter the contents of web parts using a list of values entered by the page author.
Business Data Catalog Filter – Filter the contents of web parts using a list of values from the Business Data Catalog.
Current User Filter – Filter the contents of web parts by using properties of the current page.
Date Filter – Filter the contents of web parts by allowing users to enter or pick a date.
Filter Actions – Filter Actions
Page Field Filter – Filter the contents of web parts using information about the current page.
Query String (URL) Filter – Filter the contents of web parts using values passed via the query string
SharePoint List Filter – Filter the contents of web parts by using a list of values from a Office SharePoint Server list.
SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Filter – Filter the contents of web parts using a list of values from SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services cubes.
Text Filter – Filter the contents of web parts by allowing users to enter a text value.
Web Parts – MiscContact Details – Use to display details about a contact for this page or site
Web Parts – Outlook Web AccessMy Calendar – Use to display your calendar. This part works with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and above.
My Contacts – Displays your contacts using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.
My Inbox – Displays your inbox using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later.
My Mail Folder – Displays your calendar using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 or later.
My Tasks – Displays your tasks using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later.
Web Parts – SearchAdvanced Search Box – Entry point for advanced search
People Search Box – Entry point for people search
People Search Core Results – Web part to display the people search results.
Search Box – Entry point for search.
Search Core Results – Web part to display the search results.
Search High Confidence Results – Web part to display the special term and high confidence results.
Search Paging – Displays search paging.
Search Statistics – Displays search statistics.
Search Summary – Displays search summary.
Audience TargetingEnables use of Web Part pages, Web Parts, and content to target distribution lists and groups in addition to SharePoint audiences.
Ent Content Mgmt – Doc Mgmt Site TemplatesManaged Document Library – The Managed Document Library site template defines large-scale document management sites.
Divisional Library – The Divisional Library site template includes managed document libraries, dashboards, key performance indicators (KPIs), and other reporting tools.
Translation Library – The Translation Library site template helps organizations manage multiple translations of a document.
Enterprise Content ManagementIntegration with Microsoft Information Rights Management (IRM) – Helps ensure that access rights applied to Microsoft Office documents in a central library travel with the documents, even when they are downloaded from the library.
Retention and Auditing Policies – Define customized information management policies to control retention period, expiration actions, and document-auditing settings.
Records Repository – Helps ensure the integrity of the files stored in the repository, and supports information management policies that consistently and uniformly enforce auditing, and expiration of records.
E-Mail Content as Records – Provides consistent, policy-based solutions for managing e-mail content across Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Legal Holds – Makes it possible for records to be searched and placed on hold during litigation discovery to override the retention schedule of the records.
Content Publishing and Deployment – Built in approval workflow allows web content to be sent for approval prior to publishing. Content deployment to production sites can be scheduled by setting up jobs and a “live” time period for each page can be specified within which that page is viewable.
ECM Site Templates
– The Enterprise Portal template provides a means for a business unit to create and share content that is relevant to the ongoing operation of an enterprise, division, or business unit.
– The Corporate Internet Presence Site template includes tools and workflows to create and manage Web content for products and service descriptions, company news, and public filings, among other things.
– The Application Portal template brings together all of the tools and information related to a particular line-of-business (LOB) application.
– The Roll-up Portal template consolidates data and content from several applications or locations and presents it in an integrated format.
Site Variations – A new feature of Office SharePoint Server, sites can be linked together in a parent-child type of relationship providing a 1-way orchestration framework for web content. This feature allow organizations to deploy multi-lingual publishing sites in a much more structured and manageable environment.
Slide Libraries – The repository features in Windows SharePoint Services V3 provide the platform support for slide libraries, a feature of Office SharePoint Server 2007. Slide libraries enable the storage of individual slides in a SharePoint site. PowerPoint 2007 slide decks can be automatically created from a selection of slides in a slide library.
Policies, Auditing and Compliance – Repositories in Windows SharePoint Services V3 support the following policy, auditing, and compliance features. However, the features denoted with an asterisk are activated only upon the installation of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
– Document retention and expiration policies
– Highly customizable policies
– Workflow process to define expiration
– Access control and security
– Information Rights Management policies applied on download to secure the functional access to documents
– Tracking and auditing
– Logging of all actions on sites, content, and workflows
– Official document-of-record repositories
– Site for storing or archiving enterprise approved content types
Browser Based FormsInfoPath Forms Services available in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 makes it possible to design Web-capable forms in Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 and distribute them on corporate intranets, extranets, or the Internet. Users can fill out forms in a browser or HTML enabled Mobile device with no download or client components needed.
Business IntelligenceReport Center – An out-of-the-box site optimized for report access and management, including a report library, data connection library, and a dashboard template. These sites, hosted by the new Report Center, provide consistent management of reports, spreadsheets, and data connections.
Key Performance Indicators – KPIs communicate goals and status to drive results. Using the KPI Web Part, a user can create a KPI list within a Web Part page, without writing code. The KPI Web Part can display KPIs from Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, Excel spreadsheets, SharePoint lists, or manually entered data.
LDAP Pluggable Authentication ProviderAn LDAP pluggable authentication provider.
Single Sign-OnPermits a person to enter one name and password to use a variety of back-end applications. SSO is used for integrating back-office systems and LOB applications that require separate credentials databases. Take advantage of single sign on to authenticate users and leverage this to pre-populate InfoPath forms.

Sources / References:

  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 products comparison download- Very detailed, but you have to be careful with this one. Microsoft leaves out the fact that WSS v3 has some of the capabilities. Which SharePoint technology is right for you? – this appears to be a prettier version of the above Excel document.
  • Andre Connell’s Blog – What’s a MOSS 2007 vs. WSS v3 Feature? – Lists the additional “features” in MOSS. This was not used in compiling the list above, but most of the details should be mentioned in there.

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