Microsoft Sharepoint is a powerful product that allows companies to collaborate using a web based medium. It is installed when you deploy Windows Small Business Server. It can be used out of the box by employees and members of an organization. I’ve deployed Windows Small Business Server to most of my customer’s networks, and they love using Sharepoint.
One of the features Sharepoint has is Document Libraries. You can upload, modify, and mange documents right in Sharepoint, and it becomes a really powerful and efficient tool when you use it right. Working with folders and files from within Sharepoint can be cumbersome and inefficient when you are used to the usual “Windows Explorer” that comes with all versions of Windows. Wouldn’t it be nice to work with Sharepoint libraries using this familiar interface? Well, it is possible. Sharepoint supports a technology called Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV).
WebDAV makes it possible to modify and work with documents in Sharepoint libraries as if they were on your computer.
Here’s a Wikipedia description of WebDav:
Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning, or WebDAV, is a set of extensions to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that allows computer-users to edit and manage files collaboratively on remote World Wide Web servers. RFC 4918 defines the extensions. The group of developers responsible for these extensions was also known by the same name and was a working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The WebDAV protocol allows interactivity, making the Web a readable and writable medium, in line with Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision. It allows users to create, change and move documents on a remote server (typically a web server or “web share”).
Microsoft didn’t make WebDAV available on all versions of Windows by default. So make sure your version supports it. Also, Microsoft released an update that fixes some issues with WebDAV folders. You can get this update here
Download and Install the update before proceeding.
The following steps walk you through configuring web folders for Sharepoint libraries:
- First, click on the start menu, right-click “computer,” and click “Map Network Drive.”
- On the Map Network Drive Window choose a drive letter, type in the path to the Sharepoint Library (http://companyweb/<library name>, in this case http://companyweb/workorders). Make sure the “Reconnect at Log On” option is checked. Then click the “Finish” button.
- A window asking for credentials will show up. Type in your domain credentials in the format DOMAIN\username and your password. Click OK.
- After doing this, the Sharepoint Libary will show up in “My Computer” as if it was a drive. You can work with folders and files as if it was a drive on your local computer. Any changes will show up in the library when you browse it in Sharepoint.
This procedure assumes you are working on a computer with local access to the Sharepoint server. In Windows Server 2008 you can access the Sharepoint Website from a remote computer. To access the Sharepoint Library from a remote computer type the remote path to the library instead of the local path. The remote path may be different depending on how it was setup by your network administrator. The path is usually https://remote.<yourdomain.com>:987/<library name>. You enter this path in the map a network drive window.
There you have it. This will make it easier to work with Sharepoint Libraries in your organization.