I’m not sure how popular this misconception is, but it’s worth putting to bed. This time I’m going to try to clear up some misunderstandings about the relationship between WSS and the MOSS Records Center.
Popular Misconception #1: “I’ve seen a configuration screen for Records Management somewhere on my WSS server – that means there’s got to be some Records Management functionality built in…”
Although it is true that you can configure something that looks like Records Management, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 does not contain Records Management functionality. WSS only has the hooks that allow you to send documents in a library to an already existing Records Center on an appropriately configured MOSS 2007 server. If you want Records Management, then you need Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, which, remember, is a separate SKU and carries a significant price tag.
On a WSS server, “Central Admin –> Application Management –> Configure Connection to Records Center” lets you specify (for your whole Web Application) the location of a MOSS Records Center. Specifically, you configure the URI of the Official File web service on that server.
What this does for your WSS Web Application is one thing: it enables an extra item in the Send To context menu in document libraries so you can now “right-click” a document and send it to the Records Center you set up previously.
Popular Misconception #2: “I can only send documents to a Records Center on the same server.”
This is absolutely not the case. When you configure the URL property in the “Configure Connection to Records Center” admin page, you’re specifying the full path to an Official File web service on any server. As long as the URL is reachable and suitably configured, the target server can even be on a different network. A common scenario is to have WSS sites on departmental servers in your organisation, and then a central Records Center on a MOSS server at the enterprise level. Once you’ve configured the Send To menu through the above admin page, you can send documents from WSS servers to MOSS Records Centers even when they’re hosted on different physical servers.
Popular Misconception #3: “Now I’ve set up Records Center and enabled the Send To menu, users can easily add turn documents into immutable records in the Records Center.”
I’m afraid not. Although the term “Send To Menu” conjures up images of right-clicking on the desktop, the WSS “Send To” menu is a lot less accessible. To send a document to a Records Center the user has to:
- Upload or create a document in a document library
- Click the context menu on the document
- Chose Send To –> <INSERT RECORDS CENTER NAME HERE>
- Fill in any missing details, content types and required fields
If your starting point is a document on the user’s desktop, that’s quite a few mouse clicks. As a developer, you do have some options. Remember that Records Center URL you configured on the admin screen up there? That’s the Official File web service – and it’s just a plain old SOAP service. You can consume that in your own code. There’s nothing to stop you writing a Word Add-In that lives on the Ribbon Bar to allow a user to send the currently open document to the Records Center in one click. You could even iterate over document properties or bookmark fields before sending it, and then set those properties (including a MOSS Content Type for the resulting document) in your call to the Official File web service.
In fact, I think I might just do that. Watch this space.