The #SharePoint Saturday UK 2011 Experience #SPSUK #SP2010 #ProjectServer #MSProject #in
So this weekend was the 2nd SharePoint Saturday to be in the UK and my the 1st SharePoint conference I have ever been to and I have to say I was very impressed.
The setting, Nottingham University. Sitting there at the beginning of the day in one of the lecture theatres, memories of my university days came flooding back. A Robin Hood guide initially setting the scene and Todd Klindt starting with his keynote on stepping out of the comfort zone and gaining extra qualifications to become a more rounded consultant.
In his case, a SharePoint Administrator through and through but has always dabbled in scripting and other development work (not that he would publically admit to, until now). However his journey of studying for the SharePoint 2010 development exams has allowed him to not only become a better administrator with troubleshooting event logs etc. but to also gain further knowledge in PowerShell and the his fellow development colleagues.
Like other known SharePoint bloggers have stated (Joel Oleson, Bill Simser etc.), it is impossible to know everything about SharePoint, the product is just too big. However, learning more and more about SharePoint and the surrounding technologies is part of the fun and is certainly why I continue to love what I do and why SharePoint merges between by professional and personal life.
After the keynote, my colleague (Francois) and I went to see Becky Isserman (@mosslover) and her presentation on HTML 5, Silverlight and how they work in SharePoint 2010. The answer being clear cut where SharePoint is concerned. HTML 5 and SharePoint 2010 doesn’t really mix with the master pages provided out of the box and the current state of cross browser / platform compatibility of HTML 5 really means that as far as business applications within SharePoint are concerned, Silverlight is really your best choice (mobile browsers not withstanding).
The 2nd session I attended was Paul Grimley’s Global Deployment discussion. This not only validated in my mind the choices I have made in previous projects but really hit home that sometimes decisions around SharePoint deployment are just hard and is just as much about the political challenges as well as the technical challenges.
During this session, I met up with an old colleague and fellow blogger on this site, Paul Griffith. We had a good catch up about old times, current projects and challenges and decided to go to the next session together: Chris O’Brien’s Custom Ribbon Development.
This session really showed off the power of the fluent UI ribbon functionality and the level of customisation that could be achieved but left me wondering… With the kind of clients I deal with, how can I justify the cost of developing these customisations. Perhaps I need to spend some time out learning these techniques to ensure value can be perceived with this development work.
During lunch I met up with my colleagues and we exchanged details about the sessions we attended before moving on to the next sessions. For this I decided to attend the Ask The Experts session. Although I didn’t have any questions myself, it was a good time to digest what I had seen already and also time to catch up with Paul Beck.
Paul Beck, myself and several other bloggers have over the last 6 months been writing chapters for a community book (The SharePoint 2010 Handbook). Having only ever spoken to Paul over email, it was an absolute pleasure to meet the man who has been embarking on this ambitious project. The good news is of course that the book is now finished, published and available on Amazon.com as of yesterday! This was also the first time I got to see the printed book in real life. I know have this copy proudly sitting on my shelf at home. (a full blog post about this will be following this week).
During the Ask The Experts session I also found myself in conversations with various other people I read blogs or listen to podcasts about. The sense of community between the bloggers, presenters etc. is amazing and long may it continue.
My last session before the final keynote was Todd Klindt’s PowerShell session. Many unanswered questions came out of this and I know I shall be using this knowledge again and again (I feel my Linux scripting days coming on again).
The final keynote with Steve Fox from Microsoft Consulting Services discussed how SharePoint Online, Business Intelligence and Azure comes together to truly provide a complete cloud based solution. The session went off without a hitch and showed off the power of what we will all be involved in for future projects.
To end the day, prizes were given out by the sponsoring vendors many of the attendees ended up in the centre of Nottingham for a SharePint and while others went off to ensure the night followed through to morning, I went back to my hotel room and went out to dinner with my partner who had spent all day in the hotel spa.
All in all, a very successful event and a big thank you to those who co-ordinated, supported and presented at the 2nd SharePoint Saturday event in the UK.