Apart from the usual networking you can do at a SharePoint conference, it is also all about the learning of new products, techniques and experiences from fellow like minded individuals.
I personally found the presentations I went too invaluable in confirming decisions I had taken in my own projects as well as learning new subject matters.
So with this in mind I have set about trying to collate the various slides from the events so that I can refer back to them in the future and I thought I would share my results.
Not all slide decks are up yet, but I will endeavour to update this list as they get released.
Slides from the event:
09:15 to 10:15
10:20 to 11:20
11:45 to 12:45
|Chris O’Brien||Custom Ribbon Development||#spsuk03|
|Ben Athawes||Dodge the Bullet – 10 common SharePoint administration mistakes||#spsuk08|
|Matt Hughes||How we did it – Combined Knowledge SharePoint Design||#spsuk13|
|Phill Duffy||Introducing Business Connectivity Services||#spsuk18|
|Chris Forbes||Extending SharePoint 2010 LOB Apps to Windows Phone 7||#spsuk23|
|Daniel Haywood||SEO for SharePoint 2010 Internet Sites||#spsuk28|
|Marc Anderson||Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier (Demo Site Download)||#spsuk32|
|Ant Clay and Andrew Woodward||SharePoint Innovation Games workshop||#spsuk39|
13:45 to 14:45
15:00 to 1600
16:00 to 16:45
|Steve Fox||SharePoint and the Cloud: Crash or Convergence?|
As Giles Hamson mentioned I too went to the “Sharepoint Saturday” meet-up in Nottingham for the first time. Since I was on a course this week and driving 3 hours every day I didn’t get much chance to give my feedback, so with a lot of delay here are my personal notes I jotted down in mymemory.
To my surprise, or just because I didn’t actually read the Sharepoint Saturday website much when I registered, I was amazed by the venue, the quality of the speakers (a lot US citizens Sharepoint faces coming just for the occasion) and the attendance. I thought not many professionals would sacrifice a Saturday to come and “think Sharepoint” since I know I was in that case last year but indeed it was quite a success, not a full room in the opening keynote but still a good number, a few bloggers have already reported about the event and a lot of noise on Twitter too, so this one is extra.
To my experience for having attended 2 Sharepoint Best-Practice conferences in London, once as a guest and once as a vendor, Sharepoint Saturday is very similar except that it’s free !
The quantity of knowledge session after session is very intense and if we had a way of attending 2 rooms at the same time it would be quite useful, like a download of information into our brain. Actually there kind of is a way to attend 2 sessions in 1… if you read the Twitter post of next room while listening to your room, but it is quite tiring.
The other point of such event is purely to take the opportunity of networking with the Sharepoint community in the UK and internationally, it’s rare to have people involved into Sharepoint, the ones who blog and write books under the same roof.
The reality is that meeting this close-knit Sharepoint community in real life in just one day does not give much time but it helps to put a face and personality behind a name or nickname when engaging each other on twitter and reading blogs.
Right, so now for the content and what I gathered from that day:
9:15. Silverlight vs. html5: Becky Isserman
This session was a demo of how to create a very basic project in Silverlight and the same in HTML5, but it was really a discussion with Becky and the attendees about the feeling around chosing either platform for development. The conclusion was a BIG “no idea”, “we don’t know” “Microsoft didn’t tell us anything”. So not very useful except to confirm our feeling of uncertainty.
Note to self :
- HTML5 = still no Microsoft tool so use Adobe Edge (alpha),
- Silverlight = Microsoft Expression Blend as before.
10:20. Customizing the SharePoint Packaging and Deployment Process in Visual Studio 2010: Eric Schupps
I am not a Visual Studio developer since I usually design an application, write my views on what a webparts, event handler or piece of custom-code should do, then the developer would write the managed code and deliver me the packaged solutions to deploy on a Sharepoint environment. However I occasionally have to organise the solutions, re-factor a bit of code or add comments and re-compile and I recently also had to write a few SSRS reports in VS Business Intelligence therefore I needed to make sure I was in sync with other’s Sharepoint professionals’ way of packaging Sharepoint solutions.
One main thing I did not know for not having developed in VS recently and will now add it to priority number 1 when opening Visual Studio 2010 on Sharepoint: install CKSDev, this will add additional tools for SharePoint into your Visual Studio. For instance a very useful Project Item is “Branding” which create master page, CSS and layout page, which will all be activated as a feature when deployed:
- What changed in deploying Solution to Sharepoint?
A must have as well is Powertool for 2010 to get additional tools for SharePoint.
Production deployment has not changed: give a WSP and deploy it via Powershell (or stsadm)
Development deployment has changed dramatically, to take advantage of sandboxed solution we can deploy directly Visual Studio to Sharepoint.
Pay attention at the option “view deployment configuration” in Visual Studio solution properties which allows us to configure all the steps that to be done at deployment time.
11:45. How we did it (about branding ) : Matt Hughes
- Download a custom masterpage and CSS from the community, some include comments and disable some feature by default which is useful for starting small and re-enabling features as needed.
example : http://freespmp.codeplex.com by Matt, or http://startermasterpages.codeplex.comby Randy Drisgill
- One CSS class to note that I didn’t use : “S2-notdlg” anything within this class will not show in a Sharepoint modal dialog box, to use if we have a control to show everywhere but not duplicate its display in the dialog boxes.
Matt’ session was really interesting as a subject but I didn’t learn much except that it confirmed my experience in doing Sharepoint branding as he and Sam have had the same issues I had.
13:45. Why are we developing? : Nigel Price
I chose this session to check what others are doing Out-Of-The-Box in Sharepoint as opposed to building custom controls and webparts to reach business expectations. This is a rather vast subject because more often than not, my clients come to me and think that Sharepoint can do everything they want without the help of .net developers. The other side of the balance is that being a Sharepoint consultant I need to make sure that sites I design are not too far from Sharepoint architecture so that they will migrate easily and “anyone” (ie not developer) can maintain them, bringing a lot of out-of-the-box tools.
Again I mainly comforted what I usually do which is “Try OOB before going for managed code”, Nigel’s bullet list for “when do we have to develop” is :
- Need to action something with elevated privileges
- Use of an authentication mechanism outside AD
- LOB integration (BCS..)
- Write event receivers
- Custom Search protocol (if custom iFilter)
- Code repository, i.e. source versioning
15:00. Why branding intranet ? Gus Fraser (SharePoint 2010 Intranet Branding for Developers)
As we all know the main reason for branding an intranet site is so that it doesn’t look like SharePoint. This has been the subject of lots of discussion in the past weeks and surely will not end. Although my role is to advise my client in the concept of branding Sharepoint and why they should not remove all “Sharepoint-looking” features very often I just have to follow what the client’s creative agency (who never used Sharepoint) dictates.
- Use prototyping tool like Balsamic more. specially that Balsamic includes “mockups to go” ribbons.
- Again : use Visual Studio 2010 CKSDev which includes branding item.
- Use control adapters.
- Use CSSReset by Kyle Schaeffer, which is a CSS to literally “reset” the existing style in Sharepoint 2010 so that we can start styling them as we want.
- Use ieTester tool to test your site with various IE versions
- Options in the Sharepoint Ribbon barre can be removed using Custom Action. Gus’ code to remove the font style option for instance can be downloaded here.
- Other link about branding in the pic below
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.