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SPC11 Keynote: Online Focus, Delivering Productivity and Next Year: Las Vegas!

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The SharePoint Conference 2011 has just kicked off in Anaheim. Succeeding Steve Ballmer as the main keynote speaker is not an easy task but Jared Spataro gave a good performance in his own more relaxed style (hardly any shouting and sweating in sight).

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The theme of the conference is Productivity Delivered which relates directly to the fact that this conference is not held in a launch year, rather focus is on getting the most out of the existing product and maximising what can be done within the boundaries of SharePoint 2010.

Jared showed a short video about how the SharePoint team had been looking (in vain) for a Hollywood spokesperson for SharePoint. The video did put smiles on peoples faces and featured, among others, Luke Perry and Carmen Electra:

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Stats

You gotta have stats at a keynote. And Jared showed the following:

  • SharePoint is now one of the biggest products at Microsoft. The product continues to grow with double digits.
  • Microsoft has sold 125 million licenses of SharePoint to 65,000 customers.
  • 67% of enterprise customers have rolled out SharePoint to everyone in their organisations.
  • Office 365 now serves millions of customers (no exact numbers).
  • The conference is attended by more than 7,500 people. 240 breakout sessions are planned and 200 partners are present in the exhibit hall.

 

Jeff Teper

Jared handed over to Jeff Teper, the senior vice president of MS Office (and the father of SharePoint), and a huge SharePoint nerd; he really loves his product and the development community.

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Some of Jeff’s key points:

  • The biggest growth area of SharePoint is within public facing sites (www and extranet) – it has seen a hockey stick-like growth of 25-30% during the past year.
  • This has been the busiest year ever for the SharePoint team at Microsoft.
  • No other collaboration software can be setup and running as fast as Office 365.
  • Microsoft are working on the next major release of SharePoint but nothing will be shown this week.
  • Worldwide more than 700,000 developers work with SharePoint.
  • 1,162 books are available about SharePoint at Amazon.
  • Office 365 will get a major update towards the end of the year. Among other things, BCS will be enabled and so will read/write access to web services.
  • Microsoft is releasing a new, advanced certification, i.e. the Certified Architects Program. This will be the most advanced SharePoint certification to date.

Jeff surrendered the stage to Richard Riley for a rather impressive on-stage demo of how well SharePoint 2010 scales and fails over event with several terabytes of data. By the way, Microsoft has released an update to the SharePoint Capacity Planning Guide.

 

Kurt Delbene

Kurt, the president of MS Office division, gave a speak centered around Office 365 and cloud services.

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  • Office 365 is all about scalability. Even small companies are adopting the software on a large scale.
  • 80% of the smaller companies that use Office 365 have never rolled out SharePoint themselves.
  • Office 365 is backed by Microsoft which means it’s secure, reliable and fully supported by MS.
  • A few interesting industry facts:
    • 84% of organisations have a remote workforce.
    • 65% of all companies are deploying at least one social software tool.
    • 70% of IT budgets are spent maintaining inflexible and siloed data centre solutions.
    • 80% of larger enterprise IT managers are at least in trial stage for cloud computing initiatives.

Microsoft are donating $50,000 to a good cause through Net Hope. Attendees at SPC11 will decide which organisation should receive the sum and of course MS has created a web app to handle the voting (available through MySPC at the conference web site). We were given a quick tour behind the stage of the application which is based on Windows Azure, SQL Azure, SharePoint Online, HTML5, REST and JSON. Neat.

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And another thing: Vegas 2012 baby!

Jared concluded with a Steve Jobs-style “And another thing”-announcement: The next SharePoint Conference will be held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on 12-15 November 2012!

Let’s go!

As expected, there were no major announcements during the keynote but what the conference may lack in sexy new product launches it certainly will make up for in usefulness. Tons of great sessions and hands-on labs are there to attend and peruse.

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

October 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm

SPC11 Survival Guide for International Attendees

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Going to your first SharePoint Conference next week in Anaheim? Or maybe you just can’t remember much of the last two SPCs in Las Vegas and Seattle?

Anaheim will be my fourth SPC – the one before Seattle was in Berlin – and every time I seem to forget a few vital things in preparation for the trip. Trust me, there’ll be plenty of things to keep you busy once you touch down in LAX so the more you can take care of in advance the better.

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Social networking

Twitter is essential for staying on top of what’s happening at the conference. In most Twitter clients, like TweetDeck, you can create a column that continually displays tweets with the hashtag #SPC11. Alternatively, you can use the web version.

Also, find out if attendees from your country or user group are using a specific hashtag (like #SUGUK for SharePoint User Group UK or #SPC11DK for Danish attendees) – or you may even want to keep an eye on #SharePint.

Consider putting your twitter handle and avatar on your SPC badge. It’ll make it easier for your online friends to recognise you in person.

Of course, Facebook (or even Google+) is also a relevant source of up-to-the-minute information but Twitter tends to be more widely used during SPCs.

If you’re travelling with colleagues you can stay connected using Office Communicator, stating which session you’re in or where you’ll be during the next break.

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Adding your sessions to Outlook is a no-brainer and it makes it easy for your colleagues to catch up with you.

 

Doing business remotely

Access to your workplace via VPN may be limited from whichever network connection you’re getting in the US. Some providers and hotels block access to the ports used by VPN. If you’re using Office 365 or BPOS this isn’t going to be an issue for you – if not, you may want to check that you’ve got access to web-based email. If there’s a chance you need specific documents during the conference, put them on your hard drive or in the cloud with SkyDrive or Dropbox.

Also consider using GoToMyPC or unattended sessions in GoToAssist as these programs tend to find ways through the thickest firewalls.

 

Electronics

Most laptop power supplies these days are universal, i.e. they accept 100-240 volts, so you only need to bring a power plug adaptor.

Use your laptop as a charging station for your phone/tablet etc. and do bring a spare battery for your iPhone phone.

Speaking of phones: Make sure you don’t incur horrendous roaming charges on your normal contract. Instead, you should purchase a prepaid SIM card from a US carrier on arrival.

 

Air conditioning

If you’re from the northern hemisphere it is probably warmer in California than in your country. Don’t be fooled, though, you’ll be spending most of your time indoors at the convention centre. And let’s get one thing straight: Americans like love air condition and they don’t mind cranking it up to 11. So don’t expect tropical temperatures in the breakout sessions.

 

Papers, passport

By now, you’ve probably applied for your ESTA. If not, you really need to hurry up. When you’ve completed the form make sure you check the details on the print view – I found that more details are shown here than on the form itself, especially if you’re only updating flight or hotel information.

Don’t forget your passport. Silly, I know, but I’ve been on group trips before where one or two people showed up in the airport without the most obvious item needed for the trip.

 

Insurance

We’ve all heard stories about unlucky individuals ending up with astronomical medical bills when going abroad. Medical treatment in the US can be very expensive, so make sure that you (or your company on your behalf) have adequate travel and medical insurance for the trip.

 

Money

Don’t bring much cash – but do bring your Visa, Master or Amex card. If you have two different cards it’s even better as some places may accept Visa but not Master, or vice-versa. And do bring the phone number of your bank/issuer’s card cancellation service, in case your card gets stolen.

 

International drivers’ license

If you’re planning a road trip to an NFL game in San Diego while at SPC you should check if you need an international license, apart from your country’s standard license. In most cases you don’t but it’s worth checking out. More info here, and be aware of the scammers who want to sell you fake international licenses.

 

And finally: Drinking

Yes, drinking and partying is part of the SPC experience! SharePoint Conference is a very social event where many different types of SharePoint people attend. This mixed bag of individuals is a great basis for some serious partying but instead of listing all the tips here, I’ll refer you to this and this post from some of the seasoned SharePint drinkers in the community.

Peter Anker and Anders Dissing @ SharePint

In the above picture: Experienced SharePint drinkers Peter Anker and Anders Dissing partying in Copenhagen.

Make sure you check out my post about the social activities at SPC11 and bookmark the SPC11 Event Map.

 

Don’t forget to read some of the traditional travel advice from e.g. Lonely Planet or Rough Guides.

That’s it. Safe travels – hope to see you in Anaheim. If you see me, come and say hello.

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

September 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Work Hard, Play Hard: SPC11 Event Map

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If you’re attending the SharePoint Conference you’re expecting to return home with valuable knowledge from the world’s leading SP experts. Knowledge that will inspire you to become more productive with SharePoint no matter which tier of SharePoint you’re working with.

However, you will certainly suffer from information overload during the week – but knowing this you can take proper precautions. You’ll need two things:

  1. OneNote
  2. SharePints

Using OneNote is worth a handful of blog posts of its own (I’ll write something soon) but for now you can take a look at this and this.

More importantly, you need to make sure that you focus on something which isn’t SharePoint-related at the end of each conference day. Cue the SPC11 Event Map which pinpoints the different parties, receptions and other social gatherings during SPC11. So, leave your hotel room behind and join your fellow SP enthusiasts for a few SharePints.

Click the screenshot to go to the map:

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I’ve made the map public so please add your own events (use green pins). If you have suggestions for restaurants, sights and so on, please add them with appropriate pins – or drop a comment below and I’ll update the map. This is work in progress and I’ll update the map during the conference.

Thanks to Jeremy Thake and Robert Piddocke for contributing. Jeremy’s comprehensive SharePoint community calendar can be found here.

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

September 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Welcome Back! And See You in Anaheim For SPC11

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So, I’m taking the first baby steps towards breathing life back into my severely neglected blog. It would simply be too embarrassing to go to Anaheim in a week’s time without a least a few fresh posts under my belt.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty of useful SharePoint stuff to write about; my beloved OneNote is crammed with years of scribbling about bug-fixing, coding, server trouble-shooting and mostly – let’s face it – more or less elegant solutions to overcome SharePoint’s little quirks.

 

Let’s meet in Anaheim

Once again, PeopleNet will probably be the largest Danish contingent at the SharePoint Conference. Almost 40 of us are going this year, including some of our valued clients.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with like-minded SharePoint enthusiasts during the course of the week, either between sessions or at some of the many social events. SharePints anyone?

 

Live blogging?

Yes, I’m planning to do a few posts before SPC11 but whatever I write during the conference will surely be more interesting for you to read, especially if you can’t attend yourself.

If wifi coverage is acceptable I’ll attempt to live blog during the keynote. At SPC09, literally the second Steve Ballmer walked off the stage after the keynote, I posted an article and it was probably the first semi-comprehensive rundown of SharePoint 2010’s new features to hit the internet. It got a lot of traffic.

This time a new version of SharePoint will not be released but I’m confident a few juicy announcements will be made during the keynote, so tune into my blog for coverage.

I’m probably getting over-ambitious here but I’m toying with the idea of posting some video clips from the conference as well. Not promising anything, though.

 

Meanwhile, follow me on Twitter (@sondergaard) – and have a safe flight to Anaheim, if you’re going…

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

September 24, 2011 at 12:16 am

Official Launch Date for SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010

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It’s official, the release date for SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 has been announced:

12 May 2010

In addition, the two products will RTM in April.

Arpan Shah, director of SharePoint at Microsoft, made the above announcement on the official SharePoint blog on Friday.

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

March 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

SPC09: Overview of New Developer Features in SharePoint 2010

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At the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Paul Andrew gave a thorough overview of the new features for developers in SharePoint 2010.

This is my modest attempt to convey Paul’s presentation in a simple blog post. Please note that the session contained a huge amount of information and I probably (definitely!) didn’t manage to take it all in. Read on at your own risk…

 

Development environment and tools

Traditionally, the path to your first SharePoint hello world-web part is littered with technical obstacles in the shape of tedious installation problems, Windows Server 2003 blues, virtual server nightmares etc. No more. Now you just need your laptop to develop SharePoint applications.

The box

SharePoint developers no longer need to run a Windows 2003 Server. In fact, SharePoint and the development tools can now be installed directly on Windows 7 or Vista (service pack 1). Either versions of SharePoint can be used, i.e. SharePoint Foundation (formerly WSS) or SharePoint Server.

The operating system must be 64 bit since SharePoint 2010 only runs in a 64 bit environment.

SharePoint on a desktop operating system is just for developers and not for running a production environment.

 

Visual Studio 2010

Many of SharePoint 2010’s new features can be accessed from inside Visual Studio 2010. Also, quite a few third-party add-ons may not be needed anymore as the functionality is now covered by Visual Studio.

Highlights:

  • Built-in designers for:
    • Web parts
    • BCS (formerly BDC)
    • Workflows
  • Package and deploy SharePoint projects
  • Generate WSPs
  • View SharePoint sites in server explorer
  • Integration to Team Foundation Server
  • Support for SharePoint sandboxed solutions
  • WSPs from SharePoint Designer can be imported (including workflows)
  • Build workflow steps for SharePoint Designer
  • SharePoint Business Connectivity Services support
  • New events projects templates

 

General improvents

Developer dashboard

A developer dashboard can be displayed automatically at the bottom of every page. The DD displays valuable information about how the page is generated, for instance:

  • Timing and duration of events
  • Database queries (even the ones SharePoint does in the background)

The DD is activated with the follow stsadm command:

stsadm –o setproperty –pn developer-dashboard –pv ondemand

 

Coding

Coding for SharePoint just got slightly easier due to the many improvements in .NET framework 4.0 and SharePoint 2010.

Below is a rundown of some of the new features:

  • LINQ for SharePoint
  • After-synchronous events
  • New event types:
    • Site-scoped events
    • Web creation events
  • Workflow improvements:
    • Initiation and association forms in Visual Studio
    • New design user interface for workflows in SharePoint Designer
    • Use Visio 2010 to design workflows
  • SharePoint UI can now be saved as a template
  • WSP is now the unified developer format – works in site collections and machine

 

Improvements to lists

In SharePoint 2007, lists can cause any developer headaches. Hopefully, the new list architecture in SharePoint 2010 will solve this. Below is an overview of some of the improvements:

  • Validation with Excel-like Formula – forms can be validated using simple syntax
  • Lookup to multiple columns
  • Lookup fields have true relations which ensure proper deletion (transaction-style)
  • List index auto-creation
  • Scalability and performance vastly improved:
    • Lists and folders can now contain a million elements
    • Document libraries can contain 10 million documents
  • List query throttling
  • Lists views no longer based on CAML but XSL-T. Queries still use CAML

 

Ribbon and Dialog framework

The ribbon we know (and some love) from Microsoft Office is now used in SharePoint 2010.

Some of the highlights:

  • Custom actions can be embedded in the ribbon
  • The ribbon is context sensitive
  • The SharePoint out-of-the-box forms are replaceable
  • New web dialog functionality:
    • A dialog floats on top of the SharePoint page and is used to get input from the user
    • Fully programmable

 

Silverlight 3

Silverlight plays an important part in SharePoint 2010 and is used in many of the improved UI elements. From a developer’s point of view, these are the highlights:

  • Built-it and customisable media player web part
  • List and site creation from within Silverlight
  • Office web applications run in Silverlight
  • Client object model – call SharePoint APIs from within Silverlight

Written by Thomas Sondergaard

October 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

SPC09: SharePoint 2010 Unveiled – Rundown of New Features

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This is it – the long awaited SharePoint 2010 has been unveiled, not released, by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The public beta will be available next month.

SharePoint 2010 is a huge update of the platform and most attendees at the keynote were blown away by the dramatic improvements across the board in SharePoint.

Jeff Teper (MS Corporate VP), Jared Spataro (MS Director, SharePoint) and Arpan Shah (Director, SharePoint Technical Management) showed off many of the new features in SharePoint 2010 – see my notes below.

New features in 2010

User interface

  • Ribbon-based contextual menus, much like in Office 2007
  • Live preview of font changes etc.
  • Broad use of AJAX to minimise number of page refreshes
  • More seamless integration of web-based and desktop clients
  • All Office documents can now be viewed and edited in a rich web version of the desktop client

Accessibility

  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • XHTML and WCAG compatible output

Collaboration

  • Completely revamped wiki
    • Improved editing tool
    • Dramatically improved image upload and handling
  • Richer blogs
  • Improvements to the calendar lists
  • Web-based, OneNote-like functionality

Organisation

  • Tagging, social tagging
  • Rating of documents
  • Bookmarks

MySite and Social Computing

  • Smart profiles
  • Activity feed – overview of a user’s recent activity
  • Browse colleagues
  • Locate experts within the organisation
  • Tag cloud of a person’s recent activities
  • Note board – i.e. a tagwall

Content Management

  • Improved scalability – lists and folders can now contain a million elements. Document libraries can contain 10 million documents
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Consistent content type across all servers in a farm
  • Streaming of video placed in document libraries
  • Improved governance possibilities

Search

  • Choice between standard SharePoint search and FAST Search
  • Wild card searching – used of asterisks
  • Improved people search – rich info on the search results page
  • Live preview of documents, slides etc right on the search results page

Business intelligence

  • Excel Services – including SQL Server PowerPivot
  • PerformancePoint Services – advanced BI dashboards
  • Visio Services and Chart web part
  • Business Connectivity Services – the new name for Business Data Catalog (BDC)

SharePoint Workspace (the new name for Groove)

  • Improved offline content
  • Improved mobile access to content

IT infrastructure

  • 64-bit only!
  • SharePoint Foundation is the new name for WSS
  • Online/cloud version of SharePoint is a focus point for Microsoft
  • PowerShell Admin
    • Fully scriptable admin of SharePoint
    • Around 500 PowerShell commandlets will be shipped with 2010
    • Admin SharePoint from PowerShell running on Windows 7
    • Whatif command to preview impact of commands
  • New Central Administration
    • Problems and solutions page with overview of current problems on the farm, and possible solutions
  • Throttling
    • Control how many resources specific lists, sites etc. may use
  • Monitoring, Analytics
    • Usage analysis database will be customisable
  • Improved Upgrade and Availability
    • Visual Upgrade enables individual users to choose when to upgrade a site