Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SharePoint Conference 2011

We are at the SharePoint Conference 2011 this week, also known as SPC 2011. It is hosted in Anaheim this year. It is a mid-release conference so we didn’t expect to hear many surprises at the keynote or at the sessions. The keynote was hosted by Jeff Spataro, who is the senior director of SharePoint Product management. Though an engaging speaker, the one thing that struck me about the keynote was that there were no surprises, no announcements etc. The most interesting part of the keynote was a demonstration of new failover capabilities of SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server “Denali”.

After the keynote I attended a couple of sessions that day. One of them was titled Documents are boring but document solutions are not. It was a pretty good session and the speaker showed off information panel within a word document with an Infopath form embedded in the document. He also showed how fields in the word document can be tied to columns on the document library, and Word will update these everytime it is opened. The interesting part is that these fields could also be bound to information from external sources via the BCS.  The speaker also showed content controls, quick parts, co-authoring of documents and how Word detects and informs users that another person is editing the document. Another good technique is to always render a field code with a link to a picture or chart stored in the library. This way the image/chart is not stored in the document but can be refreshed from the library at any time.

The other engaging session I attended was Andrew Connell’s Out of the sandbox and into the cloud: Build you next SharePoint app on Azure. It does seem like that is one of the directions Microsoft is not only investing heavily in but also starting to push to the developer community. It was a real engaging session and AC talked about the different ways of interfacing Azure data in SharePoint 2010. The session was very informative and engaging. Definitely recommend checking out his presentation over video if you have the time. Scott Key from Microsoft also presented on the next topic the very next day. The key takeaway is that you can store your custom applications and custom databases in Azure (it is easier and cheaper) and build hooks into SharePoint to consume/surface that.

Todd Baginski also presented that evening about building SharePoint apps for the Windows phone. That was also a highly engaging session and Todd covered a lot of material and shared what he has been working on lately. If you are interested in that topic definitely recommend checking out his talk. He also laid out the process of interfacing with Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin etc fromyour custom apps.
So all in all, it was a good first day. There were tons of parties/happy hours/ packed together so we were out till the wee hours of the morning. More on the conference soon.

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