Friday, December 30, 2011

A new role in SharePoint, better toys, and all that good stuff

Starting in January 2012, I’ll be taking another step in my career by joining the Improving Enterprisesimage team as their new SharePoint Practice Lead. Improving is a firm that focuses on Agile software development as well as certified Microsoft training, and I look forward to continue providing SharePoint consulting to clients, as well as helping to teach Microsoft Official Curriculum training to users as well.

Here’s the interesting difference between this post and the last time I posted about a career change almost 2 years ago – the tools.  Back then, I complained about how SharePoint’s new 64-bit requirement made it hard for developers like myself to create VM’s for training and prototyping. But today, I have no complaints – thanx to CloudShare! : )  Yep, now I’ve got a virtualized SharePoint environment waiting for me in the cloud whenever I need it. And I no longer have the headache of dealing with local PC settings or slow-running servers that depend on the number of CPUs on my laptop. Ahhh, the cloud…

More on my CloudShare experiences in future posts.  What about you – what SharePoint virtualization strategy will you use in 2012?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SharePoint and the Team Foundation Service Preview… in the Cloud!

{my article published at CloudShare Community Blog – Dec 30th, 2011}

In September 2011, the Team Foundation Service Preview (TFS-P) became available on an invitation-only basis. In a nutshell, it’s the beta version of Team Foundation Server (TFS) 11, but hosted in Azure (Microsoft’s cloud-based storage, computing and networking infrastructure imageservices).  While popularity for TFS has grown over the years as an on-premise server technology, the idea of a hosted version of TFS has taken a little longer to materialize.

As a SharePoint developer who focuses on application lifecycle management, I’m a big fan of doing SharePoint development using TFS. So I decided to get a TFS-P account to see what it was like to work with SharePoint and TFS in the cloud.

imageTo see the details of my experience, jump over to the CloudShare Community Blog, where I’ve written an article regarding using CloudShare as my virtual environment to try out the Team Foundation Service Preview…  [ ]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SharePoint 2010 Is Better Because: InfoPath Links Work Better

I do a lot of solutions involving workflow and InfoPath Forms Services. In SharePoint 2007, whenever I go to the Workflow Status page, it always bugged me that the “Document:” link [that links me to the related InfoPath form (ie XML document) for my workflow] always wanted to open as XML or in the InfoPath client, as opposed to the browser.  There are some customizations I could do to get it to work the way I want, but out of the box it was a no-go.

Well, it appears that SharePoint 2010 Is Better Because that Document: link now opens in the browser using Forms Services the way I’ve always wanted!  Kool!  What do you think – do you like this behavior?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whitepaper: Best Practices for SharePoint Development & Customization

Last month, I co-authored a white paper with Microsoft Certified Master Mario Fulan on the topic of SharePoint development and customization best practices. It was sponsored by Quest Software, whose specialties imageinclude powerful add-on tools for SharePoint.

Some of the ideas in the paper include a discussion on the pains that a developer faces day-to-day when trying to create and deliver a custom solution, including the need for quick prototypes, and the challenges of managing change requests. We also discussed solutions to those pains, including governance, use of design patterns, and good deployment strategies.

I’ll be diving deeper into many of the topics from this paper in future posts, so stay tuned. You can find the whitepaper on Quest’s website, as well as on SharePoint Pro Magazine.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Update 3/20/12: here’s the info regarding the follow-up live webcast that resulted from this whitepaper.]

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Using Team Foundation Server with SharePoint Teams

This week I gave a presentation to my SharePoint team on Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio Team System (VSTS), and how they could be used to grow our practice. I’ve been a fan of TFS since version 2005, and have watched it mature thru 2008 and now version 2010. I’ve also seen it begin to give more due respect to the SharePoint world – initially it seemed to be almost oblivious to the unique needs of the SharePoint development team.

Some of the highlights of my presentation included the mention of using the automated Build Server to help SharePoint teams manage the WSP that results from their SharePoint dev. We also discussed how some non-traditional files, like InfoPath forms and CSS files, fit into typical source control story. And we talked about how SharePoint infrastructure engineers could also make use of Team System by incorporating work item tasks specific to server installations into a customized process guidance.

Stay tuned to this blog in future posts as I elaborate on many of the topics included in my talk.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who do you serve?

{my article published at – Sept 22, 2011}

One of my good friends from college recently started an organization that provides a mobile produce store for communities in Chicago’s West Side who don’t have access to fresh produce. They’re meeting a huge need in those communities, and they’re serving the People in a great way.

As SharePoint professionals, who do we serve? SharePoint isn’t exactly available on the corner of every urban neighborhood in America. [yet?] : )  So, who is it that benefits from the skills, experience, and assistance of a great SharePoint’er?

One might say we serve ‘Big Business’. SharePoint is certainly animage enterprise server product, and the main consumer of that type of product is the large corporation. If this is who we serve, we certainly serve them well, as SharePoint has been proven to be a strategic advantage, cost-saver, and effective collaboration platform for many large companies.

Or, maybe we serve the corporate Developer? Have you ever seen the smile on the face of a .NET developer after you teach them about the benefits of developing on the SharePoint 2010 platform? : )  When leveraged properly, SharePoint certainly opens up a world of advantages for the .NET dev team trying to create collaboration solutions for their company.

Ultimately, tho, I’d like to think we serve the millions of Information Workers out there who use SharePoint on a daily basis. At the end of the day, that’s who our SharePoint solutions are for, and if I can make just one Information Worker come to work with a smile and expectation that they’ll have a productive day because of SharePoint, then it’s all worth it. : )

As we look toward the future, I would like to think we’ll also be serving the entrepreneur who has a small shop using SharePoint Online. As the cloud continues to provide scalable and cost-effective options for small & medium business, perhaps the dream of SharePoint on every neighborhood corner could be closer than we think.

I’d be interested in your thoughts – as a SharePoint professional, who do you serve?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SharePoint Saturday–Columbus 2011

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that SharePoint Saturday Columbus 2011 was a great success.  A great list of speakers and topics, and oh, yeah – great food too! Smile  Nice raffle prizes for lucky winners, including a brand new Kindle, free consulting services, and even a great SharePoint 2010 book giveaway from ICC (my employer, and a platinum sponsor of the event).

And oh yeah – in case you’re wondering, the SharePoint Cowbell was on display!


(Ricardo Wilkins speaking on SharePoint 2010 Dev at SharePoint Saturday Columbus 2011; photo credit – Brian Jackett)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Few More Happy SharePoint Developers in Washington, DC!

Yesterday marked the completion of a successful 3-day SharePoint Saturday conference in Washington, DC. If you missed it and want to get a taste of the experience, check out the activity in the different social media streams that attendees engaged in.

I was honored to be among the 195 SharePoint thought leaders who spoke at the conference (my slide deck can be found below). I spoke on SharePoint Development, and why SharePoint 2010 makes developers like myself so happy! :) I think my audience agreed with me. They also asked some very interesting questions, a few of which I’d like to comment on:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Speaking Gigs–Chicago, DC, and Columbus

For me, August is a busy SharePoint month due to the three speaking engagements I’ve got lined up. Check out the details here:

imageI just got back from Chicago where I spoke at the National BDPA Conference 2011 on the topic of SharePoint as a game-changer for business. In addition to giving an overview of SharePoint’s features, I spent some time discussing the value of Office365 and SharePoint Online as well.  In addition to my talk, Microsoft reps also gave their own SharePoint presentation at the conference, discussing SharePoint as the collaboration platform for the Enterprise. This event was also particularly exciting for me, as I watched the high school students that I’ve been coaching the past few months win 3rd Place in the national computer competition, earning each of them a scholarship stipend!  SharePoint and Scholarships – it doesn’t get much better than that. : )


Sharepoint Saturday ConferenceThis is a unique SharePoint Saturday event in that, instead of one Saturday, this event will last 3 days (thus the addition of “The Conference”). And check out these stats – 279 sessions! 196 speakers! 22 SharePoint MVPs! 2 SharePoint Masters! And over 3,000 expected attendees! (okay, that’s too many exclamation points for one blog post)  My session will be in the IT Pro/Developer Track.  I’m pretty excited about this.  Just imagine what the SharePint event will be like – oh, the anticipation! Smile


This will be my second consecutive year speaking at SharePoint Saturday Columbus. Last year I spoke on Document Management to more of an End-User crowd.  This year my talk will be Developer/Dev Manager focused.  This event is already sold out (way to go, Columbus!), but I’d advise you sign up anyway if interested, in case they kick in the waiting list.

So, we’ve got plenty of SharePoint goodness going on this month.  Be sure to look me up if you attend any of these events – I’ll be the one carrying the cowbell! Smile (thanx SharePointRyan for letting me borrow yours)

Presentation from BDPA National Conference 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Digital Signatures in Office/SharePoint using a Tablet PC (Video Demo)

imageThis week I watched a webinar by SharePoint MVP Laura Rogers on approval processes in SharePoint. One of her demonstrations showed how digital signatures could be used in Word documents as part of the approval process.

Out-of-the-box, a digital signature

Thursday, June 30, 2011

SharePoint Online for the Entrepreneur

{my article originally posted at IT Martini}

On June 28th, Microsoft launches its long-awaited upgrade to its traditional cloud services. What was known as Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) now becomes Office 365, which brings a suite of powerful SaaS tools to your fingertips, including:

-Exchange Online (e-mail)
-Lync Online (instant messenger)
-Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)
-SharePoint Online (web-based collaboration)

Office 365 is a big deal for business owners and SMB's in that it provides access to enterprise-class solutions at an economical price. As a SharePoint consultant, I'm particularly excited about this offering due to the inclusion of SharePoint Online (SPO), and the opportunities that this powerful collaboration tool brings to the entrepreneur who has started, or is looking to start, their own business. In this short article, I'll just mention a few of the features that I think are pretty exciting:

From On-Premise to the Cloud

Some of you may have given SharePoint a try already, by installing the free version of the server product within your office. Unless your organization has good IT resources, you might have discovered that maintaining a server product like SharePoint is not the easiest task. Thankfully, Office 365 puts those days behind you. As a cloud offering, you can rest comfortably, knowing that trained Microsoft professionals are caring for your intranet data, instead of your colleague's nephew who took a few Comp Sci classes last semester.

Long Live the List

Many of us are used to storing and sharing our tabular data in spreadsheets. With SPO, we can now begin to embrace the concepts of Lists (or as I like to call them, spreadsheets on steroids). Imagine having all the basic power of a spreadsheet, as well as the additional benefits of customized Views, simultaneous collaboration of the data within your team, and the ever-important value of having one version of "the truth" - all available from any Internet-enabled browser or smartphone.

Office Web Apps

You don’t have to sell many people on the value of using one of the most familiar and widely-used office applications suites of all time. SPO provides an excellent place to store, search for, and collaborate on Office documents. But in addition, it also now allows you to view, edit and share these documents via your browser, with more fidelity and feature-parity than you might expect. In addition to the flexibility of this feature, it provides a great opportunity for the SMB to manage the costs of buying full software packages for themselves or their employees.

Say Goodbye to the Yellow Puppy

What if I told you that you could put all your files into one big filing cabinet without worrying about how to categorize them, and still find exactly what you need when you need it? If you're an office worker from the days of 10-levels-deep file system folder organization, you'd say I was crazy. But today we've got to realize that indexing search engines are extremely powerful. SharePoint Search can find your file in an instant, regardless of its location in the site, and can also search through the contents of your files, including PDFs. So, gone are the days of watching the WindowsXP yellow search puppy for 5 minutes while you scan thru your C: drive for a single document.

Make Your Developers Happy

One major difference between BPOS and Office 365 that should please any company making use of custom solutions (like Web Parts) in their SharePoint site is the new ability to deploy sandboxed-solutions - easily deployable custom-code solutions specifically designed to be safe for the stability of your SharePoint installation. This has great implications for those companies with in-house developers who want to take full advantage of the customization options of SPO, but could also provide value in terms of standardization and configuration management for the company that wants to outsource their development.

Business Process Automation

Workflows provide the ability to automate your real-world manual processes, providing better governance, insight, and auditing of your company's activity. In the full-version of SharePoint, workflows are a major feature, and many well-developed workflows come right out of the box, including document Approval, Feedback, and Review workflows. SPO currently only provides a simple three-state workflow, but even this can be used effectively. Perhaps you need to track your Sales Opportunity activity - a three-state workflow can manage the flow of that process by assigning persons to each state of the process - e.g. 'Potential Lead', 'Lead Contacted', and 'Business Acquired'. Now there's less of a need to call everyone on your sales team to figure out what's going on with all your clients - you can check the status and history of the workflows and see for yourself!

SPO has many great advantages over on-premise installations for the small company, and together with the full feature set of Office 365, promises to be a game-changer for many entrepreneurs.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

SharePoint Saturday India

I just finished presenting my SharePoint Dev presentation for SharePoint Saturday India. (my first presentation that I’ve had to deliver at 3:30AM EST – yes, I said AM) Smile  This is a presentation I originally presented for a local conference back in February, so I’ve referenced my original slide deck posting above.

I think it’s very kool that I was able to participate in an international event like this one. In my session I know that at least a few countries (India, Australia, South Africa) were represented.

I hope the attendees were able to get value out of my content, and hopefully were also able to appreciate my use of Transformers in my slide deck (with $700 million in worldwide movie sales, I suspect India knows about Transformers as well).

Recordings of the sessions should be available in a few weeks – I’ll let you know how to get them once they’re published.  Kudos to the organizers like Alpesh Nakar, and kudos to Live Meeting for hanging in there and delivering my presentation live out to the world. : )

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Published at NBSP

One of my articles has just been published over at (a very useful site for SharePoint info of all kinds).  I’m happy to join an impressive list of writers over at NBSP, and I plan to add more articles in the future.  Take a look and lemme know what you think!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top 4 Signs that your Users are embracing SharePoint

{my article published at – June 2011}

Have you ever been in an organization, big or small, where SharePoint has been in place for months (or years?), but when you look around, you realize it’s not being used to its full potential? I’m not talking about something big like they’re not using InfoPath for their forms automation, or not using Business Connectivity Services to expose their data through external content types. I’m talking about the organizations who are simply storing old archived documents in a library still named “Shared Documents”, and whose most elaborate web part is the one that shows today’s weather forecast. :) I’m talking about the organization that installed SharePoint, but obviously never heard a good speech about how SharePoint can be used effectively to make their work life more productive.

2011-06-13-Top4Signs-01.pngSo let’s say, one day they finally get to hear the speech, and they’re now armed with enough knowledge to get some good end-user SharePoint collaboration going. Other than seeing someone running down the hall with a cowbell screaming “I gotta have more SharePoint, baby!”, how do you know that your users are finally starting to drink the SharePoint kool-aid and use it collaboratively? Well, in true Letterman-style, here are my Top 4 Signs that your Users are embracing SharePoint:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

InfoPath: Team Development

InfoPath can be your best friend when it comes to building dynamic and engaging forms in SharePoint that your customers can use to interact with their data in a rich and visual manner.  In many ways, it’s suitable even for the Power user to quickly produce a feature-rich form.  But I think it becomes even more powerful in the hands of a team of SharePoint Developers, who can fully explore advanced design options like data integration, complex rules generation, and even incorporation of code-behind files.

As with any SharePoint development technology, it’s important to follow good practices when developing in a team environment.  This series (which you can follow with the infopath-TeamDev tag) will look at several aspects of InfoPath team development, and attempt to offer helpful advice on best practices.

Some of the challenges we’ll look at will include:

  • versioning your team work
  • working in parallel
  • managing data connections

We’ll also explore useful team dev tips, like incorporating Template Parts, using data field naming conventions, and maximizing the power of InfoPath Rules.

Let’s see where this ride takes us!  More posts to come.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Heartland SharePoint Conference Redux

Ever since ICC presented the Microsoft Heartland Region SharePoint Conference 2011 in February, and even after a mini encore presentation via online webinar in March, I’ve had a few people ask me where they can get all the presentation slide decks from ICC’s SharePoint team in one convenient location.  Poof! Your wish is granted!:


Make Your Developers Love You! (aka SharePoint 2010 ALM for Dev Managers)

-Ricardo Wilkins

Success with SharePoint 2010 – Over and over and over again!

-Mario Fulan

Getting SharePoint 2010 Deployments Right

-Veenus Maximiuk

Social Networking Features and Governance in SharePoint 2010

-Chris Rygielski

Monday, March 14, 2011

Talking with the Buckeye SPUG

imageNo, not a Pug – a SPUG. :)  That’s right, on Thursday March 17th I’ll be the guest speaker at the Buckeye SharePoint User Group (formerly the Central Ohio SPUG), discussing SharePoint 2010 development and ALM.
For those that have heard me speak on this topic before, never fear!  You won’t be bored, because this time I should have a little more time to do some nice demos featuring the ease with which you can deploy solutions to SharePoint from Visual Studio 2010, as well as showing some of the koolness you get when you incorporate TFS into your SharePoint dev festivities.
Hope I see you there!:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Best Practices Conference 2011

This past week I attended the Best Practices Conference (BPC) for SharePoint in La Jolla, California. This is a 3-day conference that discusses not only “how'” to do things in SharePoint, but also asks the question “should you”.

Friday, March 11, 2011

SharePoint Conference Mania!

Well, it looks like March is turning out to be a very big month for SharePoint in termsimage of conferences.  Seems like other geeks like myself just can’t get enough of that SharePoint goodness. :)  Here are the March conferences I’m aware of:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Memoires of a Tech Speaker

I was reflecting on the presentations I’ve given over the last 12 months, and thought it might be helpful to list them all in one place, including links to the slidedecks.  I think I’ll also keep this particular post updated with future presentations as well.
Now you can’t say I never did anything nice for you… : )


SharePoint, PowerApps, Flow and Azure Functions - What Does It All Mean?
Microsoft Dog Food Conference 2016 – Columbus, OH


Getting Information from SharePoint - A 365 Degree View
Microsoft DogFood Conference 2015


InfoPath - I Ain't Dead Yet
SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati 2015


Moving Your SharePoint Development to the Cloud
Microsoft DogFood Conference 2015
Bennett Adelson .NET SIG – Cleveland, OH


SharePoint Futures: Processing the MS Ignite Conference Announcements
Bennett Adelson SharePoint Roundtable – Cleveland, OH


End-User Guide to SharePoint and Office365
SharePoint Saturday Columbus 2015


JavaScript & CSS in SharePoint: Lessons Learned from the Field
SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH
SharePoint Saturday Columbus – Columbus, OH
Bennett Adelson SharePoint Roundtable – Cleveland, OH


SharePoint PowerShell for the Admin & Dev
Microsoft Dog Food Conference 2013 – Columbus, OH

What’s New for Developers in SharePoint 2013
Microsoft SharePoint/Visual Studio 2012 Tour – Columbus, OH
Microsoft SharePoint/Visual Studio 2012 Tour – Cleveland, OH
  • An exclusive look at the new development features and functionality in SharePoint 2013, including the new Cloud App Model, development tools, platform enhancements, additional APIs for full trust solutions, and the different extensibility opportunities available to the developer
Bridging the Gap between Development & Operations
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event – Columbus, OH
  • Overview of how tools like Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, and System Center Operations Manager can help the application lifecycle management experience
SharePoint 2013 Development Features 
Microsoft Dog Food Conference 2012 – Columbus, OH
Buckeye SharePoint User Group – Columbus, OH
  • Overview of the new tools, options, and development model for development in SharePoint 2013
Azure and SharePoint Integration
AgileDotNet Conference – Columbus, OH
Buckeye SharePoint User Group – Columbus, OH

SharePoint Saturday - Atlanta, GA
  • Overview of integration options for development with Azure and SharePoint
The Power of Infopath 2010
Buckeye SharePoint User Group – Columbus, OH
Microsoft Dog Food Conference 2012 – Columbus, OH
Dayton SharePoint User Group – Dayton, OH

SharePoint Saturday - Los Angeles, CA
  • Overview and live demo of many of the features of InfoPath 2010
Introduction to SharePoint 2010
Microsoft and K2 SharePoint 2010 Solutions Roadshow – Columbus, OH

  • Overview of the features and opportunities in SharePoint 2010
SharePoint 2010 - A Game-Changer for your Business
National BDPA Conference 2011 - Chicago, IL

  • Value proposition of SharePoint 2011, as well as discussion of Office 365.
SharePoint Development Enhancements in 2010
Microsoft Heartland SharePoint Conference 2011 – Lewis Center, OH
Buckeye SharePoint User Group – Columbus, OH

SharePoint Saturday - India
SharePoint Saturday - Washington, DC
SharePoint Saturday - Columbus, OH

  • SharePoint 2007 vs 2010 as it relates to development
  • What part Team Foundation Server can play in SharePoint development
  • How Silverlight has become an important technology for SharePoint
Business Automation with SharePoint
Dayton SharePoint User Group – Dayton, OH
  • Workflows in SharePoint 2007 and 2010
  • InfoPath 2007 and 2010
Document Management Using SharePoint
SharePoint Saturday – Columbus, OH

  • SharePoint 2007
  • SharePoint 2010
  • InfoPath Forms
Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010
Columbus region Microsoft Launch Event: Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, with Steve Caravejal

  • Discussed new features of Office 2010 and Exchange 2010
  • Discussed the integration enhancements with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010
  • Discussed Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7
How to Use Facebook Effectively
BDPA Information Exchange Meeting

  • Discussed advanced features of Facebook
  • A portion of my presentation talked about the [then] upcoming integration with “Docs”, ie Office Web Apps. Demonstrated the advantages of Office Web Apps in general.
The Challenges of Real-World SharePoint
Central Ohio SharePoint User Group

  • Discussed challenges related to using SharePoint outside of the corporate enterprise
  • Discussed how SharePoint 2010 addressed and improved the issues that I mentioned
S.O.L.I.D. Principles in Software Development
nPlus1 Architects Summit

  • Discussed the Single Responsibility and Open Closed principles
  • Also showed how the principles could be applied to SharePoint development
Application LifeCycle Management and Team Foundation Server; Team System Webinar; nationally-broadcast

  • Team Foundation Server 2005
  • Application Lifecycle Management principles

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SharePoint Workflow for Cowboys: my slide deck from DaySPUG

I had a great time hanging with the members of the Dayton SharePoint User Group this past Tuesday.  We discussed “Business Process Automation with SharePoint and Workflow – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.  I talked about how the tools and development experience of automating process using SharePoint have improved in SharePoint 2010 (the Good) versus SharePoint 2007 (the Bad, the Ugly).  [I gave them the disclaimer that the “Bad” and “Ugly” bit was just for effect – MOSS 2007 is still awesome] :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Intro to SharePoint 2010 in 60 minutes

I was asked by Microsoft to speak this morning to a group of customers interested in some of the ISV products built on top of SharePoint, like K2 and BA Insight.  I gave a 1-hour introduction to SharePoint 2010, to help the audience get a good foundation in preparation for product demonstrations they would later see during the day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Business Process Automation Tips

On Tuesday, I’ll be the guest speaker at the Dayton SharePoint User Group (  I’ll be speaking on Business Process Management/Automation using SharePoint and Workflow.
As I consider this topic, I thought I might share some guidance on the process of automating your organization’s business processes, regardless of whether you use SharePoint or any other automation technology.  Anyone who has endured the fun of auditing, documenting, and ultimately automating the way in which their company does things will tell you that the planning side of it is just as significant, if not more so, than the technical implementation.
Here are some tips that could help you and your team have a smoother and less frustrating experience:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slides from Microsoft Heartland SharePoint Conference 2011

Conference Theme: Transforming Your Business with SharePoint 2010
Disclaimer: The pictures that reference SharePoint 2007 are for effect only – SharePoint is still awesome no matter what the version!  (well… maybe not version 2003) : )

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: The Show Must Go On

Although the dreaded snow storm is approaching, I’m told the Microsoft Heartland Conference here in Columbus, Ohio is still scheduled to continue tomorrow.  So, you still have a chance to hear from the likes of SharePoint Evangelist Joel Oleson, SharePoint Master-Certified Mario Fulan… and even me! :)  It’ll take more than a few snowflakes and some ominous-looking clouds to keep us from geeking out on SharePoint.

Speaking of clouds, Winking smile I wrote in a previous post about the impact that I think Microsoft’s cloud-based offering, imageOffice365, will have on SharePoint developers.  I’ll be talking more about this topic during my presentation, and mentioning how certain aspects of developing for SharePoint Online present both advantages as well as challenges.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow – be sure to tell ‘em that Rix Bits the SharePoint Cowbell sent ya! :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: Buy vs Build in SharePoint

In my talk next week, one of my topics will be related to the question:
…do I build my solution from scratch, or do I buy something off-the-shelf? 

Hopefully I will help people to see that one of the main reasons why we invested in SharePoint to begin with is because of its “out-of-the-box” value.  There are so many imagesolutions that can be created using features already included with SharePoint, that many times we can avoid custom development altogether. (which sometimes makes poor Visual Studio 2010 feel very lonely and neglected) 

Also, even if out-of-the-box features don’t quite cut the mustard, we must also remember that there are some great 3rd party tools out there as well, especially for things like workflow and web part development.

There will be several well-known vendors at next week’s Microsoft Heartland SharePoint conference, including Nintex (workflow) and Quest (web parts).  Don’t miss it – register today!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Countdown to the Conference–Team Foundation Server

Many moons ago I did a webinar about application lifecycle management using Team Foundation Server.  Since that time, TFS has been upgraded to version 2010, and with it comes some exciting new enhancements.  This is also good news for SharePoint developers, as the 2010 suite of Microsoft products helps push SharePoint development into 1st-class citizenship.  In fact, it’s even easier now to use TFS as part of your tool set thanks to your MSDN subscription.
I’ll be talking about this topic a little more during my presentation at the Heartland Conference next week.  I think it’ll be somewhere around slide #15.  :)  See you there!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Countdown to the Conference – Sneak Peek: Sandboxed Solutions

Next week, I’ll be speaking at the Microsoft Heartland SharePoint Conference 2011 in Lewis Center, Ohio. My topic will be:
Make Your Developers Love You! (aka SharePoint ALM for Dev Managers)
As we countdown to conference day, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at some of the subjects I’ll be covering during my talk.  One point of interest in SharePoint 2010 that I’ll be speaking on is the concept of sandboxed solutions – custom code solutions that operate within a subset of the Microsoft.SharePoint namespace, and that can be easily deployed and monitored with minimal impact to the stability of your farm.

Register today to check out my presentation and see why sandboxed solutions are one of the enhancements in SharePoint 2010 that will help make SharePoint Devs and Admins a happy family once again. :)