Friday, November 22, 2013

Microsoft DogFood 2013 Conference–Day 1

What a great kickoff for DogFood 2013! A large number of attendees showed up for the first day of this year’s Microsoft DogFood Conference in Columbus Ohio. Tons of Microsoft topics were being presented, including topics like Windows Phone App development, automated testing strategies, InfoPath, and of course SharePoint
As we now move into Day 2, I’m looking forward to presenting on PowerShell with PS guru Ryan Dennis. Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter at #DogFoodCon.

Attendees listening to Ricardo Wilkins discuss
SharePoint 2013 development features
I delivered two presentations on Day 1:
  • Leveraging the Powerful Forces of InfoPath
  • “I’m a Developer and I Hate SharePoint…” – Why SharePoint 2013 Will Change Your Mind
Each had great attendance, and great participation. You can find the slidedecks below, or on Slideshare:

Update: below you’ll also find the PowerShell talk mentioned above, as well as the slides from fellow colleague Eric Grover on Windows 8 App development:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Speaking at DogFood Conference 2013

imageOnce again, I’m honored to be speaking at the DogFood Conference in Columbus, Ohio on November 21-22.

Dogfooding is all about using the very tools that you produce, and this year Microsoft will show once again how they make use of many of the products and technologies that they sell to us. Whether it be Windows 8, SharePoint, Surface, Xbox, or the Cloud, the Dog Food Conference this year will showcase tons of topics presented over 2 days by community IT professionals.

This year I’ll be teaming up with SharePoint Ryan to give a new talk called:

image SharePoint PowerShell for the Admin and Developer: A Venn Diagram Experience

As you may have guessed, this talk will be about the koolness of Powershell, and how it can be a powerful tool not just for the SharePoint Admin, but also for the SharePoint Developer, and with some kool scenarios in-between. In addition, I’ll be giving a refreshed version of my SharePoint 2013 Dev Features talk as well.

Also, be on the lookout for talks from my fellow Blue Chip colleagues, including:

Eric Grover: Strategies for sharing code with Windows store & Windows phone apps
John Azzolina: Get Into The (Data) Flow: Using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to Move Data Around Your Organization

The evite can be found here – remember, registration begins October 21!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Premier partners, today’s tools, and all that good stuff

Blue Chip Consulting GroupA few months ago, I made a transition and decided to accept an invitation to join the Content & Collaboration practice at Blue Chip Consulting Group. Blue Chip is a Gold Certified, Microsoft Managed Partner specializing in Infrastructure Optimization, and providing quality consulting services within the Microsoft stack. They’ve also been recently named as one of the Top 5 Microsoft Consulting Services’ Premier Service Partners for FY13, a distinction they’ve achieved 2 years running.

My consulting toolbox hasn’t changed much since my last role. In fact, Cloudshare is still as much a part of my tool set as it was in my last related post. And with the addition of their persistent DNS and vanity URL features, it’s now even easier to quickly fire up my VM’s when I need them, even on my Surface Pro tablet PC. These days, tho, I’m also making more use of VMWare for offline access.

But what is somewhat new to my list of dev toys is my personal Office 365 SharePoint account (recently upgraded to 2013 a few months back). I find that this is useful to have in order to get up to speed on the deployment and development differences between cloud and on-premise SharePoint projects, especially as more of our customers continue to explore Office 365 as an option for their SharePoint environment. And, at $8/month for a SharePoint-only E3 plan, it’s very economical as well.

Stay tuned for future posts as I continue to explore these tools & technologies to enhance my SharePoint 2013 delivery.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Using a Touch Tablet for SharePoint Planning


As a SharePoint consultant, I’m often involved in whiteboard sessions where some aspect of SharePoint planning is being discussed and documented. This process can be facilitated in many ways, and with many tools, some of which may be more effective than others. As a happy owner of a Surface Pro Windows 8 tablet PC, I’m starting to explore new ways of using it to enhance the value of the consulting that I provide to my clients.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

OneNote 2013–Bringing Sexy Back (5-Part Series)

No, this isn’t a post about JT or even JF. It’s about OneNote, an e-Notebook-style, note-taking, ink-drawing, note-organizing, video-capturing,imagesCA2Y2EGI audio-recording, screenshot-snipping, research-gathering realtime-collaborating tool that’s a part of Microsoft Office.

I’d like to talk a little about a software app that I’ve loved for years, but that I think is finally getting it’s due recognition now in the days of Office 2013.  Yep, OneNote is here. For years many of you may have ignored this little app as part of your Office Premium package (just like you ignored InfoPath), but now, I’ll show you why I think OneNote is coming back to forefront of the Office suite, and why you should take a closer look.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Surface Pro and SharePoint 2013–Finger-clicking the Ellipses button

I don’t have an elegant solution here – it’s simply a statement: trying to finger-click the ellipses (3-dot) button on a SharePoint site using a Windows tablet (like my Surface Pro) can be tricky. Check out my video to see what I mean:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Office 365 Upgrade to SharePoint 2013

The long-awaited upgrade of Office 365 sites to SharePoint 2013 is rolling out, and I was finally hit by one of the waves. If you’re still waiting for your upgrade to take effect, here’s what your experience may be like (click images to enlarge).

Here’s the email that let me know it was time to get the party started:



Thursday, March 7, 2013

SharePoint 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio

Yesterday’s Microsoft event in Cleveland was just as successful as the Columbus event! Both had 30+ attendees, and both had lots of great questions - expect a future blog post where I address some of the most interesting questions asked.

Randy Pagels discussing SharePoint Web and Unit Testing with Visual Studio 2012; Cleveland, Ohio

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SharePoint 2013 in Columbus, Ohio

Yesterday’s Microsoft event in Columbus was well attended.  And there’s still time to register for tomorrow’s Cleveland event. Hoping to see some of the Cleveland SharePoint User Group members in attendance tomorrow.

Attendees at the “What’s New For Developers & Testers in SharePoint 2013” event, Columbus, Ohio

Friday, March 1, 2013

What’s New for Developers & Testers in SharePoint 2013

Next week, I’ll be co-presenting with Randy Pagels (Developer Technology Specialist for Microsoft) in a multi-city roadshow event focused on SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2012:

Click to register

This event allows attendees to get up to speed on the new and improved development and testing features available in SharePoint 2013 using Visual Studio 2012. Some of the key learning areas include:

  • Understanding the Cloud App Model
  • Learning about core platform enhancements
  • Testing SharePoint performance with profiling tools
  • Testing SharePoint code with Microsoft Fakes Framework

Click below to register for an event near you:

March 4

Columbus, OH

March 12

Minneapolis, MN

March 6

Cleveland, OH

March 14

Des Moines, IA

March 7

March 11

Kansas City, KS

St. Louis, MO

March 15

Omaha, NE

Monday, February 25, 2013

The ABC’s of Building Apps for SharePoint 2013

I had a good time presenting to the [Columbus, Ohio] Buckeye SharePoint User Group this past week on the topic of building Apps in the new App imageModel in SharePoint 2013.

Based on the feedback, everyone seemed to like my new approach of demo-by-screenshot – I thought that might be more efficient than having everyone watch me work live in a VM with Visual Studio 2012, while holding our breath in anticipation of the inevitable demo disaster. :)

I’ll be continuing to speak on SharePoint 2013 next month in Columbus and Cleveland as part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2012 regional tour. But until then, here’s my slidedeck below from this week, or view it on Slideshare:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

OneNote and Metadata in SharePoint – Add a Notebook to a Library – Part 4 of 5

As described in our original scenario, we want to create a relationship between our Client list and their related documents, including a new OneNote notebook.

OneNote notebooks are different from their sister programs in the Office application suite because a notebook consists of several related files, and thus are stored differently. As a result, you wouldn’t simply Upload a OneNote notebook into a document library. Let’s go thru the steps and options for adding our OneNote notebook to SharePoint:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

OneNote and Metadata in SharePoint–Connecting Related Documents to Client Names–Part 3 of 5

imageAs described in our original scenario, we want to create a relationship between our Client list and their related documents, so that ultimately we can make a relationship between our OneNote notebook, and the related Client. We created our Client Names list in Part 2, now lets see about making the connection with the documents.
Here we have a basic document library that contains several different documents:
But how do we know which Client the Expense Report belongs to, for instance? We’d have to open the document and read its contents to try to figure it out. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could add a column that could tell us that information right in the default view of our document library? Fear not – we can!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

OneNote and Metadata in SharePoint–Creating a List of Client Names – Part 2 of 5

As described in our original scenario, we want to create of list of Client Names so that we can ultimately associate our OneNote notebook with one of them.

imageThis list can be thought of as a standard Lookup list, as well as a repository for Client information. The Client Name will be used to fill dropdowns in other list columns or forms, but also provides a 1-click way for a user to see more detailed information about a Client associated with another item. I’ll show you what I mean, but first let’s create the list. You can use any of the following methods:

  • The Standard Way
  • The Import Way
  • The SharePoint Designer Way
  • The PowerShell Way
  • The Visual Studio Way
  • The External Content Type with Azure Way

Choose the option that works best for you – let’s begin! (click on images for larger views):

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

OneNote and Metadata in SharePoint–Part 1 of 5

The Scenario

As a SharePoint Consultant, I support several clients. I keep a list of my clients in my SharePoint MySite:


For each client, I store and manage related documents (like Statements of Works, Requirements documents, or important Emails) as well as OneNote notebooks for each client. Using SharePoint’s concept of Related Lists, each document can contain metadata about the client to which it applies:


And together, I can get a comprehensive view of each client’s important information:



The Problem

For many clients, I like to capture information, including handwritten notes from my tablet, in a OneNote notebook. microsoft_office_2013OneNote is a great solution for capturing, categorizing, and sharing both structured and unstructured information. Add a tablet PC and a pen stylus to the mix, and you’ve got a very powerful & versatile tool. Storing my OneNote notebooks in SharePoint allows for easy syncing across devices and collaborators.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The 3 T’s of Giving Back to the SharePoint Community

I recently had an article published regarding ways to give back to the IT community. Later, my Twitter buddy SB Chatterjee tweeted it to his followers, and pointed out that it applies to the SharePoint community as well.
Good point! With that in mind, here’s a pointer over to to the BIT Tech Digest where you can find the article. Let me know what you think – do the same principles apply to the SharePoint community as well?: