Speaking on SP 2010 at UK user group – ECM Enhancements

I’m excited to be giving the London/SE England SharePoint user group’s first SharePoint 2010 presentation in a couple of weeks, woohoo! It’s great to be able to talk/demo publicly on SP 2010 at last. The topic is a fairly general one – ‘Enterprise Content Management Enhancements in SharePoint 2010’, so I’m hoping there’s something in there for devs, admins, PMs, end-users alike. Here’s the abstract:

Session 2 – ECM Enhancements in SharePoint 2010 – Chris O’Brien

Enterprise Content Management is SharePoint’s bedrock. The 2010 release adds significant new capabilities in all ECM pillars (Document Management, Web Content Management and Records Management), and Microsoft have addressed some of the top ECM pain points reported by clients in SharePoint 2007. This session looks at the improvements in user experience, scalability and taxonomy, with demos showing how to leverage new features such as Enterprise Content Types, the Managed Metadata field and Content Organizer to better manage your documents and/or pages. Specific enhancements in WCM and RM will also be discussed. This session is a great way to kick-start your awareness of SharePoint 2010, and questions on other aspects of the new version are welcome in the Q & A wrap-up at the end (or the pub!)

If there’s time I’ll also show a simple example of extending the new metadata capability with code – it’s a good excuse to show the new SharePoint/Visual Studio 2010 integration and deployment process if nothing else!

Also, if this session isn’t enough there’s another thought-provoking session if you’re interested in accessibility:

Session 1 – Developing an Accessible SharePoint System – Martin Hatch

  • What is accessibility?
  • Presenting “SAS”: our unique SharePoint Accessibility Solution presenting the functionality that is delivered by the platform.
  • Challenges and major hurdles
  • Technical approach
    • AAA XHTML rendering
    • Accessible Content Management
    • Web Part Editing
    • List views, toolbars and menus
    • Back-end administration
  • Roadmap
  • Questions

There are currently already 88 people registered, and we have room for many more. The event is being held on Wednesday 25th November at Microsoft’s Victoria office in London:

Arrive 18:00 – 18:30 as the first session will start at 1830 sharp.

Microsoft London (Cardinal Place)
100 Victoria Street
London SW1E 5JL
Tel: 0844 800 2400

To register, simply leave your name at this thread over on the SUGUK website – http://suguk.org/forums/1/21214/ShowThread.aspx 

P.S. For user group newbies, all our events are always free.

Slide deck from my deployment talk at Best Practices Conference

Had a great time presenting at the European SharePoint Best Practices Conference last week. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what made it such a good conference and I’m actually not sure, but I notice that other speakers and attendees have also been full of praise, so it’s not just me. The event itself was extremely well-organized with excellent content, and Steve Smith and his team did a great job of looking after us speakers.

Highlights for me on the dev track were sessions from AC, Todd Bleeker, Eric (or "Uncle Eric" as I like to think of him, with his wise words on high-performance coding :-)) and Andrew Woody, but whenever I did stray from developer content I seemed to run into a great session like Mike Watson‘s on SQL Server in relation to SharePoint. Similarly I heard good things about speakers like Dan McPherson doing innovative sessions on the Information Worker track which I was disappointed to miss.

Another highlight was being on the two dev panel sessions we did, and having an interesting debate in one of them with Todd on approaches for provisioning – declarative (Features) vs. programmatic (code/PowerShell etc.). This was probably a good lead-in to my talk the next day, and some folks came up to say they really liked this conversation and that we covered it from angles they hadn’t considered, which was good to hear.

So all in all, a top conference, and fantastic to catch up with so many friends. Here’s the link for my deck:

Slide deck – Approaches and best practices for deploying SharePoint sites through multiple environments (dev, QA, UAT, production)


Speaking at the SharePoint Best Practices conference

By now you’ve probably seen a few posts on the Best Practices™ SharePoint Conferences which are coming up – I’ll be speaking at the European ‘edition’ which is being held 6th – 8th April in London, UK. I submitted a couple of sessions, but here’s the one which got confirmed:

Customizing SharePoint the supported way: from end-user to admin interfaces

One of the key concepts SharePoint developers must remember is that modifications to core shipped files are typically unsupported. This session looks at ways in which you can implement the kind of customizations your users may ask for without doing anything naughty. Aspects covered include custom site definitions, modifying the site administration/central administration areas, and changing the user controls SharePoint uses with the DelegateControl architecture. The session is packed with demos, and also contains tips on the best way to make other common customizations not shown in the detailed examples.

I’ll probably be off his Christmas card list for saying this, but when Steve Smith (fellow UK MVP and conference organiser) mentioned a while back that he wanted to put something like this on and I should think of sessions, I kind of assumed he meant something with the usual UK suspects, a bit like a user group meeting on steroids. It was only when the site went up I saw how wrong I was! Many of the world’s biggest SharePoint names are on the speaker list – the developer track has Andrew Connell, Todd Bleeker, Eric Shupps, Maurice Prather (ex SharePoint product group) and fellow UK SharePoint MVPs Andrew Woodward and Ben Robb. And that’s not all – there are 4 tracks in total and I’ve already noticed some non-dev sessions I’d like to get to from experts such as Spence, Mike Watson, Ben Curry and others. The keynote speaker is Joel Oleson. Regardless of your level with SharePoint, for my money there is huge potential for pushing your SharePoint capability forward at this conference.

As an aside, the other session I submitted (which I really wanted to do!) was this:

Approaches and best practices for deploying SharePoint sites through multiple environments (dev, QA, UAT, production)

Solutions and Features, STSADM export, the Content Deployment API – all can be used to move SharePoint site artifacts from one environment to another, and all have different capabilities and limitations. Failing to plan your deployment processes properly can add significant risk to a SharePoint development project, and in some scenarios the problems may only become apparent when initial development is complete and updates need to be released. In this session we’ll explore the nuts and bolts of each development/deployment approach, and you’ll emerge on a firmer footing in this complex area of SharePoint. We’ll also touch on 3rd-party tools which can help with the deployment puzzle, from Codeplex utilities such as the Content Deployment Wizard to emerging tools such as Kivati Studio.

If you’re thinking of attending and would be interested in this topic, leave me a comment and if there’s a good response I’ll try and persuade the organisers to shoehorn me in somewhere (perhaps in one of the lunchtime sessions which haven’t yet been announced).

European Best Practices™ SharePoint Conference

Look forward to seeing you there!

Speaking at the UK SharePoint user group on WCM next week

Next week’s UK user group is conveniently being hosted by LBi, my current employer for a Web Content Management (WCM) special. Now I could be biased here, given that the two presenters are me and my current boss, but I think we have some great sessions. In the first, we’ll do a case study session partly based on the site I talked about previously in SharePoint WCM in the finance sector and Developer lessons learnt – SharePoint WCM in the finance sector, and in the second we’ll talk about practical steps/best practices to consider when building such sites.

The date is Thursday 16th October, location is London (Brick Lane/Liverpool St), and we kick off at 6pm for a 6:30pm start – for folks who aren’t local or can’t make it down, slides etc. will be posted either here or on the SUGUK site. The link for full details and registration can be found at the end of this post – the full rundown on the sessions is:

Session 1 : Web Content Management in MOSS, real life case study – Riaz Ahmed
This session will showcase how SharePoint content management has helped the world’s most international bank, a top 25 FTSE 100 company, deliver an online digital solution for clients, analysts and employees.
See how SharePoint has helped empower analysts worldwide to create, publish and share research information. See how SharePoint has helped clients and investors get access to market information to help decide their next multi-million pound deal. See how flexible, extensible and customisable the SharePoint web content management platform can really be.

Session 2 : Best practices/lessons learnt: building MOSS Content Management sites – Chris O’Brien

This presentation explores key tips and developer techniques for building WCM sites, based on the experience of delivering sites such as that shown in the earlier session. As well as key topics such as security, optimisation and deployment, much of the presentation will cover practices which are not widely documented but which can shave time and make the difference on a very tight timescale. And, since the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and clients changing their minds, we’ll examine how to build a site which is as flexible as possible whilst not being substantially more difficult to implement. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a discussion on how developers can keep their sanity by being able to fix bugs quickly (especially when the boss is stood over their shoulder!) regardless of where they occur in the code, before going on to open Q & A.

For full location details and to register see http://suguk.org/forums/thread/13880.aspx.

As usual, we’ll be going for a pint to continue the chat afterwards – all are welcome!

Resources from my workflow deep-dive presentation

Had a lot of fun presenting VS workflows at the UK SharePoint user group last night. We seemed to have weather issues (again) which might have put some people off travelling, but we still had a great crowd of around 100-120 people. As promised, here are my resources (my ‘workflow bonanza pack’ in fact ;-)). In the zip behind the link below, you will find:

  • Slide deck (presentation title: “Workflow: A deep dive into developing workflows for SharePoint using Visual Studio and Infopath”)
  • Sample code for the state machine expenses workflow I built
  • My workflow information pack document

Much of the goodness is in the document – the contents are:

  • Links to my favourite workflow resources (blogs, books etc.)
  • How to: work with SharePoint tasks and e-mails in workflows
  • How to: Pass data into an InfoPath task edit form
  • How to: retrieve what the user entered into an InfoPath task edit form
  • How to: debug a workflow
  • How to: use serialization to retrieve data from an InfoPath form
  • Advanced workflow tips
  • Workflow pitfalls
  • Appendix 1 – correlation tokens

You can download all this from http://sharepointchris.googlepages.com/COB_WorkflowResources.zip

P.S. I’ll be expanding on this content – the next couple of articles will be workflow-focused.

Speaking at UK SharePoint user group on workflow

For anybody interested in workflow, I’ll be speaking at the UK user group next week at Microsoft’s London Victoria office on 10th Jan. There are two great sessions so I’d encourage UK SharePointers who can get to London to come down. Needless to say, I’ll be posting my slides/sample code etc. for those further afield.

For those considering coming down, the meeting should be fun and it looks like a high turnout – we have over 100 people registered already. My fellow speaker is SharePoint MVP and all-round good guy Andrew Woodward.

The timetable and session abstracts are:

1800 – 1830 Arrive

1830 – 1930  Workflow: A deep dive into developing workflows for SharePoint using Visual Studio and Infopath – Chris O’Brien

Of the three types of workflow available to the SharePoint developer, only Visual Studio workflows provide complete flexibility and power. Without the right information however, the learning curve can be steep for the uninitiated. In this session we’ll start with initial decisions such as SharePoint Designer workflows vs. Visual Studio workflows, sequential vs. state-machine, and InfoPath vs ASP.Net for forms. From there we’ll cover the key steps to get a workflow up and running including retrieving data from an InfoPath form, configuring workflow activities, and deployment of the workflow. Over several demos, we’ll build a basic state-machine workflow, and show why workflow is a valuable addition to any SharePoint developer’s skillset.

1930 – 2000 Snacks and drinks

2000 – 2100 Search Server 2008 – What is it, how does it affect me and should I be testing it? – Andrew Woodward

A look at the recently announced Search Server 2008.  We will walk through an installation and demonstration of the new Federated Search capabilities, what’s provided out of the box, what you can get from free, how to leverage sites using Live.com and how to federate results from Google. We will discuss how this fits in with your existing WSS and MOSS deployments and the release timescales.

Registration/more info is at http://suguk.org/forums/thread/7300.aspx – please add to the thread leaving your full name