The first day of SharePoint conference 2006

What a treat today was.

By my calculations today's keynote was at least a $1.75 million value.  Someone told me they added up all the money that Mr. Gates sold over the last 2 years and it came out to being something like 7 billion.  The equation looks something like 7 Billion / 2 years / 2000 hours roughly in a year.  Mr. Gates was there for about an hour and I have to say that he does much better impromptu than he does with a regular speech.  Watching him field questions was amazing.  I've worked for lots of companies in a lot of places and I've not know anyone who knows the details of their business as well as he does.  I've often wondered how much minutia does this guy know?  How much does he really do?  I have the feeling he knows and does a lot.  I didn't start taking notes until a funny slide came up.

5 Things Bill Loves About Office SharePoint Server 2007
1) SharePoint for Composite Applications
   These are like team sites that have KPI's, workflow, or a myriad of any or all other features.  I believe they are called composite applications because their constituents are autonomous features that know how to make nice nice with other features.
2) Search and Business Data Cataloger
   I don't know why these aren't two separate things.  The BDC was a major piece of the puzzle that kept SharePoint from being easily implemented in the organizations.
3) Client Integration
   Properties are more readily available now.
4) Excel Services
   No ActiveX, all JavaScript.
5) Wikis, Blogs, & RSS
   From what I can tell these are fairly Traditional.

My list is a little different

  • Business Data Catalog
    Work Flow
    Composite Applications
    Records Management
    Site administration and UI overhaul

I have to become better friends with some of these technologies but that's the way it stacks up for me.  Keep in mind, I've only seen them movie, I haven't tried to live out the story in real life.

I saw some pretty cool stuff that I was concerned about before.  There's a new piece of functionality in outlook called overlay.  Basically you can take 2 or more calendars and overlay them.  I was experimenting with the Outlook integration with a SharePoint site and I ended up with two calendars and I thought to myself, "Well that really sucks. That can't be their idea of a solution."  and it turns out that there is a menu option to overlay a calendar over the existing view.

I also learned why there are several different databases in the Microsoft world.  It basically boils down to time to versatility and each application having it's own set of needs.

There's a thing called a spotwatch and I want one.  But I don't know which one to get, naturally I want the latest and most expensive one there is.  If anyone knows, please comment.

That was pretty much it for Bill Gate's speech.  There were quite a few speakers there Kurt DelBene, Tom Rizzo, Mike Fitzmaurice, Jon Kaufman (hopefully I'm spelling some of these right) I've seen some of these guys before at Tech-Ed and SharePoint Connections, but they were all excellent speakers.  If you are ever torn on content for a presentation look to the speaker and go with one of these guys.  Actually I haven't seen a bad presentation yet.  I was trying to decide if it was because it's all new or if they were god presenters.  I've relied on my toastmasters experience and I'd have to say that everyone I saw today gave a great presentation.  There were a couple of nervous stances but the words that were coming out of their mouths were clear and orderly.  Which is what I care about the most.

One of the slides showed that there were 75 million licenses spread over 10,000 customers and 380 were case studies.  I worked on 2 of those.

I saw InfoPath render in a browser, and that was pretty cool.  I need to look at it a bit closer.

They talked about lower barrier to creating a site.  That sure sounds nice and I'm not knocking it but the problem as I see it is adoption.  Getting people to start using the sites and to continue using the sites.  Being productive with the sites.  Keeping them from being monsters that we have to feed.  Those are all things that I have to work on.  Sites don't mean a thing without participation. Every little bit counts.

We were told to take a deeper look into issue tracking and to look at it for more than issue tracking.  So I'm going to.  Not tonight though.

Outlook becomes an RSS reader.  A quick note about all RSS readers.  Once the client has the RSS feed they don't delete any previous posts they just add the new ones that aren't there.  This means that if you had someone who's permissions have been removed from a certain RSS feed it isn't going to remove the previous headers from the client.  The client already knows about it and can't unknow about it.  So give it some careful thought when you are handing out RSS feeds.

There is email integration between exchange and SharePoint.  Apparently there was a very good session on it today that I could not attend.  The room was full! I was surprised.  Some people were really upset.  It almost got ugly.

KPI's were pretty cool looking,  I need to take a much closer look at this, but essentially you create your relationships or rules and then you pop in a web part.  presto whamo you have a KPI web part that will display to the user very custom information.  This is going to change the way people work if it really works well.

Jon Kaufman said something to the effect that people are the center of the Intranet.  I feel this is so very important and very well stated.

Using 2.0 was a great idea/achievement.  It was also the largest investment they made in SharePoint.  I'm so glad they did this.  I believe we're going to have a lot of cool web parts for SharePoint soon.  As it was started by Mike (I think) SharePoint is now a citizen in the .Net Nation (2.0)

Take a look at auditing, I didn't get to see the guts of it too much but it sure looked good.  I got the impression you could see when a user looks at a document, when they edit it, what they edited.  They went kid of fast through that part but I don't mind, at least I have an idea that it's there and worth looking into.  Also need to have a look at content types, workflow, content management, digital rights management, and search.

A mantra that I heard more than once said, "if you can make it available in a browser you should do so."

We saw the SharePoint designer and that was really cool.  That's something worth looking into further.  From what I saw today it didn't look like FrontPage face lift.

We got some good links to review, and I happen to like them.

Here's a Zen style of programming that I haven't run into before.  We don't have loosely coupled applications.  They are restfull applications.  Same thing, just one is a little more colorfull.

Here's one I didn't know - add contents=1 to the end of a urls of a web part page.  The web part management page will be loaded and you can easily remove the offending web part.

Here's another one I didn't know - all workflows created in WF can be used in SharePoint.  Sweet!

Mention was made that browser neutral was a goal.  But it wasn't stressed that yes this works with FireFox.  I've always disliked this argument.  I've always said, "hey screw you, it's free, stop talkin' start installing" Well FireFox has that whole addin thing going for it.  They have some pretty cool addin's.  Has anyone noticed that since Microsoft has kicked the crap out of Netscape there haven't been great strides in IE.  Go FireFox Go!

In the Wikis, blogs and RSS feeds I picked up some elevator speak.

  • Wikis are good for document authoring via collaboration like fleshing out a business process.  FAQ's, howto's and knowledge base are another great thing to build on top of Wikis
    • Wiki's verses:
      • Word Documents - Collaboration vs. Rich Document Authoring
      • Discussion Lists - facts vs. opinions
      • Blogs - topics vs. timelines
      • Team Site - adhoc vs structure
    • RSS Verses:
      • email and alerts - pull vs push  this has to do with priority
      • Browsing pages what you need when you need it vs. random

I was so moved by the session that I want to build a community site on MOSS.

Finally records management.  the whole thing looks pretty good from the presentations that I saw and the lab that I previewed but I still need more miles on it.  Policies are looking pretty darn sexy.

Well that's all the notes that I can read and I have to get up in a few hours to go back at it.  Let me know what your opinions are.

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