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SharePoint Conference Recap

Written By: Virgil Carroll
Posted: 10/7/2011

California actually got rain a couple of the days during the week of the conference, but that did not take away from any of the luster of the week's event.

Not every session I attended was great, but they all had several important tidbits of valuable information that I will be able to utilize in the near future. Overall, the conference was well worth the investment. Like many things in life, you get out what you put in.

Here are a few of the sessions I attended and what I got out of them:

BI Architecture – This session was ok, but not great. It really burns me as an attendee when a speaker says their demo machine had issues JUST before coming in. I find it somewhat hard to believe, and a very lame excuse. However, the speaker at this session knew the topic well, and he shared some nice diagrams I had not seen before. I look forward to reviewing them more closely in the slides. He also had '20 questions,' which are similar to the assets I put together for my BI sessions when I speak. The main difference is my questions are broken down by category.

Azure Post session - Steve Fox presented a lot of this session, and it was fire hose to brain. So much information yet all of it was valuable. Several labs were shown that are all publicly available. What was really great for me was seeing a friend's Javascript library being touted by Microsoft as a way to get things done. I'm referring to the work of Marc Anderson, who wrote 'SPServices' which you can find on CodePlex. Great stuff!

Seattle school district – This session was very disappointing. Number one, it was VERY short. Secondly, not much information was given out. There were some valuable nuggets of information around infrastructure, how it was built out, and the tools being used (such as InfoPath).

Developer 365 Story – This session started out with what felt like a sales pitch showing the different plans, but in retrospect the information is important to know. For instance with 365 plan 3 or 4, you can use Access Services and InfoPath Services. Here are a few other valuable nuggets from the session:

  • You are able to use the MAC version of Office against 365
  • As a developer, you must have Visual Studio 2010
  • Applications are only deployed as Sandbox solutions
  • Directory Sync does not do passwords
  • Use REST API with Excel Services
  • SQL Server reports do not work with 365 as of yet

Denali and PowerPivot – This was a very good session. The KPI Screen is new! Crescent uses PowerPivot. You can import PowerPivot models into Denali as a database, which is VERY nice. You can do row level security – Excellent! You can also import PowerPivot into VS 2010. There are a lot of great new features in Denali. It is a must have if you are using PowerPivot!

Managing ECM Content Types – Lots of good information, but definitely a 200 level session. It was nice to see that there was code written to run reports on this stuff, and I hope that code is shared. Honestly, not much new in this session other than to reinforce the basics if this is what you are doing already in your organization. Nuggets:

  • There are two data models for content types: Database and Feature Based
  • 1 Content Type Hub per Metadata SSA
  • Daisy chain to move from dev-test-prod

Integrating Social Networks with SharePoint – This session started out ON FIRE. GREAT information showing how Ticketmaster is doing things right (even though they are not using SharePoint). They covered Facebook plugins, twitter stuff, and some UI. The session devolved into code. I really believe this should have been two sessions, but overall a very very good session.

Other – This category is for non-sessions (the rest of the conference). The SharePoint Conference is really about two things; networking and knowledge. One knowledge nugget that I did not take advantage of until the last day was visiting the central Microsoft booth. There was a treasure trove of (Microsoft) people working there including some who I consider 'SharePoint friends' (such as Eric Harlen). I hate to be the one to tell you, but if you did not visit this area and/or speak with the folks working there – YOU missed out. I had the pleasure of speaking in detail with a SSRS Engineer about PowerPivot, Denali, SSRS, and Crescent. I was able to obtain a LOT of knowledge that is public info but is not common knowledge or been blogged on yet. He was smart, sharp, patient, and excellent. You will be seeing this stuff in my upcoming talks. (check out and to see where I'll be speaking next)

My overall thoughts on this conference is that it is a value event worth going to and supporting. Even though there were no big announcements, the information is what you make of it. I laughed when Steve Fox asked the question, 'Who here knows SharePoint in and out?' About 5 folks raised their hands. No MCMs did, because they will be the FIRST to tell you no one knows SharePoint in and out. There are always new things to learn. The SharePoint Conference and other events like SPTechCon ( or even SharePoint Saturdays are some of the best places to find that knowledge.

These conferences require a lot of work from a lot of different people. High Monkey had a booth at the SharePoint Conference this year and it went fantastic. Joel, Brad, and Jared manned the booth and I just want to thank them and everyone who dropped by. We had a lot of fun with everyone, especially the folks who posed in front of our booth (in the High Monkey t-shirts). Great sports!

I think the keynote at the conference stated it best (in a subtle way): Business is a very serious thing, but you need to have fun. There has to be a value to life. High Monkey brings that (balance of serious, fun, and value) to our customers and partners.

See everyone soon!

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 10/7/2011 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments