On Saturday I attended a great event, Sharepoint Saturday, at Microsoft‘s offices located in Alpharetta, Ga. The weather was perfect yet the event was packed which I think says something positive about the growing popularity of Sharepoint. The event was free of charge with a number of sponsors paying the costs and top notch speakers many of whom flew or drove from out of town on their own dime to present sessions. There were so many great sessions going on simultaneously I had a difficult time choosing which to attend. The first one I attended had a long title, “Building the next Generation of Sharepoint Web Parts – how to leverage JQuery and Silverlight” presented by Phil Wicklund. Phil gave an easy to understand overview of JQuery along with some great tips for getting started…and demonstrated how to easily include JQuery in sharepoint web parts. Phil stressed checking out existing plugins first at http://plugins.jquery.com before writing anything from scratch in JQuery….good tip.
I actually didn’t stay for the 2nd half of Phil’s presentation on Silverlight
instead I moved over to Dux Raymond’s
talk on “5 Ways to Enhance Sharepoing Site Usability” where I caught 3 out of the 5 ways. Sorry I didn’t write them down I’m waiting on the slide deck.
For the next set of sessions I split my time between Jason Storey “Building a Data Centric Portal in Sharepoint” where Jason demonstrated using the data view web part in Sharepoint Designer and “Integrating SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services
with Sharepoint” where Chris Regan
walked us through step by step the ardious task of installing and configuring reporting services and sharepoint to work together. Interesting that the reporting services configuration wizard sometimes “lies” to you and other times simply doesn’t work without manual intervention…whew…it’s going to be much tougher than I thought getting reporting services working with my sharepoint server but at least now I know.
A nice deli box lunch was provided by one of the sponsors and I made the mistake of finding a shady spot in the beautiful outdoors to enjoy it. Which started me thinking what a great day it is and how much I would like to attend the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. I resolve to attend one more session before heading home and to the festival.
For my last session I picked “Business Intelligence – Build a Dashboard with Excel Services and KPIs” by Jeremy Minich. In the past I’ve built a BI dashboard in Sharepoint without really understanding all of the steps and have struggled getting a couple of things to work so I thought I would benefit from seeing an expert walk through the process. And I was correct as Jeremy did an outstanding job explaining the various BI features in Sharepoint and demonstrated how to setup dashboards and KPI’s step by step exactly what I needed to see.
I missed a couple of sessions and the give-a-ways at the end of the day by leaving early but I still had a great time at Sharepoint Saturday and accomplished what I needed…a new burst of sharepoint inspiration as well as specific “how to” knowledge of new technologies and techniques.
Thanks to Microsoft and all the other sponsors, speakers, and volunteer’s who made Sharepoint Saturday a success. I’m looking forward to the next one….and hoping for bad weather on event day.
If you are a new (less than three years old) startup or entrepreneur developing a software product there is a new program available from Microsoft you should know about. The program, called Bizspark, is designed to accelerate the success of early stage Startups by providing fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools and productions licenses of server products, with no upfront costs and minimal requirements.
If you join the Bizspark
program you will be provided with a MSDN Premiere
license which gives you access to all of Microsoft development products including Visual Studio 2008 Team edition and production licenses for Windows Server 2003/2008, SQL
Server 2005, Sharepoint
Portal Server, and Biztalk
In order to be accepted into the Bizspark program you must be sponsored by a Microsoft Network Partner. Last week I applied and was approved on behalf of my department at Georgia Tech to be a network partner for companies located in Georgia. So if you are interested in participating in Bizspark send me an email or leave a comment (make sure you provide an email so I can contact you).