SPTechCon Austin 2015 Wrap-Up

A splendid time was had by all at the inaugural Austin, TX version of the venerable SharePoint Technology Conference, usually known as SPTechCon. There was a tangibly different energy in the air at this SPTechCon. I’m sure some of that had to do with the new venue, but there seemed to be a bit more to it than that.

My friends at BZ Media did a wonderful job – as always – with the conference. David Rubinstein, Stacy Burris, Katie Serignese (soon to be Katie Flash!), and the whole team really know what they are doing and it shows.

In addition to the two session I presented, I was honored to be a part of an “expert panel”, discussing ‘SharePoint at the Crossroads’. I think SharePoint always seems to be at some sort of crossroads, so there’s always a lot to talk about.


Photo courtesy Heather Newman (@heddanewman)

After hours, we had a meeting of the SharePoint beards and thought deep thoughts.20150210_223631000_iOS

Here are many of the speakers at the speaker party.


Photo courtesy Christina Wheeler (@cwheeler76)

And what would a trip to Austin be without a stop at Salt Lick? BTW, that dude sitting behind Joel is Chris Tomich. He was there all the way from Perth, Australia (via San Francisco, where he’s spending a few months). Chris is one of my SharePoint heroes (not to slight anyone else), and it was awesome to have the chance to spend a bunch of time with him in Austin.


Photo courtesy Joel Oleson (@joeloleson)

The ‘Q:


Oh, and I presented two sessions. Thanks to everyone who joined me for them. The slides are up on Slideshare if you’d like to take a look.

The session I did on Content Types was a new one for me, and I had an unbelievably large and engaged crowd. Clearly this is a topic area where there need to be more resources available.


SPTechCon SFO 2014 Wrap Up

SPTechConLogoAnother splendid time was had by all at the latest rendition of SPTechCon, this time in sunny (mostly) San Francisco at the Hilton Union Square. The BZMedia folks who put on SPTechCon are great people and both the San Francisco and Boston versions are on my list of favorite SharePoint events.

Announcing SPTechCon BostonIf you weren’t able to attend this one, you may still be interested in my slides. Face it, though: it’s much more fun to go to these events to watch me make a fool of myself in person. Consider, nay decide that you will be, attending the Boston SPTechCon coming up September 16-19, 2014.

I’ve posted them to SlideShare for your fun and enjoyment. Even though several of the sessions I did were repeats of previous performances, they continually evolve, so every deck always has some new goodies in it.


Twitterview About Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier with the SPTechCon Folks Today

SharePoint Technology Conference | Boston | June 1-3, 2011

I’m still not sure I’m sold on the whole Twitterview concept, but it seems to be an idea that is catching on out there, as I’ve seen two others going on in the last few days. What I *can* say is that it’s always fun to interact with the good folks at BZ Media who are behind the SharePoint Technology Conferences (SPTechCon). Thanks especially to Katie Serignese (@BZK80) for putting the Twitterview together today. You can read the transcript over at the SPTechWeb site, or right here. I’ve bolded Katie’s questions below.

SPTechWeb “Twitterview” with Marc Anderson

By Katie Serignese

April 29, 2011 —  Marc Anderson, a SharePoint MVP, discusses his experience with SharePoint and “middle tier” development. He will be presenting on the topic at SPTechCon Boston June 1–3.

Hey, @sympmarc..ready?

@SPTechCon You betcha!

@SPTechCon is now going to try to keep me to 140 chars. Should be interesting!

.@sympmarc Although most people here know you, please tell us a little about yourself and your experience with #SharePoint. #SPTechCon

I’m one of those people who claim linkage to SP going back to Tahoe et al. You can real my bio here. http://sympmarc.com/about/ #sptechcon

To me, SharePoint is the platform we have been trying to build since at least the mid-90s for KM and collaboration. Bees knees. #SPTechCon

Because of that fabulousness, I’ve dedicated myself to working w/ #SharePoint for the last 5 years or so. #SPTechCon

Ok, so @sympmarc you’re teaching about the “Middle Tier” at #SPTechCon, what exactly is this concept about?

Best way to understand what I mean is to read my Manifesto. http://ow.ly/4JU9d #SPTechCon Basically the working place b/w the UI and VS.

It’s an alternative way to develop powerful solutions within SharePoint. Not always the answer, but often it is. #SPTechCon

Your unique governance model should dictate how it fits into your own development portfolio. Governance understanding is key. #SPTechCon

The Middle Tier tools are SharePoint Designer, DVWPs, XSL, jQuery/JavaScript, CSS, and SPD-based Workflows. #SPTechCon

.@sympmarc We understand that you’ve had some pushback on this, why do you think that is? #SharePoint #SPTechCon

I think pushback comes for several reasons. 1st is that “middle tier” can mean other things. (So does “customization”.) #SPTechCon

2nd reason for pushback is that it’s not the “Microsoft way”. It’s non-traditional development to a .NET developer. #SPTechCon

3rd is specific reasons it may not make sense from a deployment perspective. Did I mention governance? #SPTechCon

The good thing is that these techniques have won many converts since I wrote the Manifesto. #SPTechCon They just plain work well.

When people hear me talk about the Middle Tier at #SPTechCon, they see that it makes sense as prt of their development portfolio. #SPTechCon

Governance of the process, @sympmarc? #SharePoint #SPTechCon

Governance as applied to development and content mgmt. In the Middle Tier, code is content, too. #SPTechCon

When I talk about governance w/my clients, it encompasses everything about the way people interact w/SharePoint. All people. #SPTechCon

Have I mentioned yet that if you register for #SPTechCon with the code ANDERSON, you can save an extra $200? :-)

You stole my line, @sympmarc! I was going to ask if you knew of a discount code!

If more people use the code ANDERSON than any other, I win a Motorola XOOM, which I’ll raffle off to someone who uses the code! #SPTechCon

So, @sympmarc what new things about #SharePoint and middle tier tools can be learned at #SPTechCon?

Since the Middle Tier has gotten some street cred, I’m not the only one talking about it at #SPTechCon. Many others will be talking abt it 2

Great minds like @jbhoward and @mrackley will also be talking about doing things in the Middle Tier. #SPTechCon It’s great venue to learn.

I’ll be doing my session “Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier” and I’ll be at #SPTechCon the whole time. Too valuable to miss any of it!

(If you know me, you know that I’m not blowing smoke. #SPTechCon rocks.)

Well, awesome and thank you, @sympmarc. Can’t wait to see you in Boston @ #SPTechCon! :o)

Learn more about the Middle Tier at #SPTechCon. Reg now with code ANDERSON for $200 off & a chance to win a XOOM Tablet


SPTechCon Boston 2010 – Recap and Accolades


BZ MediaThe first thing I want to say is that the folks at BZMedia really know how to put one of these things together. The thing that really tells me that is that they were smiling and helpful through the whole darn thing. If you’ve never been involved in planning an event even 1/8 this size, let me tell you that it is an *incredible* amount of good, old-fashioned hard work.  David, Kathy, and the crew make it look easy, and they can only do that be being *really* good at it. Thanks a million to the whole crew! (I’d list every last one of them if I had any memory for names.)

The sessions were, of course, first rate. Even better to me is the chance to spend some quality time with the best SharePoint minds in the business.

On Wednesday morning I headed to Become a SharePoint 2010 Power User with Joshua Haebets. Not only did Joshua fly all the way from Melbourne, Australia for the conference, he really knows his stuff. This was a half-day workshop in which Joshua took us through a lot of the things that a power user of SharePoint 2010 needs to know. Amazingly, even with the jet lag, I don’t think he stumbled on anything. I was watching carefully. He was especially responsive to all fo the questions and seemed to have an answer to everything that folks threw at him. Good ‘um, Joshua!

Wednesday afternoon, I sallied (Perhaps due to the Australian effect? Or is that Sheila?) over to PerformancePoint Services—A Service in Three Four Acts with Peter SerzoI’ve always found the 2007 version of PerformancePoint totally unfathomable, so I wanted to see what was up with the 2010 incarnation. Peter gave us a great overview, even making it entertaining with a little Jeopardy mixed in. I know it was just a trick to get us to remember things, but still, it was fun. (Until Peter called on me while I was tweeting.  Straight back to second grade experience, that.) FYI – Peter recently joined High Monkey Consulting, so congratulations to Peter on the new gig!

On Thursday, I did my two sessions: Data View Web Part Basics and Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery. All in all, I think the sessions went well. Packed rooms either means that people thought I was giving something really cool away or that Middle Tier development is actually starting to get the attention it deserves. I’m going to go with the latter. I’ve taken to doing sessions like this as "all demo", aka "working without a net". I fumbled a bit, of course, but everyone was very gracious, with the exception of that one guy in the back who threw a tomato. While there weren’t any slides for either session, much of the stuff I demoed is available on my Sympraxis Consulting demo site. If I showed something that you would like to look at more closely and you can’t find it, just let me know.  One plug: If you liked what you saw at my sessions and would like to learn more, check out the USPJ Academy, where I am on the Faculty. I have several courses on Middle Tier topics which might also interest you.

Exhausted from my sessions and the fusillade of questions afterward (just kidding – I love the questions), I crawled down the hall and caught the last half of Creating Custom Branding for SharePoint 2010 with Randy Drisgill.  Randy could pick the colors for your house, convince you you loved them, and have the darn thing painted in the time it takes to say Cascading Style Sheets. Randy makes the art of design look simple and helps bring the mechanics into focus for the ‘rest of us’. Always entertaining and with quite a few ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’. (Sure, without John Ross, Randy was a little lopsided…)


Andrew Connell tweeted the message above on Friday morning, and when I saw it, I wasn’t going to go anywhere else first thing Friday morning but to see Interacting with SharePoint off the Server: Introducing the Client Object Model. Andrew’s always fun to see speak, and he covered this one well, as usual. Andrew went pretty deeply into how managed code, XAML, Silverlight, and script can work on the same problem different ways. You know which one I was most interested in, but understanding how the three would work differently is really useful. I don’t advocate Middle Tier development for everything, only things where it makes sense. The more I know about how the other approaches work, the better suggestions I can make to folks who need to know. I’ve definitely got to dig deeper into the whole client OM and sp.js in SharePoint 2010 sooner rather than later. (I also want to start wrapping the new SP2010 Web Services in SPServices. Any suggestions? Chris Quick already asked me about the Social Data Web Service, so that’s on my list.)

Next I spent some time with the crew from Sandia who had come to the conference. They are trying to reason through how they want to  govern development in their environments and how Middle Tier development fits in. It was a far-ranging conversation that I really enjoyed. It’s great to see folks asking all of the right questions *before* they start firing at the targets.

Next up, the inimitable Ruven Gotz (metadata [roar!]) and Metadata Management with (Oh No… Folders!) in SharePoint 2010. Ruven wasn’t caving in to the whole folders, folders, folders mantra that so many users seem to chant, but he showed some capabilities which are available in SharePoint 2010 which can make folders far more palatable, AND useful. For instance, you can set things up so that items added to a folder inherit specific folder metadata. (This may be the next thing I add to SPServices for the people who will be using WSS 3.0 and/or MOSS for the foreseeable future. I have it roughed out in my head, anyway. Sound useful?) The other really cool thing Ruven covered was the "drop box" concept in SP2010 and how you can set up a single place where users load documents, with your settings determining where they should go based on their metadata values. I’ve built similar things a couple of times in 2007, and boy is it slick when it’s built in rather than having to do it by hand.

For the second to last session of the conference, I decided to go and see Gary Lapointe talk about Variations and the Multilingual User Interface in SharePoint 2010.  I have used Gary’s excellent STSADM extensions from time to time (also using them as the basis for a few unique ones to solve specific client problems) and I wanted to see what Gary was like presenting.  Also, I’ve done a couple of implementations with variations to make them multi-lingual, and I know that it’s far harder than most people think, especially once you start thinking multi-cultural as well. (What does the color red mean in Japan? Germany?) Gary has clearly done a *lot* of this type of work and knows how to skitter up the ropes and down very well. If you’re even *thinking* about doing this sort of thing,. you should give Gary a ring. You’ll come away amazed at what’s ahead of you and also knowing someone who can very clearly help you through it. One little tidbit from this session: Several times during the conference I heard people say that script cannot be used in a Content Editor Web Part in SharePoint 2010. Gary demoed something which showed that isn’t true. Hooray!  Migrations to SP2010 might work well after all. I need to validate this, of course.

Finally, it was over to see my friend Marcel Meth talk about SharePoint Without the Headaches: What’s Available in the Cloud? Batting cleanup at a big conference is never all that fun, but Marcel drew a decent crowd. I think that the whole cloud computing topic is going to touch more and more of us quickly, and Marcel’s [presentation covered the whys, who’s, and wherefores well. We all came away knowing a bit more about our options and some of the things we need to think about to be successful in the cloud.

All in all, another fantastic SPTechCon. I’ll see you at the next SPTechCon in San Francisco, February 7-9, 2011. (C’mon, guys, we all know it’s really Burlingame.) Then back here in Boston next June at the Sheraton (a *much* bigger hotel!).

ADDENDUM: Agh! I almost forgot the most excellent BASPUG meeting on Thursday night. Much merriment and information was slung about (maybe beers are a good idea for all the meetings?) with and by the Ask the Experts panel:

As usual, our emcees Geoff Varosky and Ryan Tacy were in fine form. They even gave away some more of that stuff they keep in the closet, PLUS some cool stuff like they always do.

“Should I Get Certified” Mentioned in the SPTechReport Newsletter from BZ Media

image USPJ Academy‘s own resident curmudgeon’s recent post on Should I Get Certified – or How I Passed My First SharePoint Exam Within 24 Hours of Learning How to Spell SharePoint was mentioned today in the SPTechReport Newsletter from BZ Media. BZ Media are the same folks who bring you SPTechCon, alternating between Boston and San Francisco each year.

If you don’t know about SPTechCon, you should. It’s a great conference, and I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Boston one in October. I’ll be doing sessions on Data View Web Part Basics and Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery. These sessions will be based on the courses I teach at USPJA and will be very interactive and fun. I promise.

At the very least, sign up for the SPTechReport newsletter to stay on top of what’s going on in SharePoint land through the eyes of the ever-vigilant David Rubenstein. You can sign up at the top left of the SPTechCon Web site.