SharePoint Saturday Chicago 2013 Follow Up

I can honestly say that I’m sure that everyone enjoyed SharePoint Saturday Chicago yesterday. From the location at the Hard Rock Chicago to the fantastic speaker line up (I snuck in) to the overall convivial atmosphere, it was an event to remember. Kudos go out to Kris Wagner (@SharePointKris), Doug Hemminger (@DougHemminger), Chris Geier (@chrisgeier), and Bryan Gulley (@UXJester) for all the hard work they put in to make it a special event. I know many others worked long and hard, too, but those names are not in my old brain. Thanks to all of you!

IMG_6503[1]Dux Sy (@meetdux) kicked things off with his keynote “Lead the Enterprise Social Revolution”, where we learned that #shifthappens. Yuo can see Dux’s entire presentation in a live recording on UStream or review or download his slides on SlideShare.

There were some other sessions.

My session was about “Designing with SharePoint 2013”, wherein I attempted to describe some of the high level goals one should have in designing for the platform as well as to demonstrate the great capabilities in the new Design Manager.

We had a standing room only crowd in the truly small Firebird room, so we all got a bit more chummy by rubbing elbows and knees. I was able to assist my pal Marcy Kellar (@marcykellar) in welcoming SharePoint newcomer Cara Gail (@caragail) from Indianapolis.

This session will introduce you to the possibilities of design and customization in SharePoint 2013. Tour the newest interface features, learn best practices, and discover exciting new ways to interact with your SharePoint 2013 environment.

While we can still implement designs in SharePoint 2013 the “old way” we’re used to, there are new capabilities that can make the process easier for both designers who are very familiar with SharePoint and those designers who have never worked with SharePoint.

We’ll look at the new Design Manager capabilities and learn how to create and integrate Master pages, Display Templates, and Page Layouts.  Not only does the Design Manager make it easier to create new designs for SharePoint from scratch, it can also help you manage your existing designs after an upgrade. The Design Manager even allows designers to use the tools they know and love like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or any other HTML editor.

I didn’t have any fancy-schmancy live video recording going on like Dux did, but you can see my slides on SlideShare.

IMG_6508[1]After the formalities and a brief SharePint, a bunch of speakers and a few attendees decided to have dinner at The Signature Room at the 95th® (“The Restaurant Chicago Looks Up To”, don’t you know?) You can see the crew in this photo: Lori Gowen (@LoriGowin), Doug Hemminger (one of our most excellent hosts for the event), Kim Frehe (@KimFrehe), Brittany Kwait (@BrittanyKwait), Michelle Caldwell (@shellecaldwell), Chris Johnson (@LoungeFlyZ), Ruven Gotz (@ruveng), and another SharePoint community newcomer Dan Moore. (Dan: Isn’t the SharePoint community awesome? How was the duck hash this morning?)

IMG_6541[1]Finally, I had a little time to walk around this morning and made it to see a few things. Most impressive was “The Bean”, aka “Cloud City”. I’ve wanted to see this sculpture ever since it was first installed, and it did impress. (I really only went to see it to make Dave Coleman (@davecoleman146) jealous, and it worked.)

SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire (SPSNH) 2013 Wrap Up

Thanks to everyone who attended my session at SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire (that’s SPSNH to many of you) over the weekend.

Thanks also to everyone who worked so hard to make SPSNH happen this year. It’s a helluva lot of work to put together events like this, and everyone deserves a big round of applause, no matter how many times they do it.

Slides for my session SharePoint Solutions with SPServices are posted on SlideShare, or you can view them here.

Rock on with SPServices, and let me know what cool stuff you come up with!

SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire (SPSNH) and SharePointFest Chicago 2012 Follow Up

Last week was a busy one for me, not so much with client work (though I managed to get a lot of that in, too), but with speaking at SharePoint events.

On Saturday, September 22, I was honored to deliver one sixth of the sessions in the keynote slot which kicked off the day. My session was called Getting Started with SharePoint 2013 Development. My goal with the session (it was the Standard development session to Bob German’s Advanced session) was to give an overview of what I see as some of the big changes that developers can expect when they start working with 2013. Rather than try to cover every nook and cranny (or even a large portion of them), I tried to give some links to articles out in the blogosphere that I thought gave good overviews of some of the topics. Thanks to people like Eric Shupps, Randy Drisgill, and others – I pointed to their content for later reading.

SharePointFest Chicago 2012On 25 September at SharePointFest Chicago, I was lucky to be able to present a full day workshop called SharePoint Design Essentials with the great Kyle Schaeffer (@kyleschaeffer). Watching Kyle do the design stuff he does live is a sight to see. Make time for it someday if you have any interest in SharePoint design at all. Kyle’s posted the main slide deck we used over on his blog. For the jQuery section, I did an abbreviated version of my A jQuery Primer for SharePoint slides from SharePointFest Denver.

My first regular session in Chicago was one that I’ve been doing different versions of over the last year or so-called Flying in the Cloud: New Ways to Develop for SharePoint. It’s different every time because I am always adding new examples based on the client work I’ve been doing. It’s gotten a bit long in the tooth, and it’s probably time to retire it. To me it’s not a new way of working, but with SharePoint 2013 coming along with its new app model, it’s becoming almost fashionable to use things like jQuery, Web Services, DVWPs, XSL, and CSS. You know, that “no code” stuff.

If you’re interested in the demos I showed, I’ve packaged them into a couple of WSPs which you can download and instantiate in your own environment if you’d like. Additionally, for each of the examples, I’ve done other blog posts which describe what I did and how they work, along with the code. If you can’t find the posts, feel free to ping me via the contact for or on Twitter (@sympmarc) and I can shoot you a link for what you’re looking for.

Finally, I did a session at SharePointFest Chicago called SharePoint Solutions with SPServices. It’s a live tour of the SPServices site, along with some demos from my inner sanctum: the WSS site where I do all of the development for SPServices. No slides, no net. I couldn’t find my HDMI-VGA adapter, but thanks to the very nice gentleman in the second row who loaned me his laptop, we managed to cover just about what I would have from my local VM. If you attended that session or you just have questions about SPServices, please post them in the SPServices Discussions on Codeplex.

SharePoint Saturday Boston and SharePoint Conference .ORG

I’ve had a wonderful time over the last four days as an attendee and speaker at two great SharePoint events.


The first one was SharePoint Saturday Boston, right in my own backyard at Microsoft’s offices in Waltham, MA. Helping Pradeepa Siva, Talbott Crowell (@talbott), and Geoff Varosky (@gvaro) with the organizing a bit certainly gave me a new perspective on the complexity of putting a SharePoint Saturday (or any event) together. All of the things that we as attendees take for granted (the coffee showing up at the right time, good pens for the name tags, trash bags) add up to an staggering array of details to manage.

At SharePoint Saturday Boston, I spoke about Flying in the Cloud: New Ways to Develop in SharePoint. To some degree, it’s the same sort of stuff (DVWPs, jQuery, SPServices, etc.) that I’ve been talking about for years now; moving to the Cloud simply makes it all even more useful. As you know if you attended, I didn’t use many slides (I never do), but here they are if you’d like them. See below for the demo sites.


Next was the SharePoint Conference .ORG in Reston, VA, put on by my friends at SusQTech. This is a wonderful conference focused on the public sector primarily, but with plenty of great content for anyone working with SharePoint. SusQTech is a somewhat unusual firm in the they combine world-class design talent with world class SharePoint development and admin talent. There aren’t that many shops that can handle things soup-to-nuts like they can. Plus, they are simply swell people to know.

On Sunday I taught an all day workshop with one of my design heroes, Kyle Schaeffer (@kylschaeffer) on SharePoint UI Essentials. If you haven’t checked out Kyle’s blog before, you definitely should, especially his work on responsive design and the v5 master page. The sold out workshop took the attendees through the gamut of thinking about SharePoint design, from the “What is HTML and CSS?” level to customizing master pages and adding jQuery into the mix to enhance the user experience. Kyle and I had a great time teaching together (let’s do it again soon, Kyle!) and the feedback was really positive.

On Monday, I did a jQuery-focused session called Working Magic with jQuery and SharePoint Web Services in which I showed how you can use jQuery to spice up the user interface and improve the interactions your users have with SharePoint. Of course, using the SOAP Web Services through SPServices and the value-added functions like SPCascadeDropdowns it contains played a role in the demos. As with most of my sessions, there were few slides, but here they are.

I used the same demo sites to talk about all of these topics to some degree, focusing on different bits and pieces within them as the topics shifted. If you’d like to look under the hood on those demos, here are the Middle Tier and Budgets sites saved as WSPs in a ZIP file. They come from Office365, and sometimes that may cause feature mismatches if you try to instantiate them in an on-premises environment. If you have issues, check my post on the problems I’ve had, along with the solutions, and ping me if that doesn’t work.

SPSUK and SEF11 Wrap Up

It was a great pleasure to be able to make a small swoop through Europe this last week to present at SharePoint Saturday UK (SPSUK) in Nottingham, England and at the SharePoint and Exchange Forum 2011 (SEF11) in Stockholm, Sweden. Both events were well-attended, with something like 250-350 eager learners at each.

SharePoint Saturday UK 12th November 2011

it’s always interesting to see what the differences are across the crowds at different events where I speak. There are stereotypical things one might expect, of course, but very often they turn out to more true than not. The UK crowd was vocal, but probably more polite in their questions than an American audience might be. “Excuse me, but might you please explain why you’ve decided that…”, as opposed to “What on earth made you think…” I was told that the Swedes would be extremely polite and ask no questions until after the session. I was glad to find that wasn’t fully true. There were fewer “inline” questions, but they were good ones. And perhaps a few more after the sessions than during because of it.

The organizers of both events did a marvelous job. For SPSUK, it was Tony Pounder, Mark, McCrea, and Brett Lonsdale. It being a SharePoint Saturday, there was also a large team of red-shirted volunteers. I didn’t get a chance to meet them all, of course, but without a great team, an event like that can’t go off without a hitch, like it did. From the Speaker Dinner at the Hall of Justice (where they purportedly held “Robin Hood”, though there wasn’t just one) to the SharePint at the Cross Keys Pub, everything was grand. That’s Robin Hood on the right, introducing the keynote speaker, Todd Flint.

IMG_2224In Stockholm, the inimitable Göran Husman was the ringmaster, but I got the impression that his daughter Beatrice was the real powerhouse behind it all. Ever humble, Beatrice chose to leave the event before it finished lest we try to call attention to her and her efforts. Beatrice, we all thank you! I also would like to give special thanks to my compatriot Christian Stahl, who invited me to the event. Christian and I have “known” each other for quite some time over the InterWebs, but it was great to be able to spend some significant quality time with him discussing Data View Web Parts (DVWPs), CSS, jQuery, SPServices, and all manner of development opportunities they provide when added together. I look forward to corresponding with Christian even more in the future now that we’ve met in person. Everyone at Humandata, which put on the conference, was wonderful to meet and work with.

The sessions I did at the two events overlapped, so I can offer the material here together. At SPSUK, it was “Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier” (slides), which I repeated at SEF11 (slides). I also was happy to do a session entitled “SharePoint Solutions with SPServices” at SEF11. In both locations, I used a SharePoint 2010 site which has quite a few demos in it. I’m happy to make the entire site available to you here. It includes all of the demo stuff I showed in the “Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier” session, plus a few other goodies if you poke around a little. Remember that everything there is demo code, so think carefully before using it in your own environment. It may well need some significant changes to be valuable for you. Hopefully as a learning tool, the value is already there.

For the “SharePoint Solutions with SPServices” session, I didn’t have any specific demo materials other than the SPServices site and my own WSS-based development site where I do all the magic to make SPServices work for you. Packaging that up would just be an embarrassment, as it includes every messy, blind alley thing I’ve done over the last two-plus years in building SPServices. If there’s anything specific you’d like to get your hands on that you saw in the session, just ping me through the Contact tab above and we’ll get it sorted out for you. I do have a demo site in the same environment that you can reach via the Web here that has some of the pages I showed.

Thanks again to all for a wonderful European week I leave you with a photo of my friend Christian leading the Humandata band in a rousing rendition of a Nirvana song whose name I forget, but they played it well.