On the 18th of January, Microsoft Events organized a SharePoint Connection in the Amsterdam RAI. In this blog post I’ll post on the sessions I went to see. These are my notes and not a full report on the sessions.
Keynote by Matthijs Hoekstra and Mike Fitzmaurice
The keynote started with the nice promotional video that was also shown at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas back in October. It’s a nice movie with lots of fast moving images and music, good to wake up and get you in a good mood. Matthijs Hoekstra kicked of the keynote by introducing Mike Fitzmaurice. Mike is always a good speaker and he told a story how SharePoint 2010 came to be as it is now. Starting in the pre-2001 age, Mike probably knows most about the revolution SharePoint has made. Although the story was nice to hear, it wasn’t what I expected from the keynote, as I expected a bit more ‘power-talk’. But then again, do we still need that?
MSC34: Implementing Multi-Lingual Solutions on SharePoint 2010 by Spencer HarBar
I’ve never done anything with Multi-lingual sites in SharePoint 2007. Spencer gave a good overview of what it is and when/how variations come into play when doing multi-lingual sites. The important message was to plan up front because turning on variations has a large impact on your SharePoint site, site collection and even farm.
Language packs provide the SharePoint chrome in a different language, this makes the ribbon and menus (site actions, etc) show in a different language. These language packs basically provide site templates in different languages. After the installation of a language pack, you must rerun the configuration wizard. If you install multiple language packs, you only have to run it at the end of the process once.
Variations are there to provide your content in a different way. This also means that site targeting mobile devices are actually a variation too. It’s just shown in a different way. The same principle applies to languages. It’s the same site provided in a different language. There is always a Variation Source, which is where you place the initial and original content. Posting or editing content can kick of a process to provision that content to the variation targets. The variation target gets a draft version so the translators can translate that document into the language required for that variation.
I’m pretty sure this content isn’t new for SharePoint 2010, but still nice to see when you’ve never done variations. Spencer did mention some new features in SharePoint 2010 like:
- View changes editing the draft document shows you the original and new version which makes editing easy.
- The process that copies the documents from Variation Source to Variation Target has changed and is now more configurable.
- Sites can have an alternative language, which makes it possible to have the chrome of SharePoint shown in a different language without having to create a variation of it.
MSC33: Understanding the Service Application Architecture of SharePoint 2010 by Richard Taylor
This talk was about the new Service Application infrastructure which has completely been changed in SharePoint 2010. The room was packed so I was happy to get a seat, near a wall socket even :-)
In SharePoint 2007 there is one SSP that hosted services which sites could use. This is a monolithic design meaning that every service you need is hosted within that same SSP. In SharePoint 2010, this has all been changed and you can now run Services separately and only enable what you really need.
This changes a lot, it makes these services more secure because they can be run under different users and application pools, but it also makes things way more complex. For instance, every services uses its own database, this means that database management has become more complex. But also in terms of architecture, which site needs what service? Also note that some service application can be shared between farms, and some can’t be shared.
For every service application a proxy is created, so all the clients (features, webparts, etc) that need to request information from a service do that using a proxy.
I enjoyed Richard’s session a lot because it made me laugh when we got to the point about upgrading from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. He basically says you should not do that unless you have a very simple site. The way this was told was pretty funny. It also made lots of people unhappy, but I think they didn’t notice until they walked out, as the session was funny, entertaining and informational!
MSC01: ECM for the Masses by Erica Toelle
I’ve been to ECM for the masses at the Las Vegas conference, so I didn’t expect a lot of new stuff. The session covert most of the same topics but more from a business perspective. It showed the new capabilities of the metadata services and the document management features SharePoint 2010 has to offer (Unique document ID, Document sets, etc).
In general I really like this presentation but not having a live environment and using movies to show wasn’t helping a lot. I think the presentation was good and Erica is nice to listen to but would rock if there was a live environment.
I was impressed by the last demo. It showed how you can change where SharePoint stores its blobs of data using configuration in SQL server. After that, a PowerShell script was used to import a directory structure into a SharePoint document library and create shortcuts on the FileSystem to keep the documents in place for the end user. SharePoint 2010 routed the document (based on metadata) to the correct folder in a SharePoint list. I was impressed!
Update: Erica commented on this post (thanks!). Her VM wasn’t working correctly so the video’s used where a backup!
MSC06: Client-Side Technologies in SharePoint 2010 by Jan Tielens
This session covered the 3 new client side object models available to the developer.
The Client OM
In the past, when coding a client side application you could only talk to the SharePoint web services which really wasn’t very nice to do. The new client side OM allows you to request and manipulate information using a normal .NET API on the client. You’ll use the ClientContext object to query SharePoint 2010 in a very efficient way. An example showed it getting information from a list. You can specify which columns you need and that makes the result set very small and efficient to transport over the network.
Silverlight client OM
This is basically the same as the previous two, only in Silverlight. This Works very nice and very efficient.
Read you can, efficient the client OM’s are (joda talk)! Apart from the microphone problems this was a very nice session with a well prepared and worked out demos. Jan is a very good presenter and I enjoyed the session, especially because Jan Tielens was the first trainer I ever had on a SharePoint course so he sort of introduced me to the thing.
Jan also showed the SPVSX extension which allows ‘quick deploy’ for your handy SharePoint 2010 development work.
A nice first day at the SharePoint Connections 2010. A lot of people complain about the content being a bit poor. I do agree a bit on that, but that’s mainly because I feel the demos are not prepared or working very well. Which I think eventually is a responsibility of the presenter, but I can’t help blaming that SharePoint 2010 is still beta.