SharePoint Saturday UK Rundown...

I was lucky enough to be one of the 400 SharePointers who attended the first ever SharePoint Saturday event in the UK this weekend.
For anyone who doesn't know this is a FREE event, open to the public with registration on a "first come first serve" basis.

The day consisted of five sessions tracks "Developer", "IT Pro", "Info Worker", "Cool Stuff" and "Business" as well as a "Gold Sponsor Demo" track.

SPS UK Sessions My first session of the day was "SharePoint in the Cloud" presented by Matt Groves, in which Matt covered everything from the shortcomings of the current MS services (... simply put MS are still running SP2007!!), to the various pros and cons when considering BPOS or SP Online (the "no flex down during the inital 12 month" clause is a particular gotcha to watch out for...)

This was followed by the "SharePoint Branding" session from Sam Dolan (aka PinkPetrol), in which Sam proceeded to run through a simple, yet affective demonstration of SharePoint UI branding using only FireFox/FireBug and SP Designer 2010. (I have to admit I was really torn between this and the "SharePoint, JQuery and AJAX" session from Chris O’Brien, which I heard was a real highlight of the event but was unfortunately scheduled for the same time...)

After a great lunch (which again was free) I sat in on the "Real World Sandboxed Solutions" session from Andrew Woodward, which was delivered with his usual level of fun and enthusiasm which is simply infectious. And although it wasn't an actual "coding" session the content was still invaluable, covering when it's appropriate (or not) to develop Sandboxed Solutions as well as the implications and restrictions to be considered and approaches needed to perform certain tasks (for example using the new "SharePoint Client Object Model" to make Web Service calls opposed to the common approach of making the same calls server-side).

Next was the "Business Connectivity Services (BCS)" session from Brett Lonsdale, in which he demonstrated the vastly improved features compared to it's BDC predecessor ( more creating XML files) which can now be created, configured and consumed with relative simplicity. As well as covering the new BCS External lists (which you'll be pleased to hear can be accessed via the standard SPList API...)

My final session was the "Community Kit for SharePoint: Development Tools Edition" presented by Wes Hackett. In spite of a few technical hiccups during the early part of the session, I have to admit this was a particular favorite. These VS 2010 extensions are simply essential to anyone developing with SharePoint 2010.


A huge thanks to the organisers - Brett Lonsdale, Tony Pounder and Mark Macrae, as well as all of the event sponsors.


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