European SharePoint Best Practices Conference 2011 Rundown...

So... where to start?

Although the event itself didn't officially kick off until Monday 11th April, Mark Macrae organised the annual football tournament at the Powerleague London City - 5-a-side pitch. I didn't attend this myself, but believe it was as successful as the preceding year (although there did seem to be some dispute over which team actually won - Combined Knowledge or Lightning Tools?)



Day 1

Following a successful (and very optimistic) Key Note Session from Chris Johnson, Day 1 kicked off for me with the "DEV201 - Creating custom SharePoint service apps" session by the ultra enthusiastic Todd Bleeker (@toddbleeker). Which although didn't contain any actual coding examples, still managed to impress and made for a great start to the conference.

I followed this up with the "DEV202 - Upgrading Web Parts" session by Maurice Prather. This gave insight to the Development Lifecycle of SharePoint Web Parts, including upgrading web part code from SP2007 to SP2010... and made it 2 for 2.

After lunch I was absolutely blown away by the "IT103- Windows PowerShell Best Practices for SharePoint 2010 Administrators" session by Gary Lapointe (@glapointe). I realised my PowerShell knowledge was far from "up to speed" but didn't realise quite how "off the pace" I actually was. Have to say this particular session turned out to be one of the highlights from the entire 3 days. Slide Decks available via:

I followed this up with the "IT104 - Rational Guide to SharePoint 2010 User Profile Synchronization" session by Spencer Harbar (@harbars) who took a detailed look at the new UPS in SharePoint 2010 and the potential configuration pitfalls (such as causes of the infamous "stuck on starting").

The final session of my day was "DEV205 - Creating Dynamic Client Applications in SharePoint 2010" by Eric Shupps (@eschupps), which had plenty of great (fast paced) code examples as well as the my personal favourite quote of the entire conference "I'm not a designer... I don't make things pretty, I just make things work". Slide Decks available via:




Day 2

Started off with the "IT106 - This is me, is that you? Identity management in SharePoint 2010" by Rick Taylor (@slkrck) who explained it pretty much boiled down to "four A's" - Authentication, Authorization, Access and Auditing. He approached the subject from a fairly unique perspective, discussing FIM and even how he uses SharePoint in his own home to check his kids have done their homework.

The second session of the day was my first ever community track "COM607 - The secrets of successful Enterprise Social Computing with SharePoint 2010" by Symon Garfield (@symon_garfield) and probably one of the busiest sessions of the day. The session covered the differences in the approach which are needed for successful Social Computing Enterprise, such as starting from "bottom up" opposed to the "top down". (A full rundown of his session is available via Bamboo Nation)

Next it was "IT108 - SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Strategy and Best Practices" by the infamous Joel Oleson (with a little help from the family), covering the various options available when upgrading from SP2007 to SP2010. A great session which was direct and to the point, with tips such as sys requirements including "80Gb OS drives" (minimum!)

After lunch was "IW509 - Content Aggregation in SharePoint 2010" by Christina Wheeler (@cwheeler76) and Brett Lonsdale(@brettlonsdale), in which we were advised to "aggregate not duplicate". This covered the new features of the "Content Editor Web Part (CEWP)", the Data View Web Part (DVWP) and the new "Calendar Overlay".

The final session for day 2 was "IT111 - Health & Monitoring for the ITPro (Part 1) session" by Todd Carter, where we were shown how it's possible to create and deploy "Custom SP Health Rules" such as "a rule to check ContentDB SQL Backups have been performed "...!




Day 3

The first session of the final day was "IT112 - Users, Profiles, and MySites: Managing a Changing SharePoint User population" by Paul Stork (@pstork). Another great session where Paul started off explaining the causes of various common "user profile" issues (such as display name not updating due to SP not regarding an account as "active" until it has "contributed" content in some way... simply "logging in" isn't enough to be regarded as active!). He then went on to discuss the background architecture between the "user profile synchronization service (UPS)" and the underlying "UserInfo Table" (used by SP Foundation), along with the various associated timer jobs.  All in all this session turned out to be another particular highlight of the conference.

Next was "IT113 - Planning extranet environments with SharePoint 2010" by Michael Noel (@michaeltnoel). In which Michael went through the different extranet scenarios that are available in SP2010. He then went on to discuss uses of Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) as as means to manage multiple authentication providers and UAG. (A full rundown of his session is available via Bamboo Nation)

The afternoon started well with "DEV215 - SharePoint Data Access Shootout" by Ted Pattison (@tedpattison) discussing different coding approaches for accessing data in SharePoint SP2010, including as "SPQuery", "SPsiteDataQuery "(to query multiple lists) and "LINQ for SharePoint". This included some excellent coding examples and plenty of humour. He then went on to demo various Lambda expressions, LINQ techniques and how to create Entity Classes using SPMetal.exe. Conclusion, everyone approach can be a winner... it's just knowing when to use which approach. Overall, yet another fantastic session!

The final session of the day (and for me, the conference) was "IT116 - Real World Service Application federation with SharePoint 2010" by Spencer Harbar (@harbars). This covered which of service applications supported "publishing" and "federation" and more importantly which didn't and when (such as in WAN environments). 


(Unfortunately I'd forgotten my camera due to a last minute dash to catch my train, so all pictures of the event are thanks to Matt Groves AKA "the silent ninja clicker").


Additional Resources:

Matthew Hughes "Live BPCUK Blog":

BPCUK Video:




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