SharePoint Saturday UK 2012 Rundown…

SharePoint Saturday UK 2012, the third of the SharePoint Saturday events held in the UK, took place a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to grab one of the free tickets again for the third year in a row.

This year's event was professionally organised (as always) by the Id-Live & Lightning Tools team (along with their sponsors who are vital, as they keep the event FREE) and was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham for a second year.


Eric Shupps kicked things off with an inspiring Keynote, not only taking a look back over previous SharePoint versions, but also reflecting on the history of the SharePoint Community itself (presenting some very interesting community statistics and acknowledging some of SUGUK Community legends in the process). 

He then turned his focus to SharePoint 2013 and some of many new features and architecture changes that come with it  (such as ‘shredded storage', ‘distributed cache', ‘workflow management', ‘office web apps', ‘claims', ‘search', ‘social features - reputation points, newsfeeds, bi-directional tasks', ‘device channels', ‘design manager'... and of course not forgetting ‘SharePoint Apps'!!)


The first session of the day was "SP2013 - What's New for IT Pro's" presented by John Timney (@jtimney), in which he covered:

  • Visio Process Repository (is currently still in RTM, but all doco says is/will be removed)
  • Design Manager (unfortunately probably only really going to useful with Publishing Sites)
  • Office web apps (Big Changes as now runs on own server.. single office web app sever can service multiple SharePoint Servers)
  • Analytics Server (see above - theoretically very similar)
  • Can run 10,000 users off single office web app server (.. has become v. efficient compared to SP2010)
  • Work Management Service: Task Aggregation (bi-direction tasks with Exchange - although requires Exchange 2013)
  • Translation Service: Attaches to 'external translation services' (Potential security issues - what goes on behind the scenes when translation happens? ...what info does Bing keep/store after translation???)
  • App Management Service: Catalogue is on-premise
  • No more Social DB (Info stored in Personal Site DB)
  • 'MySites is required from day 1 in SP2013 for Social Features'!! (No more rolling out My Sites in Phase 2 / Phase 3 of a deployment)
  • Search: Only 1 single Search Engine in SP2013 ... across all versions!!! (and apparently the underlying code ISN'T JUST FAST from SP2010!! ... instead has been rebuilt from ground up)
  • Upgrades: DB Attach - Only options (yeah!!!)
  • All content DBs can be upgraded
  • Not all Service Apps can be upgraded (Due to architecture changes some need to be recreated)
  • Deferred Site Collections: Run in SP2010 compatibility mode...
  • Cannot upgrade PowerPoint Broadcast sites (not supported)
  • Cannot upgrade analytics as have to remove the Analytics DB before an upgrade (cannot just remove Service app)
  • Skydrive Pro: Works with SP2010 and SP2013 (theoretically 'any version of SP' - SYNCS doc libraries)
  • Shredded Storage: SQL 2012 required
  • Always On DB Availability
  • SQL Mirroring - deprecated in SQL 2012
  • Distributing Caching
  • Caching Tokens
  • Request Management: Route traffic based on 'custom rules' (Rules written in PowerShell)
  • Browser/ Device Support: ARM Device - IE 9-10 and on Win RT, Windows Phone 7.5 ie9 or later (renders HTML 5)
  • Companion Device License required for any NON Windows Device (this is in addition to standard SP Cal licensing requirements!!!)


Second session was "Getting Grips with SP2013 Apps" presented by Chris O'brien (@ChrisO_Brien), in which Chris covered the following:

  • MS potentially trying to shift problematic areas (ie. 'custom code') outside of SharePoint itself
  • SharePoint Apps require SSL on both SP and APP host for data transfer (Chris recommends SSL on both Prod and Dev environments)
  • Need wildcard SSL cert AND wildcard CNAME in DNs (APPs require used dynamic URLs)
  • Considerations: Do want to allow any 'app' or restrict to 'approved apps' (app store vs internal catalogue)
  • App Hosting Options:
  • SharePoint-Hosted - runs on same SP server (still isolated) no serverside code, javascript only (client api massively expanded)
  • Cloud App / Provider Hosted: a) Auto-hosted (o365 + azure etc) - additional azure bundle (for hosting SQL for example) comes free with O365 hosting .. b) provider hosted - you deal with app backend (can code in any language)
  • Hybrid App (combination of both)
  • Tenant Install Apps - Single instance of an app shared across multiple sites (instead of instance per site) (see
  • "APP ID" section of APP URL auto-generated and is unique for each APP install/upgrade
  • REST JSON queries apparently easier to work with in jQuery rather than the default XML
  • Auto-Hosted Apps (auto hookup handles oAuth configuration) vs. Provided Hosted Apps (requires manual oAuth conf)


My third session was "Considerations for Upgrading from 2010 - SP2013" presented by Paul Grimely (@PaulGrimley), in which Paul discussed:

  • Why upgrade
  • Managing Demand
  • Authentication - (claims recommended - create classic WebApp in SP2013 - attach dbs - PowerShell change to claims ...detach dbs.. attach to claims WebApp)
  • Review unwanted feature set before migrating
  • Remove unwanted legacy solutions from DB prior to upgrade
  • Unknown 2010 pre-reqs SP level for upgrade (Paul recommended a minimum of SP1.. currently unconfirmed TechNet)
  • Ensure all SP2010 are using v4 UI (not v3) prior to upgrade
  • Service Apps: Office Web Apps, Excel Services (check for user defined functions)
  • Resource Farms - Upgrade these first!!
  • Content DBs: before attaching use Health Analyser to check for issues (ensure this IS NOT DONE on live)
  • Site collection upgrade
  • Upgrade content db process is way faster compared SP2010
  • Both "individual" and "bulk" upgrades possible
  • My Sites - Upgraded first time user hits his/her My Site



Fourth session of the day was "SharePoint 2013 Business Connectivity Services" presented by Penny Coventry (@pjcov) and Brett Lonsdale (@brettlonsdale)

  • Everything's an APP in SP2013 (just in case you hadn't already noticed... even SPLists, SP Libraries etc. are now referred to as ‘Apps')
  • BCS External Content Types (ECTs) deployed as ‘Apps'
  • Authentication Options (pretty much the same as SP2010)
  • New Data Provider protocol (oData)
  • oData External Content Type (ECT) only creatable from VS (not available in SPDesigner)
  • BCS DB naming confusing (Manage Metadata store menu option available from within CA... Nothing to do with Manage Metadata Service)
  • 'Export To Excel' and 'Event Listeners' now available for External Lists (for example, could create 'event listeners' for External Lists, to kick off a workflow based on change to external data)
  • External Lists and Business Data Column has not really changed much from SP2010
  • External List - "Item Picker" Still limited to 200 items by default (can be updated from PowerShell)
  • Word Quick Parts - Create Lookup columns (against external list column) - Lookup column then available as 'quick part' within Word
  • Client Object Model (CSOM) - contains support for querying BCS content source(s)
  • Creating oData ECT from Visual Studio 2012 (oData contains "schema info" so VS can create ECT automatically)
  • ‘Related External List' Web Part (Requires 'Create Association' operation at the ECT level)
  • oData data source available directly as "Add Item" in VS2012 (Simply enter the URL of oData data source - see for sample data site/services)


Fifth session was "How Workflows have evolved in SharePoint 2013" by Alan Richards (@arichards_Saruk), which he reviewed the new "workflow landscape" in SharePoint 2013:

  • Stages & Transitions (Stages - carry out specific task/function vs. Transitions -"mark" or "go to" specific 'Stage' of workflow depending on condition(s))
  • Looping (Loop n times or loop with/based on condition)
  • Visual Workflow Designer (Requires Visio Professional)
  • Workflows are Apps ...surprise surprise (they have an identity, so no revert to self, which uses a combination of App/User permissions by default - least permissions wins)
  • Can use an "App Step" (... effectively re-introducing "revert to self/app" type functionality???)
  • Standard SP2013 install only gives SP2010 workflows OOB (Need to install Workflow Manager, on separate webserver instance, for SP2013 workflow capabilities
  • Workflow Client (if Workflow Manager is on Remote Server then must be installed on all SP WFE Server(s), otherwise Workflow Client installed automatically if/when Workflow Manager installed locally on SP Server)
  • Uses oAuth for all communication between servers
  • Register-SPWorkflowService (use port 12290 for https and 12291 for http)
  • SPDesigner (once Workflow Manager is installed + setup, everything works as normal - to edit Workflows open/connect to the SPSite as normal.. not to the Workflow Manager Server)
  • SSL Certs (Specify https during Workflow Manager config/setup, then install Cert on IIS - thats it!!)


My final session of the day was "What's New in SP2013" presented by Nigel Price (@Nigel_Price), in which Nigel presented a high level overview of a variety new features of SharePoint 2013, including

  • Looking up CorrelationIDs on O365 (submitted via PowerShell)
  • Mark Up Improvements (No more tables in Web Parts and Web Part Zones, Client site rendering for Content Search WebPart, CSS completely re-written + simplified)
  • Display Templates (define visual layout of a Result Type)
  • Contoso Electronics Demo site
  • Secondary (Shadow) accounts
  • PDF Support OOB (no iFilter required)
  • UPS Sync Performance Changes & Improvements
  • User Licence Enforcement (can now grant/restrict users from accessing SharePoint Enterprise Features based on Security Group membership)



All in all another great SharePoint Saturday!

As usual a HUGE THANKS goes to the event organisers Brett Lonsdale (@brettlonsdale) , Tony Pounder(@WorTony) and Mark Macrae(@m_macrae) as well as all of the event sponsors who made the day possible.


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