What a fun weekend. Saturday’s SharePoint Camp was wonderful. I can’t describe how exciting it is to see such knowledgable and friendly speakers talk about different ways of using SharePoint better.
I was lucky enough to attend a few sessions which were just terrific. Here’s my day more or less at SharePoint Camp 2009.
I arrived in the ridiculously cold morning (seriously my face pretty much froze off in my short walk from the car to the building) and was met in the lobby area by very friendly people. Graham Marko (from the Metro Toronto .Net User Group) helped me feel welcome and later in between sessions told me all about the other usergroups in the GTA area. Thank you Graham! For those of you wondering these are the ones that were on the back of a nice little business card that was available at the conference.
- Metro Toronto .NET (Downtown) – http://www.MetroTorontoUG.com
- Toronto Visual Basic (North York) – http://www.tvbug.com
- Toronto.NET (Mississauga) – http://www.TorontoUG.net
- East of Toronto.NET (Whitby) – http://eastoftoronto.netusergroup.org
- Canada’s Technology Triangle (Kitchener) – http://www.cttdnug.org
- North of Toronto.NET (Barrie) – http://www.northoftoronto.net
- Toronto SharePoint (Downtown) – http://www.tspug.com
- Toronto XNA Developer – http://www.xnaToronto.com
- Toronto BizTalk – http://www.btug.biz
- Toronto SQL Server – http://www.tsql.ca
- IT Professionals Community (GTA) – http://www.itprotoronto.ca
- Waterloo-Wellington IT Pro (Waterloo) – http://www.wwitpro.com
Next I excitedly sat down and listened to a very happy and energetic Eli Robillard discuss the day, and all the exciting things that were packed into it and awaiting hundreds of us. There were quite a few presentations going on that day, but I had to choose to see only a few. It was a difficult choice but I was very pleased and satisfied by each of the sessions I went to.
Ruven Gotz did a terrific presentation on Mind-Mapping and how to do it with relatively low cost tools in an effective manner. It was extremely interesting and I highly recommend reading about it on his blog: http://spinsiders.com/ruveng/2008/11/11/mindmanager-version-8-released-today/ or asking him about it sometime. I can’t imagine how much time I will no doubt begin to save using the ideas and software he has outlined in his session. Thank you Ruven! :)
Reza Alirezaei did a great presentation on SQL Reporting Services 2008 Integration with SharePoint that taught me a ton about how to configure and troubleshoot SQL Reporting and SharePoint. He also made me laugh a few times and continued to provide the friendly energy that seemed to be all over the Conference. It was just terrific. If your interested in learning more I highly recommend his blog (http://blogs.devhorizon.com/reza) which is jam packed with all sorts of terrific information. You can see him at Techdays as well if your traveling and interested.
During lunch and throughout the entire day I continued to meet intelligent and interesting individuals who had a passion for technology. As a group we all got to ask many questions to the MVPs and presenters of the day, and even got to select a topic for one of the presentations at the end of the day. This was a great idea, and makes me wonder if leaving a small time slot open at the end of that day for everyone to vote on and attend might be a good idea to always do at any camp/conference. Just a thought.
Nadeem Mitha did a phenomenal job of talking about MOSS Search, and powerful ways to improve it from it’s default out of the box configuration to something that provides users with a much richer and more effective experience. He even did another talk at the end of the day (the one we voted on) which he is presenting again soon (More here: http://home.infusionblogs.com/nmitha/archive/2007/04/03/toronto-code-camp-session-follow-up-rapid-web-application-development-using-windows-sharepoint-services-3-0.aspx). I even learned something I didn’t know about a “u” parameter that can be used with search! (Scope without scopes :)) Faceted Search can be found and downloaded here: http://www.codeplex.com/FacetedSearch
Jim Schwartz and Boyan Tsolov showed how they have managed to stretch InfoPath and SharePoint beyond the typical limits. I cannot describe how exciting it was to see Jim and Boyan actually reproduce many of the methods they used to implement a highly successful InfoPath project in front of us all, with full explanations and helpful suggestions. You can find the material here: http://www.imason.com/blogs/jim_schwartz/archive/2009/01/25/advanced-infopath-development-with-sharepoint.aspx and I highly recommend giving it a review. If everyone at imason is as friendly and intelligent as these two guys then I expect to see them be pretty darned successful and am rather envious.
I couldn’t let the entire day be about me. So I attended Tim Knechtel‘s presentation on K2’s BlackPoint software to see if it could be applied to some automation we are working on at my work (http://www.compugen.com). Wowzers. I have seen quite a bit on Nintex Workflow, and have been very pleased with what I have seen, but am pretty impressed by what I saw from K2 on Saturday as well. It will be a difficult and exciting choice determining what workflow solution we might go with in the future. Great informative presentation Tim!
Then came the bajillion prizes from the wonderful sponsors of our SharePoint camp day and more fun discussions with great people.
If you didn’t go this year, then go next year and go to some of the user group meetings near you. I know I will be doing that a heck of a lot more now. What a great weekend, and great SharePoint and .NET community we have in the GTA. I hope all you other people who aren’t near by are envious, because we have some amazing talent and friendly people here.
Oh and keep in mind that the content from the SharePoint Camp has been uploaded in the SharePoint Camp’s site here: http://www.torontosharepointcamp.com/Presentations/Forms/AllItems.aspx (If you don’t see something it will be uploaded soon. Several Session Presenters have already uploaded their content.) I know I will be reviewing all the wonderful sessions I didn’t get the chance to see on Saturday.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend,