Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Well, today’s the last day of the conference.  I know, it’s very sad, but a great time was had by all.  This was my first big conference, and I really enjoyed the experience.  There were 3 breakout sessions today back to back with the day closing out with lunch in the early afternoon.  It’s hard to believe they crammed 240 sessions in 3 and a half days!  I got to rub elbows with some of the greats in the industry, bloggers, authors, MVPs and lots of folks from Microsoft.  If there’s one tip I can give, it’s to stay in a hotel close to the conference!  It was awesome to be able to be in 1 minute walking distance.  You have to be able to drop off all the freebies in your room. 

I started the day with John Holliday’s discussion on Creating an Easy to Use File Plan Builder for Your SharePoint Records Center.  This was really interesting, and offered yet another use case for InfoPath.  He covered the basics of the importance and makeup of a file plan, and went on to demo his solution. This wouldn’t be necessary for small Records Center implementations, but when you have  hundreds or even thousands of document types each with management policies, these would be almost invaluable.  Can you imagine creating thousands of content types, with folders or document libraries and then configuring the same number of content organizer rules for each of the folders?  I don’t think there’s enough money in a project’s budget for that.  With a little custom code and an InfoPath form, the creation and complete configuration of the Records Center site, content types, information management policies can be 100% automated.  The flow would be for an admin user to fill out an InfoPath form (representing the file plan) with the required data (document type, category, disposition rules, role assignments and how they want the records sorted.  Via an event receiver, the custom code fires that would create a Records Center site (or could configure an existing site) and create the necessary document libraries, folders, retention policies and user security.  There are other ways to do it besides InfoPath (like Excel or an XML file), but I think this is a great solution for a large Records Center implementation.

Then I sat in on Gary Lapointe’s session on a behind the scenes look at how they build Microsoft Visio’s public marketing site on SharePoint 2010 and how they customized the Content Query Web Part, showcasing taxonomy content targeting.  He discussed the customized solution and why you would need to customize the CQWP with code.  I then poked my head in the the Step-by-Step: Building Search Driven Applications That Matter session by Scot Hillier.  If you ever wanted to get some ideas on how you could use search to build applications in SharePoint, this was a great demo-driven session. 

For my very last session of the conference, I decided to attend Christina Wheeler’s session on how to package up Publishing features.  Her demo seemed to be working better than in the CQWP session yesterday, and it was a really informative session on how to take package up all those master page customizations you worked so hard on for deployment in another environment. 

The conference is over, but I had a blast and met a lot of great folks.  If you ever get the chance, Whether you are a consultant, business user, or developer, there was something for everyone.  Now I’ll spend the next week downloading all the PowerPoint slide decks and session recordings.  See you next year!