I'm attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Whew what a wild couple of days!  I didn’t get to blog last night so I figured I would combine yesterday and today.  The sessions have been really good. 


Tuesday – Day 2

Tuesday started with the Todd Carter’s session about Extending SharePoint Health & Monitoring.  He put on a good show, giving details on web analytics and diagnostic logging, and how to extend them using custom providers to get detailed reports.  Very cool stuff!  Then I attended one of the more popular sessions of the day by Microsoft Certified Master Scott Jamison, Best Practices Around SharePoint 2010 User Profiles.  Now this topic is very near and dear to my heart.  I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, but I’ve come to a place where I accept the UPA for what it is, even with its shortcomings.  He got a volunteer from the crowd (a fellow MCM and MCA Spence Harbar) to configure the UPA live.  This was really more of a part 1 of 2, where Spence would take it deeper under the covers and show how to implement it via the UI and PowerShell. 

The afternoon started with a session with Eric Harlan, on Creating Awesome Dashboards with SharePoint, InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint Designer.  This was a cool session, and it turns out was similar to the solution presented in Eric’s fellow Microsoftee Ira Fuch’s book Enterprise Application Development in SharePoint 2010.  It wasn’t the same solution, but Eric showed how to configure a similar solution, and rethinking your definition of “dashboard”.  No longer are dashboards relegated to KPIs, graphs and charts, but can include using InfoPath form web parts.  Interesting!

Along the same lines, I ended the day following Keenan Newton on a journey Automating Business Processes with SharePoint 2010 with SharePoint Designer, InfoPath 2010 and Workflow.  This was part 1 of 2 sessions outlining the solution, and creating the base forms and initial workflow to complete the overall solution for automating an HR new hire onboarding process.  Would you like to be able to have HR fill out a form for a new hire that would automatically generate an offer letter Word document, pre-filled with the user’s data, start an approval workflow once the person accepted, and then automatically create a user account in Active Directory?  This session was for you.

Wednesday – Day 3

I spent this morning with Nikos Anagnostou and Lesly Goh discussing Best Practices for Managing Corporate Metadata and Taxonomies.  Together, they provided guidance on good design practices for Managed Metadata.  For example, when designing your taxonomies, you should try to organize them as behavioral, organizational or navigational.  I then attended a Design Best Practices session by Laura Rogers and Darvish Shadravan (authors of the InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint 2010 Step by Step book soon to be released).  This was a refreshingly deeper level session, with demos and discussions on how to avoid pitfalls with InfoPath form services performance and troubleshooting with Fiddler and around data connections.  It was very lively, as he would stop periodically and check for live tweets for questions and give out swag to the tweeters.  He passed on Microsoft’s top 3 call generators for InfoPath 2010.  They are:

  • Security
  • Data Connections
  • Publishing forms

After lunch, I attended the part 2 session of Scott Jamison’s UPA session from Tuesday.  Spence Harbar discussed Enterprise Deployment Considerations for the User Profile Service.  Who better to learn from than a Microsoft Certified Master and Architect, the highest levels of certifications attainable?  Ironically, there wasn’t anyone in the room that was syncing more than 25,000 users so we didn’t have to discuss issues there.  We watched Spence actually provision a UPA via PowerShell live on stage, and it worked!  He showed us how to workaround the Sync DB dbo database issue when creating the UPA service application via PowerShell.  In short, you can use Get-Credential and Start-Job cmdlets to do a runas.

Then it was on to part 2 of Keenan’s session of completing the HR process automation.  He showed how to configure the BCS entities properly, and the web service he wrote to talk to AD.  I believe all his source will be available post conference.

I ended the day on one of the more technical sessions covering a Deep Dive on the Content Query WebPart with Christina Wheeler.  She tried to show how to configure and customize the CQWP to change the columns and covered best practices around internal column naming.  Avoid special characters at all possible as it will get nasty to chase down.  For example, a space in a name translates to _x0020_.  Keep that in mind when using customizing your XSL.

Long days but there were lots of good stuff to digest.  Tomorrow is the final day, but it will be packed too!