Last week was the Best Practices Conference in Washington, DC. This conference used to be called “SharePoint Best Practices”, but this time they added in a SQL track, so it’s just “Best Practices” now. The concept behind this one is that you’ll learn why to do certain best practices, as opposed to the how.
The week kicked off with a great cookout at Dux‘s house with the SharePoint gang. He and his wife were very hospitable, and there was a lot of food, and even a whole roasted pig. I’ve never seen so much meat in my life. Not only did I get to #sharefood with my Birmingham friends, Lori Gowin and Cathy Dew, but I got to see old SharePoint friends, and meet people in person whom I had only known from Twitter, like SharePointSara.
The conference started on Monday, August 24th. It was a fun experience being a part of End User SharePoint‘s media sponsorship booth. This was a blast! Basically, Mark Miller set up a site that had several live streams going. There was a stream of all tweets that had the #BPC09 hash tag, and then there were streams for each track of the conference, showing the live blogging going on. What’s live blogging? It’s much more than tweeting. People signed up to be official live bloggers for the conference, which meant that they actually took notes (no 140 character limit) and posted pictures within the live blog streams. So, when anyone went to the main live blogging site, they saw all of these streams, in columns on the page. This site was also displayed on a large screen at our media booth. Here is the blog post with all of the archives of these streams. As part of our “media coverage”, we also conducted some interviews with speakers and vendors. Here are the youtube video links:
- Bill English
- Brett Lonsdale (@brettlonsdale)
- Rick Taylor(@slkrck)
- Brad Smith(@drunkencoder)
- Ben Curry
- Paul Culmsee(@paulculmsee)
Here are some sessions that I attended and live-blogged in:
These guys are real deep-thinkers, and they did a very high level conceptual presentation about the concepts of people, collaboration, and governance.
7 Ways to Leverage SharePoint for Project Management Success
Dux Raymond Sy
Dux teaches you how useful SharePoint can be for project management, especially when your company doesn’t necessarily need a full MS Project server. You can create your own project management system, just using out-of-box SharePoint. I had seen this presentation before, but it didn’t include a rap last time I saw it. 😉 Watch Dux sing “SharePoint is nice nice baby”
Top 10 Administrative Bad Practices
Not only did Ben touch on SharePoint administrative subjects such as installations, hardware and server modifications, but he talked about even more topics… such as those pesky end users. No really, it’s important to remember those end users. Remember to help them, provide them with support, and even train them. This was another session where there were many questions and discussions from the audience.
SharePoint and SQL Reporting Services 2008 for the really really good looking
Peter Serzo & Paul Culmsee
This was the most fun, interactive presentation I’ve ever been to!! It helped that I had seen the movie Zoolander, because some of the ideas came from it. What a fun way to teach about SQL Reporting Services! There was a full runway fashion show featuring all of the server components of SSRS, and Paul did a great demo showing how to filter a report web part to show information relevant to the current logged in user! If that wasn’t enough, there was a “surprise” appearance by Brett Lonsdale, the BDC guru! A debate ensued. It was BDC versus SSRS! Very cute. Paul and Brett stood on opposite sides of the room, and even had little signs they held up for each feature they compared. I recorded the whole session on my video camera, but have yet to upload to my computer.
Supporting Users – How Technologists can help “mere mortals” get the most out of SharePoint
Great concept behind this one. I sometimes get frustrated with my end users because they don’t “get” SharePoint, but I really need to remember that they have other jobs to do, such as physical therapy, and technology isn’t their main focus. David talked about sort of putting yourself in their shoes, to help you (the technologist) make the end users’ lives easier. Cool, I’m all about that!
Top Ten SharePoint Designer Bad Practices
Another very interactive and riveting session! It’s definitely important for you to know the bad (and good) practices of SPD. This presentation basically consisted of 10 slides, and it was a big open discussion. Fun! We all had input, and it was interesting hearing everyone else’s trials and tribulations with (darn) SharePoint Designer.
InfoPath Forms Services – Best Practices
Darvish is the InfoPath guru! When you simply throw together a cute little form and publish it to a site, you think you’re done, but you probably don’t know about postbacks and all that server stuff. Darvish knows, though. In this session, he taught how to streamline your forms, and about how they can even affect server performance.
Why use the Business Data Catalog to present SQL data in SharePoint
The BDC is still elusive to a lot of people (including me), so it’s good to get a refresher course on the whole concept. Brett went over the main pieces of the BDC, such as the out-of-box web parts, searching the BDC, using the BDC field type, and even the BDC API. Oh, and thanks for the shoutout to me in your presentation, Brett!! Cool.
There will be a “Part 2” to this post, it’s just getting way too long. Stay tuned.