20 October, 2009

Day 1 of the SharePoint Conference 2009

Day 1 of the SharePoint Conference 2009 has passed and it is certainly off to a good start. I got into Las Vegas Sunday afternoon and quickly met up with lots of colleagues from all over the world that I have not seen for years. With the likes of tools such as Twitter and Facebook we have an amazing opportunity to stay connected with a vast number of people and Twitter in particular was going off with everyone trying to locate each other.

The opening reception on the Sunday night was a buzzing event in the exhibition hall. As soon as the doors were opened at 6 pm the exhibitors were almost trampled by 1000s of SharePoint folks. Following the reception there was a community organised get-together, SharePint, in the EyeCandy bar at Mandalay Bay. It was another invaluable networking event with an overwhelming turnout.

More than 7,400 attendees made it to the keynote Monday morning. It is a testament to the penetration and popularity of SharePoint that so many people from all over the planet commit themselves to a weeklong conference entirely focused on SharePoint. 1000s of people have come across on long haul flights from various continents.

The first scheduled session I attended was a general overview provided by Arpan Shah, who went through some of the new features in the different workloads from an end user perspective. The UI of SharePoint has definitely been improved massively and I can only encourage you to check it out. It is a much richer user experience with less annoying post-backs, the ribbon has made it to SharePoint and many common pain points have been addressed.

I also sat in on a session on Visio Services. This is all new functionality and very powerful. Using Visio 2010 it is very easy to create dashboard diagrams that are connected to external data sources and which can be published to SharePoint and rendered in the browser. These external data sources can be SharePoint lists, so we now have a toolset for business users who want to build dashboard diagrams visualising SharePoint data. Visio Services can also be utilised for visualising SharePoint workflows and there is an associated JavaScript API for creating interactive browser-based diagrams.

In the last breakout slot of the day, I went to watch a customer presentation with real-world examples of Office Business Applications (OBAs) and MOSS 2007. Tyson Foods has been building solutions exposing their LOB sales system in Word, empowering their sales force to author contracts and proposals without having to leave Word when fetching data from the LOB system for the document.

After catching up with a business contact for dinner, I went to the Rum Jungle to join a horde of fellow Danes. Supposedly, 230 Danish SharePoint enthusiasts have made it to the conference. I guess a trip to Vegas sounds like too much fun for a Dane to miss out on!

Read about Day 2.

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