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SharePoint Conference 2008 – Day 4

Posted by Steve Pietrek on March 6, 2008

Although the SPC2008 goes through today (Thursday), since I have a 11:41 am flight this morning, my last day at the conference was yesterday. Again it was a beautiful, yet cooler, day in Seattle.

I had some work to do in the morning so I only caught the last 20 minutes or so of Greg LeMond’s keynote. The summary was “keep setting finish lines and attempt to finish”. Wise

The only session in the morning was Joel Oleson and Bob Fox presenting on what’s new for SharePoint developers in Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. There were many nuggets of information. First, as I am sure most already know, SharePoint 2007 is the last 32-bit version – going the ways of Exchange Server 2007 and 64-bit only. Hopefully by then VPC2007 supports 64-bit clients – don’t think it does currently – but I know VMware Workstation (my primary tool) does. As noted by many posts, in order to install MOSS on Server 2008, it must be MOSS SP1. Currently there is no install program which allows you to do so but there are posts out there – search my blog – on what is needed to create your own slipstream. Joel did say we should expect a MOSS SP1 Slipstream install within the next few weeks. Joel mentioned there was a lab which covers installing MOSS in Server 2008 but I can’t seem to find it.

The second session of the day was Heather Solomon‘s presentation on “Advanced SharePoint Branding”. The presentation was labeled a 400-level presentation. Possibly it’s because I have quite a bit of experience branding SharePoint sites but I would not have labeled it a 400-level presentation. With that in mind, Heather definitely knows her stuff. The biggest thing on branding is you need to be very comfortable with CSS. Second, branding is definitely a trial and error activity. Heather echoed those sentiments.

The third presentation of the day was Steve Peschka of Microsoft giving a presentation titled “Rendering Data in SharePoint using AJAX and LINQ”. This was one of the few presentations which just showed code. This was definitely a presentation where you rolled-up your sleeves and got down to business. The first part of the presentation was creating a JSON web service which read a SharePoint list and returned data. The data was then displayed in an AJAX web part. Very cool. Definitely something I will be playing with the next few weeks. The code using a serializable Dictionary which is not available out-of-the-box. To get the code for a serializable Dictionary, check out this post. I would definitely like to review this code but unfortunately, Steve doesn’t have a blog. The second part of the presentation was using LINQ against MOSS. Now this wasn’t using the LINQ to SharePoint CodePlex Project but rather just using SPListItemCollection as an enumerable type. There were a few tips he had such as how to parse a lookup field to use in a join but most of the examples were your typical LINQ ones.

My final presentation of the day was by far the best of the conference for me. Ted Pattison gave a presentation on Advanced SharePoint Solution Deployment. Now I have seen Ted give a workflow presentation at Cincy’s SPUG but yesterday, he was at the top of his game. He is such an awesome presenter. Knows his stuff and using his time perfectly. The presentation was generally review for me but was outstanding. He has a link on his blog which covers the examples he used in his demo – there is lots there. Also, check out Ted’s STSDEV tool. It helps build DDF, manifest.xml, and WSP files.

All in all, it was an outstanding conference. My disappointments: definitely lack of development tracks (though I guess that is what ODC is for), my schedule not allowing for me to take any certification tests (which were free), it was definitely crowded, lunch on Wednesday was box lunch (definite departure from the awesome lunches the first two days), and being a way from my family since Saturday (I know…). I had an awesome time with Andy and Sean, my cohorts from Cardinal. I look forward to next week where I can put some things I learned into practice. I already have a list of 10 items I need to do next week. Yikes!

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