What I Learned at #SPC14

This was my first year attending SharePoint Conference, and it was a real blast. I picked up a lot of good nuggets from my trip, here’s a highlight of my favorites:

Pahhhtttaaayyy

College was a long time ago, but it appears I still got it, or so I thought. My team from Boston spent a lot of time enjoying the post-session events. I’ve heard rumors that casinos in Vegas pump oxygen to keep you awake and perky. It worked! It’s taken me a couple of days to recoup from the lack of oxygen here at home, my body has caught up with me. I was able to attend AvePoint’s Red and Metalogix’s Best of Breed parties, what a blast!

Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless it’s been uploaded. Social media has made it wayyy to easy for people to upload pictures in the spur of the moment. I definitely did it, and I’ve seen others have as well. Fortunately, since we’re all professionals, nothing discriminating was accidentally posted. We took this a step further with my team. We shared a photo stream on our iPhones and shared photos instantly with each other and others outside of our group. It got me thinking long term, at other events how to best share photos across people using different phones, and Yammer came to mind ;).

Yammer

SharePoint Social, the new stuff that came with SharePoint 2013, is being retired already. Yammer is definitely the go-to social solution for Microsoft across the board. Microsoft revealed some pretty awesome insights in how they’re envisioning integration of a Yammer feed, basically everywhere. I can’t wait. Of course, Office 365 first, but they did say it’ll be available OnPrem too (the integration, not hosting Yammer onprem).

Because of this tight integration across the board, I’ll be really surprised if there’s another SPC. I’m guessing we’ll see a rebrand of the conference to heavily focus on O365 and Yammer more.

Responsive Design

There was a lot on mobile and responsive design, I mean a lot! I only went to one session on it, since I’m quite familiar and it’s not a huge priority of mine, there were more interesting sessions available. A couple others went to most of the responsive sessions, and they mentioned that they were all similar, except for that specific presenter’s lessons learned. This tells me that mobile is a getting bigger and more and more people are actually doing it, not just talking about it. I’ve done some responsive on 2013 already, and I see more and more projects creep up with it. It’s a good sign that mobile is being taken more seriously with businesses.

Office Graph and Oslo

Microsoft revealed a sweet new set of APIs called Office Graph. Much like Open Graph on other systems, Office Graph provides social insights into everything about you, across SharePoint, Yammer and other Microsoft applications. Oslo (no, not the master page) is an app for Win8, and a web site for other platforms, which integrates and provides a rich user interface for Office Graph. Without going into great detail here, check out Nik’s post: http://nikpatel.net/2014/03/09/my-first-impressions-of-office-graph-and-codename-oslo-in-office-365/.

Long Live InfoPath

InfoPath has finally, and officially, seen it’s end. What’s next for custom forms? That has yet to be determined, but Microsoft is open to suggestions. Again, I defer to Nik’s excellent post on the SPC session that discussed InfoPath: http://nikpatel.net/2014/03/08/future-of-infopath-spc14-notes-from-office-and-sharepoint-forms-roadmap-update/

Very Exciting

There is definitely some exciting things coming from Microsoft in the SharePoint/Social space, from Yammer integration to a new custom forms generator, 2014 is bound to be full of new updates! ‘Til then, Happy SharePointing!

My Chat with Jared Spataro on Socializing Outside of SharePoint

Yesterday there was a Facebook chat with Jared Spataro on enterprise social and SharePoint. He took questions on the social features within SharePoint, some general questions around social in the enterprise, and of course what can we expect in the upcoming version of SharePoint.

I love the social aspects in SharePoint 2010: tagging, newsfeed, my profile, etc. I think it’s a great step in the right direction. Social is an important piece in the enterprise, allowing users to collaborate using methods they’re use to is a no brainier. There’s plenty out there explaining why, I won’t dive into it here.

My biggest question, and area for concern, is that of socializing with external users, while keeping collaboration in SharePoint. It’s easy to chat with someone via Skype, and then email them a file, but now I have a separate file out there, a different version. Getting feedback and input directly with SharePoint is key. I’ve created many extranets for customers where they extended SharePoint for this sole purpose. Partners have to log in, navigate to the documents, contribute, then log out. Later partner accounts have to be cleaned up and removed from the authentication store. Such a large undertaking to get a file to a partner, and keep it within SharePoint.

So, with that in mind, my question to Jared was:

“Will there be hooks into external social networks (ala G+, FB, Twitter, etc) which can help leverage external users in collaboration?”

I asked the wrong question…

Great answer. I didn’t ask the right question. (who said there are no stupid questions). The following two fellows asked exactly what I was hoping, and got a even better answers.

Both of his replies are big hints towards a “Yes” to my question. With Microsoft’s focus shifting from connecting employees to “crossing organizational boundaries and making it easier than ever before to connect with customers and partners” is a HUGE step in the right direction. Awesome.

In addition to the above good news, Bjørn Furuknap revealed in his research of the next version of SharePoint the addition of a Document Sharing Web Service. I won’t go into details (check out his publications: http://sharepoint2013beta.com/) but it appears that this new service will allow sharing with some other cloud services, as well as providing an anonymous link to a document (similar to linking to a file in SugarSync or DropBox). Couple this with the new social, and hey, you might just be able to share with SharePoint!

A long list of SharePoint blogs, and a new SharePoint Social App

In an effort to keep myself up to speed with what’s going on across the SharePoint world, I compiled every SharePoint blog I could find into a Google Reader Bundle. I also created an Android app which reads this same list. Below are the blogs this feed subscribes to:

Andrew Connell [MVP SharePoint], http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/Default.aspx
Boston SharePoint Salon, http://www.bostonsharepointsalon.com/
buckleyPLANET, http://www.buckleyplanet.com/
Chris Bortlik’s Blog, http://blogs.technet.com/b/cbortlik/
Chris O’Brien, http://www.sharepointnutsandbolts.com/
Cube 4, http://cube4.com.au/
David Lozzi’s Blog, http://davidlozzi.com
Eric Alexander’s Sharepoint Blog: Posts, http://pirateeric.sharepointspace.com/blog/default.aspx
Extreme Sharepoint, http://extreme-sharepoint.com
Furuknap’s SharePoint Corner, http://blog.furuknap.net
Geoff Varosky’s Blog, http://sharepointyankee.com
Giles’ SharePoint (and Project Server) Shenanigans, http://ghamson.wordpress.com
Jimbo Alba’s Blog, http://jimboalba.wordpress.com
Jonesing for SharePoint, http://www.jonesingforsharepoint.com/
JP’s Blog, http://www.jppete.com
Koen Vosters, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kvosters/
Kyle Schaeffer – Web Design and SharePoint Branding, http://kyleschaeffer.com
Marc D Anderson’s Blog, http://sympmarc.com
Material SharePoint, http://sharepoint.jsturges.com
michael greene,  http://mike-greene.com
Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepoint/
More Soma Please…, http://platinumdogs.wordpress.com
My SharePoint Toolbox, http://mysharepointtoolbox.wordpress.com
NBSP, http://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com
Nick Aiello, http://nicholasfaiello.wordpress.com
Out Of The Box, http://0ut0ftheb0x.wordpress.com
Pentalogic Technology, http://blog.pentalogic.net
Planning | Designing | Deployment, http://thuansoldier.net
Rene Modery, http://modery.net/blog/
Rob Wilson, http://www.therobman.net/blog
Shades of SharePoint, http://amarkeev.wordpress.com
SharePint Blog… Hic!, http://sharepintblog.com
SharePoint & Office 365, http://sharepoint.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk
SharePoint 2010 – Tips and Tricks, http://www.sharepointdeveloper.in/
SharePoint 365, http://sp365.co.uk
SharePoint Bits Blog, http://blog.sharepointbits.com/
SharePoint Branding Team, http://sharepointbrandingteam.wordpress.com
SharePoint By Bugday: Posts, http://www.bybugday.com/Lists/Posts/AllPosts.aspx
SharePoint Cowbell, http://www.sharepointcowbell.com
SharePoint Developer Team Blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepointdev/
SharePoint Hill Billy, http://www.sharepointhillbilly.com
SharePoint Joel’s SharePoint Land, http://www.sharepointjoel.com
SharePoint Stories, http://www.sharepointstories.com/
SharePointeer.com, http://sharepointeer.com/blog
SPJeff, http://www.spjeff.com
Susan Hanley’s blog, http://www.networkworld.com/community/sharepoint
The Scribble SharePoint Blog, http://www.sharepointblog.co.uk/
The SharePoint Farmer’s Almanac, http://msmvps.com/blogs/shane/default.aspx
The SharePoint Freshman, http://sharepointfreshman.wordpress.com
The SharePoint Guys, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uksharepoint/
The SharePoint Therapist, http://sharepointtherapist.com
Todd’s Blog, http://todd-carter.com/
Todd Klindt, http://www.toddklindt.com/blog
Waldek Mastykarz, http://blog.mastykarz.nl

Think I’m missing one? Leave a comment! If you want to be removed (why on God’s green earth would you do that?) don’t leave a comment, I can’t handle public rejection, email me david at lozzi dot net.

SharePoint 2010 Web Parts and Their Features

Below is a list of all of the “out of the box” web parts that comes with SharePoint 2010. The column on the right highlights which Site Collection Feature you have to activate to enable the web parts. Some web parts will require additional farm solutions like SQL Reporting.

Business Data

Business Data Actions – Displays a list of actions from Business Data Connectivity. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Business Data Connectivity Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts using a list of values from the Business Data Connectivity. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Business Data Item – Displays one item from a data source in Business Data Connectivity. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Business Data Item Builder – Creates a Business Data item from parameters in the query string and provides it to other Web Parts. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Business Data List – Displays a list of items from a data source in Business Data Connectivity. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Business Data Related List – Displays a list of items related to one or more parent items from a data source in Business Data Connectivity. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Chart Web Part – Helps you to visualize your data using charts, pull data from another web part, SharePoint lists, Business Data Catalog, or Excel Services. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Excel Web Access – Use the Excel Web Access Web Part to interact with an Excel workbook as a Web page. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Indicator Details – Displays the details of a single Status Indicator. Status Indicators display an important measure for an organization and may be obtained from other data sources including SharePoint lists, Excel workbooks, and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services KPIs. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Status Lists – Shows a list of Status Indicators. Status Indicators display important measures for your organization, and show how your organization is performing with respect to your goals. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Visio Web Access – Enables viewing and refreshing of Visio Web Drawings, like org charts, workflows, business processes and more. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features

Content Rollup

Categories – Displays categories from the Site Directory, discontinued in SharePoint 2010, available for SharePoint 2007 upgrades. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Content Query – Rolls up data from sub sites throughout your site. Data can be queried and filtered based on content type, site columns, and specific lists and libraries. SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure
Relevant Documents – Displays documents that have been modified by, created by, or checked out to the current user, within the current web site (not the entire site collection). Fresh Install
RSS Viewer – Displays an RSS feed from other websites or services. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Site Aggregator – Displays specific information from the sites of your choice, defaults to showing documents similar to Relevant Documents. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Sites In Category – Displays sites from the Site Directory within a specific category, discontinued in SharePoint 2010, available for SharePoint 2007 upgrades. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Summary Links – Allows authors to create a custom link library that can be grouped and styled. SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure
Table Of Contents – Displays the navigation hierarchy of your site, subsites, lists and libraries. SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure
Web Analytics Web Part – Displays the most viewed content, most frequent search queries from a site, or most frequent search queries from a search center. Advanced Web Analytics
WSRP Viewer – Displays portlets from web sites using WSRP 1.1. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
XML Viewer – Transforms XML data using XSL and shows the results. Fresh Install

Filters

Apply Filters Button – Add this button to a page so users can decide when to apply their filter choices. Otherwise, each filter is applied when its value is changed. SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Choice Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts using a list of values entered by the page author SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Current User Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts by using properties of the current user SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Date Filter – Filter the contents of Web Parts by allowing users to enter or pick a date SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Page Field Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts using information about the current page SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Query String (URL) Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts using values passed via the query string SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
SharePoint List Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts by using a list of values SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
SQL Server Analysis Services Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts using a list of values from SQL Server Analysis Services cubes SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features
Text Filter – Filters the contents of Web Parts by allowing users to enter a text value SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features

Forms

HTML Form Web Part – Connects simple form controls to other Web Parts Fresh Install
InfoPath Form Web Part – Use this Web Part to display an InfoPath browser-enabled form SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features

Media and Content

Content Editor – Allows authors to enter rich media content like formatted text, images, and other custom HTML. Fresh Install
Image Viewer – Displays a specified image. Fresh Install
Media Web Part – Use to embed media clips (video and audio) in a web page, links directly to a video file, not a video service like YouTube.com. SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure
Page Viewer – Displays another Web page on this Web page inside of a window. Fresh Install
Picture Library Slideshow Web Part – Use to display a slideshow of images and photos from a picture library Fresh Install
Silverlight Web Part – A web part to display a Silverlight application Fresh Install

Outlook Web App

My Calendar – Displays your calendar using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
My Contacts – Displays your contacts using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
My Inbox – Displays your inbox using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
My Mail Folder – Displays your mail folder using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
My Tasks – Displays your tasks using Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features

PerformancePoint

PerformancePoint Filter – This web part displays PerformancePoint filters. Filters may be linked to other web parts to provide an interactive dashboard experience. Filter types include lists and trees based on a variety of data sources PerformancePoint Services Site Collection Features
PerformancePoint Report – This web part displays PerformancePoint reports. Reports may be linked to other web parts to create an interactive dashboard experience. Report types include: Analytic charts & grids, Strategy Maps, Excel Services, Reporting Services, Predictive Trend charts, and web pages PerformancePoint Services Site Collection Features
PerformancePoint Scorecard – This web part displays a PerformancePoint scorecard. Scorecards may be linked to other web parts, such as filters and reports, to create an interactive dashboard experience. PerformancePoint Services Site Collection Features
PerformancePoint Stack Selector – This web part displays a PerformancePoint Stack Selector. All PerformancePoint web parts, such as filters and reports, contained in the same zone will be automatically stacked and selectable using this web part. PerformancePoint Services Site Collection Features

Search

Advanced Search Box – Displays parameterized search options based on properties and combinations of words. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Dual Chinese Search – Used to search Dual Chinese document and items at the same time. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Federated Results – Displays search results from a configured location SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
People Refinement Panel – This webpart helps the users to refine people search results SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
People Search Box – Presents a search box that allows users to search for people SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
People Search Core Results – Displays the people search results and the properties associated with them. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Refinement Panel – This webpart helps the users to refine search results SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Related Queries – This webpart displays related queries to a user query SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Action Link – Displays the search action links on the search results page SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Best Bets – Displays high-confidence results on a search results page. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Box – Displays a search box that allows users to search for information. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Core Results – Displays the search results and the properties associated with them SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Paging – Display links for navigating pages containing search results. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Statistics – Displays the search statistics such as the number of results shown on the current page, total number of results and time taken to perform the search. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Summary – Displays suggestions for current search query SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Search Visual Best Bet – Displays Visual Best Bet SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Top Federated Results – Displays the Top Federated result from the configured location SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features

Social Collaboration

Contact Details – Displays details and image for a single contact. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Note Board – Enable users to leave short, publicly-viewable notes about this page. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Organization Browser – This Web Part displays each person in the reporting chain in an interactive view optimized for browsing organization charts. Additional information has to be managed in Active Directory. SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
Site Users – Use the Site Users Web Part to see a list of users and groups who have access to the current site, or list users from a selected group. Fresh Install
Tag Cloud – Displays the most popular subjects being tagged inside your organization SharePoint Server Standard Site Collection features
User Tasks – Displays tasks that are assigned to the current user within the site, does not include all tasks in site collection. Fresh Install

SQL Server Reporting

SQL Server Reporting Services Report Viewer – Use the Report Viewer to view SQL Server Reporting Services reports. Report Server Integration Feature

Is it too much to ask for a single cloud instead of a storm?

If I may, I would like to take a few minutes away from SharePoint (it won’t be long) and talk to the techno-savvy-geeks out there who want more from the cloud.

As I move more and more into the cloud, I am more and more hesitant, and I’m curious to see if you share in my anguish. The cloud appears to be very young and viewing the several dozen different providers and apps available on the cloud, I would say some providers are fighting to become a sole solution, but no one is there, yet.

Here’s my issue, tell me if you relate

  • I want a service where I can easily upload all of my files, photos, videos, and music.
  • I want a service where I can easily browse my files, photos and videos online.
  • I want a service where I can play my music when I want.
  • I want a service where I can easily share my files, photos, videos and music.
  • I want a service where I can bookmark web sites and RSS feeds.
  • I want a service where I can blog.
  • I want a service where I can store and retrieve passwords for websites.
  • I want a service where my wife and I can share our calendars, contacts, and even the grocery list.
  • I want a service where I can do ALL of this on my Windows computers (at least 3 at any point in time), Android phone, iPhone/iPod, and possibly a Mac if I get bored.

Did I miss anything?

And let’s throw in some social networking (keep tabs with friends, tweet, locational check-ins, rating and reviews, etc).

Is this too much to ask? Instead, I have a pile of services and providers in an attempt of doing it all:

  • I use DropBox for synchronizing my files between devices, and it’s pretty easy to access online.
  • I use Evernote for storing and synchronizing notes, and allows me to get wireless keys, CD keys, registration codes, recipes, etc. from my phone or computer. Their online experience mirrors their desktop application. Not great for actual files (word docs – music) hence using DropBox.
  • I use Gladinet Cloud Desktop with my web site hosting provider. Gladinet allows you to make a drive on your computer to cloud storage, like an FTP server, or Amazon’s cloud services. Their application has a sync option to synchronize desktops, but doesn’t appear to have a mobile app available.
  • I use Amazon Cloud Player for storing and playing my music on my computer and Android.
  • I use Google Calendar to share with my wife.
  • I use Windows Live SkyDrive to share files with others instead of emailing the file.
  • I use LastPass to store my logins and passwords from websites.
  • I use WordPress for my blog (this blog).
  • I use ReadItLater to bookmark websites and articles I come across.
  • I use Google Chrome to also synchronize bookmarks.
  • I use Google Reader to track my RSS subscriptions including podcasts.
  • I use Facebook to share images, but store images on my FTP server.
  • I use YouTube and Facebook to share videos.
  • I use two different email providers, one for work and one for personal.
  • I use my company’s Exchange service to synchronize contacts between my computer and my phone.
  • I use Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google+, Hootsuite, and Skype to be “socially aware”.
  • And since I’m on the topic of cloud, I also use Netflix for TV/Movies.

Even with all of that, I still don’t get what I want. However, now that I compile my list, it does look like a lot to ask… or is it? From what I can see, Google is slowly becoming that resource, and they’re taking it a step forward and including social networking. With some work, I think Google could easily take, or at least unify the storm into a single cloud which would be a lot more manageable.

  • Use Google Docs for file synchronization and sharing, they just have to get an app to install on desktop to help file upload and sync (good bye DropBox, Evernote, Gladinet, SkyDrive)
  • Use Google Calendar for calendaring.
  • Use Gmail for contacts and emails, allow it to easily download emails from my personal (non-gmail) and my work (also non-gmail) accounts. (Good bye personal accounts, and possible corporate accounts)
  • Use Google’s YouTube for video storage and sharing, and online TV and movies. (Good bye Netflix)
  • Use Google Music (currently in beta) for storage and playback of music. (Good bye Amazon Cloud Player)
  • Use Google+ (currently in beta) for social networking, location check-ins and reviews. (Good bye Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Hootsuite, and Skype)
  • Use Google’s Blogger for blogging. (Good bye WordPress)
  • Use Google Toolbar for saving website passwords and logins, and manage bookmarks and RSS feeds. (Good bye LastPass, ReadItLater)

A little terrifying, but wouldn’t it be nice? One spot for EVERYTHING you ever need, one service to rule them all. I know they’d get sued left and right as they crushed the little guys. I’m not even a Google fan, but if they can pull something like this off, I’d use it.

Is there anything close? I’d be happy with a breakup of

  • File share to include files, photos, videos, and music synchronization on desktop, retrieval on mobile devices and browse online (with playback). Allow for easy sharing as well.
  • Data share, not unlike files, but more free-formed data like calendars, contacts, bookmarks, and allow ad-hoc lists as needed like grocery lists.
  • Social share to post to ALL networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc), read all streams/feeds, read and manage RSS, and of course share it all.

And let there be hooks between the three so files can be shared via social networks, and social networks can auto-post data lists if needed.

(now back to my blog topic) Breaking it down into the three groups feels familiar, almost like an existing product available from Microsoft could service these with great success, maybe some tweaks here or there, and a great mobile app and nothing could stop you!

A pipe dream, maybe, but I say go big or go home.

What do you think?