SPSTCDC 2011 Recap

It was a privilege to attend and be part of SharePoint Saturday-The Conference last week. I am always humbled by how much I have yet to learn about this dynamic and exciting platform. As a developer by trade, I made a point to branch out and try to learn as much as I possibly could on the administrative side of things (while staying true to my developer roots and attending a few developer sessions as well). I also got to take part in a blogging project in conjunction with the conference for Engage in SharePoint. I have listed the sessions I attended during the conference with some brief thoughts on each below. Where I contributed a blog post for Engage in SharePoint for a particular session, I have linked to that post as well.

Day 1 – Thursday, August 11

On Thursday, I attended the all-day workshop on SharePoint and Windows Azure Development. Sahil Malik and Girish Raja really know their stuff and deliver their knowledge in a very compelling manner. Although I don’t currently get to do much “in the cloud” for my current job, I am hopeful to leverage this platform a lot more in the future.

SUGDC – Thursday night

Thursday evening, I presented a session on Claims-Based Identity in SharePoint 2010 at the SharePoint Users Group of Washington, DC, which held their August meeting at the conference venue. I want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who stayed around to watch and ask questions during my presentation. For those who were unable to attend, here are my slides:

Day 2 – Friday, August 12

Session 1 – My first session was Setting up Kerberos configuration in a SharePoint farm with L. Carlos Rodriguez. Carlos really knows his stuff and delivered an energetic, knowledgeable, and lively discussion of the trials and tribulations of setting up Kerberos. I really enjoyed this session and wish it could have been a half or full-day workshop to give this subject the depth of attention it deserves.

Session 2 – The second session I attended was Accelerate Your SharePoint Development & Testing, led by my good friends Chris Riley and Zvi Guterman at CloudShare. I have been a fan of CloudShare for a couple months now, and after this presentation, I’m even more psyched about what the future holds. I’m sure there will be many more posts on this blog showing off the cool new things I can do with CloudShare in the future.

Session 3 – After lunch, I attended Mike Oryszak’s session on Getting the Most from User Profiles. Mike provided some great information about user profiles in SharePoint 2010 along with some valuable tips on how best to manage custom attributes and the synchronization of profile attributes with other line-of-business systems.

Session 4 – The next session I attended was Liam Cleary’s Are you who you say you are? SharePoint Authentication and Authorization. Liam is a rock star who really knows his stuff. The knowledge I gained about Claims-Based Identity and Trusted Identity Providers will greatly improve any future presentations I give on the subject.

Session 5 – My final session of the day was Beyond Approval: Intro to Creating Custom Workflow Actions with Ben Jones. Ben showed us just how easy it really is to define, implement, and deploy custom workflow actions that can be leveraged by end users in defining SharePoint Designer workflows. This is sure to be a time saver for a lot of developers out there!

Of course, no discussion of Friday would be complete without a discussion of SharePoint Got Talent. A big thank you to my friends who stuck around to watch me perform, and thanks to everyone who voted for me. A big congratulations to Marcy Kellar, the winner, and Tiffany Songvilay, the runner-up. Videos of most of the evening’s thoroughly entertaining performances (including my own) can be found here.

Day 3 – Saturday, August 13

Session 1 – My first session was Business Connectivity Services Explained by Example with Kirk Evans. Kirk blew our collective minds when he told us that using the native SQL Server method of connecting to SQL Server data was not the best approach. I will be following Kirk’s advice and using WCF services or .NET types from now on!

Session 2 – The next session I attended was Integrating SSRS 2008R2 with SharePoint 2010 with Kevin S. Goff. Kevin provided a lot of great insight on how to set up and configure SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 R2 with SharePoint 2010 and gave some very cool demos. I will definitely be setting this up in my development environment soon.

Session 3 – After lunch, I attended a great deep dive session called SharePoint Federation: Leveraging ADFSv2 and Claims Based Authentication to integrate with Partners with Pirooz Javan. Pirooz led a great discussion with a very engaged audience. I gained a lot of valuable real-world perspective from the many relevant questions asked by folks who are leveraging these technologies in the real world every day.

Session 4 – The next session I attended was Becky Isserman’s Epic SharePoint Battle: HTML 5 vs. Silverlight 5. Besides the awesome free mustache and candy, I learned a lot about the state-of-the-art with current browsers and two emerging technologies: HTML 5 and Silverlight 5 (currently in beta). Walking in to this session, I would have thought Silverlight stood no chance, but after seeing Becky’s demos and hearing her perspective, I’m not ready to write Silverlight off just yet.

Session 5 – The final session I attended was Johnathan Lightfoot’s So You Want Your Name in Print. I have gone back and forth in my own mind about whether I would ever want to invest the time and effort to become a published author in the SharePoint world. Johnathan provided tons of valuable advice from his own experiences as an author that has given me a lot more insight into the process of writing and publishing a book. It will certainly help influence any decisions I make about becoming an author in the future.


The conference was an outstanding experience overall. I cannot say enough great things about all the volunteers who worked to make my experience such a great one. As I tweeted on Saturday morning, I got a $1,300 conference experience for 3% of the price.