Tag Archives: Announcement

Key notes from the Keynotes – SharePoint Conference 2009


The keynote speeches contained a helluva lot of content, but there were some key points that were worth condensing into a post … so errr.. thats what I did 🙂


One of the main aesthetic changes is that  Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) is now called SharePoint Foundation 2010. Hopefully more details about capabilities will surface during the conference.


There was much talk about SharePoint Online. They apparently have over 100,000,000 users and the platform is updated quarterly with new functionality, so we can hope to see new SharePoint 2010 functionality in that creeping through once the RTM version of SharePoint  is released.


The list item storage limits has gone WAY up … 1,000,000 items per folder/list and over 10,000,000 documents per library (more about this in my next post).


Another favourite was how Excel Services in SharePoint 2010 allows you to expose excel data as REST feeds (such as charts, tables, images, pivot tables). This allows you to subscribe to an image URL which is actually being dynamically generated from the Excel 2010 spread sheet. The main focus here was that you can embed this image anywhere that a normal HTML or Office Client image can be placed, but if the Excel 2010 spread sheet data is modified then the image is automatically updated to reflect those changes!


Other highlights included forcing spelling checkers and broken link checkers on check-in of a page.  In fact there was a lot of mention around web sites full stop, particularly 2 new products for websites:

  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites
  • FAST Search Server for Internet Business


The new Wiki Editing features were also demonstrated with auto-complete URLs for lists, views and folders in libraries.


For those power users there are also over 500 new PowerShell commands for SharePoint 2010 which will be shipped with the Beta version in November! These can even be run on a Windows 7 machine and executed remotely!


But by far the most impressive part for me was the presentation on SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel 2010. This is the product formerly known as "Gemini" and allows you to pull data in from SQL databases to allow up to 100,000,000 rows of data in Excel 2010! You can then filter, sort and produce charts which refresh near instantaneously! There was a demo of this in the session causing a round of applause from pretty much everyone.


A very interesting session in the end, with glimpses of promise from all over the platform.. I just can’t wait to get my hands on it all!

SAS (SharePoint Accessibility Solution) – WCAG 2.0 AAA reusable framework for SharePoint

I am proud to finally announce the official release of SAS (SharePoint Accessibility Solution) by Content and Code.
The release of an accessible framework for SharePoint is a massive step for both SharePoint, Content and Code any organisations looking for an accessible SharePoint platform.
This framework was used (and developed) for the RNIB Website (which I posted about a few weeks back: RNIB – World’s first AAA website launched in SharePoint).

"Accessibility is mandatory for many organisations, allowing access to the web for all. Our SharePoint 2007 Accessibility Framework allows sites to be built rapidly without sacrificing SharePoint functionality."

– Tim Wallis, CEO, Content and Code

By all means check it out and tell me what you think 🙂


Performance Optimisation in SharePoint

Performance has always been a bit of a black art in SharePoint, with so many core files being dropped onto landing pages it’s not uncommon to have a 500kb payload taking over 10 seconds to load.. of course for most corporate websites this is simply not good enough.
When building the RNIB website we spent a lot of time getting the page payload lower, and the caching model tweaked so that the pages were loading more responsively. We were mostly successful but there were plenty of challenges.
First off was the ScripResource files (used by Ajax). They were only really used for editing (the rich text editor we used from Telerik). Putting those references into a SharePoint "EditPanel" seemed to sort that one out (so the files were only ever being loaded if the page was in Edit Mode  .. which was never the case for anonymous users.
The caching profiles were also a big boon, enabling BLOB caching for the script files and static images, and also tuning the SharePoint site collection cache profiles so that they worked best for anonymous users.
We also used a bunch of other 3rd party tools, including the awesome Fiddler2 and YSlow for FireFox.
There has also been a very good article recently from the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog describing how they went about optimising the sharepoint.microsoft.com website. Its a good read and brings up some lesser known optimisation techniques.
If you have any tips on performance optimisation I’d love to hear it.

SharePoint Conference 2009

Yep, I am going to Vegas! 🙂
Got confirmation of this today, which I am extremely excited about.
I plan on releasing some blog content about the conference, some interesting tid-bits from the sessions. If you have any requests then please let me know.
If you are also going then I’d love to meet up! Post a comment here and I’ll see if we can hook up, I’ll be there all week!

RNIB – World’s first AAA website launched in SharePoint

It’s official, I am extremely proud to announce the launch of the world’s first ever AAA accessible SharePoint website…
RNIB – supporting blind and partially sighted people
I am the SharePoint Solution Architect on this project, and I am pleased to present the key features as:
The difference is that ALL functionality on this website is presented accessibly (including backend editing and administration!)
Feature Set:
  • Full WCAG 2.0 AAA XHTML rendering
  • Accessible feature-set
    • WYSIWYG Page editing and publishing
    • Full list item editing
    • Accessible Web Part editing {Add | Remove | Update properties}
    • Full list views and list editing (including document libraries, Check-in Check-out and content approval)
    • Site Administration (Permissions | Navigation | Basic site settings | features | Recycle Bin | View Site Content}
All of this is built on our unique and totally re-usable SharePoint Accessibility Solution (SAS).
If you would like to know more, or have any feedback then please get in touch!

SharePoint 2010 – Hints, Tips and New Features – Watch this Space!

Well, the SharePoint Conference is just around the corner, and information about SharePoint 2010 will start seeping out of the woodwork soon enough!
Now, there is nothing that I can tell you now (there are heavy restrictions on the Non Disclosure Agreement we have with Microsoft) but I will be keeping my finger very much on the pulse and aim to start bringing out blog posts about the new functionality in SharePoint 2010 as soon as the NDA is lifted!
(no .. I will NOT release ANY information until officially sanctioned by Microsoft .. so please don’t ask!)
I expect new materials will become "public knowledge" after the SharePoint Conference so hopefully I’ll be able to start sending out tit-bits soon after that.
You can expect blog posts about:
  • Development – Code examples and Walkthroughs
  • New Features – new functionality and areas of the SharePoint 2010 product
  • Hints and Tips – tricks and "didn’t know that .." information about the new build, and my experience with it once it becomes available.
So … watch this space! Boy am I looking forward to the next 12 months!!

SharePoint 2010 SDK Publicly Available

Thats right fans ..
Published earlier this month, the SharePoint 2010 Technical Preview Developer Documentation.
This contains a PDF whitepaper on updating the new ribbon interface (which looks like it’s just 2007 CustomAction features with a new UI).
The real crown-jewel is the 8MB help file which contains the full SDK so far. Exciting stuff!

SharePoint Designer 2007 – Released for FREE

Yep .. took a little while for this one to sink in (it was announced on April 1st!) but SharePoint Designer 2007 (SPD) is now FREE.

SPD gets a lot of stick from the dev communities (who generally prefer Visual Studio) and for source control and effective granular control over the HTML markup I would completely agree, but that’s not to say that SPD doesn’t have it’s place.

I personally find it a great prototyping tool, rapidly creating ASPX pages in such hard-to-reach places (like list forms and views) without going to all the effort of building your own list definitions and getting messy with CAML.

It’s also one of the few OOB methods I know of that allows you to easily drag’n’drop field controls on to a page layout, and modify some of the "not-usually-visible" web parts (such as the ListForm and DataForm webparts).

This is all probably academic as Visual Studio 2010 is going to (apparently) include many of the SPD functions. So .. while you wait for the arrival of the (finally) SharePoint friendly Visual Studio 2010 … go and get SPD! It’s FREE! 🙂

Download Link, Microsoft

Joining Content & Code as a Solutions Architect! (on Monday)

Ok .. so here is another reason why my posts have been few & far between recently .. yep … I’m moving on to pastures new, and Friday is my last day at Ratio One!

Thankfully I have not succumb to the dreaded "credit crunch" but have decided to take a fantastic opportunity to join the Solutions Team at Content & Code as one of their Solution Architects, helping to design and scope solutions, aiding the consultants and developers in their technical delivery, drive best practice in the business and also try to get more involved in the SharePoint Community.

What does this mean? Well, I will still be making the same blog posts, and be just as active on the MSDN forums (if not more so!). It also means you’ll be seeing a bit more of me at the User Groups and community events around London (and possibly elsewhere in Europe?).

I would also like to take this opportunity to both thank Content & Code for this great opportunity, and also to thank Ratio One for their support over the past 2 (and a bit) years. I’ve certainly come on a long way since my first forays into SharePoint, and (generally) loved every minute of it!

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