Tag Archives: Events

Building an Accessible SharePoint System – Slide Decks, Source Code and Downloads (SUGUK London – November 25th)

First of all a big thank you to everyone who attended the session, and many thanks to Chris O’Brien for his presentation on ECM in SharePoint 2010 and also to Matt Taylor for pulling the strings behind the scenes and getting it organised!

You can find links to all of the Slide Decks and Source Code that was used in the Building Accessible SharePoint Systems session below.

There is loads of material, with links to all of the tools and websites I mentioned including the Disability Discrimination Act, the WCAG 2.0 and WAI ARIA guidelines, the new online SharePoint 2010 SDK and the ASP.Net 4.0 Whitepaper … plus links to all of the tools that were mentioned.

The slides also include notes on each of the topics and the demo notes refer to the source files that were used in the demo!

In the mean time if anyone wants to contact me with any questions feel free to use the medium of your choice:

Email: martin.hatch@contentandcode.com
Twitter: @MartinHatch

Cheers, thanks for coming and hope to see you all again soon!

Let me know if you have any trouble accessing them.

Otherwise you can get the individual files below:
[Update – some of the links were broken before – fixed now!]

Thanks again!

Presenting at SUGUK London 25th November

Yep, I’m taking the plunge and finally presenting publicly 🙂
I’m going to take the stand to talk about Developing an Accessible SharePoint System based on our experiences in designing and building the Intranet and Website for the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB).
I’ll be going into technical detail about development techniques for customising the front-end and back-end interface of SharePoint, as well as some of the more rounded issues around accessibility (such as the age old "accessibility versus compliance" discussion).
I’ll also hopefully get the opportunity to show off our new SAS (SharePoint Accessibility Solution) framework and show the audience an example of a WCAG 2.0 AAA system running on MOSS 2007.
Please feel free to come along (assuming you are in the London area on November 25th, arrive 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start!). It’s free to attend, and Microsoft usually do a good show by providing free pizza, tea and coffee! 🙂
You can sign up at the SUGUK forum thread here:
Look forward to seeing you there!

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!

Thoughts on the European SharePoint Best Practice Conference – London

I recently attended the Microsoft SharePoint European Best Practice Conference (6th – 8th April 2009) and wanted to share some of my thoughts.
On the whole it was a good event, plenty of top speakers (such as Joel Oleson, Andrew Connell, Eric Shupps, Todd Bleeker … and many more [full list here]) and certainly lots of topics and tracks to attend .. the event was well organised and catered to all tastes .. but I was left a little bit underwhelmed by the experience.

The Good Bits
The technical sessions (IT Pro and Dev) were excellent, especially the "ask the expert" sessions at the end of each day. These really were an opportunity to get into the nitty gritty of SharePoint with some great topics and questions coming up (some of which even caused disagreements amongst the "experts"!)

A lot of them also tried to grasp some of the more subjective "best practice" topics like content deployment and testing methods. All in all, thoroughly enjoyable, but I did think that there wasn’t a massive amount that I didn’t already know.

The Bad Bits
The Information Worker and Business Adoption tracks were extremely disappointing. I was expecting a "Best Practice" conference to assume a high level of competence with SharePoint as a starting point, but it seems that the majority of these started off from the "so you’ve just bought SharePoint .." or the equally dull "so you are thinking about implement SharePoint eh?? .."

There were some exceptions (Penny Coventry did quite a good session around locking down SharePoint Designer, which was quite useful and at the very least an engaging presentation).

But a large amount of the conference was so under-whelming that I actually walked out halfway through a couple of sessions because the "governance" session seemed to be saying "make sure you backup your data" and "don’t forget to train your users".. I really couldn’t believe how dumbed down a lot of the sessions were.

The BEST bits …
By far the best parts of the session is to meet and greet people at the conference .. networking was by far the best (and most enjoyable) part of the conference, especially at the "SharePint" sessions in the pub round the corner. Getting to chat to other professionals who are knowledgable and enthusiastic about SharePoint is something that I rarely get treated to outside of my office .. and it is always refreshing to get a new perspective on things.

Andrew Woodward presenting on Test Driven Development
Chris O’Brian presenting on Content Deployment
Andrew Connell on Field Controls & WebParts

and of course .. the "Ask the Experts" sessions

SUGUK – London Meeting

If you don’t know about them already there is a group that call themselves the “SharePoint User Group UK” (SUGUK). They meet every now and again, and quite often you’ll get people from Microsoft (or MVP’s) giving presentations on topics relating to SharePoint (usually either development or infrastructure).

Well, there was one such meeting last night, covering topics such as Kerberos in SharePoint (why, when and more importantly .. how?) and another topic (very close to my heart) about how to maintain multiple SharePoint environments throughout a project lifecycle (e.g. Dev | Test | Stage | Prod).

They are free to attend, and usually there is a good chin-wag down the pub afterwards so plenty of opportunities for networking or just getting those crucial last few bits of info on a topic.

The SUGUK Website contains more information, including an “upcoming meetings” forum where you can keep track of when and where the next events are going to be. There’s also a development forum of pretty well informed people, which might be a bit easier than the heavily oversubscribed MSDN Forums.

Definately worth a look!

when I met Bill Gates …

Well ok … so I didn’t actually get to meet him .. but I did see him talk, and mighty exciting it was too (unless you are one of those anti-software / anti-capitalist / anti-success people who don’t like him).
I had the fantastic opportunity of going to the Microsoft Windows Server & Tools Pre-Launch Event in London (Park Lane Hilton), which was only available to Microsoft Gold Partners (so a thumbs up there to my employers!) and very swanky and posh (but a thumbs down to the caterers … who on earth serves steak and chicken from a buffet but doesn’t provide any tables or chairs ??? ever tried to use a knife & fork while holding your own plate ??).
Well, Bill Gates, the big man himself, was giving one of they key-note speechs about “The Miracle of Software”. Basically talking about how software has evolved to enrich people’s lives and what software design should be about (i.e. empowering people). It was all quite nice and they had a Q&A session afterwards (although quite blatantly pre-planned questions).
Some of the other speakers had some interesting things to say, mostly the buzz-words were “Hardware Optimisation” and “Virtualisation” around the Windows Server 2008 “Hyper-V” technology …  which has led us here to a bit of a conundrum …
You see … it is a little known fact that the next version of SharePoint (a.k.a. Office 14) will only run on 64-bit!!!
Now … this isn’t such a problem for the production environments, I can’t even think of a non-64-bit CPU that is still being bought for production hardware these days … but when you go into the development lifecycle things get a bit more tricky!
You see … at the moment (and I hope this changes) you cannot run 64-bit Virtual Machines on any Virtual Server environment (not even if your host OS is 64-bit). The only piece of technology making this possible is the new “Hyper-V” which is part of the Windows Server 2008 kernel. This is also ONLY possible if you are running a CPU that is BOTH 64-bit and has “Hardware Assisted Virtualisation” (HAV).
That all sounded fine and dandy .. but then I got back to the office and looked at the hefty workstation on my desk … no HAV and definately no Hyper-V either.
So now we have a bit of a conundrum … do I upgrade to a HAV compatible CPU? (i.e. one of the new “Quad Core” Intel Xeon processors) so that I can potentially run 64-bit virtual machines (and hence develop new SharePoint environments)?
BUT … if Windows Server 2008 remains the ONLY platform for 64-bit virtualisation that means I will need a Server 2008 OS to do all my development in (not really suitable for a workstation).
Well .. I’ve spoken to my Infrastructure Manager and come to a plan. All the dev.team are getting brand new Quad-Core Xeon with 4GB RAM workstations.
IF Microsoft don’t release a “workstation” virtualisation platform that can run 64-bit VMs then we are going to convert them all into Servers and buy crappy “terminal” workstations .. and every developer can have their own personal “server” to work in.
IF Microsoft DO release said software … then hurray ! for we’ll have the hardware capable of supporting it.
hmmm .. I wonder if I can convince them to get me 30″ widescreen monitors too ???? …..

MSDN Conference .. SharePoint for Developers … been and gone

Well it was quite a decent SharePoint event, and full as usual (but then I’ve not been to an MSDN event in London that wasn’t “sold-out”).
It was mainly an “Introduction” to WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 with a bit of code thrown in to keep the developers happy, and to whet their appetite so that they go looking for some of the more technical details out there.

If you are looking for the basics, some general pointers on where to get started and some information on some of the things you can do in SharePoint then this is a great place to start. If you are already an experienced SharePoint developer then don’t expect to get much out of this.

If you wanted to see the event slides (and a video of the event from a previous conference) then you can get them all from the MSDN events page.

MSDN Conference .. SharePoint for Developers

Well, going to the MSDN conference “SharePoint for Developers” tomorrow, at Microsoft’s Victoria offices in London.

I’ve even managed to arrange a meeting with the 2 presenting speakers 🙂 (one of whom is a member of the Microsoft UK Developer Team).

Going to see if I can get any insider information on SharePoint from them, hope so.

Looking forward to the conference in any case (it’s the first SharePoint development one I’ve seen this year) .. also hope the coffee isn’t too strong like it was last time 😉

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