SPTechCon San Francisco - Recap

Written by Mike Ferrara. Posted in Editors' Thoughts

Rather than bore you with a long-winded recap of the conference, I’m giving you a short and sweet highlight of what I thought was important. And since I’m a huge fan of top 10s, 8s or anything “top”, that’s pretty much what I’ve provided here. You’ve probably heard a lot of this stuff already, like I have, but there have been some newer things that were talked about since the public beta was released. And it never hurts to re-read things regarding SharePoint 2010, as it can be quite difficult to remember everything.

Day 1

The 1st day of SPTechCon and many conferences nowadays are centered on the full and half day workshops.  This allows you to focus on 1 or 2 major topics for an entire day rather than several technical classes featured on subsequent days. Generally you’ve got 3 major areas of study, development, administration and end-user/information worker. I usually get a nice mix of everything, but I decided to stick with the familiarity and enjoyment of SharePoint administration. Naturally I went to see Shane Young and Todd Klindt share their admin expertise on what’s new for administration in SharePoint 2010....

Important Highlights for New Administration Considerations in 2010

  • Logging databases – massive I/O, but the database is actually queryable. You should be able to  perform routine SQL tasks and queries on this database without voiding your “warranty” so to speak.
  • Windows Server Web is no longer supported for SharePoint, which is a fairly new development outlined on the SharePoint team blog.
  • SharePoint 2010 advanced install requires domain accounts, so you will need to dcpromo your development VM to make it a domain controller if need be.
  • Must have 4GBs of ram for install to work correctly. Make sure your VMs have enough horsepower or you may come across very strange failures on provisioning some of the service apps during setup.
  • External blob storage is making a bigger splash in 2010. RBS is fully supported; however you are limited to the resources of the server hosting the file themselves. You should not think about implementing RBS unless your storage needs are pushing the 500GB limit.
  • Incoming email features have not changed at all in 2010.
  • Service apps can reside on their own servers to scale apps horizontally
  • 2010 supports a new authentication model, claims-based authentication. You can read more about it in the SharePoint 2010 evaluation guide.

With a full day of SharePoint in the books, it’s generally a good idea to cap it off with a SharePint. Luckily there was one planned at the Elephant Bar in Burlingame, CA. Unfortunately, it never happened due to poor planning. But that didn’t stop us* from grabbing a much needed In-N-Out burger and screeching down Lombard street in an SUV.

* If you want to know who us is, then just look for random tweets during the conference that were tagged with some derivative of “in and out”.

Day 2

By now, everyone is settled in (except for Dux and Fabian) and ready for more varied topics in the SharePoint world. 2010 is obviously dominating most of the content here, and I exclusively attended 2010 sessions. One of the topics I honestly haven’t had enough time to delve into was workflow for 2010. Luckily, Mike Fitzmaurice gave a great session on new and improved features for workflow in SharePoint 2010.

Changes in Workflow for SharePoint 2010

  • Performance improvements
  • Site workflows that are not bound to a list
  • Workflows on document sets
  • Impersonation steps are now available if the author does not have the rights to do what he/she needs to do. A scenario brought up by Paul Swider (someone wants to upload an expense sheet that only the manager should see) is now solved OOTB with 2010. In Designer 2007 you didn't have an action available for this, and you needed to us VS.
  • You can now import XOML-based declarative workflows right into Visual Studio for code-based improvements.
  • Reusable workflows are now available so you can reuse them throughout your site
  • You can literally open up OOTB workflows in Designer and edit everything to your liking
  • Shortcuts to workflow actions are now in the Ribbon
  • Lots of new actions in Designer like declaring records, set permissions and user profile lookups

Day 3

The last day of a conference for me is usually the time where I catch up on some sleep and hang out on the expo floor to meet with vendors. That didn’t happen as I was up at 5 am working on things and somehow during that timeframe the expo floor disappeared. It was replaced overnight with a Twilight conference! As strange as it sounds, Joel Oleson and I wasted no time taking advantage of the situation. Yep, that’s me giving you my best Edward impersonation.

Even though the expo floor was gone, the last day for me touched on some of the more interesting topics during the whole show. One of those sessions was an overview of new features in InfoPath 2010 by Eric Harlan. Although not an exclusive SharePoint topic, these two products are becoming more complimentary by the release. Any new feature of InfoPath is generally a win for SharePoint admins and power users alike.

Whats New in InfoPath 2010

Top 10 New Features

  1. Copy/paste ability for rules and formatting
  2. Fast publishing to SharePoint Form Services
  3. Clickable Themes and Layouts
  4. Customizable list form attributes via InfoPath
  5. People Picker
  6. Pretty Image Buttons
  7. Form Load Option
  8. Connectable to Web Parts
  9. Cascading Filtering in the Browser
  10. Relative URLs

Top 8 Hates

  1. Repeating tables/sections link still not hideable
  2. Conditional formatting and rules are now combined in the UI
  3. Field validation prompt is still kind of lame
  4. Making an IP form show in a 2010 style pop up requires a line of code in the form.
  5. Finding everything, all over again
  6. Time/date picker is now two fields
  7. Rule delete button and rule pane close button too close
  8. "Fast Publish" is only semi "fast"

Although I was not blown away by my experience at this particular SPTechCon conference, I can’t deny that there was a lot of great content here. This conference is a unique one in that there are two shows per year by the same organizers. There is one in the San Francisco area and one in Boston every year. I personally prefer the Boston show myself for various reasons. If you’re interested in attended, SPTechCon Boston will be happening in October later this year.


Mike Ferrara
Author: Mike FerraraWebsite: http://www.hyperiongp.com
Mike Ferrara has over 12 years of experience with information systems integration, and specializes in Enterprise Content Management on SharePoint. Mike has a deep understanding of legal technology and how it interfaces with digital content.


# san francisco chiropractor 2010-12-23 12:29
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# Ted Bahr 2010-03-09 15:39
Thanks for the review Mike! Usually the expo runs on Day 2 and 3 of SPTechCon but we sold out the floor months before the event and to get more space had to juggle and move the expo to Day 1 and Day 2. A good idea would have been to make that more clear!!

At Boston SPTechCon, the show floor will again be Day 2-3. Hope to see you there,

Ted (with SPTechCon)
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# Mike Ferrara 2010-02-25 13:53
Hey Jeff... thanks for the nice comment! I'm really looking forward to new 2010 projects, as things just work better. Is it perfect? Nope, nothing ever is, but things are much better in this release that's for sure. Thanks for posting!
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# jeff shuey 2010-02-24 12:41
Mike -- great points. I was only able to attend for one day due to other commitments, but I agree with your theme that there is a lot of good stuff going on as we lead up to the SharePoint 2010 release. It's going to be huge and it's going to help a lot of companies get onto the ECM bandwagon (again).
- Jeff
Twitter: @jshuey
Blog: http://jshueywa.blogspot.com/
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