Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halfway through the 2006 TechED for Developers

Well, here we are at the third day of a week full of technobabble and mostly nerdish guys trying to gain some attention from all those Microsoft gurus. The day started with a presentation on the class object model of Sharepoint Portal 2007 and Windows Sharepoint Services 2007 and was provided by us by Ted Pattison. It was quite technical but even as a novice Sharepoint user, I managed to learn a decent amount of new stuff. One thing we should look at when we're back home is to integrate our custom ASP.NET pages that now run separately into Sharepoint's page collection. You can then obtain some neat information from Sharepoint itself and even modify site collections, navigation bars, sites and pages in a very detailled way.

The next session was presented by one of the leading guys of the AJAX Control Toolkit team. He showed us how easy it is to enhance an existing website with AJAX animation, hovering menus, pop-ups and much more eye-candy without bothering with JavaScript code. He also explained in a lot of detail how to create your own AJAX Behaviours (client-side) and Extenders (server-side) using the base-classes in the toolkit. Although the toolkit is an open-source project by a small Microsoft team and some 3rd party contributors, they've tried to do there best to releave us of too much plumbing-related work. The toolkit is not part of the ASP.NET AJAX core functionality, but will evolve over time when more contributers will jump on the train. Really cool stuff if you ask me... 

Again, similarly to each day so far, lunch was moderate. It seems that people from the south of Europe tend to have a warm meal during lunch. But we Dutch people, prefer to have a piece of bread with ham or cheese. The only food left for us was some cold stuff that you can hardely call lunch. Bad call Microsoft!

Following lunch, I attended a session on combining Office 2007 and Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 in a collaborating solution. The two presenters showed some neat tricks to extend Sharepoint with custom-build components (such as custom fields and validators). Since I don't have personal experience with developing in Sharepoint, this session was a little bit to deep for me. Nevertheless, I did leave the session with the knowledge that you can do pretty much everything and that it shouldn't be too difficult if you already have some basic knowledge on the Sharepoint object model.

Session four of the day was given by the famous Ivar Jacobson, co-founder of the Unified Modelling Language and Rational Unified Process. This time, he was promoting his new Essential Unified Process, a new process consisting of eight essential practices, incorporating Agile aspects, social engineering prinicples and more. His goal is to overcome the heavy weight of RUP and introduce new process that should be easy to understand, easy to use, and easy to maintain. The great thing is that he has been integrating this process in Visual Studio Team System. However, looking at the demo and the material, I think it is still in development and needs a lot of marketing.

The day completed with another Ted Pattison presentation on Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 development, this time focusing on web parts, master pages, field types and more. I'm definitely going to order a good book on this subject now. Sharepoint has a great future. 

This completes the third day at wonderful Barcelona. Tonight, we're going to join a party organised for Dutch developers visiting the TechED. It's in the Barcelona City Hall Nightclub....