It all started with the PreConf DeepDive: Wouter van Vugt of Code Counsel delivered some great content about SharePoint. He started with an easy to follow introduction on the SharePoint platform and slowly moved towards some more advanced topics. He shared with us some of his development best practices and his cool Entity Pickers code (available on MSDN at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc889345.aspx).
Then the DevDays ‘09 started: the first day had only one SharePoint session (on Web Content Management delivered by Donald Hessing and Reinhard Brongers). I haven’t attended it myself but heard it was very well delivered and it was packed! Later that day I attended a session by Alex Thissen on debugging code in production environments. Although the topic seems boring/difficult, Alex did a great job and showed some cool demos on how you could approach fixing problems if you can’t really get to the code. It was quite silent by the SharePoint ask-the-expert booth but Ton Stegeman and I had some great time speaking with friends and all other people involved in the Dutch SharePoint community.
The second, and the last, day was packed with SharePoint sessions. Great speakers in the SharePoint world: Daniel McPherson, Jan Tielens, Mirjam van Olst and Wouter van Vugt (in order of appearance) had their sessions planned: the day looked very promising.
Daniel McPherson kicked off the day with his session on social computing in SharePoint. Although I’ve seen both the content and the solutions before I always look forward to attend Daniel’s sessions. He’s a great natural-born speaker, so listening to him delivering content (especially such cool stuff as his demos) is a great pleasure.
The next session was by Jan Tielens sharing with us the new things inside the .NET 3.5 framework and how they could be used on the SharePoint platform. He has started with a introduction to using Linq in SharePoint (a kind of introduction to Mirjam’s presentation) and finished showing us how to use WCF services in the context of a SharePoint site.
After the lunch Jan delivered another session: this time on pimping up the SharePoint UI. I’ve been following Jan’s work since I got involved with SharePoint. Although I expected it to be a strongly jQuery-focused session, I got surprised with some brand new content. Jan kicked off his presentation with the customization “Scale of Jan”. Then he showed us the different approaches to using AJAX in Web Parts. Then, as expected, he demoed a several examples of integrating jQuery in Windows SharePoint Services (code available soon at his CodePlex site at http://smarttools.codeplex.com). At the end Jan took pimping the SharePoint UI a step further and used Silverlight to render some slick charts.
In the next slot the SharePoint audience had to choose: using Linq in SharePoint by Mirjam van Olst or working with Workflows by Wouter van Vugt. It was quite odd that there were two parallel SharePoint sessions considering there was none in the last slot. As I’m working more with data than with workflows I attended Mirjam’s session. She started off with a short recap of what Jan presented earlier that day. Then Mirjam discussed some more technical aspects of using Linq in SharePoint including some pros and cons to it. To keep it short: a great session with lots of valuable content.
We got really busy at the SharePoint booth the second day. We had some great conversations about SharePoint tools, working with web.config modifications, optimizing SharePoint Web Content Management solutions, generating code and assets from the SharePoint configuration and many more. Next to talking about some advanced concepts we had a couple of questions about how one could learn SharePoint development. I was pretty surprised that people haven’t heard about the two learning sites: http://mssharepointdeveloper.com and http://myrampup.com which contain all the content a beginning SharePoint developer might need including labs and SharePoint development Virtual PC.
DevDays ‘09 was a great event. I've seen all the familiar faces and met some new ones as well. And while I don’t know if other communities experienced the same, but it was amazing to see how SharePoint joins people. I’m already looking forward to the upcoming SDN Event with two SharePoint MVP’s Bob Fox and Spencer Harbar. See you there! Don’t forget to sign in!