SharePoint dot Microsoft dot COM

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com

Wow!  What an exciting day!  The SharePoint marketing team has launched their new web site and it is leveraging SharePoint!  While some people might complain about it being about 2 1/2 years late, this is actually a good and significant accomplishment!   Good stuff! 

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com

image

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com

Congratulations!

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com

geekSpeak webcast – Dan Attis and SharePoint as a DataStore

J. Dan Attis is delivering a “geekSpeak” presentation tomorrow (May-20, 3PM EDT/Noon PDT) about using SharePoint as a datastore.  Dan says that he’s going to talk about how SharePoint wraps your need for a datastore with CRUD forms, security, workflow, etc. 

At first, thinking of SharePoint as a datastore had me wondering about why this couldn’t be done with just Azure.  There’s got to be (soon, if not already, I expect) a whole library of .Net tools that will provide great rendering and visualization of Azure data  services, with a capability to auto-discover what is described in Azure.

Then, it dawned on me that Dan probably isn’t talking about just using SharePoint as a datastore, but maybe he’s talking about how thinking about SharePoint as a datastore provides yet another dimension of access to your data. 

One of the aspects that I’ve always liked about database-oriented storage systems is the variety of ways that you can programmatically get access to your data.  I’m thinking only on the surface here, but we’ve gone full circle.  It used to be that we built applications to surface our data and then looked for GUI front ends to wrap around them.  Now, we’ve got a GUI front end and we’re looking for a way to access the data via a programming interface!

I’m looking forward to Dan’s presentation.  I’m sure it’s going to be much better than my random thoughts. 

Click here to register and join Dan.

Social Product Development – PTC and SharePoint

PTC (www.ptc.com) is a leader in the (physical) product development industry.  PTC provides CAD tools and a number of other manufacturing-related tools to help the entire lifecycle of product design and development. 

In January of 2009, PTC shipped their first product with an integration on top of SharePoint, Windchill ProductPoint.  Windchill ProductPoint provides a collaboration and team communication layer on top of PTC’s Windchill product line.

The benefits of social computing in product development, especially when the people involved in different lifecycle phases can come from different partner companies, and from around the world, are massive.  The SharePoint application development platform provides an infrastructure that allows PTC to incorporate social computing into, and around, their existing application offerings.

PTC has identified a number of other process and applications of theirs that will also benefit from the addition of a social computing platform.  PTC is working on and will be shipping, over the next year or two, an entire infrastructure of manufacturing applications that will leverage the SharePoint platform to tie people and processes and data together in ways that advance the process of product development.

PTC is calling this new approach “Social Product Development”.

You can read about it here (http://www.ptc.com/WCMS/files/90767/en/4466_SPD_FeatureArticle_Update.pdf)

SharePoint Training – Blaming a Lack on The Economy

I loved to see the blog entry today on EndUserSharePoint.com, calling out an observation that companies are not investing in training due to the “Bad Economy”.

While each SharePoint owner has their own reason for investing in training or not, I’ve got to agree (biased?  perhaps?  🙂 ) that investing in your SharePoint developers, your SharePoint IT Professionals / business analysts, and SharePoint users, can be a productive investment.

If SharePoint is a productivity tool that your business can wield, then the better it is understood, the more impact it can have on your business.  Perhaps, the issue is just the perception that you don’t need training for SharePoint because it is a Microsoft product, or because certain aspects of it are so discoverable and easy to understand. 

Like many other aspects of life, a little bit of investment can make the difference between regular utilization and power-benefits.

Why Train?  It’s a Microsoft Application, Isn’t It?

It’s important to view SharePoint from different perspectives.  From the first perspective, it’s an application.  Out of the box, SharePoint fits a lot of the most common business scenarios, and has a lot of functionality.

SharePoint is also a business productivity platform, however, where a thinking analyst can design business applications without writing any code.  Through the judicious use of content types, workflows, content expiration events, permissions, folders, view settings, SharePoint Designer, site definitions, data view web parts, etc., a range of simple to complex business processes can be assembled and deployed easily.

Disclaimer: Some training is recommended, if not required, for this level of use.

And then, at the next level, SharePoint is an application development platform, and provides developers with a level of functionality that they only dreamed about during their computer science classes in University.  — Yes, those same dreams and expectations that were dashed upon arriving into an enterprise development environment!  Well, now you have a business productivity palette on which to build your business applications.

Disclaimer:  Training is required for this level of use.

So, class, we see that SharePoint is much more than your typical WYSIWYG Microsoft Office application.

So, where to go?

The article calls out a few training sources to consider.  These all have national and most have on-line offerings.  There are (most certainly) many additional local training providers that you should also consider.  Go forth, provide training, and prosper!

The only beef I had with the article is that it was quasi-anonymous.  I wanted to give credit to the author.  While the blog is hosted by the company, which isn’t *exactly* anonymous, I’d suggest that it move to showcase the authors’ names.  (Assuming, of course, that the authors at EndUserSharePoint.com aren’t all SharePoint experts sent back from the future where they only have IP numbers?) Maybe there is a way to divine the author’s name from the post (there is a list of authors to the left hand side), but I couldn’t figure it out.  Let’s get over the anonymous thing and start signing our posts, shall we?  🙂

Update: Mark Miller is the author and followed up quickly – it was just an oversight, and EndUserSharePoint.com does normally include the author’s name(s).  Thanks for a good topic for this morning, Mark!

Virtual PC 7 for Win 7

Virtual PC 7 is available now for download and inclusion with your copy of Win 7 RC.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/default.aspx

It’s working like a champ.  I’ve got it running on my Lenovo T61p laptop, and a virtual Win 7 machine running.  In the virtual Win 7 machine, I can run my “legacy” copies of Microsoft Office so that I can be ready to test new copies whenever and wherever they come from.  ;-) 

Virtual PC 7 now supports USB connections, so peripherals will work within the virtual machine.  The only downside is that Virtual PC 7 still doesn’t support x64 virtual machines, so I can’t install Windows Server 2008 and have support for x64-based versions of SharePoint Server.  

Visual Fusion 4.0

There are a number of great mapping solutions available these days, but I wanted to take a minute to highlight the SharePoint integration capabilities of VisualFusion 4.0 from IDV Solutions.

IDV Solutions has been building solutions on top of Virtual Earth and SharePoint for a few years now.  IDV Solutions’s SpatialWiki product, from last year, was one of the first mapping solutions to be available in Silverlight, and was also one that could use a SharePoint list as the data source for an ad hoc collection of mapped items – allowing for disparate teams to construct, review, and edit a list of mapped datapoints, while also allowing for SharePoint management and business process capabilities on the data.

Today, IDV Solutions is launching version 4.0 of VisualFusion.  Not only is this a very capable mapping solution using a Silverlight interface, but it also can be deployed (among other options) as a SharePoint web part, can utilize SharePoint list data, and can leverage the SharePoint Business Data Catalog. 

You can play with a demo of VisualFusion 4.0 here.

VisualFusion4Screenshot

VisualFusion is available in a number of different scenarios.  Check out the version and package that is right for your company using the VisualFusion Comparison Matrix.