SharePoint and Azure at PDC10

Tomorrow is the start of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, PDC10. Every SharePoint ISV should have one or two developers or architects in attendance, virtually, if not physically.

This edition of PDC is important because much of the focus will be on the Windows Azure platform, and Cloud Computing concepts.  I don’t think there is a bigger question that SharePoint ISVs have, than “What are the Cloud and Azure implications for SharePoint, and for my business?”

Now is the time to learn about Microsoft’s direction with the Windows Azure platform.  There are bound to be a number of announcements about the Windows Azure platform, and because the integration with SharePoint 2010 is not a direct integration, but is an indirect integration, most, if not all, SharePoint solutions will need to be re-architected.

Even if you have selected a different cloud provider than the Windows Azure platform, you will benefit from understanding Microsoft’s direction around Windows Azure.  Windows Azure focuses more on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, and is not an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.  This implies that more or less services are available to you as a solution builder.

There won’t be a lot of sessions about SharePoint specifically, but most of the Azure sessions will have a bearing on SharePoint development. There will be one session on SharePoint Online, but it will be viewable on demand, and not live.

Use to see the agenda, and to play the sessions in a live streaming mode and for replay after the conference concludes.

I should stress that development for SharePoint Online and development for SharePoint and Windows Azure are different things at this point.  SharePoint solution builders need to understand that they need to have two approaches to deliver their solutions, or pick the best approach and work to deliver well through that channel.  I would love to be able to update this post to announce that a SharePoint solution builder can target SharePoint Online and the Windows Azure platform with the same approach, but that will not be true for a long time, if ever.  SharePoint Online is Not SharePoint on Windows Azure.

The timing for this event is also interesting, given the new announcements of Office 365 as the new name for the Business Productivity Online Suite.  I’m not sure that we’ll see much about Office 365, given that the PDC is owned by the Developer side of the campus, and not the Business side, but there should be mentions and maybe some additional information in the high-level keynotes.


Online Account Security

As we all use many, many online accounts, I’d like to present a public service message.  Read Omar Shahine’s post titled “Protect your Live ID now” and apply these principles to secure your online identity wherever you might have them, whether it is a Windows Live account, or a Google account, or another type of account.

I particularly like the idea to put your own random entry into the “Secret Questions” portion and then record your answer in your archive of remembered passwords.  Everytime I am prompted with one of these silly secret question things, I remember how silly they really are, and of Bill Gates’ visit to The Daily Show, at about 3:30 in this clip…–1

Six Weeks In

It’s funny to see what has happened with SharePoint Directions after six weeks.   I feel like I’m still running as fast as I did at Microsoft, except that I’m doing projects and having conversations on my own terms – and feeling complete freedom and responsibility about them.  It’s turning out very well.  I’m grateful for all of you who are on my “Virtual Board of Advisors”, and those ISVs that provide great feedback and support.

The whole speaking thing is starting to take off.  I spoke at all three of the West Coast SharePoint Saturday events in September (SPS East Bay, SPS LA, SPS Vancouver), and last week at the SharePoint Palooza event in Seattle.  (That event deserves a separate post.)  I am writing this while on the way home from SPTechCon Boston 2010 and while I didn’t speak at this event, I was able to get a lot of work done, and am looking forward to speaking at SPTechCon San Francisco 2011.

The best session at SPTechCon that I participated in was Paul Stubbs’ session about Developer Patterns for Sandbox Development in SharePoint 2010.   The secret is Full Trust Proxies.  It’s too bad that BPOS won’t be supporting Full Trust proxies for a bunch of years to come, if ever.  By the time BPOS decides to support Full Trust Proxy, there will be a new approach to providing this capability.  But for now, if you are an ISV and would like to write for the SharePoint 2010 Sandbox, (and that is ALL of you!) remember this code:  “Blue Horseshoe LOVES Full Trust Proxies!”