Monday, October 19, 2009

Visual Web Part project item makes debut in VS2010 for SharePoint

Many novices and experienced SharePoint developers have been using the technique of hosting a UserControl in a web part. Traditionally beginners like it because it provides design surface similar to ASP.NET and allows them to be productive without learning all details of how custom controls work. ASP.NET developers entering the SharePoint world find it very convenient to reuse existing component or simply have a design surface available when developing web parts. I’ve recommended and used this technique in several projects and code camp sessions. However there was always the feeling that that this is a tricky solution somehow not a VIP in the SharePoint developer toolbox. 

The picture is changing with  SharePoint 2010 and VS 2010 tools for SharePoint, where a new project item is introduced. The Visual Web Part is delivered as part of the SharePoint tools and makes it even easier to hook up user controls to web parts. Novice developers are finally getting a design surface for SharePoint development out of the box.

This comes as no surprise for the Visual Studio team has been working hard to make the transition of ASP.NET developers to SharePoint and I find that their attempt with Visual Studio 2010 for SharePoint is very successful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting ready for SharePoint Conference 2009

 

It has been a busy month getting ready for the SPC in Las Vegas. I am really proud that this time I am not going to be not only a visitor of the show, but take part of presenting what we at Global360 have been working on in the last months.

We’ve been working hard on improving the integration of Process360 with SharePoint and what better opportunity to show off our work than SPC. I think we’ve made some really good and unique progress in demonstrating how SharePoint can be used as an BPM application development and hosting environment.

While our sales team is going to hit the exhibition hall with demos, white papers, fun and swag, I am planning to hit the keynotes and the breakout sessions and blog about every bit of useful information I can get from the session. In addition to taking part at the conference exhibition Global360 has several big announcement to make at the show.

If you are at the SPC make sure to visit our booth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Global 360 is Going Social

We’ve been working on a lot of things that are starting to surface the marketplace in the last couple of months. If you are interested to follow the latest developments from the leading pure play BPM vendor tune in to:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Global360IncBPM

Facebook: Click http://www.facebook.com/pages/Global360-Inc/106369541359?ref=nf

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/Global360PersonaBPM

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Does Xbox's project Natal spell trouble for Nintendo Wii?

Just saw the videos for project Natal (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/projectnatal/) a new revolutionary video camera based controller for new and existing Xbox consoles. It is really great that to see that there is some competition in the new generation of console games. Even though Wii is still the true leader in this category it is refreshing to see that Microsoft will offer a comparable and even better gaming experience, while further developing its own video based technology.

As a father of a Pokémon fan, I still think that the real reason for the leadership of Wii remains in the engaging, long lasting and social games that Nintendo offers. These games have great stories behind them and a typical Pokémon game is played both on a small factor device, such as the DS(i), the Wii and most importantly on the playground with friends. A typical game/story takes months to complete. The social interaction between buddies playing the game (often using wireless) and the research a kid has to do to move to the next level using text guides, friends tips and the Internet is just so much more engaging than games with short span, such as sports games for example.

Another strong point of Nintendo is that they always have backward compatibility for their games for the previous generation. This protects the investment in games for many years. Microsoft on the other hand does not have a good record in this area with Windows and other products, so they should make it abundantly clear that after the planned retirement of Xbox, whatever comes next will have the capabilities to play older games and will be compatible with the Natal controller.

In addition to the usual sports games, judging by Stephen Spielberg's endorsement, I am guessing some of the first titles specifically designed for the new controller will be related to Clone Wars, which would be a really smart move for the game console trying to get some of Wii’s market share.

All in all this looks like a great product with tons of innovation, but I am still not certain I’ll be rushing to the store buying an Xbox… I just exhausted my gaming budget for a new Nintendo DSi, sorry…

 

Dovizhdane!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

SharePoint developers get special treatment

In the last week or two in SharePoint land there were some interesting announcements and changes. The first on my list is the availability of Office Designer for free. While this product is not a spoon for everybody's mouth, it certainly makes it easier for a wider developer community to try out and use it and most importantly you can be productive in short time. This is great for many who are interested to create SharePoint applications, but it could be less fun for many administrators, since the lifecycle management of web applications with this version of the tool could be tricky. So watch out when you modify live sites. You can download Office Designer here.

Another good news is the simplification of the SharePoint server name for the next version of the product. We shall no longer have to use the long Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, but just SharePoint Server 2010. The “Office” falls out of the name and becomes distinctive for the desktop product line, while the enterprise server product becomes just SharePoint Server or simply SharePoint. Not a big change for many, who already were using this convention. Some mild implication from this change result in losing  the somewhat beloved MOSS acronym, which was mixed in all kind of geeky combinations, such as mosslover, mossmozis, mossgonewild etc.  read more about this name change and other announcements on the Office product front here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/Apr09/04-15Office2010.mspx

Last but not least I would like to mention some announcements about Visual Studio 2010. There are tons of new features that will continue to define this development environment as the best in the industry, but my favorite addition is the integrated support for SharePoint development. No more extensions that do the work half way. SharePoint developers become first class citizens with full support in Visual Studio. The fact that we can import WSP projects into Visual Studio makes me feel great. This means that we can finally take any project, even those developed using SharePoint UI or Office Designer, import them in Visual Studio and do things that developers do… put the files in source control system, make modifications and redeploy, rearrange features etc. Talking about features the new feature manager looks really promising, no need for directly manipulating XML files anymore. Other functionality currently available as community tool(http://www.codeplex.com/spm) is the integrated server browser . Many other server products had one (i.e. SQL Server), so why not SharePoint? To read more about what’s coming in Visual Studio 2010, have a look at the following announcements.

http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2009/02/19/sharepoint-tools-support-in-visual-studio.aspx

http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/VisualStudio/Sharepoint-Development-with-Visual-Studio-2010/

http://download.microsoft.com/download/C/0/9/C0965791-049B-4200-9008-F07A783026F6/VisualStudio2010_ProductOverview.pdf

Even though these changes came a little late for many, after all the voice of the SharePoint developer community has been heard. The platform will continue to grow and gain market share, but in addition to that this will continue the trend of replacing traditional ASP.NET/IIS development with SharePoint applications in many business scenarios.

 

Dovizhdane!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Interested to know the most popular SharePoint software development tool?

Take the survey posted by Todd Bleeker of Mindsharp here: Preferred SharePoint Development Tool. With no surprise for me with 44% at the time of writing this, the winner is WSPBuilder by Carsten Keutmann.

What is your favorite?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Starting New Year with a renewed MVP Award

Isn't it great to be a "January" MVP? You always get the news for the award first thing in the morning of January 1st. Perfectly in time for new year's resolution. I am pleased to announce that I was awarded the MVP Award for a second consecutive year. This is a great honor and validation of my work for the developer community.

However the most important aspect of the MVP award for me is that it reinforces my believe that static knowledge is useless. In the super connected world we live, obtaining knowledge and keeping it to yourself, either because of ill understood sense of job security or because of geekiness, or lack of communication skills, devalues this knowledge tremendously. With the fast pace of change nowadays, the window of opportunity to make use of your skill is rather limited. We create much more value for our companies, for the community and for ourselves, by sharing ideas, provide support to the new comers and expressing opinions about the future of the industry niche we specialize in.

This process provides tremendous opportunity for developers, who are not so fortunate and work for companies that either don't understand the value of continuing education, do not have the resources to do it, or simply are overworked. Several years ago I worked for several startups in a row and I recall that the lack of resources, the stressful work and the lack of social interactions with peers in the developer community really took a toll on my satisfaction on the job. Couple of years later, when the Florida code camps became big, I found that this is the perfect opportunity to share my knowledge with other developers in similar position. Even though now I am working for a company that takes really good care of it's developers, I find that the knowledge I exchanged in community in recent years is very valuable for me and for others.

Many ask me what is the MVP award. Many think it is some sort of skills certifications in the traditional certification terms, some simply reject it as a mark of the overachiever, and many savor it for what it is not. However in my opinion the MVP award is a "certification" of an open and outward attitude towards learning, sharing knowledge and building teams and communities. Some get in for assisting in the MSDN forums, other for writing books, third for preparing a presentation for a code camp or other community event, or may be sharing code on codeplex. Regardless of the form we all have one thing in common we keep our skills and knowledge in motion building new connections, ideas, friends and most importantly value.

Happy New Year!

Dovizhdane!