Archive for category: Community

2015 Recap: The king is dead – long live the king!

02 Jan 2016
January 2, 2016

3 times and you have a pattern, right? This is not the first time I write a recap for the past year, (2014, 2013) – and it is always good fun to reflect the last one and plan the next one.

The Past aka 2015

2015 was a super busy year for me – both work, community and private live was packed and very intense.

Events

I attended so many events this year, without my outlook calendar a reflection would not be possible anymore. Lets start with my favorites:

SharePoint Saturday Belgium / Antwerp

That was my first SharePoint Saturday ever – and it was epic. The spirit of the Belgium SharePoint Community is awesome, speaking there was really rewarding for me! Maybe I cant attend in 2016, but if I have the chance I probably will.

ShareCamp 2015

ShareCamp is totally unique, I totally love the open style of the conference – everybody can speak there, beginner, experts, customers, everybody. I totally like the mix, especially when there are topics that are outside of the “SharePoint box”, I learned a lot there and for me that is perfect infotainment.

ShareCamp Sessionvote

 

Search Stammtisch Munich

We are only few, but dynamite comes in small packages 🙂 Every first Monday we meet in my favorite cocktail bar. It is the best place to talk about SharePoint Search and everything around it, from 3rd party to hybrid, to Azure Search – we covered everything. I hope to see more people this year, but well, Search is a niche and won’t attract hundreds.

http://www.pussersbar.de/en/pussers-bar.html

taken from http://www.pussersbar.de/en/pussers-bar.html

SharePoint User Group Munich

I think I attended very SharePoint User Group Meeting in Munich (that should be 5-6) and organized one. Always good fun!

Conferences

I had the chance to speak at 2 commercial conferences about SharePoint Search this year: SharePoint Days and ShareConf – for 2016 I will try to speak more, maybe I try a different conference, too. Let’s see how it goes.

My blog

From a content producing side, 2015 wasn’t my best. I only crafted 16 posts, but well some of them took really a lot of time. Cloud Hybrid was one of them – and as a premiere I blogged about my new hobby: Paragliding. As one of my new year resolution is “fly more!” the chances are high that I will blog about it again.

Facts and figures

I like figures and statistics and all that – 89.000 page views is not that bad for my tiny blog, isn’t it? I have nothing to compare too, but I am quite happy with it. +12% from last year!

Blog Stats 2015

blog stats for 2015

 

Countries 2015

180 countries – I say “hello” from Germany!

My most visited blog posts are apparently from 2014 – luckily two are about search and that makes me happy:

  1. Installing SharePoint 2013 SP1 with SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2 – Picture Love Story (~14.000 views)
  2. #SharePoint 2013 – Create a Search Service Application and Search Topology with Powershell (~10.200 views)

  3. Install Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013 – with PDF Preview (9.700 views)

Contributions

On the contributions part, I tried to commit some time to my favorite tool – SharePoint Search Query Tool – and it is totally worth it. I use that tool so often, so why not improve it to make it even better?

Additionally I started my own tool – Azure Search Tool – I have to admit that I haven’t put any time into it recently, but it’s still fully functionally. I will block some time soon to give some more love because its a cool and useful util.

The Future aka 2016

2015 was a shift year – I saw a lot of clients migrating to SharePoint Online and I think even more will do in 2016. With that move I learned a lot about migration to the cloud, SharePoint Apps and Azure – and I think that will be my business focus for 2016. Maybe we launch a SharePoint App as a product – that would be fun!
Lots of work a head, many challenges to be solved – there is a good year ahead of us! And we will see SharePoint 2016 RTM very soon. I am not as excited as I was for SharePoint 2013 – but the platform matures with every release and I hope to see many many Search challenges and projects. Even more as with 2013 because SharePoint Search is business critical, right?

Main goals for next year: SharePoint Search, Apps, Azure, Community, SharePoint Search, Hybrid, Azure Search, Paragliding. I am a simple man 🙂

just hanging there

Happy new year!

With that said, I wish you all the best for 2016, health, prosperity, lots of excitement and fun!

ShareCamp 2015 – Recap

01 Jun 2015
June 1, 2015

Germany’s latest and greatest SharePoint community event was last weekend (30.05.2015 & 31.05.2015 at Microsoft in Munich) – and it was awesome, once again!

ShareCamp Session Vote

ShareCamp Session Vote

sharecamp_sessionvote

200 attendees!

ShareCamp & Community

What is so special about ShareCamp? Easy question, it is entirely community-driven. On both days, Saturday and Sunday, there is a session vote before the “conference” starts. So the attendees prepare presentations and do a short intro during the vote – if more than 3 people raise their hand there will be a session and there were lots of em. 6 tracks in parallel if I recall it right. And the concept works for many years now, more than 200 attendees had a good time this year! Not to mention the SharePint party. The good thing here? No only experienced and known speakers get the chance to present their ideas. And not only the mainstream sessions get voted – there were a lot of close to or far way from SharePoint sessions. And I met a lot of old SharePoint friends that are spread over the country – good to see ya! 🙂

Alegri Team @ ShareCamp

Alegri Team @ ShareCamp

Sessions & Discussions

So what sessions did we have this year? A lot of them. Here is a list of the sessions I attended or prepared.

1. Azure Search vs SharePoint Search (2x)

On Saturday I held a presentation about Azure Search. The title was on purpose a little bit baiting, you can’t compare the incomparable here and that’s good. But I started with a brief overview what SharePoint Search is, how it evolved and talked about its strength and weaknesses. Then I switched over to the brand new Azure Search I evaluated for a client project. And showed a demo app that is (Sourcecode) available here. Basically I showed the entire Azure Search workflow from service & index creation, pushing documents via SharePoint to Azure Search – and the options you have to get items back out of it. I had good fun. So much, that I presented the session again on Sunday 🙂 Here I showed a second demo (available here) that indexed a local folder and pushed the filenames and paths to Azure Search. Does that sound familiar? I tried to cover some of the typical SharePoint content sources: SharePoint Content and Fileshares. It’s not even close what I showed but similar.

I received some good questions during the talk (out of my head in my words):

  • Where is the content? The content will be stored in Azure Search / Cloud.
  • Can you index Office Documents? Yes, but you need to extract the content of the files.
  • How about item security? If you want them, you have to build them. Azure Search has a different focus than SharePoint Search – keep that in mind. Different product, not a replacement!
  • Can you push items to the cloud? YES!!!
  • How you get the items back? You get them via the REST interface and they are transported as JSON.
  • Can you combine SharePoint Search and Azure Search? Not out of the box – you would need to create an opensearch provider that translates the JSON to opensearch compliant XML.
  • Is it ready yet? Yes, definitely. But I have the feeling Azure Search will improve rapidly in the near future.

My slides (German most of it) are available here – but as usual they are not as good without the demo.

Expect some blog posts here, I really like Azure Search!

2. Governance & JavaScript Solutions – how does that fit together?

My second session on Saturday with my colleagues Marco Schmucker and Matthias Edom – we talked about the blessings and curses of JavaScript solutions – what you can do and what it will cost you/your clients. The entire session was based on the scenario that you upgrade you SharePoint to a next version and should estimate how much effort you have to put into it – and what could essentially break. And we discussed with the audience, we gather a lot of different aspects and experiences. Good fun!

Scripting and Governance session

Scripting and Governance session

 

 

 

 

 

Slides will be available once I get the link.

3. Provider-hosted App Framework

I am slightly interested into SharePoint Provider-hosted apps and all areas around it. Maybe because I recently started to learn MVC. Maybe because I like the idea of having all the great stuff outside of SharePoint. But in this session Christian Groß (Solutions2Share) showed what framework they use to create their apps. I was really surprised to hear what they experienced over the last year and what it means to build a product – and how important logging, supporting and ticketing is. Good stuff, I hope they will release it as open source sometime in the future…

4. SharePoint Toolbox

The ShareCamp evergreen, I think it’s the 4th time that we had this session at a ShareCamp. I am into tools and this session is about tools – so what could go wrong?! My friend Henning Eiben moderated a really entertaining session with lots of idea sharing and tool discussions. I think we gathered and introduced about 50 tools – commercial or Open Source that every SharePoint developer or IT-PRO should know. ULSViewer, SPDockit, CamlDesigner, SPServices, CKSDev, SearchQueryTool, LogParser, AutoSPInstaller family, SharePoint Patch Service – just to name a bunch!

Dont be a fool – use a tool!

Henning collected a lot of the tools in a delicious feed – go take a look!

6. Provider Hosted Apps Hackathon

I prepared nothing for it – and expected a lot of this session – fun most importantly. We only had one hour to “create” something that looks like an SharePoint app. So what did we do? We decided do a simple app that shows two buttons and asks the key question: “How was your day today?” So we had two buttons with good and bad. The strech goal here was to ship a minimal viable product that simply stored the value in a SharePoint list – in one hour impossible? Damn right. But during the hour we talked and discuss a lot about the problems we face with Provider-hosted apps, whats good and bad – and what challenges & opportunities we see. We almost got it working tho, very close to storing the results – soooo close! 🙂

6. Azure Workshop

I only attended the very last 15 minutes. Too bad, it must have been awesome. At least I heard that many of the attendees said it was their highlight. Okay Patrick Heyde (Microsoft) had some advantages: Firstly he had 3 hours to show how to provision a SharePoint environment on Azure and the experiences he collected over the past 4 years in his role – and he “bribed” the attendees with 75€ Azure vouchers to play with it. Too bad there were so many sessions in parallel – there will hopefully be a next time!

In general I think there should be more sessions that have more time – I would love to talk about SharePoint/Azure Search for a day… or two 🙂

Summary

The weekend was packed and I learned a lot – I totally enjoyed it. I am really looking forward for next year!

Thanks again to all sponsors, organizers and speakers – Germany’s SharePoint community would not work without you!

ShareCamp raffle - lots of prices and gadgets!

ShareCamp raffle – lots of prices and gadgets!

Can’t make it to Microsoft Ignite? Watch the keynote with us!

28 Apr 2015
April 28, 2015

Microsoft Ignite is next week (see countdown below), and apparently it is in Chicago so many of us can’t make it. So lets make the best out of it and watch the keynote together! That is 100% more fun than watching it alone, right? Guaranteed!

Microsoft Ignite

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Microsoft Ignite 2015 Hangout

If you want to watch us talking and discussing the keynote you can watch the stream here: https://melcher.it/s/4B

If you want to participate – and that would be much more fun – you can be part of it: http://melcher.it/s/4A (prepare your headset and webcam)

You can add the event to your calendar: Ignite 2015 Hangout.

See & hear you next week!

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