ShareCamp 2014 was last weekend (05/23/2014 – 05/25/2014) hosted by Microsoft in Munich and it was the best community event I attended this year – and I repeat that now for 3 years in a row. So why is it that great? The answer is simple but unexpected: Its organized by and depends on active participation of the community: Each attendee can present their topics and questions in a session – if the other attendees wanna hear their stuff. Great concept (see barcamp or unconference for more background), I like it. Why? Because its not the 100% well prepared, clinical presentations – its from guys like you and me, you can have fun during the session, interrupt the speaker with questions and more. Just great and very entertaining, the hours passed so fast.
So how does it work?
Every morning all attendees gather and do the session voting. So if you want to present or discuss something, you tell us your session title and a brief abstract – then the attendees vote and if you are lucky (its easy to get votes imho) you get a slot and a room to have some fun.
Sessions I attended
I was a little late on Saturday (and apparently on Sunday, too) so I did not attend the session votings at all this time – but I attended 6 or 7 sessions, some of them I will describe below:
Search-driven Intranet by Sascha Henning (@sascha_henning) was very interesting, too. Whole Intranet was powered by search – and as you know, I <3 Search.
Some ideas I will steal copy, I totally liked the “daily menu app” aka Word Document rendered with Office Web Apps.
Office 365 Development Experience Exchange by Christian Gross was very entertaining. The attendees did not have that many experiences with O365 dev, but Christian told us how much trouble his company had to migrate their on-prem tool to the cloud. We discussed what problems we see with the rather unstable API of O365 and the problems with the 2-weekly releases. Good stuff to keep in mind.
Easy site provisioning with Collaboration Manager again by Christian Gross – this was a product session and good to see how powerful this 3rd party tool is. You can create team site templates within SharePoint. Then you can provision them based on this template. The most impressive part was to see the synchronization when the template changed – you ever tried to update sites after the site definition/template changed? There is a tool for that.
Location/Context-aware apps by Christian Heindel: Some good ideas about context/location aware apps in this session. How about promoting the time tracking apps on Friday when people track their hours?
Sessions I presented
My plan was to present a session about Search-driven apps with SharePoint 2013 – but because I was in the hospital in the morning (long story!) I could not present my session during the session vote. But luckily Nicki Borell (SharePoint “Search” MVP) had an “open” search session and asked me to co-present. So we both faced around 30 people with a multitude of SharePoint questions from Managed Properties, Search Architecture, Search Tools (I presented the Search Query Tool v2) , BCS search connectors and future improvements of search – in just one hour! I hope the attendees had as much fun as we had.
So here are my slides (I did not present all of them): http://melcher.it/s/2E
The second session is an evergreen – I think I presented this one the 3rd or 4th time with updated slides of course: SharePoint Best Tools or SharePoint Toolbox. I am always astonished how many people develop or administer SharePoint systems without proper tools – and there are soooooo many tools around to make our lives easier. To name some: CKSDEV, SharePoint Manager, AutoSPInstaller, SharePoint Search Query Tool (<= my favorite), ULSViewer, Feature Admin, SharePoint Manager, Balsamiq, SPCAF, …
More in my slides: http://melcher.it/s/2F
Well, there was one thing that I totally did not like this year. ShareCamp is now so successful that its hard to get a ticket. There are around 200 available tickets and they were gone in roughly 4 hours!!! So if you forget to register just one day – you were most likely out of luck and on the waiting list. This leaves the taste of an “insider event” but it should be for the community – and as it seems there is a huge demand in Germany. So why not scale up next year?
Additionally I would love to have 2 hour sessions slots – some well chosen topics (voting upfront like the SP24 conference did it) for special topics (search? app development? Just something with a broader range and 1 hour is just not enough).
That’s it for this year – thanks again to all organizers, MVPs, sponsors and Microsoft for this great event! I had a blast.