Archive for category: Conference

Ignite 2015 Recap – with SharePoint Search in Mind!

11 May 2015
May 11, 2015

So Ignite is over – and I am pretty impressed how fast the content is available! I followed the first conference (we even had a community hangout during the first keynote) of this style closely via twitter – and the feedback there was quite interesting! Most importantly for me as a SharePoint guy, was of course the announcements of SharePoint 2016. And well, you can be of different opinion of the rescheduled release – but lets focus on the positive side: It’s the first time that we publicly hear what is coming and what will be changed: over a year ahead! I like the new, innovative and open Microsoft – big change!

This post will be about the changes I see in regards to SharePoint Search – and some topics around it – you could call it my Ignite Homework if you want to. I have some long train trips ahead – that helps a lot catching up.

SharePoint 2016 and Search

The next version of SharePoint will be a release that supports and enables the transition to the cloud – others would say hybrid is the cool kid now.

So with that in mind, I filtered the Ignite Video Page and filtered on SharePoint, Search, Development, Delve, Office Graph – and from the 586 session (phew, what a number!) I downloaded ~25 sessions to watch them when my time allows it. And I am somewhat obsessed with level 400 sessions……

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And some of them here as link list, I will update them once I am trough (not chronologically). My comments and thoughts are below.

  1. The Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap
    The Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap
  2. What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016
    What's New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016

    1. A must see by Bill Bear, very informative what is coming and what we can expect of the new release. He mentions hybrid a lot.
  3. MVP Panel: Sample Apps and Intelligent Solutions Showcasing Office Graph and Delve Extensibility
    MVP Panel: Sample Apps and Intelligent Solutions Showcasing Office Graph and Delve Extensibility

    1. That was the most entertaining session so far with 4.5 smart guys (Bill Baer, Alexandre Cipriani, Chris Givens, Waldek Mastykarz, Mikael Svenson) crafting solutions around Office Graph – even tho I knew that Mikael Svenson would win the challenge Smile.


      All 4 contestants came up with really creative solutions, I like that style of session, must have been good fun!

  4. Transforming Your SharePoint Full Trust Code to the Office App Model
    Transforming Your SharePoint Full Trust Code to the Office App Model
  5. Setting Up Your On-Premises SharePoint Environment for Custom App Development
    Setting Up Your On-Premises SharePoint Environment for Custom App Development
  6. Properly Scale and Deploy Enterprise Search | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Properly Scale and Deploy Enterprise Search
  7. Effective Search Deployment and Operations in SharePoint Server 2013 | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Effective Search Deployment and Operations in SharePoint Server 2013

    1. I watched that session last year at SharePoint Conference – this session evolved in one year, very nice!
    2. There are some pretty handy PowerShell scripts in there.
  8. Big Bang: The New Universe of Findability and Discoverability | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Big Bang: The New Universe of Findability and Discoverability
  9. Properly Scale and Deploy Enterprise Search | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Properly Scale and Deploy Enterprise Search
  10. Adding Search Capabilities to Your Business Applications Using Microsoft Azure Search | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Adding Search Capabilities to Your Business Applications Using Microsoft Azure Search

    1. That’s an interesting one. For my next talk at this years ShareCamp I will prepare a session with the working title: “SharePoint Search vs. Azure Search” – that ignite session really gave me quick start. Good stuff!
  11. Advanced Analytics: Navigating Your Way There | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Advanced Analytics: Navigating Your Way There
  12. Information Management Strategy with Microsoft Office 365 in Mind | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Information Management Strategy with Microsoft Office 365 in Mind
  13. Building Business Apps Like They Do in the Valley with AngularJS, Node.js, and More | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Building Business Apps Like They Do in the Valley with AngularJS, Node.js, and More
  14. Behind the Scenes: Engineering NextGen Portals | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Behind the Scenes: Engineering NextGen Portals
  15. Office Delve and Office Graph Vision and Roadmap | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Office Delve and Office Graph Vision and Roadmap
  16. Intelligent, Ready-to-Go NextGen Portals in Office 365 | Microsoft Ignite 2015 | Channel 9
    Intelligent, Ready-to-Go NextGen Portals in Office 365
  17. Troubleshooting Hybrid Configurations and Workloads with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 (video not yet available)
  18. Microsoft SharePoint Server with SQL Server: Now Better Than Ever (video not yet available)
    Microsoft SharePoint Server with SQL Server: Now Better Than Ever
  19. Designing and Applying Information Architecture for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365
    Designing and Applying Information Architecture for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365
  20. Future-Proofing Your On-Premises SharePoint Development
     Future-Proofing Your On-Premises SharePoint Development
  21. Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application
    Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application
  22. Best Practices for Design and Performance in SharePoint Online
    Best Practices for Design and Performance in SharePoint Online
  23. Search Extensibility in SharePoint 2013
    Search Extensibility in SharePoint 2013
  24. Troubleshooting Hybrid Configurations and Workloads with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365
  25. SharePoint UNPLUGGED! Questions Answered on Anything You Heard This Week
  26. The New Knowledge Management Portal in Office 365
    The New Knowledge Management Portal in Office 365

Early Takeaway

Over 25 hours of awesome stuff – that’s awesome! And it really helps me compensating that I couldn’t meet a lot of friends at this years Ignite. The parts where search is covered is quite extensive, so much that I couldn’t have covered them at the conference. One pain point that I miss from last years conference: The questions after the sessions are not in the recording – and I really learned a lot last year by listening to the questions/answers afterwards. Well, a reason to attend next year, right?

I really like where Office Graph is heading – from Org View, Discovery, Relevancy, Context – the product is so versatile that I really want to see more of it. The potential of it goes through the roof! And with the Cloud Search Service Application and extensibility it can totally rock. Looking forward for future projects here!

Last sentence: Search is everywhere!

What are your favorites?

I am always open to new stuff – maybe I missed an awesome session – if so, please leave a comment!

Recap: SharePoint Saturday 2015 in Antwerp, Belgium

20 Apr 2015
April 20, 2015

300 attendees on a Saturday – all “SharePoint-crazy”. Its my first visit to Belgium and I must say: I am impressed of the community and the spirit here. In the following I recap SharePoint Saturday 2015 in Antwerp.

Antwerp

 

SPSBE

From the start at 9:00am until the official end of SPSBE (SharePoint Saturday Belgium) at around 17:30 I had good fun. I apparently had to prepare my session on this Saturday, tests my demos and optimize my slides – so I could only attend one full session (see my summary here), but there was enough time for me to talk to community members, board members and other speakers – good times, good fun.

Some of the attendees stayed for the BBQ after the event – it was nice to share some ideas, get feedback – and well, the food was nice, too!

I must say, for a free event organized by a community, this was perfectly done – there is nothing I could rant about (and that’s almost impossible, because its free, right?). Good job @BIWUG (Belgian Information Worker User Group) – I am leaving Belgium impressed.

Thanks again to all the sponsors who made the event possible!

Speakers & Sessions

20 sessions and as many speakers from around the world attracted 300 attendees – not only from Belgium. In general the conferenced covered all kind of different topics, but the main themes were Office 365 with topics like development, governance, adoption, best practices, workflows, search, apps and solutions. Good stuff!

My Session: Search-Driven Applications with SharePoint 2013

I had a really good time presenting my content regarding Search-Driven Applications with SharePoint 2013 – I uploaded my slides, but the cool stuff is in the demos and I can’t make them available:

After the talk there were like 10 to 15 questions – some of them I would love to show you here:

Q: Do Query Variables work for Office 365 / SharePoint Online?

Yes, Query Variables are awesome and do work for SharePoint Online – see a reference here.

Q: How can I recrawl SharePoint Online User Profiles?

Once you changed the mapping of the managed properties, you need to tell SharePoint Online to recrawl the profiles. There is a PowerShell for that, see Mikael’s post.

Q: How to estimate and test load patterns for SharePoint search scenarios (e.g. in a publishing scenario)?

Estimation is tough, you need a lot of experience for that. And you need to know a lot upfront about the environment, the use cases, the users, … – if you don’t know that, you need to scale, test and adjust. One possible solution to test load patterns upfront is to use Visual Studio Test Manager and use the REST url to query for results. Then you can increase the load and see what could break and how to optimize.

Q: Some Chinese documents are not index properly, at least they are not presented to certain users. Why? 

I could only guess – multi-language is a complex topic. They guys tried a lot with forced language property, but without seeing and environment, well – good luck!

Q: Why didn’t you cover Display Templates in your session

Display Templates are awesome. Search is awesome. Apparently I only had 1 hour so I could not cover that much without loosing somewhere else. Of course they are an important part of a search-driven application that presents results within SharePoint. If you want to read more about Display Templates, go read Elio’s blog or Mikael’s blog – they have pretty good articles about them. Or look at my basic example here.

Summary

I totally enjoyed it – still I am a little tired because my friend Andy (@meligo) insisted to tour me around Antwerp! Thanks for having me! Smile

To sum it all up: That was my first international SharePoint Saturday – and it won’t be my last!

See you latest next year Belgium!

ShareCamp 2014 Recap – SharePoint all weekend long!

30 May 2014
May 30, 2014

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.

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Session board with high-quality sessions and innovative topics

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6 sessions in parallel – normally you would have to pay for that.

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:

First session was by Sebastians (@hupseb) session about Dev Environments hosted on Azure – solid talk, even though that the demo did not work because of poor wifi.

Slides: http://melcher.it/s/2D

20140524_120422582_iOS

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.

Picture by @h_ulbricht

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?

 

Christian Heindel about context-aware apps

Christian Heindel about context-aware apps

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, …

SharePoint Tools – here I show the awesome chocolatey “meta” tool. Picture by @h_ulbricht.

More in my slides: http://melcher.it/s/2F

More Pictures

Whats up next?

A conference needs a raffle, right?

200 attendees group picture directey by Michael Greth (@mysharepoint)

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Exhibit hall

ShareCamp - born2share._2014-05-30_16-26-52

Sponsored by those great companies – thanks!

Closing thoughts

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.

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