The first day started out with a Keynote talk from Bill Gates, he spoke very well, as you’d expect of someone of that calibre, he showed his sense of humour well by showing the “Last day at work” video. Bill then went on to talk about how some companies have been leveraging the entire Office stack to create exciting OBAs and had a guy from FedEx come on stage to launch and new FedEx OBA called QuickShip.
QuickShip integrates with Outlook allowing people to automatically create shipping requests using their Outlook contacts and FedEx Web Services. They are also providing offerings for other services that surface in SharePoint via Web Parts and through the Fluent UI, aka Ribbon, in Word.
The next couple of Keynotes from Kurt Delbene and Richard McAniff were loaded with mini demos providing a great taste of what has been achieved and a taste of the new VSTO templates in Visual Studio 2008.
I found the first break out session a bit disappointing really. I went to a session entitled “Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007: It’s for Developers”. The abstract suggested that this session would be focusing on the DataView and DataForm Web Parts, which I’d like to learn more about. However it turned out to be a session how to write a minimal master page. The presenter was good, the content just wasn’t what I was after.
The second session was excellent! Andrew Connell talked about how to apply a solid software development approach to building SharePoint solutions. He gave some great guidance on how to use SPD to help you speed this up when coupled with some custom stsadm commands that he has featured on his blog.
I am now sitting in a session with Brendan Schwartz talking about the CKS EBE, FBA and Enhanced Wiki features which I know that has had some kiwi input care of Zac Smith from Provoke. The extra wiki functionality looks to be excellent and gives the user the ability to define their own wiki tokens and the matching html mark-up.