Monday, November 03, 2008

PnP Conference Day 1

I'm at the Microsoft patterns and practice Summit in Redmond this week and am really excited about learning some new strategies for architecture and building better products.

Jeff Teper started off the day with a Keynote about Developing for SharePoint. Almost the entire room raised thier hands about using SharePoint but hardly anyone is doing development for it.  He focused the first half of the talk about treating SharePoint development like any other software project and following a proper development lifecycle and invest in learning about the system (SharePoint Guidance).  It's both an applicaiton and development platform, so it's complex enough that you can't just code.

He showed a couple of great SharePoint sites that have been customized to give a entire new look and feel.  The two great ones are Hawaiian Airlines and Viacom. We've used SharePoint to store documents in our Mobile Computing solution, this saved us from having to build a front end to manage the documents and dealing with versioning and other development tasks.  We aren't using all the features, but you have to start somewhere.

They wrapped it up with demo a Silverlight and Sharepoint together, basically they just created a new WebPart and manually added a new Silverlight control.  Then you can create the Silverlight control just like normal using WCF services and SharePoint Web Services to displaying the data as you need.  It works pretty well since you get a rich applicaiton feel to it, but can easily deploy it to a standard SharePoint site and still get all the nice layout  and customization features in SharePoint.

One of the best tools that we have looked at is the LINQ to SharePoint project on CodePlex- it makes development much easier.  From an ISV standpoint - I think the deployment stories are still difficult compared to plain old installers that are customers are used too, but the learning curve isn't terrible and we have had a lot of success so far.

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