DevConnections Las Vegas has come and gone again. I was there for you guessed it, the SharePoint tracks and all in all it was a pretty good experience. Always good to see broken demos and speakers breaking a sweat…

<rant> damnit, had this post all typed out in wordpress, spent an hour on it then my browser crashes and this is where it left me off. *waving fist @ IE7* here’s the short version…</rant>

Speakers were awesome and better than last year. The sessions I most enjoyed:

  • Eray Chou from Microsoft on Building Composite Apps with SharePoint Designer
  • Dustin Miller on SharePoint Designer and the Data View Web Part

It was awesome meeting other SharePointers that I’ve spoken to online but had never met in person. Most notably SharePoint MVP Bob Fox. Bumped into him at the end of one of the sessions. He didn’t recognize me at first but when I introduced myself he proceeded to shake me violently with both hands while exclaiming “Heeeyyy buddddyy!” Great guy :). If you’re ever at a SharePoint conference you can’t miss him, he’s easily the tallest guy in the crowd a lot of times. Oh and make sure you ask him lots of dev questions.

MVP Eric Shupps from Binary Wave was also extremely accommodating to some questions I had.

The most interesting session, I think, was actually the closing round table discussions. In comparison, last year was full of hype and hope but this year it was quite an eye-opener to hear about all of the complaints/gripes that was associated with SharePoint (WSS v3, MOSS 2007) since the RTM about a year ago. Given the growth and adoption rate has been phenomenal this year, there is still a universe of improvements that can be made. I’ll leave it at that but here are some of my observations/recommendations:

  • For medium to large business – If you can spare a couple of developers, SharePoint is the best bang for the buck in regards to custom portals, information dashboards, enterprise systems integrations, and enabling developers to quickly create web-based solutions. SharePoint will be the convergence point in which all of your other enterprise systems’ data can be rolled up into a web-base UI. It’s a very powerful development platform where you can knock yourselves out with customizations.
  • For small to medium business – SharePoint out of the box is a great tool for web-based collaboration, searching across data stores, and empowering end users to create their own ad-hoc workspaces. But I would leave at that if you’re not going to have a dedicated resource to managing and/or developing SharePoint. Do not knock yourselves out with customizations.
  • Governance – This was one of those open-ended topics with no real solution but can make or break your SharePoint initiative. This is something that organizations at all levels have to really think about and tailor a policy to their own needs.
  • Partners/Consulting Services – They’re all going hallelujah! High times for them…

So in conclusion, SharePoint is can be a beast. In general, use it for what it’s good at (ad-hoc web-based collaboration) and you’ll be ok. Anything more and you’ll want a dedicated SharePoint Pro.