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I'm currently the CTO for Hedgehog Technology a business dedicated to delivering Cloud based productivity solutions in Logistics

Friday, December 29, 2006

To bLog or not 2bLog

Now that WSS 3.0 is RTM a lot more people are exposing SharePoint sites anonymously. Chris Hewitt actually decided to run his new bLog on WSS. This got me thinking, I will try to find as many bLogs running on WSS as I can and post them here.

So Chris is first: http://endintiers.com/default.aspx BTW, great post on Forms Authentication in WSS by him. Definetely worth a read.

And here's another: http://www.wssdemo.com/blog/default.aspx and one more for today: http://www.pptspaces.com/sharepointreporterblog/default.aspx

We plan on offering bLogs on our MOSSIG SharePoint server in the near future, keep tuned.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Give your apps or forms the Office 2007 look and feel

Last night we also discussed how we could make our Add-ins look like Office 2007.
Here are a few links to third party libraries that make this possible.

DotNetBar, SyncFusion and Infragistics. I have not tried out any of them yet, please contact me with your opinion, maybe we can do a show and tell on one or more of them during our next Mossig meeting.

VSTO Details

Last night at the MOSSIG meeting I demo-ed a few VSTO Add-ins I've created recently showing how to expose business data in Word and how to save an email to SharePoint from a context menu in Outlook.
A few questions where about where to download VSTO etc., I came across this MS-page that actually has nice recap of all new stuff for developers.

The seperate VSTORuntime is here. I'll be bLogging a few code samples in the next few days.

Lots more info and updated documentation on the new Office Developer Centre. Be sure to check that out!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting Ready for Launch

Update 3/11/2006: Now On-line http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX100647101033.aspx?pid=CL100569831033 (no more beta...) Not only looks very cool, but also has lots of new content that get you up to speed with the new version quickly. Don't forget we've got free courses on Office 2007 on the e-learning site. Just search for Office 2007 there and you'll find a whole bunch of free courses that do a good job at introducing you to the new UI and Features.

You can tell we are close to launch date, even the Office On-line Site has a 2007 look and feel: http://officebeta.iponet.net/en-us/sharepointserver/FX100492001033.aspx

While you are there be sure to check out the Additional Resources (Bottom Left on page) with links to (now free!) e-learning courses on Microsoft Office System 2007 for developers and users.

Ready for take off?

According to the Belgians the launch of Office 2007 is November 9th, check out the count-down here:

http://www.moss2007.be/Pages/Default.aspx on this cool SharePoint 2007 Site.

We are having a party at the Crown about a week later.

MOSSIG is still working on organising the next meeting, we are targetting the 15th of November after the event at the Crown but we will be in another location.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

VSTO SE Rocks!

Last week I spend three full days submerged in Office 2007 development while attending the 2007 Touchdown training for ISV's in Melbourne. The first day was entirely dedicated to VSTO and the XML file formats. Now that VSTO SE is available you can actually do some really interesting stuff in Word, Excel, Outlook etc.

Eric Carter, one of the authors of the Visual Studio Tools for Office book I highly recommend has posted some interesting examples on his bLog. The last one particularly interesting as one of the students in the room with me last week was looking for info on how to display Item Context menus.

Some good getting started documentation here: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5467323 and here http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5467322 .

If you prefer videos: http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=237144 , http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=237142

Note the following remark on Eric's bLog:

"Also, a small comment on VSTO Second Edition.  Some have assumed that VSTO second edition is a super set of VSTO 2005 as the name kind of implies.  This is not the case.  You will want to have both VSTO and VSTO second edition installed at the same time in most cases.  VSTO has the document projects for Word 2003 and Excel 2003.  VSTO SE adds application add-ins to target Office 2003 and Office 2007.  The two products should be installed together to get both document and application level customizations."

I'll try to bLog about some Sharepoint dev experiences next week, I have been experimenting with generating documents containing sharepoint list data automatically using event handlers and that seems to be a really cool way of using Sharepoint for data collection (using Infopath) and reporting.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

MOSSIG Meeting Wednesday the 23rd

The meeting next week (the usual 5:30 at Como plaza) is going to be an informal one, totally devoted to show and tell by the members, Q&A on Office development and Office 2007 features and lots of networking. We will not have formal presentations this time around because the meeting overlaps with Tech-Ed Australia and most of the presenters and organisers will not be there.
I am going to be at the meeting however and we have some members that will introduce themselves and show and tell about the solutions they are using or have developed.

For september and october we already have a full schedule with a show and tell session, a business oriented session and a developer session, stay tuned for the official agenda.


Document generation on servers, with data from any source

Erika Ehrli, the site manager for the Office Developer Centre posted two great new posts with code samples on how to quickly generate Word 2007 Documents using content controls and xml-data. Worth checking out!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Office UI Design at Microsoft

For those of you interested in the new design for Office 2007, the ribbon and the artwork after the great presentation William did at the first Mossig meeting last month: here’s a link to a site that introduces the team behind this and the other work they are doing. It also shows the new icons for Office 2007 and a third theme.



As a reminder: the next Mossig meeting will be next Wednesday, the 26th For this meetingh we have scheduled a presentation on on how to create documents using XML and XSL, deep diving into the XML features of Word and Excel and also a development overview of Web Content Management in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) - the new MCMS replacement.  Both presentations will be of value for developers and end-users and cover the current version as well as the upcoming 2007 features. We will also reserve some time for discussions, questions and other networking opportunities.

Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

SharePoint v3 Discussion Groups

One of the features I’ve always been keen on to use in SharePoint is the discussion lists. I think having the concept of a newsgroup at your disposal, in particular for small communities and using an html interface is a really useful thing to have. Especially if you can set one up quickly so it can also be used on a temporary basis and for groups of dispersed people that just happen to have a common need, such as the MOSSIG members ;-).

Unfortunately, in version 1 and 2 discussion lists in SharePoint were very limited.

With Office 2007 however, the situation is much better, not only are the discussion lists more feature rich in the SharePoint environment itself, but the addition of exposing them using RSS-feeds and the ability to manage them from Outlook 2007 really works for me. What Outlook adds automatically is read/un-read settings on an individual level, where the previous version of SharePoint only gave you an arbitrary ‘NEW’ indication that was not personalized. And Outlook adds all its rich management features to flag and categorize items, set reminders etc.
What it also allows you to do is add new posts or reply to existing ones from within Outlook, and obviously you have a complete off-line copy of all the items making it much easier to search the information posted in the lists whenever you need to.

How to go about using these features?

It’s all pretty straight forward, in your SharePoint site, create a discussion list. Now open the list, and in the actions menu pick Connect to Outlook, a wizard will pop-up from Outlook guiding you through the process. The list will now show up in a special folder called SharePoint lists and you can start using it as any other folder in Outlook.

As promised during the MOSSIG meeting last Tuesday I have setup a discussion list on my hosted SharePoint server so ‘MOSSIG members’ can participate in this mini on-line community while exploring the new SharePoint discussion lists and Outlook 2007 at the same time. I encourage you to try this out and use the lists as a means of communicating with the other group members on matters MOSSIG related.

You will have to let me know you want to participate, as it cannot be an anonymous list, I actually have to add you as a user to the SharePoint site. So either drop me an email using the email address you want to use for the login, or leave a comment here on this post and I will quickly add you to the site. Be aware that it is actually a beta environment, so don’t be surprised if the site is not available sometimes, or there are issues with posting. I have seen several, especially when you post using the html-interface in the site itself (not using Outlook 2007).

Friday, June 23, 2006

LOBi == IBF Version Next???

When MS lifted the NDA for Office 2007, there were a couple of things that were still under NDA, LOBi being one of them. It intrigued me very much, it was the first time I saw that acronym and I've been wondering ever since, wondering if it might be related to IBF and on that topic what will happen to IBF when Office 2007 and BDC in SharePoint is available as there seems to be a lot of overlap.

At Tech-Ed 2006 MS finally released some info, annoucing OBA a more descriptive, technical document can be downloaded from a new portal on MSDN.

Here's what I found on the new, mostly still empty OBA-portal:

"LOBi is a set of services designed to support and enhance Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office Business Application Services. It provides specific support for:
Surfacing reusable line-of-business data in the Microsoft 2007 Office Suites. Business data and processes can be surfaced as objects in Office rich-client applications. Write once and reuse objects anywhere across the Office Suites.
Providing deep interaction with line-of-business applications. Processes can be surfaced in Office and results can be written back to underlying applications.
Taking existing processes offline. Processes in a line-of-business application can be surfaced in Office and taken offline, and then synchronize with the business application when re-attaching to a network."

Sounds very interesting, and nice that MS has actually started with certification and learning links this time, can't wait to see what else surfaces here as LOBi seems to ust what I've been doing in Office and SharePoint for a while now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Developing in or for Office 2007?

The sparse documentation and resources for beta2 have just been updated. Go and get the new content : updated developer content for the beta 2 release


Directions on how to get there are here on Local.live.com . It seems that the maps of Australia are very much up2date now and you can easily get directions from Office or home using the pushpins (they say it takes my 43 minutes, which indeed is pretty accurate), have fun:
27 JUNE, 6PM

The 2007 Office release is the most significant release of Office for a decade, adding further servers, applications and services to expand and enhance the Office System.
The challenge for us, our businesses and our clients is to collectively know and apply the features that the Office System brings.

Introducing the Microsoft Office Server Special Interest Group (MOSSIG) which has been formed specifically with the Victoria.NET members as a community to learn and share their experiences whether they be application, server or solution based.

We will be kicking off our inaugural meeting next Tuesday the 27th June at 6pm with a jam packed session for Office Users and Developers alike, so please consider passing this invitation on to your non-developer colleagues as well.


A Lap Around The Office 2007 System
Join Tim Wragg (Professional Advantage) as he gives us an overview of the new & updated servers, applications and services for the Office 2007 System

The new Microsoft Office 2007 Interface - Business Focus Topic
Join William Cornwill (SDM) as he discusses why Microsoft has changed the interface and the new features

Developer view of Microsoft Office 2007 - Business Data - Technology Focus Topic
Join Ed Richard (Software Objectives) as he talks about data storage of Sharepoint 2007 and using Line Of Business data in applications like Word and Excel.

Open Forum
A chance to Network with each other and open up the floor to discuss their thoughts and experiences with the Office System

TO REGISTER: E-mail Ed Richard at Ed@SoftwareObjectives.com.au, by COB on Monday 26 June.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The First Gig

Last Saturday was the Victoria.net regional conference in Ballarat. I delivered two presentations on Office 2007. One aimed at developers, the second from a business perspective. It turned out most of the people who attended my developer one also came to the business one so I think they got a pretty good overview of how, and why Office 2007 is important as a development platform. BTW, we mentioned PDF as the one of the export formats for saving files, here's the latest on that: http://www.microsoft.com/persspass/legal/06-16-06AdobeStatement.mspx , looks like it's still very much up in the air.

For those of you waiting for articles and presentations, the powerpoints were sent to Victoria.net this morning I'll update here as soon as I know the location where you can download.
I'm still working on them, but I plan to have some published by the time we do the Office group launch the 27th. If you are into Office development, think you should be, or are using Office and are looking for ways to be more productive with Office make sure you are in Melbourne the 27th and join us at the Microsoft premises in Como Tower (pizza around 17:30).

The first article will be about how to write XML files, create and use Schema's and XSLT to generate Word documents. this will be a solution that works with Office 2003 (and 2007). I also have almost finished the same for Excel and an article on Content Controls and XML which is Office 2007 specific.

If you would like to proofread or 'beta-test' the articles, post a comment here and I will contact you.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's a GO

We have set a date for the Launch, MOSSIG will happen. The 27th of June will be the first meeting of our new User Group for Microsoft Office System users and Developers. Yes Users and Developers. We will present topics of interest for users, and tell developers how they can build, deploy and develop their business (make more money ;-)) using Office System. Obviously right now the focus will be largely on the release of 2007 Microsoft Office System (what a bad name....) as this has been released as a public beta last week. Tim Wragg has got all the links of interest in his last post.

Last week was an interesting one, I was at the Mobile DevCon here in Melbourne and was very impressed with what MS is doing in both the Mobile space (we all got a copy of CE 6.0) and for XP embedded. Did you know there is actually a POS for .Net? A set of .net classes to work with all kinds of point of sale devices like cash drawers, card readers, line displays etc. A very nice way to make use of these devices without having to know all about serial connections and escapes codes. You can download the SDK, it works on XP so everybody can use it.

That same day I also did my first talk in public here in Melbourne talking to the Sharepoint User Group people about what Software Objectives used Sharepoint and VSTO for in our custom solutions. A small crowd, no wonder because of all the conferences going on that day and the soccer match between the national teams of Australia and Greece, but enthousiastic response to the talk.

My next gig is at the Developers Conference in Ballarat on June the 17th, actually I will do two talks there. I will present on 2007 Microsoft Office System for developers and from a business perspective.
The business talk will be about how businesses can save money using the 2007 version, the developers talk will be about how developers can make money providing the solutions for their users and customers.
Last I heard was that registrations are coming in in large numbers so be sure to register now for this excellent free conference. You'll find the details at the link above.
Now I'm off to install the new beta on our servers here, I'll let you know what my experiences with that exercise were like in the next week or so.

Stay tuned,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wintertime in Melbourne

Microsoft's timing couldn't be any better, now that winter is coming to this part of the world.
After all it is only around 18 degrees these days here in Melbourne, I've got all the time I want ;-) to spend on researching new technologies. Beta2 for 2007 Office is just a couple of days away so it seems so if you haven't signed up to receive the public beta go and do so now! On this site you will also find a lot of news, videos and interesting case studies.
I will be talking about how we at Software Objectives use SharePoint for document management and workflow in our projects at the next user group meeting may 25th in Como Plaza in Melbourne. We will also discuss how this will migrate into 2007 and what things can be done more effectively in the new version, in particular regarding task tracking and workflow processes.

And stay tuned for news about our own Office System User Group...

Friday, May 05, 2006

bLogging from Mount Dandenong

Hi All,

I finally got around to creating a bLog. I never thought I had anything special to bLog about, but I've found a reason now!
2007 Office System! I've found a couple of great guys, Ben Walters, Tim Wragg and William Cornwill, to hang out with and share our experiences with Office.
We decided to start a user group in Melbourne dedicated to Office usage and development. Obviously Development will be one of my main interests ;-). So we are currently in the process of getting organised. If you feel like you'd like to contribute, let us know!

Read more about Office 2007 and the group on the bLog's of the others: Ben , Will, Tim .

For now, wait for more news and the release of beta 2 ;-)