Whether you’re a SharePoint developer or an IT pro administrator that has to manage SharePoint sites, you need good sources of information to help you solve problems and institute better solutions for your environment, or to find news and training for the latest SharePoint editions. You might already have your favorite sources, or perhaps you use Google and just go wherever a search takes you. Since you’re reading this article, you’ve already found one great source of SharePoint information—be sure to bookmark www.sharepointpromag.com. However, there are many other resources you might want to frequent for SharePoint answers. Let’s take a look at some great sources you should know about to improve your SharePoint knowledge.
1. Microsoft SharePoint Developer Center—This website is a terrific resource to learn about developing for the SharePoint environment. You’ll find blogs, videos, in-depth training materials, and community-generated content that run the gamut from showing how to get started to hands-on tutorials about advanced topics such as enterprise search. And although it’s called the Developer Center, this is also where you’ll find the MSDN forums for SharePoint, which cover set up and administration of SharePoint 2010 and previous editions along with developer topics.
2. Twitter—Many people have stopped using forums, instead relying on throwing questions out into the Twitterverse and hoping the experts will respond. This isn’t a bad strategy, and you might be surprised at the results. If you choose to try it, be sure to include appropriate hashtags, such as #SharePoint or #SP2010, so even those who don’t follow you might spot your question and lend a hand. Twitter is also an excellent place to keep up with latest announcements from Microsoft and other big companies; check the appropriate websites for their Twitter handles. A few of the experts you might want to follow include @joeloleson, @andrewconnell, @gannotti, and @helloitsliam.
3. Conferences—A great way to meet your peers and the experts in the field is by attending conferences. You’ll find no shortage of SharePoint-specific shows to consider, starting with Microsoft’s own SharePoint Conference 2011. Microsoft TechEd North America 2011(northamerica.msteched.com) in Atlanta in May, although not focused only on SharePoint, would be another opportunity to mingle with fellow SharePoint admins and devs. SharePoint conferences are scattered throughout the calendar and the map, including our own SharePoint Connections.
4. SharePoint Saturdays—Can’t afford to attend a conference? Then keep your eye out for a SharePoint Saturday event in your area. These events are typically free, and you get a full day of conference-style content from expert speakers. Attending one of these events does ask you to take a day out of your weekend (assuming you work a typical 5-day work week), but the interactions with other SharePoint pros and exposure to the latest technologies might just make it worthwhile.
5. Online events—To keep your work-related events within the work week, you should look into online events for SharePoint education and training, which range from simple podcasts and webinars to full online virtual conferences. For example, SharePoint Pro just sponsored a virtual event called SharePoint: Behind the Curtain, which featured Dan Holme and Asif Rehmani as speakers. The benefit of attending a live event is that you can ask questions and interact with other attendees via chat; if you miss the live event, generally you can still view the various sessions on-demand.