Happy New Year to you!! January 1 started off well for me, with an email from Microsoft inviting me again to join a marvelously talented group of colleagues known as Microsoft Valued Professionals (MVPs). The MVP "recognition" means a lot to me. It means that I'm doing something that the community views as valuable: sharing knowledge and connecting people with resources and solutions. Being an MVP doesn't mean I'm smart (God knows!) and that's particularly true about SharePoint--a product still so new, so complex, and so evolving that there's no one person who can truly claim to be a SharePoint "guru." Instead, it takes a community to raise SharePoint, and I'm so honored to be recognized by Microsoft for my small role in that community.
One of my peers, MVP Mikhail Dukov, reflects on what being an MVP means in "Starting New Year with a Renewed MVP Award". Mikhail is a crack SharePoint developer for Global 360, based in Florida. Be sure to check out his dozens of blog entries from 2007 and 2008.
There are many other SharePoint MVPs around the world--all dedicated to disseminating knowledge to IT pros and developers working with SharePoint. I'd like to introduce you to some of them, and to make sure you didn't miss some of their "big" tips over the holidays, so for this first-of-2009 issue, I've invited them to share their predictions about 2009, and to point you to some of their first class tips, tricks, and guidance. I found it very interesting that several MVPs all echoed a similar prediction:
2009 Is a Year for SharePoint!
Michael Greth, a MOSS MVP in Germany, reflects on the value of "SharePoint 2009" in his blog. If you can read German, you'll get all of its nuances. If not, let me do my best to translate: Michael predicts that SharePoint will continue to grow in 2009, even in uncertain economic times, because SharePoint offers companies a way to improve operations and, thereby, reduce costs. He also points to the increasing number (and quality, I'd add) of community solutions which provide real, significant value at no cost; and to the benefit of attending your local SharePoint user group meetings! I'll augment Michael's comments by encouraging you to visit Codeplex to see all the new solutions that have gone up over the holidays and, for those of you deutsche speakers to check out Michael's community site, SharePointCommunity.de.
Robert Bogue (MOSS MVP), provides a similar forecast, but in English so it was a bit easier for me to understand : " With budgets shrinking organizations will be more focused on providing more with less and will therefore increase their look at how SharePoint can provide value." One of the critical elements of a value-laden SharePoint implementation is, of course, end user adoption. And Robert has stepped up to address that element with his book, The SharePoint Shepherd's Guide for End Users. His content includes the book, an electronic version of the content you can deploy in your organization, and hundreds of short video snippets to facilitate end user success.
Tobias Zimmergren, a SharePoint MVP in Sweden, says: "I think that the SharePoint market haven’t had nearly enough yet and although people keep rambling about a dark financial 2009, the need for good SharePoint competence will still be going strong during the next year. It will be great to see Office 14 and SharePoint v4 hit the spotlight soon enough as well – which of course means new challenges, possibilities and opportunities!" Just before Christmas, Tobias posted a very popular article explaining how to work with SharePoint and Silverlight 2.0. This is a step-by-step from "scratch" to a fully deployed Silverlight Web part. And, folks, Silverlight is a huge part of our future with SharePoint. Get on the wagon!
... and SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008
Ágnes Molnár, a MOSS MVP and senior consultant at L&M Solutions in Budapest, Hungary, delivered this prediction: "Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008 will begin their real 'run up,' especially in Eastern and Central Europe. The first big installations begin in this year. Although MOSS 2007 is afloat very well, its position will become even stronger. More and more companies are going to recognize that they cannot afford their old, slow and out of date platforms, and that they need new, efficient and overall systems especially in these hard economic times." Check out what's up at Aghy's blog.
PowerShell Knowledge Is Powerful Knowledge
Gary Lapointe, a MOSS MVP from Colorado Springs, Colo., whom I finally met on a sidewalk in Seattle at the last MVP summit, has an insightful and (I believe) accurate crystal ball. "I predict that, based on Microsoft’s use of PowerShell in other server products such as Exchange, that Office 14 will require some level of PowerShell knowledge in order to fully administer it." Over the holidays, Gary released a set of PowerShell cmdlets for SharePoint which should prove useful to administrators looking to get into PowerShell. The initial release is comprised of core building blocks only, but he intends to add more cmdlets (and document the existing ones with useful examples) over the coming months. Gary's tools, which include the cannot-live-without STSADM extensions, are a "MUST" for any SharePoint administrator's toolbelt. If you haven't downloaded them yet. Do it now... I mean it... Now. Come back and finish reading after you've downloaded them.
Developers Will Become Agile
Andrew Woodward, a developer and MOSS MVP, is optimistic that "2009 will be the year that SharePoint developers embrace agile techniques, start doing unit testing and adopt good design patterns. Hey, some may even start doing TDD \\[Test Driven Development\\]." SharePoint developers have been scrambling just to learn how to code for SharePoint, and now's the time to make the transition to more elegant and robust design patterns. Just before the holidays, he posted a blog entry entitled "Unit Testing SharePoint – Getting into the Object Model Whitepaper". This second document in the series, a look at Test Driven SharePoint Development, covers the concepts of mocking, specifically looking at Typemock Isolator to demonstrate unit testing against SPSite, SPWeb, SPList and SPListsItem objects. You can and should check out what Andrew is up to on his site, 21apps.
We Discover Albert Einstein's Relativity to SharePoint
Surprised by this headline? I was! Who knew, but MVP John Holliday, president of John Holliday & Associates, paid a New Year's week humorous tribute in his blog to Albert Einstein as the father of enterprise content management (ECM), thanks to his prescient discovery of the paradigm-shifting equation E=MC^2. The screenshot alone belongs on every SharePoint dev and admin's desktop!
The SharePoint Best Practices Conference will Rock the World
The best and brightest SharePoint MVPs and gurus will come together in sunny San Diego for the SharePoint Best Practices Conference, February 2-4. This is one of those great events that gives you up-close-and-personal access to some of the brightest minds in the SharePoint community. I don't mean only the MVPs, but a fantastic group of attendees as well! Set aside the hype and the spin, and soak in the collective knowledge of those folks who are in the trenches and who in many cases authored the definitive 'best practices' guidance. I can't wait for this event! I was honored enough to be invited to present sessions on Governance and code-free SharePoint solutions... and I'll be sitting there next to you for as many sessions as I can cram in!!!
Well, my MVP colleagues gave me so much "prediction fodder" that I ran plum out of room to share my own prediction about Office 14, SharePoint v4, and 2009. That'll have to wait 'til next week. Welcome back to your work, to a pile in your Inbox, and to a happy and successful and yes, even prosperous, 2009!
Until next week, all the best!