News from Tech Ed, Installing WSS on Vista—a Rave and Rant, and More

June 9, 2008

Dan Holme
Office & SharePoint Pro
Community Manager

Must Be Dev Week!
Last week, Microsoft conducted the first of two successful TechEd events in Orlando—this one, focused on the needs of Developers. Because of that, and because "some of my best friends are developers", this week I have an especially high quota of news that will pique devs' interest in addition to some pointers to great resources for IT Pros.

This week, the Orange County Convention Center will be turned over to the IT Pros. I'm making the half-way-round-the-world trek there Saturday, arriving early Sunday. I'll be bright-eyed and bushy tailed while I'm sure many of my peers, already a week of long days and longer nights into the epic event, will be dragging.

Also, because of TechEd, there's an insane amount of news coming out of the SharePoint community. There's no way I'll be able to do it all justice in this newsletter, so be sure to visit my blog, where I'll do my best to keep you up to date with all I'm learning and discovering in Orlando.

For those of you coming to Orlando for the IT Pro TechEd, I'll be delivering a session focused on integrating Office applications with SharePoint, plus three Windows sessions. Here's my problem. Two of my sessions are the last two sessions of the event, Friday afternoon. I'm having nightmares about showing up in the room to deliver the sessions and having only the maintenance staff, sweeping up the floor. So please come by and enjoy these sessions! If you are at all involved with Windows administration (these two sessions aren't SharePoint specifically), I guarantee you will love them—they are (in my oh-so-humble opinion, but also based on past evaluations) incredibly valuable.

Hacks Gone Wild:Installing WSS on Vista—a Rave and Rant
Bamboo Solutions recently posted on its blog the steps that can be used to install Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) on Windows Vista. This is a huge boon for developers, who currently have to develop directly on a server OS in order to debug SharePoint code. FANTASTIC solution, and thanks to Bamboo for publicizing it. Check it out here. It's about time!!! Now, as you might guess, doing this is likely to be a violation of licensing—WSS is a server component, after all. However, Microsoft has to date not slapped Bamboo Solutions upside the head for this blog post. But it might do so soon, so print or save the page—don't just bookmark it! And be aware of what you're doing, from a licensing perspective.

That said, why the heck does it take a hack to achieve something that every developer has been screaming for over the past few years? It is absolutely infuriating to me, and to most other SharePoint folks, that a developer has to spend an inordinate amount of time and resources just to set up a development environment that must include either a physical or virtual instance of Windows Server on which to develop. It's just inane and inexcusable. I hope that this highly visible "hack," and the positive response of the community to it, is finally enough to motivate Microsoft to do what it should have done a long time ago—provide a simpler development story for Microsoft's flagship new "OS for business productivity." Microsoft is spending more time touting less-than-fully-baked social computing and business intelligence (BI) features of SharePoint while ignoring a tremendous gap in the adoption and development story. There are many things I forgive Microsoft for, or at least accept the results of. This ain't one of them.

As I mentioned to one of the product team, sometimes it takes "civil disobedience" to move a behemoth—be it a government or a company that's snoozing on its customers. Will you be part of the protest and break your licensing in order to get your development done more easily?

Acronyms R Us: VSeWSS v. 1.2 Released
Is that enough of an acronym for ya? The VISUAL STUDIO EXTENSIONS FOR WINDOWS SHAREPOINT SERVICES, VERSION 1.2 was released last week. This much-awaited release delivers Visual Studio 2008 support—those of you with Visual Studio 2005 will still use version 1.1. There are no other features, and unfortunately you still must debug against a local installation of SharePoint. But at least you can develop using the fantastic new capabilities offered by Visual Studio 2008! Download it here! Credit where credit is due: Good work, Microsoft. Now about the requirement for the local installation of SharePoint and thus for a Server OS for development...?

Never Give Up Trying: Microsoft Releases Another Site for SharePoint Developers and Wanna-Be's
Microsoft knows that there's a bit of a learning curve to becoming a SharePoint developer. Not insurmountable, but it's "one more thing" to learn. The good news: When you learn to develop on SharePoint, a world of opportunities open up to you. The better news: Microsoft invested in a resource that looks to me to be a phenomenal place for devs and wannabes to kick their skills up a notch. Check it out here. I'm impressed (as a developer wanna-be). The bad news: This is yet another example of Microsoft speaking in fragmented voices to the same audience. Why isn't this part of MSDN? What is the relationship between this site, MSDN, CodePlex, and the myriad other Microsoft resources? It's definitely frustrating that Microsoft can't present a unified face to the community, but alas I believe it results from the same internal competition and drive for innovation that benefits us in other ways. So take the bad with the good… and I think and hope that in this case, the SharePointDeveloper site is good.

Books & Conferences a Go-Go
I'm so proud to be part of such a vibrant community, that I'd like to turn the spotlight on some deserving organizations, products, and leaders.

It's rare that I anticipate the release of a book this much, but Microsoft Press is just releasing Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Best Practices, an in-depth guide to best practice design, architecture, and administration of MOSS 2007. Three absolutely inspiringly expert MVPs—Ben Curry, Bill English, and Mark Schneider—along with the Microsoft SharePoint Team poured their hearts and brains into this book, and it's about time that we have a reference from which to begin discussions of proven best practices. It's taken awhile to get to this point—MOSS is only 18 months old—but I'm confident that this team will have produced a phenomenal resource and I can't wait to get my copy. Find details here.

Bill English's Mindsharp is also hosting the SharePoint Best Practices and Governance Conference in Washington, DC, September 15-17, 2008. Again, this is an event I personally hope to attend, so I definitely recommend you take a look.

A book that will be of particular interest to developers is Andrew Connell's hot-off-the-press Professional SharePoint 2007 Web Content Management Development: Building Publishing Sites with Office SharePoint Server 2007... a reference that will be as in-depth as the title is long! Andrew rocks. Congratulations to all these authors for their accomplishments!

Until next week, all the best!

Dan Holme
danh at intelliem dot (top level commercial domain)


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