Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sessions Related to Windows Azure at the SharePoint Conference 2011

• Update 10/9/2011 11:00 AM PDT: Added more background content/collateral marked •••.

image_thumb[17]• Update 10/7/2011 9:00 AM PDT: Added links to related blog posts by Steve Fox and Jesus Rodriguez as annotations marked ••. I’m searching for similar posts by other presenters and will annotate this post as discovered.

Important: The Conference’s My SPC login page states the following regarding session videos and slide decks:

MySPC is the main hub of online activity for conference information and session details! Within MySPC you will have the ability to build your personalized calendar, browse the full agenda and all available sessions, view pre-session materials, fill out evaluations to win prizes, interact with speakers and participate in the community. Post-event, MySPC will be your resource to over 240 session videos and PPT presentations available for 3 months after the event. [Emphasis added.]

Please sign in with the Windows™ Live ID credentials that you used during the registration process for access to MySPC.

Please note that you must already be registered with a full conference pass to access MySPC.

The italic sentence above indicates that, unlike the //BUILD/ conference, videos and slide decks will only be accessible by attendees with a full conference pass (i.e., not press credentials.) The conference sold out, so such restrictions no longer make any economic or commercial sense whatsoever. Please join me in lobbying @SharePoint for public release of this content immediately with the Twitter hashtags #SPC2010 and #MySPC.

Steve Fox (@redmondhockey) said he “… presented one of ten sessions on the integration between SharePoint and Windows Azure. (It’s amazing to see this topic area grow, and as I see the excitement with developers here I can only surmise it will continue to grow exponentially over the coming months)” in his Using Windows Azure to Connect LOB Data to SharePoint Online using Business Connectivity Services post of 10/5/2011.

image_thumb[19]• Update 10/6/2011 10:00 AM PDT: I was able to find only the following six (seven, if you count the repeated Out of the Sandbox and into the cloud: Build your next SharePoint app on Azure session) with a search on Azure. I asked Steve to let me know which sessions I missed and added them below marked with a bullet () below the original six.

I’ll add links to slides from and videos of these presentations if and when they become available.

BA Insight: Enterprise Search and the Cloud: Unifying Information across SharePoint, O365, LOB systems, and more

  • Speakers: Guy Mounier, Jeff Fried (@jefffried, pictured below)
  • Level: 300

imageAbstract: Office365 and Azure provide great capabilities from the cloud - but how do they work with the information in your other systems? Enterprise Search technology can bridge information silos, including those you might create by putting some but not all of your content in the cloud. This session covers the scenarios that use search and SharePoint with O365, Azure, and Cloud services, including ways to provide information integration between multiple systems and Office 365. We’ll show what is available OOB for search with Office365, and cover how to enhance it. We provide demos of solutions running with Office365 and with Azure, and provide some 'secret tips' for how to use enterprise search in different scenarios. If you want to understand the current capabilities and limitations of search with Office 365 offerings, and how to make them work well with your on-premise systems, come to this session.

Jennifer Mason (@jennifermason) reviewed this session in her Enterprise Search & the Cloud: Unifying Information Across SharePoint 2010, Office 365, LOB Systems & More #spc11 post of 10/7/2011 to the CMS Wire blog:

imageYesterday was the final day of the SharePoint conference. I chose to attend a morning session led by Jeff Fried, CTO & VP of Engineering at BA Insight and Guy Mounier, Co-Founder & CEO of BA Insight. This session is a vendor-sponsored session, which means that the vendors are free to discuss their specific products and tools. I have worked in the past with previous versions of BA Insight and I was curious to see what they had in mind for working with Office 365.

imageI have known Jeff for a few years and he is one of those people that I always expect to give a top-notch presentation; I can say that this time was no exception. I appreciated the clarity and information that Jeff and Guy provided around the various search options.

Information Silos

The first piece of information that Jeff and Guy presented was around the concept of information silos —different groups of people working with different data sets throughout the entire organization. Because so many different people are working together on so many different things, bringing all the data together again can prove to be a difficult process. This problem is definitely not a new issue with organizations, but we are definitely starting to see this problem highlighted and brought to the front of our minds with the addition of different cloud services.

More than Just a Search Box

One of the next demos shared was the use of various search components to create a dashboard type experience for the end-user. These dashboards provide a simple way to bring together multiple data sources and information in an easy-to-read format. I love examples like this because they really help show the power of the simple things. From there Guy then showed some of the additional tools that BA Insight deploys within SharePoint.

I have seen previous versions of the BA Insight tool, but this was my first time seeing these tools in action. I liked what I saw and would definitely recommend anyone with advanced search needs to take some time to look into the products they have to offer. They also gave us a sneak peak of a future release product that brings local and federated search together in a single results view. I am interested in seeing more about this product once it is released.

Understanding Search and Importance of Audits

For the remainder of the session Jeff walked us through the various search scenarios available. His approach was straightforward and easy to understand. What I appreciated most about this was the way that a vendor took to the time to really understand the tool and present it in a way that was easy to comprehend. Listed below are the most common search scenarios:

  • Search On-Premise Content from an On-Premise Implementation
  • Search Online Content from an On-Premise Implementation
  • Search On-Premise Content from an Online Implementation
  • Crawl Online Content from an Online Implementation

Within each of these scenarios we discussed the various options for searching and the different tradeoffs. The one thing that stood out the most to me was the importance that they placed on the concept of auditing the search scenario. Since there can be so many combinations of approaches, it is important to fully understand the trade-offs and then monitor your selection to ensure that you are providing the best solution.

Most of the issues discussed seemed to be around bandwidth and security. Since there are so many different components to consider, these two items can in many cases cause you to stumble and run into technical issues. Performing an audit should help you identify these issues and then adjust your solutions as needed.

The Future of Search in the Cloud

Finally, to close out the demo Jeff talked us through the issues of search that carry into the cloud and specifically the Office 365 implementation. He discussed the different features that are currently available. He also shared some of the solutions that BA Insight has currently released that are based on integration with Azure. It was great to hear about the different things they are currently implementing as well and learn a little about how Azure will be used in the future for more solutions in the cloud.

Jennifer also posted The SharePoint Conference: Through the Eyes of an Information Worker #spc11 on 9/30/2011.

Building integrated SharePoint 2010 and CRM Online solutions.

  • Speaker: Girish Raja
  • Level: 300

Abstract: SharePoint and CRM is a match made in the cloud! Microsoft provides out-of-box document integration with SharePoint 2010 & CRMOnline but customers are increasingly looking for ways to integrate these two technologies further. In this developer focused session, we take a look at how you can bring CRM data to SharePoint using Silverlight web parts, BCS, web services and more. We’ll also see demos of BCS Connector for CRM and an end-to-end online application connecting SharePoint Online, CRM Online, Silverlight and Azure. If you’re looking to understand how you can integrate these two technologies, then you won’t want to miss this demo filled session.

••• Girish presented OSP309: Integrating Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online at TechEd 2011. The preceding link is to his slides:


Customer Spotlight: Saying Goodbye to Paper - Building a Multi Million Document Repository to Save Time and Money

  • Speaker: Arik Kalininsky
  • Level: 200

Abstract: Willson International, a customs brokerage and logistics company, has launched a transformative Enterprise Content Management solution powered by SharePoint 2010 and Windows Azure for cloud based storage. Willson previously relied on intensive paper-based business processes, from receipt of paper-based documents from client/customers/shippers, to processing shipment and invoicing, to heavy reliance on costly archiving, retention and offsite storage solutions. As a result of these paper based processes, Willson faced challenges with customer response times, inefficient internal processes, pressure from competitive services, and a high cost of offsite document storage. Come join us for a walkthrough of the challenges, the solution, and the benefits that have been realized through SharePoint 2010 and Windows Azure!

The Microsoft Case Studies Team posted Customs Broker Avoids Millions of Paper Documents a Year with New ECM Solution on 6/7/2011:

Willson International handles customs paperwork for companies that move goods between Canada and the United States. Willson wanted to find a more efficient way to handle millions of paper documents generated each year. First, it used Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to convert incoming customer faxes to digital files. Then, it upgraded to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to create a complete enterprise content management (ECM) system that eliminates all the paper associated with shipments. Willson has improved customer service by retrieving archived shipment documents in minutes rather than days. Customers will even be able to serve their own document requests by using a customer extranet. Willson will ultimately slash paper storage costs by U.S.$100,000 annually. It has also improved employee productivity by 25 percent and can process increasing volumes with existing staff. …

Read more.

Developing Cloud-Based Applications for SharePoint Online using Windows Azure

  • Speaker: Steve Fox
  • Level: 200

Abstract: SharePoint Online and Office 365 provide a rich opportunity for solution development with an ever-expanding market, but how do you move beyond the guardrails of the sandboxed solution to build custom applications in the cloud? Further, how can you leverage Windows Azure within these cloud-based solutions? If you’re wondering 1) how you can move on-premises applications into the cloud, 2) are not sure what is possible and 3) are unsure how to get started, then you’ll not want to miss this session. In this session, we’ll explore application migration, service-oriented design using Windows Azure, BI in the cloud through SQL Azure data, and using the service bus to display on-premises line-of-business data in the cloud. If you want to explore the cloud through SharePoint Online, then you can’t miss this session!

Steve (@redmondhockey) described Using Windows Azure to Connect LOB Data to SharePoint Online using Business Connectivity Services in a 10/5/2011 post:

What’s New at SPC 2011

imageI’ve been hanging out here at the SharePoint Conference (SPC) 2011 in Anaheim, CA this week, and it’s been a blast. Earlier in the week, Jeff Teper announced a key innovation for the cloud: support for Business [Data] Connectivity Services (BCS [or BDC]) in SharePoint Online. For those that don’t know, BCS is an evolution of the Business Data Catalog functionality in SharePoint 2007 that enables you to integrate with line-of-business (LOB) data. The BCS, upgraded for SharePoint 2010, provides you with both a declarative way (using SharePoint Designer 2010) and a code-centric way (using Visual Studio 2010) to create what are called external content types (ECTs). An ECT represents a definition file that connects SharePoint to the LOB system and supports both Web-service based connections and ADO.NET connections. You can find out more about BCS here.

imageWhat’s significant about BCS is that it represents one of the primary ways in which LOB data is surfaced natively within SharePoint. And this is significant for reporting, LOB data management, and system integration. Further, having CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) capabilities built into the connection to your LOB is a productivity win; it means that you don’t need to jump across systems to manage updates to critical business data. (This integration harkens back to my OBA days.)

This functionality was not initially released with the RTW of Office 365; that is, SharePoint Online (SPO) was restricted to interacting with data at the site collection level (using the client object model and artifacts such as lists and libraries) or using client-side technologies such as JavaScript/jQuery and Silverlight to reach out (beyond the sandboxed solutions limitations of SharePoint Online—no external service calls or data queries) to integrate external data sources/services. With the announcements for BCS support in SPO, though, comes a native way to integrate LOB data with your cloud-based solutions. This is very significant for its usage and answers to what has been one of the top feature requests by SharePoint Online developers. …

Read more of Steve’s post here. According to Jeff Teper, BDC (a.k.a., BCS) will be available in a SharePoint Online release by the end of the year.

Steve is the author of Developing Microsoft SharePoint Applications Using Windows Azure, which I recommend highly.

Integrating Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Phone 7

  • Speaker: Donovan Follette (@dfollette)
  • Level: 300

imageAbstract: Organizations are now mobile, and many are trying to understand how you can integrate data and information from Office documents to mobile devices to extend the client productivity experience to the cloud and beyond. In this session, you'll learn how you can use Windows Azure to remotely connect your Windows Phone 7 devices to on-premises data and information in Microsoft Office documents. Specific topics will include Excel 2010 client customization, Excel Services updates in SharePoint, Windows Azure AppFabric service bus, and Windows Phone 7 application development. If you want to truly see how you can program for the "3 screens and a cloud" then you can't miss this session.

Read Donovan’s blog here.

Out of the Sandbox and into the cloud: Build your next SharePoint app on Azure

imageAbstract: Have you evaluated your standard development options and know you are going to need more flexibility, control and power? We will show you a new innovative approach to building your next SharePoint application that lets you take advantage of all the power of Azure and ASP.Net while at the same time leveraging all that SharePoint has to offer. Learn how to build integrated and innovative solutions leveraging the power of the Cloud. Your users will have no idea your application is in the cloud!

••• Andrew posted Recapping my SharePoint 2010 + Azure session (SPC410) at the SharePoint Conference 2011 on 10/3/2011:

Just over an hour ago I finished my first session at the SharePoint Conference 2011 in Anaheim, CA. This session, SPC410, Out of the Sandbox and into the cloud: Build your next SharePoint app on Azure was a ton of fun and covered a lot of of ground. Thanks to everyone who showed up… if you missed it, check out the twitter stream from the event by searching #SPC410 in your client of choice.

I just finished uploading my Visual Studio project for you to download. It won’t work as is because I’ve striped all the accounts, keys, passwords and endpoints for my SharePoint Online & Azure account. I plan to do a few bigger wrap up posts in the coming week related to some things I learned in building this demo, but I wanted to get the code out there ASAP as quite a few asked about after the session.

The demo are available from the Critical Path Training site’s Members section. To access this section you’ll need to be logged into the site. If you don’t have an account, feel free to create one… they are free! Once in, go the the Presentations section and it’s listed as AC's SPC2011 "SPC410 : Out of the Sandbox and into the Cloud: Build Your Next SharePoint App on Azure" Session Demo Solution AC's SharePoint Conference 2011 Sessions.

[Updated 10/4/2011 7:00a] Updated the download to include the slides and renamed it to something a bit more manageable.
[Updated 10/4/2011 4:00p] For those of you at the show, I'm going to repeat the session on Wednesday at 3:15p in Ballroom A. Check the MySPC site & schedule for more more details... it's listed as SPC401R.

Delivering Data as a Service using Azure platform and self service BI at Microsoft

  • Speakers: Mark Kromer (@mssqldude, pictured below), Sanjay Soni, Vikram Jungali
  • Level: 200

imageAbstract: See a live demo of how Microsoft IT is distributing terabytes of data from the Enterprise Data Warehouse to various business and IT groups at Microsoft using Windows Azure, SQL Azure and on premise platform. Learn about Data Services Layer (DSL) which is a distribution platform that provides a single location for Microsoft users to explore, publish & consume data. See how PowerPivot and other BI tools like SharePoint are enabling self service BI at Microsoft from EDW. Top 10 best practices in running and providing Data as a Service and empowering business users to consume data using various MS BI tools will be discussed.

Sanjay, Harinarayan Paramasivan and Diana Putnam presented Using Cloud (Microsoft SQL Azure) and PowerPivot to Deliver Data and Self-Service BI at Microsoft at TechEd North America 2011 on 5/17/2011. From Channel 9:


See a live demo of how Microsoft IT is distributing terabytes of data from the Enterprise Data Warehouse to various business and IT groups at Microsoft using SQL Azure cloud and on-premise platform. Learn about Data Services Layer (DSL) which is a distribution platform that provides a single location for Microsoft users to explore,publish and consume data. See how PowerPivot,SharePoint 2010 and other Business Intelligence tools are enabling self-service BI at Microsoft from EDW. Top 10 best practices in running and providing Business Intelligence through power of data and empowering business users to consume data using various Microsoft Business Intelligence tools are discussed.

The SPC 2011 session appears to have repeated this TechEd NA 2011 presentation.    

Building Business Applications on Azure using Office 365 and Windows Azure AppFabric

  • Speakers: Tony Meleg, Jesus Rodriguez
  • Level: 300

Abstract: Come and learn how to take advantage of the amazing new capabilities in Windows Azure AppFabric in your next project! Building more complicated Office365 solutions requires a number of platform services to create business processes, communicate between sharepoint and other external business logic and line of business applications and even cross the boundary into your on-premise systems. This session will teach the developer what the technologies are to accomplish these things and how to use them.

•• Jesus posted Speaking at the SharePoint Conference on 10/8/2011:

imageThis week I had the opportunity of co-presenting a session at the SharePoint Conference with my friend and Windows Azure AppFabric product manager Tony Meleg. This year, we decided to tap on the recent release of Office365 and presented a series of real world patterns and techniques to integrate SharePoint Online with business applications using the Windows Azure AppFabric. Specifically, we demoed a series of scenarios that highlight how to use the Azure AppFabric Service Bus, Access Control Service, Topics, Queues and other components from your SharePoint Online portal.

The demos presented at this session were the result of the great work of my colleagues Hernan Veiras and Leandro Boffi. We plan to package and publish the demos in the form of a small SDK soon. [Emphasis added.]

Jesus is Chef Architect, CEO and a founder of Tellago and Tellago Studios. Hernan and Leandro are Tellago architects. Tellago Studios is the publisher of Moesion, a cloud based mobility platform that allows companies to manage their on-premise IT and cloud systems from a smartphone or tablet.

Developing LOB Connectors in SQL Azure and Business Connectivity Services

imageAbstract: You've got SharePoint 2010 and SQL Azure. Now What? We will discuss patterns for developing Business Connectivity Services solutions using SQL Azure data in SharePoint 2010. Learn the best practices for creating and populating SQL Azure data, building connectors to SQL Azure data, and presenting data to the end user. Along the way, we will cover different authentication options and security trimming patterns. In addition, we will discuss techniques for modeling real-world data including complex types and entity associations. Attendees will exit the session with a strong … [end is missing].

Scot posted SharePoint Conference 2011 Sessions on 8/25/2011:

I'll be presenting 3 sessions in Anaheim, CA at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011.

  • SPC337: Developing LOB Connectors in SQL Azure and Business Connectivity Services
  • 10/5/2011 5:00:00 PM

[Above abstract.]

  • SPC393: Step-by-step: Building Search Driven Applications That Matter
  • 10/6/2011 10:30:00 AM

Search-based solutions are applications that use a search page as the primary interface, such as image or travel search in Bing. SharePoint 2010 offers developers new ways to extend search and create search-based solutions and in this session attendees will learn to create solutions such as task management, calendar management, navigation, and cloud connectors. The aim of this session is to prove that a wide variety of customer requests can be solved with a search-driven app. Attendees will leave with many new ideas for using search to deliver end-user productivity.

  • SPC349: Generating Business Documents using Word Automation Services and Open XML
  • 10/5/2011 1:45:00 PM

The process of creating Word documents is at the core of many business activities. Unfortunately, document creation often uses a tedious, manual approach involving copying content from existing documents and line-of-business systems. Such manual approaches are error-prone and time consuming. In this session, we will examine a complete solution for generating Word documents based on catalogs of pre-defined content elements and templates. The session will begin with a demonstration of the complete solution, which supports creating sales proposals from catalogs of content related to people, places, customers, and markets. Following the demonstration, we will take a deep dive into the document generation engine with an emphasis on Word Automation Services and Open XML. In particular, we'll see how Word Automation Services can convert content into reusable elements, and then how Open XML can use those elements to assemble a document. Attendees will exit the session with great new ideas for streamlining the document preparation process at their organization.

Scot is an independent consultant and Microsoft SharePoint Most Valuable Professional focused on creating solutions for Information Workers with SharePoint, Office, and related .NET technologies

Security Design with Claims Based Authentication

  • Speakers: Nathan Miller, Israel Vega (@ivega11, pictured below)
  • Level: 400

imageAbstract: Have you considered connecting SharePoint to LiveID, Azure or more than one ADFS? In this session, we will discuss some things to consider when implementing Claims based authentication with SharePoint. We will demonstrate Azure ACS, claims augmentation with ADFS and SharePoint, a custom claims provider and more.

Israel is a SharePoint Architect for MCS Public Sector.

SharePoint, Azure and Claims Integration for Developers

  • Speakers: Steve Peschka (avatar below), James Petrosky
  • Level: 400

imageAbstract: Learn how to use the Claims Azure and SharePoint Integration (CASI) kit to connect, integrate and take advantage of Windows Azure services in SharePoint. The CASI Kit provides a set of guidance and code to help you easily work with data in Windows Azure from SharePoint using web parts, custom code, timer jobs, etc.

Steve posted The CASI Kit Announcement from SharePoint Conference on 10/6/2011:

Just wanted to update folks with the announcement made at the SharePoint Conference yesterday regarding the CASI Kit. I have decided to release everything for it - full source code to the base class, the web part, and all of the sample projects - up to CodePlex. If you go to now you can get everything that makes this toolkit. In addition to that you will find:

  • A video that walks you through the process of building an application with the CASI Kit
  • The sample project that I built out at SharePoint Conference - both the starting project and completed project - along with written step by step instructions for building it yourself. The CASI Kit is simple enough to use that the instructions for building the application fit on a single page!
  • All of the written guidance for using the CASI Kit

The reasons for doing this primarily came down to this:

  1. By having the source code available, if you have any issues or find bugs, etc., you have the source code - you can put it in the debugger, you can step through code, you can make changes as needed. So you should have full comfort that you aren't just relying on a black box unsupported component; now you can see everything that's going on and how it's doing it.
  2. As features in the SharePoint product change over time, having the source code allows you to modify it and change it to stay in step with those changes. For example, if new ways are added to connect up SharePoint and other cloud services then you can modify the code to take advantage of those new platform features, or even transition off the CASI Kit in a prescriptive manner. With the source code, you're in control of adapting to those changes in the future.
  3. You now have the opportunity to build other solutions, whatever you want, using the CASI Kit as is or breaking it apart and using it as a really big building block to your own custom applications.

Hopefully you will find this source code and kit useful for connecting to Windows Azure and other cloud-based services going forward. Enjoy!

James is the program manager for the SharePoint Master and MCA programs.

Hit The Ground Running with Claims Authentication in SharePoint 2010

  • Speaker: Steve Peschka
  • Level: 300

Abstract: Do you want to be able to authenticate users against other identity providers instead of Active Directory? Thanks to Claims Authentication in SharePoint 2010, you can. In this session we will cover everything you need to know to begin using claims authentication. We will share best practices around configuring and troubleshooting SharePoint 2010 with ADFS 2.0 as well various operational issues associated with claims in SharePoint such as token signing certificates, claim mappings and the people picker. Finally we’ll take what we’ve discussed and compare it to a real-world example discussing the requirements of the solution and how it was engineered.

Steve posted Facebook DataView WebPart Code from SharePoint Conference on 10/3/2011:

imageFor those of you who attended my SPC 351 session at SharePoint Conference today (Hitting the Ground Running with Claims Authentication), there was a request for some source code. As promised, I'm attaching a zip file with the source to the Facebook DataView WebPart I demonstrated. It's based on using ACS to log into a SharePoint site with Facebook authentication, and then using the Facebook Access Token (that comes in a special SAML claim) to make a request out to Facebook for the user's public profile info.

The source code is attached for your use and enjoyment. Hopefully the recorded SPC sessions will be posted somewhere; if not and there is sufficient demand (by my random estimate of your interest based on comments to this post) I may try and find a place to post a separate recording I did of the backup in case of network connectivity issues.