Julie Lerman and Hubby take on Newfoundland

This week Julie Lerman and hubby are staying with us which should be a lot of fun. Julie is set to deliver (I believe) an ADO.NET presentation to our St. John’s .NET usergroup.  www.wedevelop.net

It should be a fun week as we teach them to speak newfinese, take in the sights … and of course we have MOSS 2007 + WSS v3 at our place which we’ll force feed her while she’s here.  She LOVES SharePoint!

SharePoint Designer 2007 – Hidden Gems

styles1.jpgOne of the great things about SharePoint Designer 2007 is the much improved CSS support. When customizing SharePoint sites, there is now a much cleaner interfacce for dealing with multiple stylesheets.One common scenario might be that you want to customize a variations based WCM (publishing) site. Below lists a couple of quick steps to get you started as well as a couple of visuals for reference.

1) Open your Internet Presense, or Publishing Site if using variations using File, Open Site in SharePoint Designer 2007

2) From the left menu locate and open the _catalogs directory, inside you will find the master pages library where the files you want to edit are stored.

3) Open the TopNavFlyouts.master (I’m as confused as anyone on the name so don’t ask)

4) With the TopNavFlyouts.master open, you should notice a new set of menu’s in the right toolbar – towards the bottom you will see the “manage styles” area. This area is of particular interest as it lists all the style-sheets applied to a particular page and to the best of my knowledge in the order they are referenced which means each layer “down” can over-ride the previous. Double clicking any of these style-sheets will open it for editing at which time you will notice a second level of items in the manage styles menu (the classes). Double clicking any of these bring you directly to the code for editing.

One great tip: While on your TopNavFlyouts.master page select the options drop down in your manage styles pane – there is an option that lets you show ONLY styles which are applicable to the page you are editing. (screenshot below).

You can use the visuals below as a reference:
styles3.jpg styles2.jpg

styles.jpg

Catering to the IT Pro’s and Information Workers of the world

I’ve made mention many times in the past that I felt there was an obvious lack of material catering to “the users” – The Information Workers, the IT Pro’s and the like.

While at TechED I was fortunate enough to sit down with Lawerence Liu who works with Microsoft on the SharePoint Product Team and also happens to be in charge of “community”.  He shares this feeling, and I am happy to report that he is very focused on promoting the Information Worker and ITPro information channels, as well he’s playing a very active role in helping to moderate the direction of the community from the top level so that members are able to understand what’s missing, where they can help, and how to get started.

A note to all you guys/gals just getting started in the SharePoint Products and Technologies space, in particular blogging – If you are looking to promote your blogs and help drive traffic, focusing on ITpro and Information Worker related materials is definately a good jump-point.  I get a massive amount of emails, and traffic spikes when I make these type posts.

I hope to see more and more (real world) questions like the one below which I snagged from the Newsgroups both popping up, and being answered in the blogosphere.
My boss recently set up Windows Sharepoint Services and has now turned it over to me.  He wants  … or

So I just installed service pack -x- and now my coffee tastes off, or … well you get the idea.

The “Scoble Parade”

I was never a huge follower of Scoble, even though I’m sure he had lots of good to say, it just didn’t particularly intrigue me.  That being said his presense in the blog world is obviously undeniable.

My question (or fear) is, will this (somewhat self inflicted) media frenzy hurt Microsoft’s stance on blogging?  A company such as Microsoft is already under constant scrutiny – will this recent media circus make them re-evaluate their stance on employee blogging?   I sure hope not, blogging is such a critical piece in reaching out to partners, developers and customers alike.

My personal thought on the matter: (Please note I have limited knowledge of Scoble, or what he has done within Microsoft, I am basing this only on what I’ve picked up on over the last little while).

1) If you don’t want a media circus then don’t use one of the most popular blogs on the planet to constantly draw attention to the matter.  Comments like – Oh gee why are they all looking at me ?  – C’mon.

2) The cut and dry of the situation in my personal opinion can be summed up in two letters, PR – Do I really need to elaborate?

I don’t want to sound too jaded but suffice it to say I have probably not read more than 2 paragraphs of the 30 million articles written about his recent decision.

I hope Microsoft answers by creating more avenues for their employees to blog and their customers to interface with them.

If you tried to contact me, or if I was supposed to contact you …

I realise that I have not done the best job of staying on top of email during the week of TechED.  If I was supposed to ping you and forgot, or if you tried to contact me without response, please ping me again as I have been deleting droves of email and it’s possible “some” good stuff was caught in the mix.

shane – at – graphicalwonder.com

People I met at TechED Boston

I made a point of trying to touch base with as many SharePointers as possible this year,  This year I managed to meet or at least get to say hello to the following SharePoint Bloggers/Community Folk: (Sorry I don’t have the energy to get all the URLS, just google them they’ll come up) – I took the FLU back from Boston, argh! (sorry to those I leave out – I’m running at about 60% right now).
Arpan Shah (MS SharePoint Team)
Lawerence Liu (MS SharePoint Team)
April (MS MVP Team)
Todd Bleeker
Bill English
Andrew Connell
Heather Solomon
Spencer
Bil Simser
Shane Young (and fiance Nicole)

People from the following organizations:
Skelta
Nintex
SharePoint Solutions
Acentn
CorasWorks
MSD2D
Syntergy
When I leave I can tell you this, almost everyone I met was awesome.  I had drinks with a lot of the bloggers I’ve read over the years, great fun!

Things I learned at TechED Boston

6 days of fast-paced sessions, networking, events and socials and I have learned a few valuable lessons, below I have listed some that stand out in no particular order:

1) Do not eat chocolate bars, or other sticky-gooey items while walking around the conference hall, people will want to shake your hand at the most inopportune times.

2) Scott Hanselman is a rock-star, His name was mentioned in almost every session I attended, from the Geeks with serious diseases, to preparing for the 2007 wave of products.

3) Most Microsoft employee’s have a non-stop group following them around competing for their attention, don’t be too broken up if you didn’t get to speak to them all.

4) The days are filled with awkward moments, approaching people you do not know to say hello – not knowing if/when you are invading someone’s space or if they have the time to talk or are just being nice etc. 

5) Office 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 (and WSS v3) are HOT, HOT, HOT items this year.  In Florida last year it was a blip on the radar, this year it was 80% of the conversation.

6) There are no lanes in Boston, just wide roads that people choose at their own discression

I’m sure there are plenty more but these just stand out right now :)

TechED Boston comes to a close

Last night we got to hang out at the historic Fenway Park, get photos from the dugouts, and at the green monster. Later Train gave a great show. Unfortunately Amanda and I had an early rise and had to duck out early – sorry to anyone I didn’t get to meet up with.

This morning was a 6am rise and off to Logan where we waited around for a couple of hours to board our Boston to Montreal flight – we again took the zippy smaller jet which got us from Boston to Montreal (what was scheduled as 1:20mins in 40 minutes – We hung out at the Montreal Airport for several hours before hopping on our final connection home. We had a chance to take the newer Air Canada jet that came out in 2005 – really nice plane, each headrest has a decent sized screen where there are many games, movies etc.

All in all it’s been a fantastic week – I was thrilled to have met so many great people. I am however very glad to be home, I’ll post more tommorow when I have more energy, I’ll also put a zip-file of my photos online for people to download int he next few days.

TechED Boston, Day 5

Day 5 was another day of learning and networking, I’ve officially met I do believe about 90% of the SharePointers (at least SharePoint Bloggers) down here.

I took in Arpan’s presentation on creating good looking sites on the 2007 platform.  They covered the ABC’s, master pages etc, great talk and in the end they had basically recreated the Microsoft TechED site in SharePoint.

I met April from the MVP program last night for the first time, she’s a really cool gal – didn’t have a whole lot of time to chat with her – apparently her attention is much sought after and she has a constant herd following her around :)

I also met a few others for the first time yesterday, Shane Young and his fiance Nicole – what a great bunch they were, and also Jay Medero another cool cat. 

A bunch of us (Todd, Spencer, Jay, Amanda, Shane, Nicole, Dylan etc.) hit the Influencers party and had a few drinks and some fun.  Later a couple of us broke off to try out a place called “The Place” – it was fairly slow so we headed back to the hotel for a wind down.

Long days, I’m pretty tired and writing this from the conference center.  I just talked to Andrew Connell whom is downstairs being grilled by Arpan Shah – he may take the stage for with Arpan at a 1 oclock session – go Andrew! –

I’ll have photo’s from last night later when I get back to the hotel.  We are going to Fenway park a little later to see Train and look around – we fly out again tommorow morning. 

Going to be a tame night for us – we’re off to Montreal at 9:30am, then finally home to NL.  Looking forward to getting home and winding down a little.  It’s been hectic.