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September 17, 2012

Linked in Map

I was in Detroit, MI a few weeks ago when someone showed me a social network analysis of their linked in contacts. I took a look and it was crazy. I finally got around to doing mine…

Check out my map at

It’s pretty crazy. If you look at the map you’ll see some of the bigger parts of my network. It’s probably not surprising that one of my largest groups is SharePoint followed by Microsoft. I’m sure there’s a way to actually use this map but for now it just looks cool.

Announcing: The SharePoint Shepherd Reveals Introduction to SharePoint 2010 Development

I’m pleased to announce that we released our new DVD under the SharePoint brand last week. The DVD is “The SharePoint Shepherd Reveals Introduction to SharePoint Development.” The title is in two parts. The first part includes “reveals”. I use the word reveals because this series will be trying to reveal the technology things that may be hidden from view – but are real. They aren’t abstract – they’re just not yet known.

The rest of the title conveys that DVD is designed to get folks from “zero to 60” in SharePoint development as quickly as possible. We believe it’s the fastest way to get a developer productive in SharePoint development.

The DVD is the culmination of years of personal work helping developers learn SharePoint. I won’t belabor the specific contents of the DVD here; you can take a look at it on the product page on the SharePoint Shepherd web site. Suffice to say that the key things you need to know like building web parts (including web part properties), querying data, timer jobs, event receivers, workflows, tips for debugging, etc., are all there. I would, however, like to share some of the journey to creating the materials – and why I believe they are the fastest way to learn how to develop for SharePoint.

Back in 2008, Andrew Connell and I did the first set of Microsoft videos/web casts for SharePoint 2007 development. (Sidebar: Andrew Connell and Ted Pattison’s Critical Path Training is where I recommend developers get their training if they need a live instructor led format.) Before that and since then I’ve worked with numerous development teams helping them deliver projects for SharePoint. I worked with the Microsoft Patterns and Practices team on the development of the SharePoint Guidance. We toiled for months-and-months to produce the best practice ways to develop on SharePoint. (They would prefer I say proven practices rather than best but the point remains.) I’ve also been writing whitepapers for MSDN on specific areas of development including search customization and accessing Office 365 data from on premises code. I also wrote the Microsoft Learning 10232 course – Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Applications. It is the advanced decision making concepts course for 2010 development (should I use an event receiver or a workflow, for instance)

In short, I’ve struggled alongside developers as they try to get up to speed on how to develop for SharePoint quickly. I’ve seen where the confusion sets in. (Like the first time a developer realizes there is not a “default.aspx” page for each site – there’s only one.) I love my conversations with developers but don’t want to see them struggle to learn SharePoint.

A few years ago Eric Shupps and I started doing preconference sessions where we would take six hours and teach the same concepts that I deliver in the new DVD. We delivered this session to hundreds of developers and I refined it into the content you see in the DVD. We’ve tested the material with developers so we know that it works.

Ultimately the decision to birth this into a DVD format was due to the simple fact that I can’t be with every developer – and they can’t wait for the timing to work out. I realized I had to have a mechanism that allowed the developers to get the training they needed when they need it rather than waiting on a class.

I’d invite you to buy and watch the DVD – and tell me if it isn’t the best and quickest way to learn how to develop for SharePoint.

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