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SharePoint Saturday in Atlanta Recap

SharePoint Saturday was in Atlanta on April 18th.  My friend, Lori Gowin, and I were so excited when we first found out about this event a couple of months ago.  I had immediately submitted an abstract, to do a presentation there.

Since we live in Birmingham, Alabama, it’s only a two and a half hour drive over to Atlanta.  Our friend, Cathy Dew, who we met at our SharePoint user group, works for CTS.  CTS sponsored the speaker dinner in Atlanta, so Cathy and I conveniently brought Lori along with us to hob-nob with the speakers.

The speaker dinner was great, and you know it’s always interesting meeting people in person… who you know from the internet.  So, now we get to associate  human beings with those little square icons whom we’ve been chatting with on twitter.

We were up bright and early for SharePoint Saturday the next morning.  So exciting!  We had a short keynote, and then my presentation was in the very first time slot.  Also, we had live coverage of this event on the EndUserSharePoint site, courtesy of Mark Miller.  This means that some of us committed to being “live bloggers”, and basically took notes while we were in our sessions, and these notes and correspondence was live online.  We even had pictures and videos!  Here’s the archived live blog.  Oh, and here are several videos that Dux recorded.  There was a little friendly competition going with the St. Louis MOSS Camp, which was going on at the same time and also live blogging!



It was unfortunate that Dux‘s presentation was at the same time, because I really wanted to see him speak.  Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait until I see him again at SPTechCon in Boston.

Anyway, this was the third time that have done my presentation called “Making the most of Out-of-Box Web Parts”.  It gets so much easier each time I do it.  The first time was with Brett Lonsdale of Lighting Tools, when we presented this at the SharePoint Best Practices Conference in San Diego in February.  Since he’s the BDC guru and has a development background, he was the perfect person to talk about the BDC web parts, and the data view web part.  The whole premise behind this presentation, is that no matter who you are (developer or not), it’s best to learn what SharePoint can do out-of-box, before developing your own solutions.

The next session I went to was “Integrating SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services with SharePoint” by Chris Regan.  This session was great, because Chris went over all of the steps to take, and gotchas involved when installing SSRS.  Stanalond mode vs. Integrated mode.  He actually demo’ed the installation in detail.  Good stuff!

Then, I went to “Business Intelligence: Build a dashboard with Excel Services and KPIs” by Jeremy Minich.  Jeremy went over the Report Center template in MOSS, and how to put Excel Web Access web parts on the dashboard, and how to comfigure the web part settings.  He also showed how to create KPIs and put the KPI web parts on the page.

After lunch, several of us live bloggers went to “Blogging with SharePoint” by Dan Lewis.  This session was recorded and was streaming live, thanks to Eric Harlan.  It was a lot of fun, and very informative.  Dan went over different ways to blog and post blog entries, such as different software to use, and some tips and tricks.

And, finally, the last session I went to was “Content Query Web Part in the Wild” by Hasan Shahid and Amjad Ashraf.  This one was great for me, because customizing the CQWP is something I’ve been struggling with.  They showed how easy it can be!

Oh, oh, oh, I almost forgot!  Lori and I recorded a series of webcasts on the way to and from Atlanta.  To view these, click HERE.  I’ve been uploading a new one every day.

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