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  • Mar.04.2014

    Day two of SPC 2014.  Favourite session today was the Office Video one presented by Gerald Ferry & Marc Mroz.

    Office Video is just starting Preview, which means you have to ask to try it, and it is not yet intended for production use.  General Availability timing hasn't been set yet, but I know of a number of our clients that will be pushing to get their hands on it.

    We've been looking for an easy to use video platform for several years now.  YouTube is certainly easy, but it doesn't provide much control over the experience, and it certainly isn't appropriate for internal content.  Vimeo is very nice, but it isn't integrated into SharePoint.  For those of you that know our product portfolio, Video Player is a good platform for presenting videos in SharePoint, but it doesn't provide the content author experience, which is where a lot of the challenges are.  We've been working with Azure Media Services for several years now, but while it now solves the encoding challenges of making videos available on the web, it still really lacked finesse for the content authors.

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  • Mar.03.2014

    It's been some time since I've posted to my blog.  That's not to say there hasn't been lots of interesting things I've been doing, but quite the opposite.  The challenge is finding the time to right about it.   With SharePoint Conference 2014 going on, this seems a good time to get back on this.

    The day started out with a bang with the main keynote being headlined by Bill Clinton.  He gave a great talk about global inequalities, how far we've come over the last 20 years, and the role that technology has played in supporting that change.  There is still much more work to be done, but it was great to hear more about what the Clinton Foundation is doing around the world.

    Jeff Teper then continued the keynote and got tactical about some of the new things coming down the pipe.  There has been a lot of buzz around InfoPath going away lately, and Jeff talked about Access in Office 365 and SQL Azure as an option for forms development.  We're expecting to hear more about this in the following days.  At one point a Monty Python themed InfoPath funeral process ("bring out your dead") came through the Exhibit Hall, so the sentiment seems that InfoPath is done.

    Jeff also talked about Apps development.  People integration support in Apps was part of this, with the Office 365 file and people APIs.  API support has been an area that the community has really been asking for, and it sounds like Microsoft is listening.  This applies not just to the Microsoft ecosystem.  Jeff also talked about the Android SDK for Office 365 available on GitHub, and similar commitments on iOS. 

    Julia White then took the stage and talked about how Yammer groups are being exposed throughout Office 365.  Group calendars can be setup in Outlook, and SharePoint sites created for the groups.  Nice to see more integration happening on the Yammer side, and I'm sure there will be more to come.  Julia then showed a quick preview of Oslo and Office Graph.  I can't wait to get my hands on this (due out second half of calendar 2014).  It understands who you work with, your calendar connections, Yammer trends, and search results to pull content together that is important to you.  Very slick looking.

    We also got a quick preview of the new Video Portal in Office 365 that is also coming later this year.  There is a full session today on this, so I should have more on this later.

    In the developer keynote, apps were the main focus.  The ability to create one app and deploy it both in SharePoint and Office apps was interesting.  Office Web Widgets available on Nuget make developing apps easier.  New controls for provide hosted apps, including a people picker control, and updates to Visual Studio were some highlights.  Apps can even be exposed in the Office Web Apps preview, which opens interesting possibilities for the search experience.

    At the end of the developer keynote, Rob and Brain demoed a vendor app from www.polleverywhere.com.  This is a cool facility for doing live polls through SMS text messages.  The SharePoint app showed the poll results live as they came in from the audience, which was very cool.  They then wrapped up with the commitment to client libraries and controls, reaffirming the API story.

    Wrapped the day up with an external sharing talk on Office 365.  While I'm biased to where we're going with our Extranet User Manager tool (www.envisionit.com/eum), it is good to see what Microsoft is providing on the more ad-hoc sharing of SharePoint content with external users.

Copyright ©2013 Peter Carson