04 Jan 2011

It's MVP time again

mvp

Exactly a year and a day ago, I blogged about being awarded a MVP from Microsoft and I am proud to announce that I have been awarded a MVP for a second time!

Thank you to all that were part of making this happen, I am very honoured by all of you.

What is an MVP? In short it is a thank you for helping Microsoft communities. The long version can be found here.

My planning for MVP Summit in Feb/Mar has already been done so I am looking forward to seeing the other MVP’s and product team!

I would also like to congratulate my fellow January MVP’s in particular the South African ones: Zayd Kara (ALM for the second time) and new to the MVP’s Veronique Palmer (SharePoint).

13 Dec 2010

Bring your hard drive to Community Night

Blue Male Student in a Graduation Cap, Reading a Book and Leaning Against a Stack of Books Clipart IllustrationIf you are coming to tomorrow’s community night, you want to bring your hard drive along because I will have some stuff to fill it up with:

Plus I hear that some prizes may be given away at the events too Winking smile

AttachmentSize
File DevExpress.csv3 KB
09 Dec 2010

Upgrade to SharePoint 2010 on Small Business Server: Field Guide

SharePoint2010_LogoRecently I needed to do an upgrade from SharePoint 2007, to be exact WSS 3.0, to SharePoint 2010 – “No big deal” I thought, “I’ve done it before”. Assumptions, they do make for interesting life experiences, because this was something different – this was an upgrade on a Small Business Server (SBS) deployment.

logo-ms-sbsFor those who do not know, SBS is a lightweight all in one server product. So when you install it you get Windows Server 2008, plus Exchange Server, plus ISA, plus SharePoint, plus plus plus – ALL PRE-CONFIGURED! It is fantastic to use in small companies.

Microsoft has produced a fantastic upgrade guide for this very scenario: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff959273(WS.10).aspx but I think is missing a few footnotes of things I found during my upgrades, which this blog post aims to share.

Check Lists

Blue Man Holding a Clipboard While Reviewing Employess Clipart IllustrationI’ve made two check lists of things you should do ahead of time:

Software

This is the software that you will need during the upgrade.

Environment

This is some prep for the environment you can do a head of time.

  • Get a service account created on the domain for SharePoint to use.
  • Get a service account created on the domain for SQL 2008 R2 to use as it can’t use network service on a domain controller.
  • Check if there is a public internet FQDN setup and get the details of that, will need this when setting up the AAM.
  • Get domain name used for email.
  • Check for a local domain name for the site, normally companyweb. Verify this can be access on the server and also from a workstation on the network.
  • Make sure it is a domain controller – there is some scenarios where you are not installing on a domain controller but it is SBS in which case a lot of the guide and process will be broken.

Notes

Here are my additional notes for the guide. For some steps I have no notes because there was nothing extra special about those processes that needed noting.

Step 1

  • It is easier to check the version number in add/remove programs by showing the version number column. Service Pack 2 has a version number of 12.0.0.6421 so we want that or higher.
  • Alternatively turn on show updates in add/remove programs and see if SP 2 is installed.

Step 4

  • It is not important to disable the service during the copy, provided your server will not be rebooted during step 4 and no one is accessing the SharePoint site.
  • It is VITAL to place these files in a backup location and then copy the content database files MDF/LDF to a secondary location. This location is where the database files will be used from in future.
  • Make sure the database files are NOT read only.

Step 6

  • It is a complete farm install, not a stand alone farm install

Step 7

  • It is ok for the site not to exist

Step 8

  • If the Central Admin “Getting Started Wizard” pop’s up, it is ok to cancel it wizard
  • Make sure the app pool is set to Network Service

Step 13

  • If you get a Default Web Error it is because the default and intranet names are the same – make sure they are not.
Additional steps post upgrade
07 Dec 2010

CommNight December - Some interesting events

Happy Blue Man Partying With a Party Hat, Confetti and a Bottle of Liquor Clipart IllustrationIn the middle of the company parties, you should take one night off to do some fantastic learning and networking at CommNight (Community Night) on the 14th December! You can read about all the details on the Microsoft DPE Blog.

There are two groups which I want to highlight which will be at CommNight:

S.A. Developer

S.A. Developer is a user group for developers and in December will be hosting the following topics:

  • Tool of the month: This short (10min to 15min) session is where someone can present their favourite developer focus tool or add-on.
  • Unit Testing WPF & Silverlight – Tools & Techniques: Silverlight and WPF can be used to create truly immersive UI experiences for users.  Testing these UI components and the logic around it can become complex – especially when using frameworks like PRISM.  Join us in this session as we take a look at a few tools and techniques that can be used when unit testing WPF and Silverlight applications. 

Really looking forward to this session!

Information Worker

Information Worker is a user group for those in the IW space, not just developers but everyone even people who job just involves Excel and Outlook! This month we are looking at:

  • Lync – Microsoft’s Unified Communication System
  • Windows Phone 7 – What does this give the IW user? Things like Office and SharePoint integration will be discussed
01 Dec 2010

What is an ALM MVP?

If you asked me 12 months ago what an ALM MVP was I would likely have told you something – unfortunately that something would have been completely wrong. One of the most important things I learnt this year from being an ALM MVP, is what an ALM MVP actually is.

What is an MVP?

First it is an award, this means you get it as recognition for doing something which benefits the community of people who use a Microsoft product (or products). It is also very important to note that the reason it is awarded to one person is seldom it is awarded to another person – no two people are alike, neither are their community contributions and so the awarding is unique per person.

I think it is safe to assume that if you going to so something which benefits many people using a specific product, you need to know something about that product Winking smile However being a MVP is not meant to indicate that this person is an expert in a certain product/s and they know everything about the product.

This doesn’t mean that a lot of MVP’s aren’t brilliant, many are scary smart, first two that jump to mind are Ed Blankenship ALM MVP and Jon Skeet C# MVP, but at the end of that day – all MVPs are people, like you, with limits and gaps in knowledge.

The ALM Stadium

image

ALM MVP’s have an additional level of complexity since the community that they helped revolves around not one single product, like Zune MVP’s for instance, but is actually made up of many products and components. Above is the “stadium” picture which shows a lot of (most of?) the components which make up ALM.

A ALM MVP may know and work in one product/component and never see the other ones. An example of this is Zayd Kara ALM MVP, who is deeply IT Pro focused – so he understands installing the systems, build in TFS etc.. but he seldom opens or works in the Visual Studio IDE so he may not know as much about it as a other ALM MVPs.

As I stated above the reasons someone is awarded differ and so the area and skills in the ALM MVPs differ from person to person. 

Misconceptions

In the form of a Q&A:

  • Q: As an ALM MVP you must be a TFS expert?
  • A: While TFS is a major part of ALM, that simply is not true. I look at myself and while I know TFS, can do an install, understand the API and how to integrate – ask me to edit a process template and I have no idea where to start. However ask me about Visual Studio and I can talk your ear off!
  • Q: As an ALM MVP you must be a Microsoft fan boy and only promote their tools?
  • A: Not at all! MVP’s are not a Microsoft fan club.

    Yes, I am a fan of Microsoft tools but I am also critical of them. You want to see some of the most critical people of Microsoft is MVP’s – they care and fight on behalf the community. As most (all?) MVP’s we are matured to realise that these are just tools and you need to pick the right tool for the job, and that sometimes isn’t what Microsoft currently offers.

  • Q: Microsoft uses the MVP system as a way to find and hire staff?
  • A: While some MVP’s have moved to Microsoft, Willy-Peter Schaub previously a VSTS MVP and now working for Microsoft comes to mind, the hiring of MVPs is not common practise.

    Also worth thinking about, is that Microsoft wants the best of the best (which company doesn’t?), MVP’s are awarded for their community work – not being the best of the best C# programmer (for example) so sometimes that means that MVP’s are not the best fit and the final thing weighing against you (as told to me by a Microsoft employee) Most of the Microsoft employees do not even know of or understand the MVPs so there is not a lot of help in their.

    However being a MVP means you are likely following key people so when exciting jobs are announced ,like the way I knew about these cool jobs, you are first in with your CV. 

  • Q: You must blog/write a book/tweet/present at x or something else to be a MVP?
  • A: No, there is no formula to become a MVP. If you want to be a MVP, work hard for the community in any and as many ways as possible and the MVP maybe will follow.
  • Q: Becoming a community lead is the way to be a MVP?
  • A: This one has come up recently in the Information Worker user group where people have wanted to become leads so that they become MVP’s.

    First there is no single way to becoming a MVP – the IW user group leads are a good example of that we have a few MVP’s but we have more non-MVP’s as leads. Second if your motivation of helping the community is to become a MVP, then I doubt you will become a MVP because your motives are wrong. MVP’s do what they do for the community not because they want to be a MVP, but because they love the community.

Thanks

To make sure I wasn’t still wrong, I did ask for some feedback from fellow MVP’s and Microsoft staff and I thank you all for your contributions in particular Willy-Peter Schaub, Ruari Plint and Zayd Kara.

03 Nov 2010

Windows Phone 7 Training Event

logo_windows_phone_vRudi Grobler, known for his love of WPF, Silverlight and Windows Phone 7, has organised a FREE training event focused on Windows Phone 7! This event will run on the 5th Feb 2011 but space is VERY VERY limited.

The idea is to give you key information via presentations, learning via hands on labs and fun via playing with REAL devices!

You can get all the details and register at: http://sadev.wufoo.com/forms/windows-phone-7-jump-start-feb-2011/

More details about the event will be announced over the coming weeks so follow Rudi’s blog for more!

21 Oct 2010

Tech·Ed Africa 2010 - Slides, scripts and demos for my talks

Tech·Ed Africa 2010 ended on Wednesday and it was a great event. Thanks to everyone who came to my sessions and came up to me after and between sessions to chat. I felt very honoured to be able to meet and share with you :D

This post is for those who want the slides or demo information. I have completed versions of the demos below (in the zip file) and the script for each demo which gives you the step by step process I used (in the docx file).

APS302 – Intro to Workflow Services and Windows Server AppFabric

Other content for this session:

APS309 – Windows Server AppFabric Caching What it is and When you should use it

Other content for this session:

APS310 – WCF Made Easy with .NET 4 and Windows Server AppFabric

Other content for this session:

22 Sep 2010

Come and hang out with me at Tech·Ed Africa 2010!

imageTech·Ed Africa 2010 is less than a month away and it is a massive conference where all things IT Pro and developer are discussed. It is a great conference, filled with networking (read: beer), wonderful sessions and great prizes!

I will be attending as a speaker again this year so I thought I would share what I will be talking about, however before I get to that I want to talk about a wonderful prize I am giving away.

Certain MVP’s got given some Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate licenses to give away, and I was lucky enough to get three of those. Each license is values at $11600!! I will be giving these away at the community lounge as part of a fun game! Details of the game will be available at the lounge at the event.

Back to my shameless promotion Winking smile Tech·Ed has two types of sessions Breakout Sessions where I get up on stage and present and demo for about an hour and Whiteboard Sessions which are interactive discussion sessions. I am lucky to have a few of each. Note: this is all subject to change.

Breakout Sessions

Intro to Workflow Services and Windows Server AppFabric

Windows Workflow Foundation 4 (WF4) provides a flexible, declarative programming model and a brand new runtime architecture that makes it easily accessible for .NET developers. What that means for developers is that WF4 can make it easier to put together your application logic, encapsulate complex control flow logic, and abstract complex programming tasks. WF4 also composes nicely with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) for writing declarative workflow services that support content-based message correlation and long-running duplex conversations. When you combine the framework features with the new AppFabric capabilities in Windows Server to host and manage your workflows and services , you have a comprehensive workflow solution in Windows. In this session we will look at examples of how you can use WF4 in your application and service development to speed your development and simplify complex tasks, as well as how to build powerful, manageable workflow services with WF, WCF and AppFabric. Come find out how this powerful, testable framework can help you and your development team take programming to the next level.

WCF Made Easy with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Windows Server AppFabric

Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is a flexible and powerful platform for building service-oriented applications, and with that flexibility comes some complexity. As of .NET Framework 4 – configuring, securing, hosting and managing WCF services has never been easier! WCF 4 and Windows Server AppFabric come together to help developers and IT administrators overcome the complexity. Come find out how much easier it is to configure WCF services in .NET 4 including alignment with the Microsoft ASP.NET configuration model and a reduced configuration footprint. Also learn Windows Server AppFabric features for the IT administrator, finally making it easier for IT administrators to easily access settings they care about such as security and throttling features; providing control over the hosting lifecycle of WCF services; and giving new visibility into faults, exceptions, and tracing and diagnostics features to help you manage your service deployments in production un-intrusively.

Windows Server AppFabric Caching: What It Is and When You Should Use It

The distributed in-memory caching capabilities of Windows Server AppFabric will change how you think about scaling your Microsoft .NET-connected applications. Come learn how the distributed nature of the cache allows large amounts of data to be stored in-memory for extremely fast access, how AppFabric’s integration with Microsoft ASP.NET makes it easy to add low-latency data caching across the Web farm, and discover the unique high availability features of AppFabric which will bring new degrees of scale to your data tier.

Whiteboard Sessions

Web Service Interop

This is a panel discussion on web service interop with myself, Nabeel Prior (Microsoft BizTalk Expert), Anton Delsink and Ryan Crawcour (BizTalk Expert from New Zealand).

Powering Rich Internet Applications: Windows Server AppFabric, Web Services, and Microsoft Silverlight

This is a panel discussion on with myself, Ryan Crawcour (BizTalk Expert from New Zealand) and Rudi Grobler (WPF MVP).

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