SPC Day 1: Keynote

I’m here at a sold-out SharePoint Conference (SPC) – 7,400 attendees, and the buzz in the keynote is crazy. The keynote line-up includes Tom Rizzo, Steve Ballmer and Jeff Teper.

In the keynote, Tom gave a great introduction talking about some of the key and fun stats at the conference such as 7.4 miles of cable. He also talked to the attendee count being up from 3,800 from the last SPC that happened in Seattle last year. Over 70 countries are represented here at SPC. Wow!


Steve talked about productivity using the ‘three screens’: PC, Phone and TV—the confluence of productivity through these three different form factors with SharePoint and Office driving this productivity. Core to his keynote was the fact that “SharePoint is at the center of it…” where he emphasized the strength and value (citing Kraft as an example of a company that saved over $2M through using SharePoint) of on-premises or cloud-based solutions built on SharePoint. He announced the fact that there are 1M people signed up for SharePoint Online.

Steve also introduced the new SharePoint 2010 workloads (sites, communities, content, search, insights, and composites) and walked through the workloads and the gains that companies can feel through the adoption of SharePoint. He also announced the Public Beta of SharePoint and Office 2010 will be available in November. It was great to see him talk about SharePoint extensibility, as I personally feel that this is one of the strongest leaps forward for SharePoint—with tools, service/OM improvements, and a strong developer community development for SharePoint is poised to take off even further with this release.


Tom did a number of demos and announced the ability to develop SharePoint on top of Windows 7 and also showed the new Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and hooked a SQL Server instance to a SharePoint external list using SharePoint Designer 2010 (which is free!). See a screenshot of the SharePoint Designer interface below.


Tom showed the new VS 2010 extensibility tools that are now available in the VS 2010 Beta 1. Using the new tools, he showed how to create a new visual web part and then also showed the Developer Dashboard after deploying the web part to SharePoint 2010. He also showed sandboxed solutions, which enables you to create and deploy web parts to SharePoint Online (or on-premises) without administrator intervention-- a nice way to deploy web parts to a site collection or site that you own. Tom also talked to WCM and FAST, showing some demos for these areas. It was great to see Tom talk about the integration of Silverlight and SharePoint! In the WCM demo, he showed the media web part, FAST integration, Silverlight support in SharePoint, and  then talked to the fact that SharePoint now supports the XHTML standard. All great stuff!

To kick off his keynote, Jeff traced some history around strategy and benefit and thanked the partners and customers and encouraged the SharePoint community to keep the feedback loop open to help improve the product.During his keynote of the keynote he focused on the numerous new end-user features of SharePoint—talking, for example, about the productivity gains with the SharePoint ribbon and new navigation structure for SharePoint and the improvements in the social computing space. He also talked about x-browser, MUI and Office client support and also discussed the new SharePoint Workspace (the evolved Groove) and also talked about the Mobile experience with SharePoint. The new SharePoint Workspace enables users to take SharePoint lists and libraries offline.

All in all, some great reactions from the keynote audience—lots of buzz here in Las Vegas and an incredible amount of news and content that will pervade the week. There’s 300 hrs of new content for Office and SharePoint 2010, and 45 hours of HOLs here for attendees to work through.

More to come tomorrow as I attend sessions, meet with customers and prepare for my BCS session on Wednesday.

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