Office 365 Cloud Party

Last night was the MOSSIG user group’s MAY meeting – which we named our “Cloud Party”.

We turned up the heat for this month’s meeting, with double the normal presentations – and an XBox-360 console giveaway – as well as beer, Subway sandwiches, cookies & soft drinks.   We had close to 100 people in attendance – triple the usual count for MOSSIG.

The session covered the following :

  • What is Office 365 – Outlook, SharePoint, Lync – and Office client (Office 2010)
  • Some demos of configuring, customising and extending
  • Split presentation ‘track’ – with technical & business streams
  • 3rd party demo’s and overviews from Nintex, AvePoint and BA Insight
  • Question & Answer panel – folk from OBS, Paradyne & C2C – check out the PhotoSynth panorama pic
  • 4 hours of MOSSIG (!!) – started at 4.30pm – and we didn’t finish up until just on 8.30pm

Technical break-out

Within the technical track, Ben Walters (Microsoft) showed what was involved in understanding the multi-tenancy aspects of Office-365 – great analogy of a shared apartment building – with someone else (Microsoft) providing the electricity, plumbing and so forth – and each tenant (Office 365 customer) only has to look after their own apartment – so to speak.  Furthermore, you CAN’T muck with someone else’s apartment, to continue the analogy.

Ben also showed how to configure Office 365, with a quick flick around the admin screens.

The follow-on from this was *MY* presentation, showing how much you can do with SharePoint 365 – using SharePoint Designer. 

You can do almost ANYTHING you can do on-premise – with Check-In, Check-Out, manage lists, Master Pages, Page Layouts and so forth.

Further to this, I showed how you can create a workflow using Visio-2010 – export it, and load into SharePoint Designer for the ‘instrumentation’ (actions) – and then publish to SharePoint 365.

I also showed a quick Excel Chart WebPart, which you could use to do some nice dashboard’y pages (mini-BI).

Elaine van Bergen (OBS) then showed how you can go further, by developing custom coded solutions within the “Sandboxed Solutions” framework.  

Using Visual Studio, she created & deployed a Visual WebPart to SharePoint, as well as some good tips & tricks for developing with sandboxed solutions.

Another approach she showed was related to the “Client Object Model” – and how you can do a lot of code for manipulating webs, lists, items & so forth – using JavaScript – and/or Silverlight.

P.S.  I did a session on the Client Object Model in October 2010 – at the Melbourne SharePoint Saturday event. 

Click here to see more about it – and download the slides + prezzo.

A good ‘take away’ for the technical track is that developers & technical folk are NOT as hamstrung as you might think – there’s a LOT you can do, you just need to be aware of what you can/can’t do.

Ben Walters had a great phrase – that developers need to “think inside the box” – relating to the apartment analogy above – and the whole sandboxed solutions approach. 

And the fact that SharePoint Designer lets you do a whole bunch of stuff – srsly !

I’ve uploaded the slides for our technical track presentation – it’s ~7 MB – due to screenshots/pics.   There are some great links & references – especially the Office 365 Developer Training Kit – brilliant content, especially for a ‘beta’ product – go get it now !

Thanks to all that attended the MOSSIG cloud party – it was a great night of information & discussion – hope to see you all there next month !


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