AUSPC 2014 – YAMMER + FORMS

Over the last few days, the Australian SharePoint conference has been held in Sydney – it’s the FIFTH year that it’s been held – and the third time I’ve presented a session.

The conference began with a speaker dinner, at an amazing gourmet Mexican restaurant – one of the amazing highlights for me was the made-at-the-table guacamole (waitress used a mortar & pestle) – and the tempura cactus chips (!)

Lots of great chatter over more food, and margarita’s and mojito’s – a great crew of local and international speakers.

I had two sessions to deliver, but not until the 2nd day – so I went to see a number of sessions, and spoke with many of the vendors and other colleagues I’ve gotten to know over the years.

There was also a great VEGAS theme party, with blackjack tables, and poker, and a prize wheel too – lots more discussion & fun was had.

But – you’re here to check out the prezzo’s, right ?

YAMMER + SHAREPOINT

Elaine van Bergen and I co-presented this slot, with Elaine covering much of the OOTB and ‘what you get’ aspects of Yammer – as well as considerations related to SSO (Single Sign-On) and DirSync.

I covered the next section, with some deep-dive DEV-content for integration of Yammer into your SharePoint site – we were showing this within Office 365 (btw).

The first of these was using the EMBED tags and SCRIPT blocks – which allows Yammer to inject an IFRAME into your page.   Some minor customisations, but still a bit limited – eg. can’t do any CSS / styles.

The next bit (and more interesting from a ‘code’ perspective) was to use the REST API from the Yammer SDK.  

This requires a SCRIPT tag reference, and then some URL’s to retrieve JSON data.   Then, you can do ‘whatever’ you want.

The demo showed :

  • Some example REST URL’s + the JSON data returned
  • An example GET to retrieve ‘messages’
  • An example GET to retrieve the current user, and determine the GROUPS they are part of – and load into a combo.  
  • The user could then choose a group – and enter some text, and click POST which would then create a Yammer post – nice !

I’ve loaded the slides for anyone wanting to see what we covered – please leave a comment if you’d like more information, and I can do another post about the demos.

FUTURE OF FORMS

My second session for the day was to cover the future of forms, with the perspective of InfoPath being deprecated, as was news earlier in the year.

This was a hot topic – and the presentation room was packed to capacity – every seat taken, and a bunch of people standing up the back, and even sitting on the floor at the front.   Was between 120-130 people – was great to have such a large audience !

My session covered the following aspects :

  • Brief history of InfoPath – why is it being put out to pasture
  • Wrap-up of the SPC348 session from Vegas – and the alternatives shown by Microsoft
    • Excel Surveys (FOSS = Forms On Spread Sheets)
      • Had a great crowd-participation survey “live demo” – lots of fun
    • Forms On SharePoint Lists (FOSL)
      • Not available until end-of-2014 – I had to do JPG demo
    • Structured documents (Word)
      • Much like content fields today – or so it seems
      • Again, not available till end of 2014
    • Access Web Apps
      • Table driven database ‘apps’ – using MS-Access
  • Other considerations
    • Rules/Validation
    • Back-end system integration
    • Workflows

After that run-down, the tone was pretty much “well, none of those are a replacement for InfoPath” !    

(I had a video-game-photo that I found entitled “Wasteland” – LOL !)

The next section covered some 3rd-party alternatives – with overview+demo :

  • Nintex Forms
  • K2 SmartForms (SmartObjects)
  • Formotus

The ending message that *I* wanted to leave with people was that you can STILL use InfoPath – it’s not going anywhere – not for 10 years (2023 – end of support).

If you’re using Office 365 of course, that could be sooner (much sooner).

So – don’t panic – just continue “as is” for now – and hopefully we’ll see something from Microsoft towards the end-of-the-year.

The murmurings I’ve heard are that Santa will kind to us – watch this space !

** Again, please leave a comment if you’d like to know more about FORMS – or you can contact me via twitter / email – check the slides for details :

OK – that’s all for now – only a few days until I head off to New Zealand, and do it all again !    

Hope you had a great AUSPC – if you were there.   If not, you MISSED OUT !

🙂

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