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The SharePoint Evolution Conference… what a week!

7 min read
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We’ve all been there. There’s a sporting finale, a special occasion or a new announcement around the corner, the excitement and expectation builds and //build/s. It quickly becomes the most talked about thing between your friends and family, your colleagues and your community. And then – “Ugh”. It’s a huge disappointment. The fanfare and hype wasn’t worth it and you end up feeling deflated and let down.

Well, this years’ SharePoint Evolution Conference couldn’t be further from that experience! In every way it was a huge success, a great event, and certainly avoided any disappointment whatsoever. Steve Smith and Zoe Watson of Combined Knowledge put together what our CEO Matthias Einig called, “the best SharePoint event ever!”. Big words indeed, but something we feel every attendee, vendor and sponsor would agree with.

Much had been written before hand – we blogged about it ourselves in the buildup – but the show most definitely delivered. From brilliant speaker sessions to a great SharePint get together, to awesome live demonstrations and a rather fun after party at Cafe de Paris with an awesome band and… well, you should have been there! Long story short the SharePoint Evolution Conference was excellent from start to finish!

Where do we begin

Now it’s hard to fit every single thing that happened into a single blog, but we’re going to try. There’s no better place to start than with the keynote delivered by host and MVP, Steve Smith, and Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, Jeremy Thake. The guys kicked the event off with a bang and certainly set the tone for the next couple of days. Outlining what lies ahead in the coming year was a great way to start.

A special thanks goes to Steve for personally talking about SPCAF in his opening speech 😉

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Day 1 – A great start

Like any great event, the first day was packed with a whole host of awesome things to see and hear. Once Steve and Jeremy had finished their keynote, there was a ridiculous choice of SharePoint and Office 365 MVPs to learn from. Now as we said, it’s difficult to mention every session we thought was excellent, so we’re going to pull out one from each day!

We attended Ted Pattison’s afternoon session on ‘CSOM Programming in Provider-hosted Apps’ which was fantastic. He spoke about best practices when writing apps good code and obviously this is something we at Rencore care a lot about. It was particularly insightful and our favourite session of the day.

We are all learning – with a little help from people like Ted – just how important the App Model is becoming. With more and more people adopting it, extra focus and help will be needed to support their requirements. We have a new major release of SPCAF coming very soon which will directly help those using the App Model – plus CSOM, JSOM, PowerShell (and more). We’re really excited about it! We’ll be announcing further details soon so keep an eye on our blog and twitter account.

SharePint – A chance to kick back

At some events it can be difficult catching up with those you want to chat to. We had no problems here. The SharePint evening gave everyone an excellent opportunity to kick back, have a drink and talk in a more relaxed and informal environment. It was definitely an awesome way to end the first day and a special thanks goes to Brett Lonsdale and Lightning Tools for sponsoring this much loved get together.

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Day 2 – Red vs Blue!

The day two lineup included Laura Rogers, Marc Anderson, Brian Alderman and Andrew Connell – we were once again spoilt for choice. However our standout for the day was the session delivered by Liam Cleary. Covering SharePoint security and how to defend your environment from nefarious hackers, a virtual game of ‘Red Team’ vs ‘Blue Team’ involved one team trying to break into a SharePoint environment while the other team defends! Needless to say it was good fun and an excellent way to showcase some of the tools that can be used to ensure good security practices.

Day 2 evening – Cafe de Paris

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We reckon it’s safe to say that everyone was looking forward to the after party at Cafe de Paris. The stretched limos waiting to pick up our lead developer Hugh and the other speakers from the hotel only added to the excitement. The band, the aerial show and all the performers put together a fantastic display and provided great entertainment. It was also the first time ever that those who didn’t attend the actual conference could come in and join the event (by sponsoring the Pink Ribbon Foundation, which supports breast cancer awareness) which only made the evening even more enjoyable.

Day 3 – No let up

Now you might think day three started with a few sore heads (and you’d be right!), but you wouldn’t have guessed with the quality that was once again on offer. From ‘Upgrading to SharePoint 2013’, to ‘Deep Dives into Office 365’ and ‘Site Provisioning techniques with the App Model’’, the number of excellent sessions going on was huge. We had many friends speaking on day three, like Todd Klindt and Vesa Juvonen, so it was tough to pick a standout session.

However we have chosen one of the best speakers in our community. Andrew Connell took a look into the world of REST and what is involved in creating client-side JavaScript based solutions with BreezeJS. Aimed at developers, it was an awesome session delivered by a truly awesome speaker!

Day 3 – The Speakers’ Dinner

Wednesday evening was another highlight. As a good friend of ours – Fabian Williams – said in his blog, “the conference accomplishes what no other conference does” and the speaker dinner is another example of that. It brings together the community of speakers for a brilliant dinner and memorable evening. As our Lead Developer Hugh Wood said “Steve Smith really looked after all of us, it was an incredibly special evening”. What more can we say.

Day 4 – The final day

SharePoint evolutionThe final day of the conference was a ‘Developer Training Day’ with the Office 365 Dev Team, led by Jeremy and Vesa Juvonen. With 175 places available and open to attendees only, we were delighted to be there. Jeremy and Vesa did a great job and the workshop was a big success. A highlight for us, and hopefully for many of the attendees, was when they pulled our boss onto the stage!

Once fully composed, Matthias spoke to the audience about our SPCAF Migration Assessment analyzer:

”A big thank you to Jeremy and Vesa for doing that, they obviously know how much I love to talk! I have to say I was really stunned to know that 80% of the audience already knew about SPCAF. So it was great to talk about how our tool can help SharePoint users transform their full trust code to the App Model”

You don’t know JS about SharePoint!

Now we’ve already touched upon day three but we had to mention our very own Hugh Wood, who was a part of the afternoon speaker lineup. With 15 years of Microsoft tech experience under his belt, Hugh used his extensive knowledge to deliver a really great session on ‘SharePoint JavaScript Context best practices for C# Developers’.

There were a few nerves:

“Seeing others speak beforehand, listening to the Q&A’s and interest from the audience, and hanging out with other speakers on the dev track really helped me prepare”.

The immediate feedback was great too.

“Having people email me afterwards asking for more code examples and getting positive feedback from other speakers means a lot.  I really enjoyed it and would definitely like to say thanks to everyone who came along”.

If you didn’t manage to catch Hugh’s session or did and would like a refresh, his slides are online and can be viewed here. All attendees will get a DVD with all recorded sessions soon.

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Congrats to our SPCAF Pro license winners: Chirag, Gert and Jens

While we were in London we wanted to give attendees the chance to win a free SPCAF Professional Edition license. The rules were simple, find one of our team (you couldn’t miss us!), take a selfie and then tweet it using the #EvoConf and #SPCAF hashtags. We’ve never been asked for so many selfies so thank you! Now we couldn’t give a free license to everyone – that would be a seriously bad business model – but we did find three lucky winners. They were Chirag Patel, Gert Timmerman and Jens Haile. We hope all three of you enjoy the features SPCAF pro has to offer and thanks to everyone who entered – you might get lucky next time!

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We also wanted to give Dan Holme (of IT Unity) a special mention, who is looking good here. Your SharePoint code security has never been in safer hands.

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The best SharePoint conference in the world*

*Apart of the SPS Stockholm and SPS Munich organized by Matthias of course 😉

Working within the SharePoint community you get to travel to a lot of different conferences and events throughout the year. We love doing so and get huge satisfaction from speaking to people who have an interest in what we offer and the community as a whole. Attending this conference in London took all that to a new level and we honestly feel it’s the best SharePoint conference in the world. The speakers, the attendees and sponsors all play a massive part in making it “the must attend conference of the year” and we can’t thank Steve Smith and Zoe Watson enough for the job they’ve done.

It was the first time we’ve sponsored an event of this size and we’re extremely proud to have had our name associated with the biggest SharePoint event of 2015 – it’s certainly pretty cool! We look forward to being involved again next year and leave you with the thoughts from two MVPs….

“It was an All-Star year” – Fabian Williams

SharePoint Evo was the best of the best, an absolutely amazing conference” – Matthias Einig

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RENCORE

Rencore is a software company providing award-winning solutions essential to the SharePoint and Office 365 space. They empower organizations to extend SharePoint securely through SharePoint applications. To achieve this, they have developed the Rencore Platform based on the four pillars: App Security, App Governance, App Management, and App Modernization. By using the Rencore Platform to help secure, govern, manage and modernize applications, organizations can consistently mitigate and manage any risks before they become a problem, allowing them to run a performant bespoke SharePoint platform to meet their business needs whilst also delivering a significant return on investment.