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SharePoint 2013 Developer Boot Camp – Jeddah May 2, 2013

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On April 30th, 2013 Microsoft Arabia arranged a mega event in the coastal city, Jeddah. The main focus of the event was the latest version of SharePoint, SharePoint 2013. The first event on this topic was conducted in Khobar on 28th of April. The third and the last event will take place on 5th of May in Riyadh. In Jeddah it was a male-only event.

SharePoint Developer Camp Jeddah

The agenda of this event was as below:

Time        Session Details

08:00 – 09:00    Registration and Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00    Keynote

10:00 – 10:15    Break

10:15 – 11:15    What’s new in SharePoint 2013 for Developers

11:15 – 11:30    Break

11:30 – 12:30    Overview of Enterprise Social

12:30 – 01:30    Prayer and Lunch

01:30 – 02:30    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 1

02:30 – 02:45    Break

02:45 – 03:45    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 2

03:45 – 04:00    Break

04:00 – 05:00    Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

05:00 – 05:30    Closing and Prize Draw

Session 1 – Keynotes

The keynotes were delivered by Ammar Abuthuraya, Platform Strategy Manager at Microsoft Arabia. During the keynotes, the main focus was on Office 2013 and Office 365. Office is one of the most matured products. In Office 2007, there was a huge facelift and the concept of ribbons were introduced ( instead of classic menus). In office 2010, there were minor alterations in main user interface with an attempt to reduce the gap between office 2003 and the latest version of office. In office 2013, the main user interface is almost same office 2010. A lot of improvements have been implemented in the backend of the latest version of office e.g. the startup is noticeably faster as compared to the previous versions. Many other highly level (advanced) features have been added i.e. now we can open videos inside the office, open in a browser is no more required. An OCR engine has been implemented that will attempt to open the PDF files as text, if the conversion is unsuccessful (i.e. in case of Arabic) the file will still be displayed but as images.

Office 365 is a new (or reintroduced) subscription based Cloud version of office. It starts for as low as 4$ (~15 SR) per user per month. The user setting and customization is linked with his/her Microsoft Account. It is possible to start writing a document on your office machine and leave it in the middle, when you reach home, you can continue from where you left.

Office 365 Home Premium offers a very economic package of 100$ per year. Also, a user can use his subscription on up-to five devices (desktop, laptop, tab, mobile etc.). If a user is interested in native application instead of web version, a download of common applications is available for different platforms.

Microsoft Office Apps and Lync where also described briefly.

Session 2 – What’s New in Sharepoint 2013

This session was delivered by Ali Khawaja, Architect, Microsoft USA. As the title suggest, in this session Ali tried to cover the NEW or Improved features of Sharepoint 2013.

Some of the features mentioned are:

  • Apps: The concept of apps have been introduced. Apps are much improved form of WebParts. Using apps we can display any type of contents on a SharePoint page with a possibility of an external data source. The concept of apps is basically the brainchild of the social network, Facebook. The apps are rendered as iFrame in SharePoint page.
  • Office and SharePoint Store
  • SharePoint Client Side Object Model [CSOM]
  • SharePoint Server Side Object Model [SSOM]
  • Workflow: The workflow engine in SharePoint 2010 is based on Windows Workflow Foundation 3.5. In SharePoint 2013, it is based on WF 4.0 and 4.5. These newer engines have been re-written from scratch and provide very much improved functionality
  • Access: Access service was already available in existing versions, it has been packed with new features.
  • Fedration, Security and Deployment

Session 3 – Overview of Enterprise Social

This session was also conducted by Ali Khawaja. In this session Ali described about utilizing social network inside an enterprise.  The main benefits of utilizing the social network in a corporate environment can be summarized in these four points:

  1. Employee Engagement
  2. Team Collaboration
  3. Connected Organization
  4. Business Agility

In 2012, Microsoft acquired the Yammer service, a private social network and now it is also available in an integrated environment of SharePoint and Office 365. For startups, a free version is also available. One thing to be noted is that Yammer is a cloud ONLY service yet. It is very easy to start and adopt Yammer as compared to SharePoint with has heavy software + hardware requirement.

Session 4 & 5 – Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint

These sessions were conducted by Shoaib Barry, Applications Developer at ISC Saudi Arabia. To host an app there are three options:

  1. SharePoint Hosted
  2. Auto Hosted
  3. Provider Hosted

Each of the hosting environment has its own merits and demerits. To begin with SharePoint app development, the installation of SharePoint is not required. It can be built and tested using emulators and cloud support. Office 365 developer account is available with a free 30 days startup period.

To consume an app, there are three options:

  1. Full Page
  2. App Part
  3. Custom Action

With the highly revamped security model and available of apps, we can seamlessly populate the menus in a SharePoint page from an external source.Hosting apps in the cloud provide global exposure for all the SharePoint users scattered worldwide.

Different demos where shown by Shoaib to elaborate the new and the enhanced features.

Session 6 – Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

This session was conducted by Fauzan Khan, from Microsoft Arabia. Sharepoint SDK for Windows Phone 8 has been released recently. It provides the Out-of-The-Box (OOTB)support for building apps  for Windows Phone 8 liked with SharePoint server.

Push Notification Stores/Service [PSN] has been provided to handle push notifications. Users can implement receivers for different app events like Upgrade, Install or Uninstall. Different demos where performed to explain these features.

Session 7 – Prize Draw

It was also conducted by Fauzan Khan, the event coordinator. User entry coupons were selected randomly and the selected attendants were presented with different prizes i.e. Microsoft Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft Headset etc.

Finally, this day long event came to an end around 6 PM.

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Windows Azure MS – Building Cross Platform Mobile Solutions December 20, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On 16th Dec 2012, an event was arranged by Microsoft Saudi Arabia at Golden Tulip Hotel, Jeddah; a 3 star hotel located near old airport. The focus of this event was Windows Azure and its Mobile Services. If you are new to Windows Azure, its better you check its home page. The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Arabia. The agenda of the event was:

  • 08:30 – 09:30 Registration and Breakfast
  • 09:30 – 10:30 Introduction to Azure Mobile Services
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Break
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Building Your Windows Phone 8 App
  • 11:45 – 12:45 Prayer / Lunch
  • 12:45 – 13:45 Building Cross Platform Apps Across WP8/Win8
  • 13:45 – 14:00 Break
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Authentication / Storage
  • 15:00 – 15:15 Break
  • 15:15 – 16:15 Enabling Push Notifications
  • 16:15 – 16:45 Closing and Prize Draw

Windows Azure has been available for quite a time, Mobile Services have been launched publically as a part of Azure since last month by the Build Event. This Windows Azure provide a free 90 days trail and it includes 10 mobile services. Currently, out of the box (OOTB) support is available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS. OOTB support for android is expected to be available soon. The Azure Mobile user page is a complete and comprehensive portal that provide the access to all the required components like databases, virtual machines, logs etc.

Some of the topics discussed/demoed were:

  • App.caml.cs
  • TwoWayDataBinding
  • Twitter Authentication
  • ObserveableCollection <>
  • IValueConvertor
  • Push Notifications
  • Channel URI
  • Windows 8

An interesting thing to know is that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to get the Windows Store, even before China. Now it is available in 191 countries.

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