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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 Phone Camp – Jeddah October 27, 2011

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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This week, on 23rd of OCT Windows Phone Camp was conducted at Effat University. The event was sponsored by Telerik

The agenda of he event was as below:

8:30 AM Arrival and Registration
9:00 AM Welcome/ Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
9:45 AM Building Windows Phone Applications with Visual Studio 2010
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Building Windows Phone Apps with Silverlight
12:00 PM Lunch
12:45 PM Windows Phone Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking
1:45 PM Live Tiles and Push Notifications
2:45 PM Break
3:15 PM Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
3:30 PM Build your app or work on a hands-on lab
5:00 PM What’s Next/Resources/Event End

The event was conducted by Microsoft Saudi Community. During this event, the very first community of Jeddah region was announced. If you are living in Jeddah and you are interested in Microsoft products and technologies, you are welcome to join though following social channels:

Some of the snaps of the event are shred here:

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Jeddah Community Summit – May 2011 May 31, 2011

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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Yesterday, on 30th May, Jeddah Community Summit was arranged by the Microsoft Saudi Community, the central hub of all the regional communities of the Kingdom. The purpose of these communities is to bring the people of a region closer, to share their experience, expertise and help other fellows of the same field in their work and knowledge gathering. These communities conduct sessions/workshops for a wide spectrum ranging from a single topic to multiple tools and topics for one workshop. These communities are very much active in other cities specially in Riyadh and Eastern Region. This event was arranged by the cooperation of the Effat University and Microsoft Saudi Arabia.

The introductory Session was conducted by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He talked about DreamSpark, WebSiteSpark & BizSpark. He mentioned that how Microsoft provide software and hardware support for the early startup/students for first 3 Years. The provided software can be used freely after that period with some conditions. They provide a combination of free/subsidized licenses and Web Hosting. The business studies have shown that majority of IT based startups failed in first 2 years. The aim of these is to help companies to stand on Firm grounds. Currently, 45 startups have been approved in the Kingdom out of which 20 are active.

The next session by Fauzan Khan, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, was about the new and advanced features of Visual Studio 2010. He discussed about a lot of features including but not limited to:

  • Virtual Test Environment
  • Proactive Project Management
  • Architecture Validation
  • Dependency Validation
  • Code Analysis & Metrics
  • Intelli-Trace & Test Manager

All of these features are available in the Ultimate version of Visual Studio 2010. By using these tools we can clearly explain/understand the architecture of the application, validate the separation between different layers (data layer, business layer etc), trace out the bug by checking the variable values even in the deep nested calls, automate the advanced testing etc.

This was followed by the session about Windows Azure, also by Fauzan Khan. Windows Azure is the most latest, state of the art technology by Microsoft for cloud computing. With the combination of SQL Azure, it helps organization to dynamically, on the go, scale their infrastructure by cloud hosting. Instead of Software as a Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), it is a complete Platform as a Service (PaaS). It automatically manages a lot of things using Content Delivery Network (CDN), Traffic Managers etc with full support for customization. A complete list of Windows Azure features can be seen HERE. Azure Applications can easily be developed and tested in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the Azure SDK. Recently, ebay, the world’s one of the most famous shopping site, has shifted to the Azure Platform.

It was followed by a light lunch and the prayer break. Refreshment was available all the time.

The next session about Building Windows Phone 7 Application was conducted by Adel Al-Zubeir, Sr. System Analyst and Windows Phone MVP. He demonstrated the currently and the recently added main features of Windows Phone. After that he described the complete development process of Windows Phone 7 application, starting with a simple Visual Studio project to a full fledge application working with web-services. Later, the publishing/marketing process was also described. Developers in ME (and some other regions with no direct access) can submit their apps to Windows MarketPlce with the help of Yalla Apps. Windows Phone Application can be developed in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the developer tools. These applications are written in Silverlight. Any desktop application written in Silverlight can easily be transferred to Windows Phone. The current version of Windows Phone is Arabic enabled i.e. u can read the Arabic pages. Full Arabic support is expected in future. The switch by Nokia towards Windows Phone will help to reduce this time to market.

The last session was about the Microsoft Web Matrix. It is a collection of different tools (WordPress, Joomla, DotNetNuke etc) with easy/semi-automated installation process. It helps to create, customize and publish your website with a wizard based interface. It is mainly targeted towards the students.

In the last, there was a lucky draw for some books to be distributed among the attendee. Shirts with Microsoft branding were given to each attendant. The attendees were from different local companies. A few students were also present. The event ended at about 4 PM. We are thankful to Microsoft and Effat University for their support and co-operation, with a hope to have more session in the coming month with higher number of participants.


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