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I will be speaking on SharePoint Saturday to promote and support TWO good causes November 19, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in Gov 2.0, jPoint, sharejPoint, SharePoint, SPSDC, Web 2.0.
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[Update] – Schedule of presentations has been posted.  My session is from 8:30 – 9:30am and bio page is here.

On Dec. 5, the SharePoint Saturday for DC (#SPSDC) event will be hosted at the Microsoft Technology Center.  The call for speakers were for non SharePoint 2010 content and specifically, for solutions that addressed relevant business needs for the Washington, DC area.  In other words (more or less), this means “Who wants to talk about solutions useful for the Government?”  I was interested and could have repeated one of my previous SharePoint presentations about reporting airplane incident/accident events within SharePoint or about categorizing your data to plan for various degrees of high availability in SharePoint.  Both are certainly relevant to the government.  However, after Dux Raymond Sy checked out the jPoint project, he encouraged me to submit a speaker form to discuss it.  It is not directly related to the government, per se, but it will allow both the public and private sectors to improve the effectiveness of their SharePoint deployments.  Here is the list of speakers (I am at the bottom).

Thus, I made the title of my presentation “jPoint: A jQuery Based Library for creating Web 2.0 Apps in SharePoint”.  I have the description of the talk at the bottom of this post.  At the presentation, I hope that some of the jPoint contributors, like Ken, Samir, and Luke, will be present so you can meet some of the incredible talent that is helping to create a client side API in JavaScript for SharePoint and jump starting the effort to build solutions on top of the API – see the neat examples at http://sharejPoint.com/examples. Now on to promoting the good causes.

salvationArmyGood Cause #1

SharePoint Saturday will be promoting a Clothing Drive.  Warm clothes will be especially helpful for the needy in the coming Winter months.  I love when hard work can be directed towards a good cause, such as national safety, the disadvantaged, and of course, charity. Below is an excerpt from http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/dc/default.aspx.

#SPSDC Clothing Drive

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If you are planning to attend SharePoint Saturday DC on December 5, 2009, make sure you bring clothing that are new or in good condition to be donated to local charities like Salvation Army.

Clothing-donation needs include: school clothes, coats and other cold-weather accessories, professional clothing for employment interviews, and shoes, which wear out quickly and must be replaced often, especially among growing children.

Clothing donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductible.
For tax deduction purposes, The Salvation Army publish guidelines for the valuation of donated items, including clothing and shoes.

Let’s show the true meaning of connecting and collaborating. As Karuana Gatimu (one of the great SharePoint community leaders today) says “Sharing is the Point!”

Good Cause #2

The second good cause I will be promoting is jPoint.  Why?  It is simple.  It is free and saves time.  It is arguably not as important as the clothing drive, in the short term.  But bear with me.  I have a long term vision in mind.  jPoint is a free, open source project that will make developers lives easier and give SharePoint site administrators the ability to deploy customizations and “Web 2.0” mashups or composite applications without having to write code or touch the server.  I want to do my part in the community to create and spread the adoption of cost saving, valued added tools that increase the end user experience.  Increasing the end user experience will increase adoption and that will not only set the stage for increasing user productivity, but should also increase the efficiency of business processes and make everyone better off.  What do you think?  Checkout my talk at SharePoint Saturday or get involved with the project at http://jPoint.codeplex.com.  And similar to Kauruana’s quote above, jPoint’s motto is: “Share jPoint. It’s open source.”


Description of the SharePoint Saturday presentation – “jPoint: A jQuery Based Library for creating Web 2.0 Apps in SharePoint

Have you ever wanted to hide certain fields in a SharePoint list form that were “For Office Use Only?” Or to create a chat/IM tool or AJAX enable a list, but did not have rights to deploy a custom solution on the server? Or to use drag and drop functionality on a SharePoint page? Many developers have turned to jQuery client-side scripts to solve these issues. Many solutions take to much time to get off the ground and they break when used in other browsers. And what about your current client-side scripts when you upgrade to SharePoint 2010? Will they work? These problems are being solved by the FREE open source community project called jPoint. It is hosted on codeplex at http://jPoint.codeplex.com. jPoint is a data access layer for SharePoint to make it easier for developers to work with form fields and communicate with the SharePoint web services. It also provides a deployment framework so developers can create jPart “plugins” that site Administrators can drop on their pages to create Web 2.0 mashups.

This presentation will comprise of three segments:

1: Demo of a real life Web 2.0 App in SharePoint

2: Explanation of jParts and how Site Admins can configure them

3: Deep dive into jPoint library and API  (time permitting)

This session level is ranked intermediate and for Special Interest.  Leave me a comment if you are interested in the demo videos or any post-presentation material.  Thanks.


Gov 2.0 Resources from Microsoft October 23, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in Gov 2.0, SPC09.
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These resources are from Dean Halstead’s presentation at the 2009 SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas and from his presentation slides. I wrote an overview of his presentation on a blog post entitled SharePoint as Gov 2.0 and Enterprise Web Platform: From SPC09 Las Vegas. Dean Halstead (Twitter.com/DeanHalstead) is a Collaboration Architect at Microsoft.


On-Line Samples

SharePoint as Gov 2.0 and Enterprise Web Platform: From SPC09 Las Vegas October 22, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in Gov 2.0, SPC09.
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This is the last session at the 2009 SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. The presenter is Dean Halstead (Twitter.com/DeanHalstead), a Collaboration Architect at Microsoft.

[Update] A version of Dean’s presentation has been found here.


  • Understand how to leverage solutions and approaches that are being used throughout Government (Gov 2.0) to improve social networking and address common challenges in your organization or company.
  • Pillars of Transparency
    • Accountability
    • Participation
    • Transparency

Gov 2.0

  • As you deal with web 2.0 type content and new media in your org, you may need an information policy applied to the content such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Freedom of Information Act, etc.
  • Recovery.Gov is built on SharePoint
    • Shows an overview video and information on Best Practices on how to implement 2007.
    • Talks quickly about a No-Code solution for clicking on video links and have the video appear in a DVWP that was built using SharePoint Designer. When the presenter said this, I looked up and saw a URL parameter, ID=5. Thus, the DVWP was just filtering on the list that has the YouTube script that was probably copied directly from YouTube’s embed code section.
  • Contextual Social Networking
    • A trend towards social networking fatigue. Too much personal information along with new enterprise social tools and information.
    • With contextual social networking, the system can automatically tell the user that others are working on something similar as you upload a document or name a document with certain tags.
  • Gov 2.0 Common Feature Challenges
    • Internal/Extgernal integration
    • Internal micro-blogging (Twitter / Facebook)
    • Social Network Analysis
    • Geospatial integration
    • Data, data, data, podcasting, and communities.
  • Gov 2.0 Kit
    • Enhanced version is being released on Codeplex today! First time audience clapped.
    • Enhanced MySite for Microsoft SharePoint™ RC1 – October 22, 2009. 
    • Easy to install tools. They are MSI installs and activated features.
    • Demo of the Gov 2.0 kit
      • My Peeps
        • An internal, behind the firewall twitter.
        • To follow and monitor people
        • There is a little T and F icon to allow you to update your status internally and externally to the public Twitter and Facebook accounts.
        • Auditing is built into the kit. On the My Peeps dashboard, the little T and F icons show up next to each tweet, so that others know where else it was posted to
        • When you follow someone, it is a request and requires approval by the followed person.
        • The current solution does not have spelling or grammar check.
      • My Home
        • Is a Facebook like profile page.
        • It has Updates to see actions such as “John Posted notes.doc on Shared Documents”.
      • Twitter webpart
        • Pulls personal feeds into the SharePoint portal.
    • ICE
      • A Codeplex project that is a Silverlight control that can be embedded in SharePoint.
      • It shows not only people, but object relationships in a link map. Very cool!
    • Jackbe Mashup tools.
      • Helps to make data transparent and thread it throughout the org.
      • Presto by Jackbe is a mashup tool. A data modeler or expert business decision maker can create a model and combine information from SharePoint and CRM (etc).
      • End users can then take those data models and drop them into SharePoint pages as Webparts.
      • The Mashup Webparts can even communicate with each other using web part connections.

Gov 2.0 Common Policy Challenges

  • PII (Personally Identifiable Information)
    • How do you find PII and secure it?
      • Use FAST search and Concept Search to find data and automatically turn it into a PII document which is secured differently and can even be RMS (Rights Management Server) and digitally protected. It allows you to put rights onto the document and encrypt it. Permissions to open the document must be given.
      • The organization will be able manually or automatically categorize (based on Policy rules) to discover the data and delete it or protect it.
  • Endorsement of Information
    • Community Moderated
    • Organizational Moderation (Twitter, Facebook, and Public site)
      • Having a moderator is a drain on the orginizations
      • Apps for America (a context put on by Gov 2.0 Summit) finalist had a community based moderation solution.
    • Public Affairs Workflow for release (Blogs, Wikis, Documents, etc)
  • Culture Wars
    • Conflict Areas
      • Old Guard vs. Generation Y and 2.0
      • Sign-to-Noise, definition of “Real Work”, Privacy, and Control Corporate Messaging
    • Impact
      • Social Networking initiatives being stifled
      • Low Adoption/Classes, Slowed Idea Generation, Lower Employee Satisfaction, Institutional Knowledge Bleed
  • Other challenges
    • Information Spillage
    • Security Concerns
    • Trusted and Authoritative Source
    • Identity Management
    • Governance
    • Accessibility (Section 508/WCAG)
    • On-premise hosting
    • Silos of Information
    • Integration and Interoperability
  • Resources

    As solutions and best practices are rolled out in Recovery.gov, these solutions will spread to other Government agencies. I personally think that social network tools will greatly improve the knowledge transfer within the enterprise and government.

jPoint will be how I will start giving back to the Sharepoint Community October 13, 2009

Posted by willhlaw in Gov 2.0, jPoint.
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1 comment so far

I have been working with SharePoint for 5 years in the Federal space in Washington, DC. I have never blogged publicly or gotten involved in social networking online due to the sensitive nature of my work and the environment. Instead, I just soaked in and absorbed all of the excellent blog articles and comment threads. Essentially I was a leach; taking but never giving.

Over the years, I would have loved to have shared my discoveries in Sharepoint Designer, or Infopath, or even how to obtain SSP (single shared password) with FBA using a primary and secondary LDAP (secondary is Sharepoint’s AD and my expertise in this area is thanks to Chris Mathers and the fine people over at Planet Technologies. And now it has been almost 3 years since a federal client demonized a fellow developer for requesting help on writing on an Adobe forum asking about how to create PDFs with PL/SQL.

I feel it is time to get out of my shell.

I am going to start talking about any worthwhile discoveries or interesting finds I come across. In the short term, you are probably going to hear me talk a lot about the open source project that I am helping to create and grow. It is called jPoint and it is hosted on Codeplex at http://jPoint.codeplex.com. Extra documentation and examples are also found on the same site as this blog at http://www.sharejPoint.com. Over a year ago, actually, let me look it up, yes, here it is. I saw that jQuery was going to be the javascript library of choice for my Sharepoint development team. I was excited to see a few months later my choice sort of validated by Microsoft. My team and I have written many compelling scripts since and the solutions continue to build on top each other.

jPoint is going to be true blue open source. Free as in freedom. I do not have a company behind this project. Well, not yet. I am thinking about creating a non-profit (possibly called sharejPoint.org) to manage the project, expenses, and to be able to accept donations. I would eventually like to take a similar route to jQuery and allow the Software Freedom Conservancy to own the project and ensure protection, 501(c)(3) status, and its longevity. I would like to consolidate a lot of the “in the wild” scripts and all of the developer talent out there in order to concentrate on creating a de facto client side javascript library for Sharepoint. I know. I know. This will be tough. Impossible. “Good luck, kid”, I hear you saying. Well, I am going to give it a shot. I have energy, brains, and a love for Sharepoint. I also have a tremendously talented team that I have worked with for several years that are also dedicated to the project. And if my two buddies created the widget company, Clearspring, I figure I can start an open source project that delivers free solutions to end users without the pain of server installs, licenses, or the need to have a developer deploy or configure.

Yes, jPoint has a novel way to deploy script solutions so that a power user (a user with Manage Lists permissions), can change the configuration of the script through a wizard. Here is a very simple example. The jPoint team has taken the Chatterbox solution that required AJAX.NET and a server deployment and jPoint-ified it. The jPartChatBox is a purely client-side solution using the jPoint library (which also leverages jQuery). To see the example live, click here. But you will have to login to submit your own chat and to see the yellow edit screen. The login credentials are listed on the Home page and the Examples page.

And here is the configuration “wizard” that you see after clicking the Edit button.

All a power user needs to do is make some changes, for instance, change the List that the ChatBox points to and click Update. The page refreshes and the new changes are in effect. And by the way, if you are thinking that this yellow edit view and configuration wizard looks awful and has a long way to go to match Bamboo Solution’s or Coraswork’s wizards, here is the catch. jPoint is an API and a deployment framework. For now, it is up to each individual or third party developer to make their configuration wizard look pretty. And of course, through time and once we solidify the core and hopefully attract more contributors, we can certainly integrate the best practices for setting up the configuration wizard and bring that into the core. Similar to how jQuery has pulled in certain critical plugins into its core.

Well, that is it for now. I encourage everyone who wants to get involved write me a comment or follow me on twitter @willhlaw. If you are not interested in jPoint, stick around. I will have some good posts that are not jPoint related.