At just after 5am on Saturday, I was getting up for the drive to Leicester, to my first Midlands-based SharePoint Saturday in probably 5 years. I arrived at the fog-bound Leicester Racecourse in plenty of time for the 8.45am start.
In some respects, having a SharePoint event barely a week after the massive Ignite conference in Florida is a good thing, and there was a lot of news to discuss. Conversely, there’s not necessarily enough time to really get to grips with the multitude of announcements from Microsoft. This, perhaps, led to a rather muted if informative keynote.
My first session was a healthy reintroduction to the SharePoint Framework or SPFx, the set of tools to develop in SharePoint Online and, likely, a lot of future interaction in Office 365. Bill Ayers is a stalwart of the SPS scene and packed a lot of details in.
Secondly, Steve Dalby talked agile and MS Teams. For me, it leaned too much towards agile, rather than agile collaboration.
Leading up to lunch, Jarbas Horst talked about Site Designs and Site Scripting, valuable tools for employing consistent design, and consistent sites as rolled out through SharePoint.
Another issue for large deployments of SharePoint is how to manage the rapidly-developing SharePoint Framework. Yannick Borghmans discussed Mastering SPFx in Larger Projects and provided some useful context to make the notion feel a little more practical.
Chris Hoard, discussing MS Teams and security, provided the stand-out talk of the day. Not only there were some practical admin tips for Teams, but solid principles and handy details.
The sessions were rounded off by another excellent talk from Martin Hatch on SPFx, App Insights and Stream Analytics. He covered a broad range of what’s possible in recording activities into what tools, and then collating them with Power BI.
This was probably one of the most consistently good SPS events I’ve been to, and well worth the driving necessary to get there and home again. Thank you to all the presenters, volunteers, and sponsors.
On reflection, the event was more technical than the SPS London event held at City Hall this summer, with fewer sessions on intranets, adoption and change. I’m not going to begrudge this, but certainly think a broader approach could bring a wider audience.