Roundup of SharePoint Saturday Belgium

I was really pleased to be selected to speak at this years SharePoint Saturday Belgium. Having been an attendee last year, I know what a great day the BIWUG guys organise, and this years was no exception.

It was also great to see more UK attendees too, We don’t really have much excuse not to go thanks to the great transport links from London and other cities. My wife and I travelled out by Eurostar which gets you into Brussels in around 2 hours. it’s then a short train ride into the centre of the city (all covered on your Eurostar ticket which I hadn’t noticed until Peter Baddeley @Baddaz pointed it out to me!)

We just had time to check in to our hotel before jumping into taxis en masse for the journey out to the speaker dinner. It was a little out of the way as we’d chosen to stay in the centre of Brussels rather than out near the conference venue, but was well worth the journey. The food was excellent and it was great to meet up with old friends and make some new ones amongst the other speakers.

I forgot to take my decent camera to the restaurant in the rush and the ones on my iPhone were fairly rubbish, so I’ll wait for Elio’s pictures to appear on the Biwug site and will link them here.

After dinner, the UK contingent and a few extras returned to the Crowne Plaza back in the centre of Brussels and took over a small corner of the hotel bar. Some great discussions were had on varying topics, not all relating to SharePoint thankfully.

The following morning saw a quick breakfast and another group jumping into a couple of taxis out to the Xylos location. After a quick registration we headed into the speaker room to find it decked out with all the essentials.. Coke, Energy Drinks and Chocolate!

After a great keynote from Tom (including some funky monkey dancing!) the sessions got underway and as I wasn’t speaking until the afternoon, I jumped into Thorstan Hans session on using AngularJS and his own ShareCoffee library for reducing the pain when implementing SharePoint Apps.

I’ve not really looked much at AngularJS and have only briefly looked at ShareCoffee in the past, however having sat through Thorsten’s demo I shall be taking a much better look at it in the coming weeks. In fact, if you are just starting out with SharePoint Apps, I’d take a look now! This could save you some time.

His website is available at and this link will take you straight to the ShareCoffee bits!

After Thorsten’s session, I decided to chill out in the speaker room for a while before lunch, as well as take in some of the vendor booths while the exhibit area was quiet. It was really great to see the sponsors who make SharePoint Saturday possible as a free event.

After lunch, I sat at the back in Mark Mcrae’s BI infrastructure session while quietly bringing up my VM’s in readiness for my session after his. He had some great info about planning and requirements when building a BI farm.

Finally it was time for my session and I was very pleased that all of my VM’s were working even though access to office 365 was proving troublesome. In the end I only showed the demos that were local to my VM’s.

I felt my session went really well, the audience was really engaged and we had some great questions during the session and at the end. One question raised by an audience member was around date formatting in Display Templates. As yet I don’t have an answer on this, but it reignited a debate on twitter that has led to a really great idea for community sharing that has started to take shape this morning. I’ll be announcing more info about #SPCSR in due course.

My slides are now available on SlideShare and I shall get the Display Template files uploaded and attached to this post later today.

The end of the day saw the usual prize giving and thank you gifts to the speakers. This years gift was a bottle of beer brewed especially for the BIWUG group which I am looking forward to sitting in the garden and drinking in the sunshine!

SharePint took place at the venue, with beer tokens earned through taking part in the low tech social network and also filling in feedback forms. Again I look forward to receiving feedback, it really helps us speakers to ensure that the content we are putting out is relevant to you and useful.

The after party was then back in Brussels Centre at the Grand Place in the White Rose (La Rose Blanche) which does great food, but was unfortunately a little too hot for me in the end and I had to retire early feeling unwell (Not through too much alcohol sadly..)

All in all, it was another great weekend by the BIWUG team and I look forward to submitting and hopefully speaking there again next year!


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