A slow blogging end/start to the year

In this post:

  • And ending and a beginning
  • A  new workshop!
  • Speaking at Evolutions 2015 and all that entails

And ending and a beginning

Well I didn’t finish 2014 and start 2015 quite as I intended with regards to my blog as the posts all dried up. Not due to lacking content by any means but due to external pressures. From a work point of view I got stuck into the meat of delivering a large multi farm SharePoint 2010 to 2013 upgrade.

This upgrade has started with some considerable challenges, a lot with regards to the heavy use of BI within the environment and the challenges of managing the level of change required to work this migration through each of the environments.

As a result, I didn’t get to write up the SharePoint Saturday event as I’d intended, nor did I get the final Advanced demo recorded for the blog. I’ve decided to instead write this up as a series of blog posts later this year, as the techniques used are fairly similar to some of the new content I’ll be presenting this year.

From a presenting point of view, I’ve had my busiest year to date, with sessions in Belgium, Stockholm, Jersey and throughout the UK. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every session from the small conversational audiences to the larger ones. If you did have any comments from any of my sessions last year, please reach out to me through Twitter (@cimares) as I’m more than happy to share.

A new workshop

At home, I took delivery of a new workshop. For those of you that have seen me speak, or know me through Facebook, you’ll know that I do Woodturning for a hobby. I’ve been turning in my Garage for around the last 10 years, but just before winter hit we had a bit of a roof failure resulting in some of my equipment getting damaged. As a result I decided to splash out on a new timber workshop that I could insulate and have access even through the coldest months of the year.

This arrived at the end of November and after drying out, needed quite a lot of effort to get it wired out, insulated and made ready for use. This is now complete and the first few pieces are starting to appear and will hopefully win me the Club annual competition this year!

SharePoint Evolutions 2015


I was really pleased to receive the invite from Steve Smith and the gang at Combined Knowledge to return as a speaker to SharePoint Evolutions 2015. I submitted several sessions for consideration, and will now be presenting a session on Building a Forms Catalogue in Office 365.

This session came about due to a combination of a couple of different client problems that I encountered during 2014. This solution is an amalgamation of those problems and the solutions that we put in place to address them.

Given the focus of Enterprises on Office 365 and whether the cloud is right for them, I’ve decided to build and demo this solution directly within Office 365/SharePoint Online although everything I’ll be demonstrating will be just as at home in an on-prem environment.

However, from a demonstration point of view, Office 365 adds some challenges when it comes to provisioning the content that is required to demonstrate. When I prepare these sessions, I always like to have a Blue Peter demo available as a “Just In Case” option. Office 365 brings some challenges in that we don’t have access to PowerShell for backups/restore, or imports and exports. This means that provisioning content to be identical across the 2 or 3 environments to be shown can be challenging.

As a result, I’ve opted to adopt some of the remote provisioning concepts outline by Vesa Juvonen in his MSDN blog from 2013 “http://blogs.msdn.com/b/vesku/archive/2013/08/23/site-provisioning-techniques-and-remote-provisioning-in-sharepoint-2013.aspx” and additionally I’ve taken inspiration from Chris O’Brien “http://www.sharepointnutsandbolts.com/2014/09/javascript-JSOM-based-provisioning-in-sharepoint-office-365.html” to come up with a PowerShell approach using CSOM to generate identical copies of each environment.

This does add a significant overhead to creating the session, but it’s been a very worthwhile training exercise in remote provisioning for Office 365 and ultimately will probably be the source for a few blog posts in the coming months.


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