Tulsa TechFest, Day Two

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Tulsa TechFest, Day Two

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With a bit of a hangover from Oktoberfest (did I really drink nearly two pitchers of beer by myself?) I stumbled my way into Day Two of the Tulsa TechFest. The first presentation from Corey Roth was on MOSS Search and the BDC. Corey showed how to create BDC definition files both manually and with BDC MetaMan (although he didn’t seem to like the tool very much – I need to have a chat with him about that) and how to expose the business data in the search center. He also showed some of the search web parts from CodePlex and how to modify search results formatting with XSLT.

At the lunch Birds of a Feather session we chatted about architecture, licensing (again) and general development topics. We also got a chuckle from the pictures Steve Walker brought from the previous night’s events. And just because no conference would be complete without it, I got the dreaded "What is SharePoint?" question. Sigh. There’s one in every crowd. I think Adam puts them up to it.

Steve Walker did a deep dive into the development of the FanU MOSS site. A lot of work went into this one and the architecture looks really solid – lots of service-oriented architecture elements and abstraction layers. I particularly like that they took the time to build their own set of inheritable objects (mostly lists) and data components. Very nice. They’re doing some cool AJAX stuff in the interface as well – check out the toolbar at the top of the fan pages. It rocks.

I wrapped up with a presentation on building LOB applications in SharePoint. Naturally, my VPN connection wasn’t working and I had to drop back to a single demo but, as it turns out, that’s all I had time for anyway. People were digging our data abstraction methodology for direct-to-the-database list item extraction and our relational list design. I probably could have done an entire hour just on that piece.

All in all I thought it was a successful conference. Attendees seemed genuinely interested in learning about the various technologies and asked a lot of good questions. I enjoyed hanging out with Nick Parker, Steve Walker and Rafael Munoz (who sat in on my preso – that was cool). I would have preferred something other than pizza for lunch each day but at least there was a Subway on campus. And, speaking of the campus, OSU Tulsa is a great facility. If I could only convince people to stop blocking VPN connections on their wifi networks my life would be much improved (C’mon, really? What harm is a little PPTP gonna do?).

So hats off to David, Steve and the entire gang for organizing the event and inviting me to speak. I had a great time and hope to do it again next year. Now it’s back to Dallas for a day then off to Arkansas to do some developer training for a few days. At this rate I’m not gonna have any voice left by the time Connections rolls around!