Thursday, October 29, 2009

Expectations on DUET 3.0

With the forthcoming release of SharePoint 2010 in sight, it is clear that this will be the foundation application platform for other Microsoft products. Project Server, Business Intelligence strategy, Dynamics CRM, and so on. In context of SAP / Microsoft interoperability, it is interesting to watch what will happen with the DUETTM offering, a joint SAP and Microsoft product. The DUET versions so far (1.0, 1.5) cannot be considered a success story in real practice. A lot of licenses are out there in the market (1 million licenses at 500 customers in the last 2 years), but almost no concrete applications. There are several reasons for that:
  • The minimal set so far of supported SAP business packages / functionality
  • The lack of development support in the current DUETTM versions; to custom extend the minimal set
  • The extra complexity and costs within the IT infrastructure due to the separate DUET server
SAP nor Microsoft have yet published the future roadmap of DUETTM, nor recommitted themselves recently to continue this. However, several signals indicate that it will be continued, and that it will be re-architectured. For instance, at the SAP TECHED this week within Vienna it was told that DUET 3.0 will be based on SharePoint 2010. Talk of an unexpected surprise J. At the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 last week in Vegas, DUET was not or only marginally mentioned. I expect this to be intentionally, because DUET is a joint SAP + Microsoft happening; and they will use a common podium to present the [near] future roadmap of DUETTM.
Information that is already leaking out:
  • No more dedicated DUET server to handle the communications between SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft Office; but relying on the SharePoint 2010 platform/server to handle this
  • UI aligned with next version of Office; Office 2010
  • SAP potentially shifting away from Java in favor of ABAP (wonder why that could be…)
  • Functionality around reporting and sales management, time management scenario’s
Given the foreseen dependency on a.o. SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010, it will be clear that I do not expect the appearance of DUET 3.0 before around the end of 2010. Also interesting is in what sense DUET 3.0 will be dependent on the SAP NetWeaver (SAP’s Business Process Platform) roadmap: new capabilities, functional and technical. Once again, it is a joint uptaking by SAP and Microsoft; and it therefore requires alignment with the technology and business roadmaps of both companies. No simple action, but since the companies have a common interest here and a common opponent (Oracle), I’ll certainly expect them to come up with something significant. They simple have to.
Some interesting related and recent links:
Tags: SAP NetWeaver Microsoft SharePoint DUET integration interoperability HPW

Monday, October 26, 2009

My take on SPC 2009 and SharePoint 2010

Most substantial impression after attending SharePoint Conference 2009, is that the next version of SharePoint [2010] incorporates lots of modifications, improvements and extensions. SharePoint 2010 really has it in it to become a full-blown application platform. Of the large collection of changes and additions, the following are most significant for me (from a consultant + developer perspective):
  • Sandbox deployment model - enables us to push managed code to hosted SharePoint environments
  • Improvements in the UI - improved usage model and experience, more attractive Web2.0-kinda layouts, integration/embedding of the Office Ribbon, cross-browser support (via XHTML)
  • BDC evolution into BCS - symmetric client and server usage model, bidirectional transfer from+to LOBsystem, largely improved BDC Designer (SPD and VS) for defining the external system connections, part of SharePoint Foundation iso Server license, ...
  • SharePoint Workplace 2010 - Groove evolution provides SharePoint functionality and usage model when offline; and transparently synchronizes upon reconnect
  • InfoPath Forms handling - performance and robustness improvements, new and improved controls (e.g. DateTimePicker, PeoplePicker), improved rules management, modify list/library forms via InfoPath Editor,
  • Modifications to "My Site" - new visual organizational browser, direct status updates (cq LinkedIn, Facebook), knowledge mining, social tagging, ...
  • ALM extensions - new Visual Studio project templates, transparent deployment to SharePoint environment, TFS integration, navigate SharePoint from within VS 2010 context via Server Control, ...
  • VS 2010 development experience - graphically design a webpart, Client-side Javascript Object Model, Developer Dashboard
  • SharePoint Designer 2010 - transitioned into a fully functional tool within the SharePoint solution creation lifecycle, navigation focus around SharePoint artifacts, administrator able to restrict usage, export to solution package (WSP)
  • Seamless combine work of business analyst / functional designer and developer - the outline of a solution can first be prototyped in SPD, and then moved into VS 2010
  • Search extensions - improvements in the User Experience, Social Search enabled, incorporation of FAST Search (in the high-end SharePoint edition)
  • Data management - validation at list- and item-level, cascading Lookup reference deletes, lookup to multiple item-fields, large list support, LINQ to SharePoint
  • SharePoint capabilities OOTB - new and improved functionalities and capabilities; functional + technical
  • WCM improvements - adoption of the Ribbon UI, inline editing, in-place positioning within pagelayout ('igoogle'), limiting the number of full-page refreshes upon content owner actions, Multilingual UI enables runtime language-switch, extended granularity Audience targetting, monitor the usage + size of a site
  • Composites - Silverlight Web Part, REST, Business Connectivity Services, Access Services, custom workflows in SPD, Visio Services (ao workflow visualizations)
Another important aspect for me was the focus on SAP/MS interoperability. The conference gave me the chance to catch up with leading community members Kristian Kalsing and Matt Ordish. We discussed our past experiences, and future directions + expectations. And we strenghtened our mutual bond...
Last but not least; it's good to see the attention and recognition SharePoint receives. Within Microsoft - Steve Ballmer pronounced SharePoint 2010 as his lovebaby; from analysts; and the massive interest by the conference attendees. We all felt a common excitement about the forthcoming version. 7000 SharePointers (developers, architects, consultants, [power] users) can't be wrong, SharePoint is here to stay and prosper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Second day at SPC2009, SAP/MS interop community members unite

The most interesting session of the whole conference for me was this day, being 'Revolutionizing the SAP User Experience...with SharePoint', presented by Matthew Ordish. It is in fact the only presentation on the conference on SAP/MS interop. Matthew was pleasently surprised by the number of attendees, at forehand he expected a number of 3 to 4. But instead the room was pretty filled. In combination with talks I had sofar with other conference members this gives me the impression that SAP/MS interop is certainly on the agenda of more people than you would expect. The talk was very good, Matthew really knows his stuff. He had some excellent architectural and conceptual slides, which I plan to reuse. Afterwards me and Kristian (naturally he also went to this talk) spoke and discussed with Matthew, I explained what I'm doing at the SAP/MS interop area within the Netherlands. We joined for lunch to continue our talk and exchange ideas plus experiences on the subject. Very interesting indeed. I certainly include Matthew within my list to contact when I've questions or want to checkout ideas.
Tags: SAP NetWeaver Microsoft SharePoint integration interoperability community

First Conference Day at SPC 2009

The conference launced with keynotes of Steve Ballmer and Jeff Teber. In his enthiousastic presentation Steve showed us some of the larger new or improved capabilities, and what can be achieved with them in nowadays business collaboration applications. Amongst them extended functionality to set up and use SharePoint sites, including all kinds of social interactions (blogs, wiki's, RSS); communities, search which in the high-end SharePoint Server 2010 Search now incorporates the FAST Search algorithmes and functionality, improved people (thus social) search; business intelligence; composite (mash-up) applications; improvements in both the developers as the IT pros experiences. For developers: Microsoft has made another major step on ALM aspects!! Both Steve's as Jeff's talks were validated via a multitude of fun demo's. Jeff came on stage, and took us back to the ancient times of SharePoint birth. It was both fun as reassuring to see that the original vision for SharePoint still holds, also within the forthcoming 2010 edition. Of course a lot of the support and functionality is improved since Tahoe; but the initiating ideas and vision still applies. This is reassuring because it proves that SharePoint is a well-thought service offering from and for Microsoft. One of the most signaficant statements Steve made is that he sees SharePoint actually has an platform. I totally agree on that idea.
After these 2 keynotes the BreakOut Sessions started. Often a pitty to have to make a selection for only one of the parallel breakouts. Luckily Microsoft has promised to on short notice stream the video recording of every individual session via MySPC. It's too much here to repeat what I've heard and learned in the 3 afternoon sessions. However, to me one of the most visuable changes is the way SharePoint looks and behaves. The SharePoint UI look is cleaned up, and again complies with current (web 2.0/3.0) standards. And in the behavioural aspect the most significants aspects are the ribbon and context-aware UI-controls, and the improved User eXperience by applying Ajax technology to make SharePoint operation more (user) performant.

Monday, October 19, 2009

First evening at SPC 2009; Las Vegas

Had an interesting first evening at SPC 2009. At first I hooked up with a former collegaue who with his wife just happens to be now also in Vegas during their holiday trip. Met at starbucks to drink a cup of coffee, and shake hands. Next went up to the Mandalay Bay Conference Center to register. Crowdy lines, lots of attentions, and also a lot of people from the Netherlands. After registration first went for a brief moment to the Welcome Party, and after a couple of beers went on to the EyeCandy bar for tonight's SharePint. There I've an appointment to meet with the well-known (in SAP/MS area) Kristian Kalsing. Crowdy here also, but after a while Kristian detects me and comes over to meet ourselves in person. After getting acquinted (with curtency of bottle of Dutch Heineken), we talk and discuss a lot about our experiences within the SAP/MS area. After a while, when Kristian is off for a moment, I involve 2 Swedish (allthough one of them later on told me he is actually from Norway) in our get together. Exchanged both SharePoint thoughts, as well as ideas on Las Vegas. Very nice to meet fellow SharePointer's this way, and discuss what's on our minds. O yeah, also shortly met an (english, of course) recruiter who told us that his main reason for attending is to get to known SharePoint professionals, and that he typical as 5 job oppertunities available per SharePoint'er. Yeah man, SharePoint really is hot now; and will explode with the arrival of SharePoint 2010.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'll be at SharePoint Conference 2009

In less than a week the SharePoint Conference 2009 starts. Main attraction of course the upcoming SharePoint 2010 ('twenty-ten') release. Although final agenda details have not yet been distributed, I'll already have several subjects on my shortlist. Overall I'm particulary interested in the progress made for interoperability of SharePoint ('twenty-ten') with SAP NetWeaver. Thus the sessions with focus on one of: Business Connectivity Service (successor of the BDC), DUET 3.0, Composite Applications, Identity Management and SSO, OBAs. Also I'll try to meet some of the fellow SAP / MS community members; I've hooked up for a SharePint appointment with the well-known and appreciated Kristian Kalsing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Interesting sessions on SAP/MS interop at the SAP TechEd's 2009

In the coming weeks the SAP TechEd 2009 will be held, at various locations worldwide. The series starts in Phoenix (USA), following Vienna (EMEA market), Shanghai (China) and ends in Bangalore (India).
The SAP TechEd is filled with lots of interesting sessions, divided within 7 tracks. From the perspective of SAP / MS platforms interoperability, the tracks SOA Middleware, Security and Identity Management and Custom Development appear the most interesting ones. And within them especially the following sessions
I'm pleasently surprised by the attention SAP gives to the field of platforms-interoperability in general, and that of SAP/Microsoft in particular. Although I self are not able to join this conference (I'm instead scheduled for the soon coming Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009), a TopForce colleague will attend. So I hope and expect to receive the details via him.
Tags: SAP NetWeaver Microsoft SharePoint integration interoperability SSO