WSS4: Official Name and Release Date for Big Brother Announced

CMS Wire broke the news, and twitter spread the word: The official name for SharePoint vNext, is Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Yeah, that means a late release, at least later than what some people hoped.

The official release date is to have a technical preview in Q3, 2009, and final release sometime in Q1-2 2010, more or less in tune with what I mentioned in an earlier post on the delay of vNext in February.

The long-awaited SP2, however, is set to ship a lot sooner, and should hit the shelves in late April, according to Joel Oleson. It is from the early previews of that service pack that several people, my self included, reported on the theory that CAML might be removed as the rendering language in WSS4. At least, CAML will be removed for custom list views and maybe also custom field types.

Good news or bad? Well, it depends on whether you enjoy CAML or not. If you do, you might want to pick up my book, which has a chapter dedicated to CAML.


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John Holliday just made my day: CAML.Intellisense improves SharePoint development experience

If you’ve read my old post on getting intellisense in onet.xml, or about a gazillion other articles on the web, you know how to set up your system so that you get the default CAML intellisense based on the wss.xsd schema that ships with SharePoint. However, you will soon discover that the default wss.xsd isn’t all that it could have been. Several attributes are missing, you’ll notice missing elements, especially when you get funky with custom view development, and you’ll even find outright errors.

Enter CAML.Intellisense. Now, I’ve been a fan of John Holliday’s for a long time. I even describe and its uses in my SharePoint book, and this time he has conjured up a much improved version of a SharePoint CAML schema file that you can use instead of the default wss.xsd.

One particularly impressive and helpful feature is the annotations in the schema, which effectively gives you a helping text when intellisense auto-complete pops up. I haven’t had the time to review everything, and, unless I live to be a million years old, I never will, but chances are that Mr. Holliday will put this on CodePlex (won’t you, John?) and allow others to collaborate on this magnificent tool.

Installing is also a breeze, but as mentioned on the announcement page, remember to remove your old catalog files, and, if required, re-attach your XML files to the new schema file.

I’ll leave the rest of the description to the man of the month: John Holliday. Take it away, John, and thanks from all of us…


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Book is done – What happens now?

Well, sort of. I have written all the content, but there is still a lot to be done. Revisions, reviews, remakes, outtakes… The estimated date of release is still April, I’m afraid, and I’ll need every second of that time. However, I am now extremely relieved that I managed to meet, almost, the content deadline of December 31st.

Now that the all encompassing book writing process is done I have a ton of things that will happen in the upcoming months. And there are some freebies if you pay attention.

1. More SharePoint developer articles

You might have seen the first article I wrote this year, on RSS in SharePoint. That article is based on an idea I had for the book, that sadly didn’t make it into the final version. This is not the only outtake, however, so in the coming months I will be publishing articles based on either ideas I had that I never included or actual content that was left out.

I will start an article today that will focus on improving the feature management of SharePoint, for example. Perhaps I’ll even make it a series. I don’t have a release schedule yet, however, but if you read the feed you’ll be among the first to know.

2. Book as video

I am an extremely slow reader. I actually spend more time reading my own stuff than I do writing it. I rather wait for the movie than read a novel.

If you are anything like me you will be thrilled to know that almost the entire "Building the SharePoint User Experience" will be available as videos. Each chapter will be a separate video and cover everything that is in the book and even some more content that is relevant.

When I say almost that is because some chapters are not suited for video. Stuff like Questions from the Audience is not really something you can demo. Same applies for "The Mentality of a SharePoint developer". By the way, you can get the entire table of contents as well as several other exclusive excerpts when you sign up for the mailing list. Read on and you’ll see why doing so will also get you more free stuff.

3. Blog moving

Blogger has been kind to me, most of the time. However, now that the Understanding SharePoint website is starting to get a lot more content I want to move to a new platform. I wrote about this last summer and the time has now finally come.

I have not set a date for the move yet, as there are a lot of technicalities that needs to be sorted out first. The feed will remain the same and I’ll provide links from the old pages to the new pages.

4. XSLT course

As you may or may not have read, it seems that Microsoft is moving away from CAML and over to XSLT as a rendering language for views in WSS 4.

Now, CAML will continue to remain important. First of all, WSS 3 will be here for a long time. Many organizations are still working to move to WSS 3, and people are still developing for WSS 2. I am not saying you shouldn’t learn CAML at this point, I am just saying that you might want to start looking into XSLT.

To help you out I will be creating and publishing a six-part XSLT introduction course. The date of release is still not set, nor is the price. I am thinking somewhere around $20 bucks, but that is subject to change at any point. The topic of the course is to understand basic XSLT and XML as it relates to SharePoint. As details are revealed around Windows SharePoint Services v 4.0 I’ll release more information.

Here is where you want to pay attention: At some point in the near future I will send a token code to the book mailing list. That token is redeemable for a 100% discount on the course. Yup, that’s right, the members of the mailing list, every single one, will get that XSLT course absolutely free. The catch? You need to be on the list. Nothing else. The code will not be published again, and it will be verified towards the members of the list at the time of publication, so you cannot share or sign up later to get the free course.

5. Just Ask about SharePoint beta

Some of the more observant readers may have noticed that I have added a link to my links section. The link points to the new Just Ask section of the Understanding SharePoint website. The Just Ask website is a collection of questions I have received and answered around the various online forums, by email from readers, or in person. The idea is to create a series of highly focused and specific questions and answers to serve as a knowledge base for SharePoint developers and administrators.

Oh yeah, it’s still in beta. I need a lot of more functionality and a lot more content, but you are free to take a look now if you have questions about SharePoint. If you have comments or questions you want answered, let me know. If you want to contribute I’d love to hear from you.

6. SPTechCon seminars

I have mentioned this before, several times, but I will be holding several sessions on the upcoming SharePoint Technology Conference in San Francisco.

If you are in the area and interested in SharePoint I have been told there are still spots available. I will hold three sessions, a full day workshop that covers most of what the book will cover, a short and intense SharePoint architecture from the user experience session as well as a session on tips and tricks no how to speed up feature and solution generation time.


So yeah, even with book writing done there will still be a lot of things happening in the upcoming months.

See you around!


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