What is SharePoint Saturday? My interview with Ishmael Smyrnow
== What is SharePoint Saturday?
To quote from the SharePoint Saturday website: “SharePoint Saturday is an educational, informative and lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals and MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint-orientated topics. SharePoint Saturday is FREE, open to the public and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint!”
SharePoint Saturday takes place in local regions all across the globe, from Boston, to Holland, to Sri Lanka. I’ve had the privilege of attending two of these events in different parts of the New England area (Hartford and Boston). Attendees rage from end-users to highly-technical people, and the sessions are designed to accommodate the attending demographic. Classes are taught by professionals in the SharePoint arena, most with many years of experience as users and instructors of the platform. Each session focuses on a specific topic within SharePoint. Some explain the platform’s features, while others are about integrating it with different technologies. I prefer the technical discussions, but many people are happy just learning about what SharePoint is, and how it can help them or their business or organization. Whoever you are, if you interact with SharePoint in some way, there is likely a session at these events to benefit you.
== Can what you learned be used in “real-world” applications?
Absolutely. Instructors are not only knowledgeable, but they’re typically speaking on a topic they have lots of first-hand experience with. So when you sit in on a talk about governance, you’re not just hearing what you could have read in a book somewhere, you’re hearing real problems, and real solutions.
== What did you learn about SharePoint at the last event that you didn’t know before attending?
The extent to which Microsoft supports developers in SharePoint. I was already familiar with how to create features, and package them into solutions. However, I learned more about how beneficial solution packages are to developers, and how things like “feature stapling” help developers to do cool stuff, without “hacking” things together. One of the instructors managed a team of SharePoint developers, and I was amazed to hear how precise their development and deployment strategies are. He reiterated how important it was to treat SharePoint like any other technology, and develop best practices and processes to do things right.
== What was one of your favorite experiences at a SharePoint Saturday event?
I’m not sure that I have a single favorite moment. My personal experiences at these events have been very positive. It is a fun, interactive environment, and people are there not only to learn from the instructors, but also to learn from each other. I really enjoy talking with other people about their personal experiences, and gaining insights you would be hard-pressed to find in a book or on the internet. It’s a great way to discover new tools, best practices, or solutions to common problems. The classes are only one part of the SharePoint Saturday experience.
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