The recent announcement that SharePoint Designer (SPD) will be offered for free makes me very excited. Being a SharePoint consultant not long ago, I can truly appreciate how the free SPD & WSS will revolutionize the content management space. When the announcement came out that this change was effective from April 1st, I had every reason to suspect the legitimacy of it but looks like it was all real!
SPD allows you to build a variety of things starting from designing simple websites (remember FrontPage!) to wonderful dashboards that revolutionize enterprise solutions.
While working on the “Dynamicss Duo” CRM 4.0 demo, we made heavy use of SPD and the results truly speak to the power this tool has.
In the above screenshot, one can see a heavily customized SharePoint page Iframed into CRM. Using SPD we built this Intranet style dashboard pages with connected webparts and also using a set of pre-built 3rd party webparts.
If you had seen the CRM demo that was shown at the Day1 Keynote of PDC2008, you can see the below attractive customer portal that doesn’t look anything like SharePoint but it actually runs on SharePoint Online and was built using SPD.
SPD allows customizing such SaaS SharePoint extranet sites even when you don’t have physical access to the server. In the above screenshot, the gauge display is actually a Silverlight control running in SharePoint, and the webpart to the right is called a dataview webpart that connects to CRM web services. Dataview webparts are a very powerful feature of SharePoint as you can easily build data bound webparts and SPD allows you to build it without writing any code.
This is just a tip of the iceberg and developers are free to deliver a variety of custom portal solutions, extranets, intranets, internet-facing sites, collaboration solutions, social networking sites, and internal applications on top of the extensive capabilities of SharePoint. Integrating these with Dynamics CRM makes it even more compelling and presents a good business opportunity for providing value-added solutions to your customers.
In a series of world-wide events called Business Action World Tour, we’re showcasing how Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can build serious line of business applications without a lot of effort. To add to that, if you could create a rich & compelling UI (with WPF & Silverlight), make it familiar to your users (with Office system), and give a choice of on-site or cloud deployment to the customer (with Azure Services), wouldn’t that be a wonderful opportunity for more business.
If you think so, all you need to do is spend half a day at one of our free “discover” events. The next upcoming one in the US is on May 4th at Chicago and we have another one coming up in Silicon Valley on May 6th.
For more information about the event and links to register, check out John O'Donnell blog article below.
Seems like WPC08 was just a few weeks ago but WPC09 is already upon us. This year WPC is at New Orleans from July 13th through 16th.
Every year, top Microsoft partners are recognized and honored with “WPC Awards”. There are several categories of awards includes the coveted awards
Partners can nominate their solution/company for these awards and do so immediately as the nomination ends April 9, 2009 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
If you don’t know what WPC is, it is a partner event that provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with Microsoft folks and other ISVs or Partners just like you.
I also noticed that registration for WPC 09 is now open and you can register here: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/trainingevents/wwpartnerconference
These days unborn babies and even plants start to socialize early enough through social networking sites! So check out the below links to “socialize” during WPC this year :-)