The turn of the year is traditionally a time to talk about lessons learned and plans for the upcoming year, and this blog will be no exception!
About “Path to SharePoint”
I wish I had started this earlier. “Path to SharePoint” is my first blog, and it has been a great journey so far. My main discovery is that a blog can be more than a publishing platform, you can really make it an interactive experience.
For 2009, I plan to keep the current tone: straightforward and high level posts, letting the reader figure out the details or variations; and interactivity, with same day response to the readers’ comments and questions.
I’ll continue to focus on original approaches. In 2008, I published my work on calendar views, Gantt views, and of course the “HTML calculated column”. These 3 series will continue in 2009, and I plan to start a couple others. I’ll also try to move away from scripts and spend more time on best practices.
A dual platform
However, along with these great moments I can also feel some frustration.
I think that the tone of the blog is perfect for power users, who have already pushed SharePoint to its limits and can leverage on the back doors I open. But it may not satisfy occasional designers, who are just looking for plug and play solutions.
The blog also has its technical limits. It is timephased, so updates and series are not easy to manage. It is static, while interactive demos are needed to better understand some customizations. Last but not least, it is blocked in China, like most blogging platforms.
For all these reasons, I recently launched a separate SharePoint site. It is still in an experimental phase, and I am going to replace it with a more robust solution. It will host live demos, links to SharePoint resources, packages for download, etc. I am also considering other options like using it for online workshops, online support or screencasts (how about a “SharePoint with a French accent” series?).
While the blog will remain personal, I see the SharePoint site as a more professional approach.
Other online activities
I have been posting on the Microsoft SharePoint forums for 4 years, and this is not going to stop.
I’ll also try to stay close to the “End User SharePoint” site. In one year, Mark Miller’s site – aggregating a blog, a forum, a newsletter, screencasts and a download section – has grown to become the primary online resource for SharePoint end users. I plan to continue posting there my contributions, applause and criticism…until Mark stops me!
Btw I am also learning a lot on this site, in particular from the enthusiastic Paul Grenier.
From what I’ve seen, there’s a geat SharePoint online community, and I hope to establish tighter connections with it in 2009.
To conclude this year, I’d like to thank my early readers, Greg Osimowicz, Ben Bradley and the others who posted their encouragements in the comments section or by e-mail. This had a direct impact on the amount of effort I put in my blog.
Also, special thanks to guest authors Peter Allen and Alexander Bautz. I am proud that my example has inspired them to start their own site.