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March 26
Adventures in Melbourne Conference

Last week, I had a wonderful time at the Australian SharePoint Conference. Some 500+ SharePoint enthusiats showed up at the annual conference in Melbourne. We had a great time learning and sharing. Dan Holme's keynote on the second day was a delight.

After that, I had the pleasure of sharing the joys of webparts360 with 3 participants on our GTTP (Get to the point) hands-on session on how to build a project management office. I was surprised that only 3 people attended this course as the last time I did it, we had 20+ people.

When I asked them, they told me that our course agenda seemed impossible and that their management agreed simply because they were curious. But Tim, Damian and Marge did build a complete project management office in a day. And they were pleasantly surprised at what they could accomplished in such a short time.

This brings me to my favorite "lateral thinking" guru, Edward De Bono who coined up the phrase "Po" where he defines as an idea that has no sense at all until you have it. If you told the participants of my course that they have to build an entire solution using only three webparts, they would have said "NO". But now, it is more than possible. It is a reality.

February 22
My confessions as a repentant programmer

I have been building applications for the past 3 decades and I admit that I have taken some shortcuts in the past. These are three of my biggests sins:

  1. Not documenting my systems sufficiently so that others may understand it well enough to change or extend it
  2. Not building solutions that will survive a system platform upgrade
  3. Not empowering my business users with tools that allows them to change the system themselves

So as a repentant programmer, I will build solutions that are :

  1. Self-documenting with the added ability of being able to discover visually where everything is
  2. Future-proof; all our solutions built for SP2007 can upgrade to SP2010 and will also be able to do so with the next version of SP
  3. Simple and flexible enough so that even non-programmers can change the system themselves and also have versions controls in place that ensures that their last working configuration can be re-used.

We did this because I believe that technology can be made simpler and easier so that more people can enjoy the difference that good design and quality can make. If you are still skeptical, check out http://www.L7.com.au/ to see an example of such solutions that are simple to build and manage. But consider this, can you build this same solution in 30 minutes with all these features?

Now that's the magic of Webparts360 and it's your turn to enjoy it.

Come and join us at the upcoming Australian SharePoint Conference in March 20-21st which will be held in Melbourne to see and experience this amazing tool in action.

 

September 15
SharePoint on SQL Azure

Webparts360 transforms SharePoint into an application development platform that consumes cloud data from SQL Azure or Open Data format. Until recently, if you wanted to consume SQL Azure data, you will need to use BCS to do so. For those technically inclined, Steve Peschka did a wonderful job sharing this method​ works here.

For for those who just wants to use it without having to do all the work, Webparts360 now have expanded support for SQL Azure and Open Data databases. Simply use our data connector, and configure these data connections and all the power of these cloud databases becomes available to SharePoint and its applications.

What this means is that now you have the added advantage of putting any tables that you want into cloud; thus leaving all scalability and performance issues to Microsoft. And you still get to use all the power and flexibility Webparts360 functionality with these data.

 

June 04
Sneak Peek at SPC 2011

At the upcoming SharePoint conference in Anaheim on October, Webparts360 will unveil a series of cloud apps built with their tools. Instead of programming, these solutions are assembled by configuring three (yes, only three) web parts that covers the entire scope of an application: input, process and output.
 
We decided to add a real world feel to this challenge by mimicking the functionality from a popular cloud solution provider 37Signals. We recreated two of their most popular apps; Highrise -  a CRM and Basecamp – a project collaboration solutions. We also included an employee self-service module that connects to an employee information management system.
 
The objective of this project is to demonstrate the capability of Webparts360 to deliver complex solutions that many other developers can only accomplished with programming. For example, 37Signals uses “Ruby on Rails” to build their apps. We also want to prove another important point: SharePoint is an excellent application on demand platform. Also, we also wanted to show that SharePoint apps can run well on iPhone browser.
 
Consider the difference in the way this solution is built and its inherent benefits:
§  Assembled with pre-built components – no system downtime
§  Live entity relationship data model – self documentation for easy maintenance
§  Drag and drop process model – easy to understand and change
§  Share common platform for all apps – lower running costs
§  Single click package and deploy – fast and easy to move apps about
§  Tools provided at runtime – Reduce effort and cost to support apps
§  Built without programming – Saves time when reducing complexities
§  Runs on SharePoint – Justify your investments
 
If you are interested to see it in action, go to our beta site. You are welcomed to sign up for your own account to try it or just take a quick look using our demo account; demo/demo. Enjoy but remember, it is still work in progress.
 
And if you are planning to attend SharePoint conference in October, do drop by our booth and we will be happy to show you how the applications were built. Who knows, perhaps you could the lucky winner that will walk away with a free copy of Webparts360; the ultimate application development tool for SharePoint.

March 18
SharePoint conference NZ ends on a high note.

It was an amazing conference. The excitement in the air was infectious. And Dux created magic by doing two songs that made it even more fun. Pingar and Webparts360 emerged as the winners for the SharePoint idol contest for day 1 and 2 challenge.

Thank for all the MVP​ and participants who came from all over to make this event a success. And we look forward to an even more exciting one next year.

MVP.jpg

February 20
The future of SharePoint with Webparts360

We are often asked “How far can you get with Webparts360 without coding?”. We decided to challenge our team - to conceptualize and build a showcase with Webparts360 that will put this doubt to rest once and for all. In the interest of platform comparison, we decided to “imitate” concepts from popular cloud-based solutions that were purpose built, but with just the 3 webparts that Webparts360 offered.

“SocialCRM” was chosen to highlight the future of user-application interaction based on popular “Social Networking “ concepts. Experience our “SocialCRM” – a modern, functional cloud based “Customer Relationship Management” solution. Developed in under 20 mandays by a team of Web Designers  with a little HTML and client-based scripting, the results were astounding.
 

Imagine what Webparts360 and Sharepoint can do for your organization! Start right here by signing up at http://socialcrm.webparts360.com to experience The Future of Sharepoint.

 

January 26
Cloud Power

Yesterday, I attended Microsoft's Cloud Summit. It was power-packed and the excitement was in the air. With Office 365 just around the corner, you can see many of partners's face lit up with anticipation. Finally, an opportunity to value add on an exciting space that until now have been pretty much closed to the partner ecosystem.

Todd Cione, MD of Asia Pacific Enterprise Sales reiterated Microsoft's CEO Steve Balmer famous cloud battle cry "We are all IN" ​and quoted that 70% of its developers are working on cloud solutions. However, in the current version of SharePoint on BPOS does not permit any partner to customize or add webparts to it. I guess the "We" is refers to Microsoft only and not its partners.

But with Office 365 sandbox solutions, that could be different. I look forward to see Webparts360 powering mission critical solutions on the cloud. Perhaps then it would be easier to convince others that SharePoint is the application platform of choice.

Here's to hoping...

January 05
Building solutions the SharePoint way.

Our core belief is to COMPLETE SharePoint's vision rather than COMPETE by offering yet another alternative​ to build solutions on SharePoint. Therefore, we are very concerned about "fitting into SharePoint's realm".

For us that means:

  1. All data stored as lists or document libraries
  2. Interface consists of configurable web parts
  3. Share common standard SP controls for data entry
  4. Security provided by SP users and group objects
  5. Organized by sub sites and folders
  6. Backend processes implemented as SP timer jobs
  7. Solutions deployed as templates
  8. System designer implemented as a SP feature

This was done so that we can take advantage of SharePoint many advantages; including:

  • Having a scalable and ​robust platform as designed by Microsoft
  • Proven robust enterprise solution development framework
  • Dynamic and agile environment for change
  • Upgrade ready to different versions
  • Increase reliability by reduce system downtime due to IIS resets
  • Versatile enough for many solution scenarios
  • Integration ready with other software and partner tools
  • Leverage on existing skill sets and resources that is familiar with this technology

In our next blog, we will discuss how we leverage on this platform to increase your ROI (returns on investment) for SharePoint.

November 01
SharePoint Conference SEA

The recent SharePoint Conference SEA was a great success. More than 550 participants joined us from all over. We showcased some our latest projects, including the service management system for DAIKIN.

Thank you to those that atttended our session. Next stop, SharePoint Conference in Australia, 8-9th March 2011.

SPCSEA.jpg

September 08
Webparts360 runs on iPhone
Daikin, the leading Japanese manufacturer of commercial air conditioning and refrigeration units has taken services to new heights; the cloud. Using the latest portal technology from Microsoft; SharePoint 2010, it has launched a service portal where its customers can requests for service through the web or call center.
 
At the heart of every Daikin air-conditioner is a self-diagnostic module that relays diagnostic codes which will help the service desk team determine the required remedial procedures and its associated parts. This information are sent to its service team and parts warehouse that are located in all major locations through 3G mobile network.
 

The on-site service technician collects the parts from the warehouse and arrives at the customer’s premise at the requested scheduled time. They use the mobile phone to record everything, from serial number, systems’ readings before and after the work is completed and parts used. It even records the service and parts charges, if applicable and relay back to service desk to email or fax the invoices.

DakinSMS.jpg
All this translates into better and faster service response for Daikin’s customers. As for their technicians, their trendy iPhone is more than just a cool hand phone. It is a business tools that brings the wealth of expertise of Daikin’s support network to the field at each customer encounter.
 

iPhone.jpg

This cloud based system which covers the end-to-end service operations from checking of warranty of equipment through its back-end SAP, service desk functions, warehouse inventory tracking, mobile data entry and operations reporting were built on the most revolutionary solution builder tool, Webparts360 on SharePoint 2010 in only 6 weeks!

 

 

 About this blog

 
 
I believe technology should empower us to do more with less effort. This is the place where I share my ideas and hope they will be useful to you. Please drop me note if you see anything that interests you. Love to chat :)