The revolution will be printed

This past week, for me the big news in consumer electronics wasn’t what you probably thought.  The big names all were all talking mobility of one fashion or another, but one of the companies that can make a claim to bringing printers into the home is now applying that same talent to 3d Printers.  Yep, that’s right HP is now working with Stratasys to bring 3d printing to a much wider array of people.  This has huge potential for localsourcing manufacturing and changing how economics work in quite a number of markets.

http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/357-Stratasys-and-HP-join-forces-to-make-3D-printers.html

Setting up a SharePoint Development environment.

One of the most common questions I get asked from developers is “What is the best way to set up a SharePoint Dev Environment.  And they normally get a much longer answer than they’d like – there are a lot of things that can affect the answer – how many people are working together, what are their roles, how locked down are your developer boxes, are you using TFS… the list goes on.

Well, things are changing for SharePoint 2010.  And it’s a change for the better – I’ll cover a lot of the new items as we go along, but I would like to point out that the MSDN documentation now calls out the “standard” process for setting up a dev environment.  You can find it at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee554869(office.14).aspx and use it as a basis for putting together your own customized development environment.

If you want a little more discussion on the matter, you can see what’s going on in the SharePoint Dev Wiki at http://www.sharepointdevwiki.com/display/sp2010/Building+a+SharePoint+2010+Development+machine

Recruiting and skills

Talking with so many people in the community, a subject that comes up often is that of “How do I find good people?”  I’ve actually been doing some education with those looking to staff up their projects or organizations (see my “I need a SharePoint Guy” slides on slideshare.

So it comes as no shock the post Catrina Fake (co-Founder of Flickr) just made about the challenges of finding the right people.  But her take is somewhat different than many of the staffers I’ve talked to.  Her view is that finding good engineers isn’t as hard as some might claim, but it’s the finding of the cross disciplined engineer that’s the difficult task.

So for those of you out there looking to make a move, check out the things that she mentioned and consider adding something besides that next level of recursive optimizations to your resume.  Check out a user group on a subject you’re not familiar with.  Try out a role you haven’t done before.  Take on a task that you have been avoiding because it’s just “not in my job description.”  It might just pay off – with both better job offers and a better understanding of the whole software/tech industry.

Windows At Work

I normally don’t post contest links, but this one is for a fully loaded HP TouchSmart TX2 (if you’ve seen me around, that’s the one I’m using) so I thought I’d better get the word out.  It’s a simple contest and one that can help out with your visibility or just give you an excuse to try something new, so again – I figured why not?

So what is it?  All you need to do is write up a article for Code Project targeted for a Windows 7 client project that you have done.  It’s that simple.  The details are at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9702416 – but it’s a great chance to get your name out as someone who’s up on the platform, a credit for your articles list, and a chance to win a really great laptop.  And when you submit your article, leave a comment with a link to it, I’d love to see what everyone is doing!

SharePoint 2010 and Binary Large Objects

As I look back at the history of SharePoint, one of the primary features that made it so popular is the ability to store and work with any type of files.  This is GREAT from a user standpoint, but that capability requires that SharePoint work with those files as a BLOB (Black box of bits) when it stores them.  Second order issue for that then becomes that differencing versions of files becomes impractical and thus you end up with a copy of each version of a file.  If you’ve got a lot of active people working on documents, and you’re tracking versions – you end up having two basic options.  Limit how many versions of those files you will keep (putting a limit on how useful versioning is in the first place – not something your users will like), or throw LOTS of database space at your implementation (something that could have your DBA coming after you with a brick.) 

Well, with the 2007 generation of SharePoint, the product team introduced a feature deep in the technical documentation to allow remote blob stores.  This was something they were working very hard on to get to the right level of performance, ease, and API maturity so they kept it a bit low key.  But with the 2010 generation of SharePoint that we’re testing today, that capability is coming to the forefront for implementations that have very large numbers of files, or even organizations that already have mature file stores, and would like SharePoint to provide even easier integration. 

If you’re in either of these situations, or just interested in catching up with something that’s been around for a bit, but hasn’t been really in the spotlight, I’d highly recommend taking a look at the capabilities. 

http://blogs.msdn.com/opal/archive/2009/12/07/sharepoint-2010-beta-with-filestream-rbs-provider.aspx