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Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2 TechMentor vs Tech Ed

Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2

Live! 360 activities unofficially started on Sunday, November 17th at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Early registration opened and a group was formed for the Dine-A-Round event at Universal’s City Walk. The Dine Around began at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for appetizers and drinks. From there, groups split up based on interest. I joined […]

TechMentor vs Tech Ed

On Twitter, @bbnetman asked this question: “How does TechEd differ from TechMentor?” I attended Tech Ed back in 2007 and 2008, but I have never been to TechMentor. I was afraid to reply in a tweet and send a wrong answer, so I decided to do a little research. First of all, Tech Ed is […]

Book Review: Building Web Applications with Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step


Building Web Applications with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 Step by Step

I really enjoy the Microsoft Press Step by Step series. The series is a great way for an IT Professional to get a simple beginner’s introduction to a Microsoft technology without being called a dummy. The Step by Step series can be very helpful for learning how to do something that may be new to or outside your regular work responsibilities. And during this difficult economic time, adding to your current skill set is a very good thing.

I also think that this is a great title to review since Microsoft announced earlier this year that SharePoint Designer would be available for free.

The book contains twelve chapters and 336 pages and is intended to be a starting point for learning how to build a solution on SharePoint. The solutions presented in the book could be deployed on a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) or on a basic Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) installation. As a prerequisite, the author recommends that you have read Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step by Penelope Coventry (Microsoft Press 2008) so that you have a basic knowledge of how SharePoint Designer works. However, if you are familiar with the Microsoft Office interface, you may be able to work the exercises in the book. The book includes a companion CD with practice files, an ebook of the title, an ebook of the Microsoft Computer Dictionary 5th edition, and the Windows Vista Product Guide.

Chapter at a Glance

One of the first features I noticed this time was the Chapter at a Glance feature which gives a visual overview of the chapter’s content. I liked how the pictures were screenshots of the actual software being used to illustrate the topic being covered. Page numbers are right next to the picture so that if a certain picture got your attention, you could turn to that page to get more details. This is really a terrific feature.

Chapters included looks at Master Pages and data views. I was especially interested in the chapters on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) which control the format of the web pages, and the chapter on workflow. One of the powerful features of SharePoint is the Workflow Foundation which allows you to automate document routing. Again, the step by step book format simplifies the steps that you need to take to create a sample workflow and learn the basics of this powerful feature of SharePoint.

As a side note, in his introduction, Jansen gives us a look into Microsoft’s web tools product development. Microsoft has three web development applications and it can sometimes be confusing choosing which one to use. If you have ever used FrontPage, you will notice that SharePoint Designer looks a lot like FrontPage. That is because FrontPage became SharePoint Designer. The same development team also created Microsoft Expression Web and Web Express in Microsoft Visual Studio. Jansen explains that the main difference between SharePoint Designer and Expression is that SharePoint Designer can work with content specific to SharePoint and Expression cannot. To illustrate the different audience that each product is aimed at, Jansen provides this scenario. A developer creates a layout with with server controls on it. He hands the layout to an Expression web designer who creates the look of the page. The Expression web designer hands the page to the SharePoint Designer application builder to post to SharePoint.

This book is ideal for anyone that is interested in enhancing SharePoint web sites. Not only is the book good for developers who are just starting out enhancing SharePoint sites, but it is also good for the IT Professional Generalist who wants to understand more about how SharePoint sites are built and how to make simple enhancements.


  1. Working with Web Applications
  2. Working with SharePoint Sites in SharePoint Designer
  3. Accessing the Styles Behind SharePoint Pages
  4. Creating Layout with Cascading Style Sheets
  5. Working with Master Pages
  6. Creating Custom Navigation Controls
  7. Creating Data Sources in SharePoint
  8. Creating Data Views
  9. Using ASP.NET and SharePoint Controls in Data Views
  10. Using Parameters in a Data View
  11. Customizing List Forms and Pages
  12. Using the Windows Workflow Foundation

At a glance:

Title: Building Web Applications with Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Designer 2007 Step by Step
Author: John Jansen 
Publisher: Microsoft Press, February 18, 2009
ISBN-10: 0735626324
336 pages

Microsoft Career Express Kicks-Off for Tech Ed 2009!

Today, Microsoft Learning’s Career Express begins its 11-day cross-country odyssey from Atlanta, Georgia to Tech Ed 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  Along the way, the Career Express will pick up six contestants who competed for a seat on the bus and admission to Tech Ed 2009.  As they make their way across the country led by Ken Rosen of Microsoft Learning, the Career Express will visit Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions, Microsoft IT Academies and other communities interested in learning about the potential for skills development to get a job, keep a job, or grow within their current job in the IT profession. 

You can follow the bus on the Born to Learn blog, Facebook or Twitter  (  If you’re interested in Twitter meet-ups, be sure to watch for the hashtag #tweetup. 

Have You Taken a Microsoft Certification Test Lately?

As the economic climate continues to impact IT pros around the world, it’s vitally important for individuals to enrich their skills, differentiate themselves, and maximize their impact within their organizations.  

For IT pros that have not taken a certification exam since January 1, 2007, Microsoft and Prometric are providing a limited offer to the first 4,000 individuals to help them gain their Microsoft Certified Professional status in the MCTS/MCPD/MCITP tracks.  You can find more information and register at  The offer is available for customers who have taken their last certification exam prior to January 1, 2007.

So, come on back. Get certified again!

Microsoft Skills Week Launches Today!

Microsoft Skills Week kicks off today and runs through Friday. As part of Skills Week, there will be more than 175 partner-led events in North America designed to help IT professionals and developers develop and validate their skills, network with industry leaders and achieve Microsoft Certified Professional status.

Microsoft Skills Week events will include the following skills development and career assistance programs as part of its offerings:

Access to Career Assist. An offering through Microsoft Learning’s Second Shot Program. Second Shot gives individuals the opportunity to retake a Microsoft Certified Professional exam for free should they fail. The Career Assist Package gives individuals who register for Second Shot by June 30 the opportunity to purchase a Microsoft E-Learning Collection for $35 (U.S.) — a 90 percent price discount in most cases. The online programs provide specific tools to help users develop technical skills and prepare for Microsoft Certified Professional exams. The discounted collection purchased with the Career Assist Package will be available for 90 days after activation.

Exam Crams. Quick study sessions to prepare individuals for Microsoft Certification exams.

Live Meetings. Sessions with Microsoft technical specialists and legendary Microsoft Certified Trainers who will demonstrate technologies to enhance training and answer questions to enable individuals to prepare for examinations.

Exam discounts. Opportunities to get certified on-site at events while saving up to 40 percent on exam fees.

More information on Microsoft Skills Week and local events is available at

(Info taken from Microsoft Press Release:

ComputerWorld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference

If you have been following me on Twitter (which you will see on the bottom right of this page), you will know that I have been attending ComputerWorld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference. (By the way, to see twitter posts relating to the conference, search on #p100)This has been a different kind of conference for me as the focus is the business of IT and not just the technology itself. The conference is in line with my studies, which is working toward a Master’s degree in Management Information Systems.

I have seen some great presentations from various CIO’s. The panel sessions yesterday were very valuable to me. The morning panel session focused on the economy and how it affecting doing IT. I especially like hearing from Viji Murali, Vice President for Information Services and Chief Information Officer, Washington State University and also one of this year’s Premier 100 IT Leaders. Since Ms. Murali is also from a public university, her comments had more relevance to my own environment. It seems that Washington and Florida (as well as most public universities) are all facing the same kind of budget crunch, as state funding dwindles in this economy.

The cloud computing panel yesterday afternoon will be helpful to me as I need to write a paper on the topic for one of my classes. I think the most important point that the panel agreed on was that cloud computing shows promise, but it is still in its embryonic stages. Cloud computing is good for projects that do not require much security.

My highlight from yesterday was a presentation by H. James Dallas. The presentation was entitled “The Need to Lead.” The presentation was Mr. Dallas’ advice to CIO’s based on his years of wisdom. His advice was good for anyone that wants to be a leader in IT.

I just wanted to post a blog update on the conference. I have taken a lot of notes and may try to post some of the ideas that I have recorded in my notes later. I will also publish a summary of today. But for now, back to the conference . . .