A day spent well at SPSPune 2019

Today(29th June 2019), as I am writing this it has been raining since yesterday in Pune. It is a perfect weekend to go for a trip around Pune and enjoy the surroundings. There would have been many who would have used this opportunity to spent their weekend relaxing but there were few(around tentatively 150, including organizers) who did something unusual. Some of us decided to attend #SPSPune2019. First a little background about SPS.

SharePoint Saturday Events (SPS Events) is a FREE one-day event held in different cities around the world, featuring sessions from influential and respected SharePoint professionals” – referenced from official website of SPS Event.

It was first time SharePoint Saturday event was organized in Pune. In spite of being Saturday and raining in the morning there were around 120 SharePoint enthusiast who had attended. A lot of efforts would have gone in to organizing such event and that to FREE. Let me first start with thanking and appreciating efforts of Pune User Group(PUG) for inauguration SPS at Pune and all the sponsors(Rapid Circle, e-Zest, Soho Drogon, Penthara Technologies) for bringing this to Pune. Being an part of Organizing team for Pune Agile Conference(PAUC), I can totally understand what it takes to organize such an event. I would also want thank all speakers for their time and contribution.

I thought of writing this blog and sharing experience about SPSPune2019 which was totally worth sacrificing a day of weekend. In general we had 11 sessions running across 4 parallel tracks ( 3 Sessions tracks, 1 track for Open discussion and Round table).

I was there by 9 AM a little early so, got chance to interact face to face with few of speakers Garima Agrawal, Gautam Sheth, Kirti Prajapati, Dev Chaudhari, Nanddeep Nachan. As there were parallel tracks, We had to choose which all sessions to attend according to our intrests. Below is some of my takeaways or experience of sessions(I attended).

Why do we need Site Design ? by Garima Agrawal

To be frank, choosing between this topic and Gautam & Anuja’s topic about ‘Modern provisioning techniques in Office 365′ was little difficult to choose. I had read little here and there and worked very little on site provisioning technique before but I didn’t knew anything much about ‘Site Design’.

When session started around 10, there were only 5 attendees. Some of us would have been discouraged with the turn out but this did not break her spirit. She started it with great enthusiasm. As it turns out, in next 20 mins, people started showing and room was full by 10.25 AM. She covered below

  • Site Design, Site scripts and how they are related.
  • Comparing site design with site templates and how it differs in terms of usage
  • Actions available in Site scripts
  • Powershell commands to add/remove site designs and site scripts.
  • When to use Site Design vs PnP Provisioning engine.
  • Demo – Apply ‘Trigger flow’ site design to join hub site which already has another site design applied.
  • Limitations

She was kind enough to repeat initials slides again for the attendees who joined late. Good thing about demo was that it has covered most of concepts of Site designs and how different components can work together to do some cool stuffs. She gracefully[how site designs handles failures] took all the questions and were able to clear all the doubts. A awesome session to kick start a event.

Exploring Microsoft Graph for Developer by Keval Solanki and Prasham Sabadra

I had already tried out certain use case with Graph API for POCs, personal learning purpose so I thought of attending this session to take my learning little forward. Unfortunately I could not attend whole session as I was being called for Round table discussion with Microsoft Product Team. Still I could remember below topics were covered for part of it which I attended.

  • Introduction to Graph API
  • Microsoft Products accessible with Graph API like office 365, Azure, Mobility systems, Windows
  • Usage statistics of Graph API.
  • Why we developers should learn Graph API(Prasham had a valid point here, one of primary reason is to ask for better hike)
  • Graph API Explorer

I could not attend rest part of it but though I already knew basics of Graph API, there were certainly some new learning which came out of this session. I know might have missed the advanced part of the session.

Round Table with Microsoft Product Team – Eric Fernandes, Shaloo Singh & Sahil Baid

As I said, I was called out for round table discussion to get first hand answers and talk about SharePoint Mobile app as part of their research strategy.  Gautam Sheth and Kirti Prajapati also were part of this discussion.

  • We kicked off with Introduction, they had set of parameters on which we were supposed to introduce our self. This was to set context w.r.t our background.
  • It was more like open discussion where in we shared some of our experiences about mobile app, about some of customer expectations and how they are looking at SharePoint modern capabilities.
  • We talked about Microsoft Teams and how it is being used in different domains, different kind of application built on SharePoint vs on Teams.
  • We were provided with sticky notes to list down top 5 things we wanted in SharePoint mobile app.

Over and all, it was very good discussion. Microsoft Product Team had an open view about our feedback and they provided some good insights. Hope to see couple of features I added in sticky notes(like App on boarding screens, selecting column in list view) in SharePoint Mobile App. 🙂

Modern SharePoint Site Provisioning with Azure Automation by Jasjit Chopra & Akhil Ohri

One of thing I noticed and appreciate about Jasjit and Akhil was how they started this session. This was first session post lunch and we generally feel sleepy. To get people involved and keep it interesting  after lunch, Jasjit started session with his introduction talking about Mohali, about his first computer configuration and his journey on how he ended up being in SharePoint. Akhil too started his introduction with how he spent 11 years in Mumbai(though planned to stay only for 1 year), about his involvement in different Microsoft products support team, volume of tickets and team size etc.  Below was covered as part of session

  • Talked about PnP site provisioning and how they did it differently using Azure Automation.
  • Azure functions vs Azure Automation.
  • Powershell is container for Azure Automation scripts where again we write our own powershell commands.
  • Demo
    • A SharePoint list where new entry can be added to create a site provisioning request(site name, site owner).
    • MS flow on above list when item is created.
    • MS flow action to trigger a web hook. Site name and site owner details as passed as part of body request to web hook.
    • Web hook which was already associated to Azure Automation. (not a recommended method, but for easiness of demo, they used web hook), recommended solution would have been to use Azure Automation action inside MS Flow.
    • Using Azure automation modules, variables etc for global configurations.
    • Usage of Azure storage for storing site templates(xml file), site logo(png) etc.
    • Azure automation script having Powershell script which uses PnP provisioning engines to provision a site collection.

I heard about Azure Automation for first time when I read this topic’s title in agenda. Still this session was enough for me to understand the capabilities of Azure Automation because of the use case they choose to demo the features of Azure Automation. It kind of had everything as you see in above bullet points, from MS flow to web hooks to Powershell to Azure storage.

DevOps with SPFx by Nanddep Nachan.

I had heard and read about DevOps a lot, in fact we were trying to see for one of our customer to see if we can find use case with use DevOps with SharePoint on premises applications. I had been playing around SPFx a lot little lately to develop certain reusable components for developers. This was my first experience in seeing DevOps in action and that to with SPFx(one of my current obsession ) was like ‘a cherry on an ice cream’.

  • Nanddeep started with DevOps concepts, a typical software life cycle, Dev Ops life cycle.
  • He also talked about SPFx development tool chain comparison
  • Explained about SPFx webpart which he developed to Show Org chart stored in SharePoint list.
  • List is provisioned and items are created in list as part of Assets provisioning SPFx using elements.xml
  • Creating build pipeline and explained all tasks to be created in build pipeline for SPFx solution starting from installing node js, installing packages, bundle and package solution and copying *.sppkg file to Team foundation server drop folder
  • Creating release pipeline and explained all task  to be used in using deploying SPFx solution package(*.sppkg) to app catalog.
  • Release cycle pipeline was also installing Office 365 CLI its commands were used to deploy.
  • He also has shown unit testing task by creating/using jtest for unit test automation. As he mentioned, it was most complexes use cases written by him. [People who have attended this session would understand his joke.]

Very informative session and he demoed it very well explaining all things in details. It was nice session to end the event.

Honorable Speakers mentions of other sessions(which I could not attend).

Anuja Bhojani, Gautam Sheth, Daniel Mcpherson(Rapid Circle), Dev Chaudhari(Rapid Circle), Sachin Katkar(e-Zest), Prathamesh Shirguppe(e-Zest), Kirti Prajapati, Vipul Kelkar(Rapid Circle).

And also big thank to Mahesh Mitkari for allowing to distribute Pune Agile Unconference 2019 pamphlets for spreading awareness.

Some general feedback/suggestions.

  • For next year’s event, we should also have some basic topics because there would be always folks every year who would have just started learning SPO. May one track covering all basic stuffs w.r.t SharePoint Online and/or office 365.
  • The First sessions speakers should announce or could have talked more about today’s event. May be about generic guidelines, who to contact for any help etc…just to give participant more personalized experience.
  • A whatsapp group would have been created for online registrations to keep participants updates and encourage people to join.
  • A little more awareness and spreading the words about such event among IT professionals.

With this, I would like to conclude now for 2 primary reasons.

  • Word count will be closed to 1784 which is too lengthy for an blog. Hope it did not get boring 🙂
  • It’s 3.30 AM now(30th June 2019) and I am feeling very sleepy now. It was long day today, woke up early, full day session and then attended PAUC19 Organizer’s meeting.

Conclusion – Awesome event, great sessions,demos and nice to meet some of like minded SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure enthusiasts…..Looking forward to next year’s #SPSPune 2020.

Feel free to comment if I missed anything specific. Apologies if I missed to mention anyone.

“May the code be with you”

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