Although SharePoint kicked off the SharePoint Connections Keynote, there was nothing really new, but then if you must remember that we are in between releases. Therefore, the focus was on the theme of SharePoint Everywhere and specifically the movement of SharePoint to the cloud with SharePoint online.
An interesting comment was that IT workers with SharePoint skills are 11% above the average mean IT salary in IT according to Robert Half. While the future of productivity may be in the cloud and SharePoint will soon join Office 365 and SQL Azure with an online offering, the ability to develop for the mobile platform and the cloud will not completely overshadow the enterprise deployments which remain strong and will continue to co-exist with cloud options for specific applications.
What will Microsoft’s cloud offering include? It appears that it will be based on Office Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online to provide applications in Unified Communications, Collaboration, Enterprise Content Management, Business Intelligence and Enterprise Search. Office 365 will include two plans. The Kiosk plan, which will cost less per person per month will include SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. However, for heavier use, the Enterprise Plan will include Office Professional Plus and Lync.
If you have not checked out some of the online training, go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/trainingcourse.aspx to see both training modules and on-line hands-on labs that can help get you up to speed.
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The second keynote, Unlocking New Possibilities with Visual Studio by Dave Mendlen and others focused on the many OOB (Out Of Band?) additions to Visual Studio in the last 9 months. These are all available through the online gallery on MSDN and provide everything from Productivity Power Tools to enhancement for programming new devices (Windows Phone, Kinect, etc.) to the cloud. Also mentioned was an application prototype tool called LightSwitch to help visually develop applications. Finally, for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate users, you will be able to load test your application with unlimited virtual users forever at NO additional cost.