I know, I know, I haven’t written anything here for awhile.

It has been a while since I posted anything.  Not to say nothing has been happening.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Our team has been preparing to move all of our OCPS sites from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010.  We didn’t do it last year because we did not feel ready to go with the just released official version in June of 2010.  Why is June so special?  Well, we are a school district and we really cannot take the portal down during the school year.  Therefore, we are somewhat limited to the summers to give us enough time to do the conversion of all the sites (Internet, intranet, school sites, and collaboration sites) and to give people a few months of practice before the next school year starts up again.

So we are targeting the week of June 20th for our conversion.  You might be interested to know how we are planning to do the conversion.  First of all, we cannot take the portal totally down.  Rather, we are putting it into a read only state across all sites.  We will then leave the old servers up and running so that visitors to the OCPS site will still see the portal, however, for a few days, the data will be static.

During this time, we will do a backup and restore of the content databases on our new servers ready to run the new 64-bit versions of the OS, SQL database and of course SharePoint 2010 itself.  Over the last several months, Mike Healey has worked on converting our branding to something compatible with new SharePoint 2010 interface.  While we are making some visual changes, you will definitely recognize our site when we go back live again.

We are also making a major change in the calendar that we are deploying for the schools.  This is a purchased web part which was under $100 per web server instance.  We could not afford to build a new calendar for that price.  The new calendar brings some advantages over the old calendar written by our original consultants and which has served us well for the last four years.  For one thing, we can color code calendar events by category.  For our school sites, we will be trying to define a set of common categories but will allow other categories to be created.  Another great feature is that the new calendar uses the standard SharePoint calendar web part.  Why is that so great?  So that users can more easily maintain the calendar by sharing the web site calendar with their local Outlook calendars.  They will now be able to drag and drop events from their internal school calendars to their web site calendars with ease.

Anyway, as we go through the conversion I’ll try to find time to document here our trials and successes so that they may help others.  In the meantime, there is SharePoint Saturday in Tampa on June 11th.  The event coordinates have finally posted the sessions and speakers.  Yeah I know it seems kind of late to me, but I’m use to SQL Saturdays which usually post sessions a month in advance.  Anyway, the good news is that I will get to do a session:  Using External Data in SharePoint and Microsoft Office.

As a speaker at SQL Saturday events since the very beginning back in 2007, does this mean that I’m switching to do SharePoint Saturdays instead.  No.  SQL has been my database of choice since I left the FoxPro ranks back in the mid-90s.  Recently, I’ve been exploring a lot of the ‘fringe’ topics like XML and PivotTables using PowerPivot and SSAS.  I consider research into these other areas as a way to get away from day job of managing a SharePoint team while still exploring technologies that can be associated with SharePoint.  So I give SharePoint Saturdays a shot although I have high expectations based on my experience with SQL Saturdays.  So if you are in the Tampa area (or will drive in like I will) go out to the site www.sharpointsaturday.org/tampa and sign up.

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