Webinar by Andrew Connell (5/18) – Creating SharePoint Designer Workflow Activities with Visual Studio

Usually, our webinars are 100% no-code. However, this will be a slight exception. The reason: it’s necessary for all of us to know the next step if we are unable to accomplish a task without programming.

This webinar shows what you do when the out of the box workflow activities provided by SharePoint Designer just don’t cut it. The next step is to create the activity using Visual Studio and deploy it to SharePoint so it appears in SharePoint Designer next time. Here are the details of the webinar:

Webinar Title:

Augmenting SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows with Visual Studio 2010


Andrew Connell – http://www.criticalpathtraining.com, http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/


Generally the best story for creating custom workflows in SharePoint 2010 is to stick with the declarative and most productive option: use SharePoint Designer 2010. However there are situations when SharePoint Designer cannot achieve some business requirements. One common example is when you need to implement some sort of a loop. In this session, you’ll see what’s involved in creating a custom activity (action) in Visual Studio 2010 and deploy it to SharePoint so it can be used in SharePoint Designer based workflows.

Andrew Connell (also known by many of us as AC) is an exceptionally talented and well respected SharePoint professional within the SharePoint community. He’s my colleague (and my boss – although he doesn’t like to be called that 😉 ) at Critical Path Training (CPT). CPT offers expert level SharePoint training by trainers whose career focus is solely around SharePoint technologies. All of the instructors speak, write, train, consult, breathe and sleep SharePoint. Check out the upcoming training schedule at CPT.

We are holding this webinar on Wednesday, 5/18/2011 at 2pm Eastern. This webinar will be hosted by SharePoint-Videos.com. You can see all the information about the webinar and sign up for it here:


Hope to ‘see’ you at the webinar!


SharePoint Branding and Customization Options – Office 365 and SharePoint 2010

Want to learn about your branding choices in SharePoint 2010 and Office 365? Check out the following blog entry by my buddy Tom Werner at Microsoft:


Tom has spent quite a long time really hashing out the things you need to know about SharePoint branding options in this blog post. He also points to other resources (articles, books etc) that will help you continue your journey into customizing SharePoint. Great job Tom!!


SharePoint Easy Start – An easy way for anyone to start or continue their SharePoint Journey

Check out the SharePoint Easy Start page!
After years of teaching, consulting, writing and speaking on SharePoint, I realize that each of us is still learning and discovering the power of all you can do with SharePoint. You might be a beginner or have been using SharePoint for a number of years. You might be using SharePoint 2007 or maybe you were one of the first to jump on SharePoint 2010. In any case, we are all still continuing on our SharePoint journey and it is important for us all to understand how the different pieces on the SharePoint platform fit together.
Since each of us has a different need and a starting point, I created the SharePoint Easy Start page to make it easy for everyone to dive right in. Just pick the version of SharePoint you are using (either 2007 or 2010) and we will guide you on your SharePoint journey. If you have any feedback about the page, we would love to hear it. Thanks!


Train your users on SharePoint 2007 functionality

Now that SharePoint 2010 is out in the market, most of the companies (including ours) are very much focused on providing training on that product. However, what about the companies that are using SharePoint 2007 and are not planning on migrating to the next version anytime soon? Look around and what you are sure to find is that there is not much ‘quality’ training available on that product anymore. Being in the training industry for a long time now, I know this for a fact that expert trainers usually move on quickly to the latest and greatest because that’s where most of the training opportunities and interests are.
So what do we do if our company plans to remain on SharePoint 2007 for the foreseeable future?
We might be able to help with your training needs! We have a robust library of 100 SharePoint 2007 related videos. They are fully narrated and are anywhere from 6 minutes to 45 minutes in length each. These videos are for all levels of SharePoint users (end users, power users, site administrators, site collection administrators, IT professionals and developers). Many companies have used our videos to provide their employees with on-demand training as they need it.
What about when we upgrade to SharePoint 2010?
No worries. When you are ready to upgrade to SharePoint 2010, there is a significant discount offered on the pricing of our SharePoint 2010 video packages to our existing customers.
How do I get more information about your offerings?
Fill out the form on our site to get started. Provide us with some information about your need in the ‘Description’ field of the form. We can then discuss via phone or email the various options we have to offer and will tailor them to your needs.


Get access to pre-built demos using SharePoint Designer 2010 and InfoPath 2010

Don’t you just hate it when you see a powerful demonstration of some functionality at a conference or in a class, and then you try to replicate what the presenter did back in your own environment and it doesn’t work? That’s pretty frustrating to most people. My solution to that has been to point people to a recorded demo of the presentation at our SharePoint-Videos site since then you can pause the video as you follow along in your own environment which works out great! In addition to that, I have something more to share with you now. Read on for the information on how you can access it right away.

One of the roadblocks that many people have when trying to develop or play with new functionality is that they don’t have an environment where they can safely experiment. To build such an environment takes a fairly long time, requires special hardware and software licenses and could be cumbersome overall. Most developers have an environment (a sandbox) already built, but what about the rest of us who still create powerful SharePoint solutions using either just the browser or various no-code applications like SharePoint Designer and InfoPath? Well, now there is a solution and it’s called CloudShare!

Virtual Machine ‘in the Cloud’
CloudShare provides a means of having a virtual environment ‘in the cloud’. You can access this environment just like you were accessing your physical desktop. Since everything is running remotely, you don’t have to worry about any requirements accept an internet browser to connect with.

What I am providing
I have a pre-built virtual machine that I would like to share with you. It has all the bells and whistles already running within it:

  • SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, InfoPath, Project, Access and more)
  • SharePoint Designer 2010
  • SharePoint Workspace 2010
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • and more…

In this virtual machine, I have built four of the demos that I do which have been fairly popular. They are as follows:

  • Customizing SharePoint List Forms using SharePoint Designer and InfoPath
  • Automating Business Processes using Visio and SharePoint Designer for Workflows and InfoPath for Forms
  • Using XSLT List View and Data View web parts to get access to your SharePoint List data and external Database data
  • Building Business Connectivity Services components using SharePoint Designer

How does this work?
You can start by going directly to my pre-built virtual machine environment page. You will only be asked for your name and email address to register. Then you will be provided access to my virtual machine directly through the browser. It will look like the image below:


You will have complete access to all the pre-built demos which are implemented in subsites of this site collection and also links to related videos for each demo on SharePoint-Videos. There is no cost to access this environment for 14 days.

So what’s the catch?
Yes, you would be giving your email address to the CloudShare folks, but there is no other catch. To me, if you use this environment and get benefit out of it, I will be satisfied that I was able to help. If you like this environment and find it as valuable as I certainly do in my day to day work, you can subscribe to the CloudShare service and keep access to this environment.

The subscription cost to the CloudShare service is $49 per month if you decide to keep it after 14 days trial. If you do try the service, let me know about your experience and any feedback.

Help spread the word if you can by sending a link to this blog entry onwards to other folks who can benefit from this environment.