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.

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