Tech Days Gulf

Tech Days Gulf is an upcoming event that will be held at Dubai next 4th and 5th of December 2007, it focuses on the most cutting-edge technologies, such as:

- Visual Studio.NET 2008
- Microsoft Silver Light
- SQL Server 2008
- Micorosft Office Communication Server 2007
- Windows Server 2008
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
- BizTalk Server 2006
- IIS 7
- PowerShell ( new .NET powered Microsoft Scripting engine)
- SharePoint Server 2007

36 various sessions on a couple of days will be conducted in Tech Days, sessions are targeted to developers and IT Professionals.
The session I am looking forward is not a technical one!, I have been hearing about the great success and good reputation that Infusion has in US, and surprisingly Infusion will conduct a session about "Leveraging New and Emerging Microsoft Technologies"; Greg Brill ( CEO of InfusionDev ) and staff will demonstrate how Infusion could utilize cutting edge Microsoft technologies to win biggest governement agencies in US and UK, it's kind of a business success story, that I've been waiting for, I'm looking forward to meet you there, it is a must-attend event!, you can get more information about Tech Days Gulf, here.


Visual Studio.NET 2008 Released

Microsoft has officially released Visual Studio.NET 2008 along with ASP.NET and .NET 3.5, new features of VS.NET include:

  • JavaScript and CSS support.

  • Browsing .NET framework classes using VS.NET.

  • Multi-Targeting Support ( VS.NET 2003 was for ASP.NET 1.x, VS.NET 2005 for ASP.NET 2.0 ), while VS.NET 2008 lets you target the version you're developing to.

  • AJAX inherent support and intellisense.

  • JavaScript intellisense.

  • Nested MasterPages.

  • Split view for design and markup views.

  • LINQ ( Language Integrated Query ) language.

  • ASP.NET ListView and DataPager controls ( ListView is similar to the ASP.NET 1.x DataList and Repeater, it's providing same GridView features with support for templates ).

For downlading VS.NET 2008, please find this excerpt from Scott Guthrie's blog:

"Today we shipped Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5. You can download the final release using one of the links below:
If you are a MSDN subscriber, you can download your copy from the MSDN subscription site (note: some of the builds are just finishing being uploaded now - so check back later during the day if you don't see it yet).
If you are a non-MSDN subscriber, you can download a 90-day free trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite
here. A 90-day trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Professional (which will be a slightly smaller download) will be available next week. A 90-day free trial edition of Team Foundation Server can also be downloaded here.
If you want to use the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions (which are much smaller and totally free), you can download them
If you want to just install the .NET Framework 3.5 runtime, you can download it

To get a bird's eye view on the most commonly .NET used classes, I'd recommend you download this poster that depicts the evolution of .NET framework class libraries, you can get it here.


Creating SQL RS Reports based on SharePoint List

MOSS 2007 is a great product from Microsoft, and SharePoint Lists offers a great solution for saving data, and acting as a backing store, and to be honest it is very tempting to use it and build custom content types then bind them to a list, or you can build the list on the fly defining the UI artifacts you want to show to end users, Lists offer sorting, filtering, grouping, paging, minor/major versioning, and creating out of the box custom views, for printout purposes users can creat their views and then print it right away from IE, but that's not the perfect solution for reports especialy if your uses want to show custom reports with company's logo or adding a footer showing number of the records in the list.

MOSS offers wonderful and consistent UI, but for reporting it shows limitations, imagine you want to create a custom SQL Reporting Services ( RS ) report using a SharePoint list or document library as a data source, unfortunately SharePoint is not offering this, nor SQL RS, and it seems I am not the only guy on the planet who suffers from this, I have been searching around, and I can summarize the workarounds I have come to in the following points ( using the XML data source that SQL RS is offering) :
  • You can give the URL of the RSS of SharePoint list or document library.
  • You can call the respective webservice for the lis or document library.

As you can see, both solutions are not efficient and might offer slow performance.

SQL Server 2005 SP2 is offering out of the box support for RS reports, in a nutshell it's a SQL RS Add-in for MOSS 2007, you can run in two modes either Native mode or SharePoint Integration mode, or you can run both at the same time, what's new about SP2 is that you can save your RS reports in a document library and get the features of the library such as checkin/out and versioning, also using a click-once smart client application you can let your users compose their own reports, but first you will have to design the data source, and then they can desing the UI part.

I hope in future service packs or releases, Microsoft offers a direct integration for reporting in SharePoint as so many solutions are based on saving data in lists and libraries, but when it comes to reporting SharePoint offers a limited support for reports.!

Please refer to the following links to get more information: