Wrap-up from Tech.Ed 2007 (Australia)

*phew*  Just caught my breath after getting back to work following 3.5 days off-line for the annual Microsoft Tech.Ed conference, held on the Gold Coast in Queensland.   This was a great learning “experience” (the buzzword of the conference) – and lots of meet-and-greet with the K2 team.

Anthony Petro (Product Manager) and Chris Geier (K2 Underground) had made the loooong trek from the U.S. to work on the booth, and talk to customers – was great to catch up with folk I’d only spoken via email / MSN.

Opening KeyNote K2 booth @ TechEd

As well as many sessions on the Visual Studio 2008 product/s – and the other 2008 “stack” – SQL Server and Windows Server – there were three sessions about K2[blackpearl].

I was pleasantly surprised that each of these sessions were full-to-the-brim, with standing room only.  Hopefully, these can be moved to a bigger room for next year – was probably only a capacity of 60-80 people.

The three sessions built on each other – was good to see it grow & the different aspects of the black pearl platform.

(1) The first session was to show the Sharepoint designer, with the various AJAX interfaces.   A pre-built InfoPath form was used, and an expense claim process developed.   Herman Taljaard showed the ability to save the process as a CAB file, and then open within the Visual Studio designer, to extend the process.

(2)  The next day, Herman showed a process within Microsoft Visio 2007, and how to map the various shape objects to the process elements within K2.   This is a great leap forward, and will be beneficial for many business users – I’m sure most folk already map a process within Visio as a “design” (func spec) approach.

(3)  Anthony Petro was a the next presenter (product lead) – if there’s something about K2 that he doesn’t know, it doesn’t exist !    He showed the SmartObject interface, and how to create entity-relational objects – ideally suited for Line-of-business systems, or back-end applications.

There’s so many great features within K2, can’t wait to delve into some examples & try out some code.   The few Beta implementations I’ve tried were a bit problematic, some VM troubles with SharePoint to blame (most likely).   The RTM product is due any-day-now – I’ve been checking each day.

At the Tech.Ed conference, I also attended a number of Windows Workflow sessions, which showing sooo much code, and one guy joked about that it was “good for consultants” – as you could extend your contract.   Basically – ignoring business value, and (personally) grabbing more dollars.

And – he also joked about “you dev’s wouldn’t give the ability to business users, right ?”    Another dig at the K2 style’d product, which is aimed at giving power to the power-users – rather than catering to someone more interesting in job retention than “best tool for the job”.     (p.s.  the presenter was the “tool” in this case).

Enough said – it showed that K2 is a brilliant tool for productivity and functionality – sure, it costs a few $$ – but the business benefits are immense – ie. business value.   Something that the company that *I* work for endeavor to deliver to customers.

Roll on K2-BP-RTM !    *yay*

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