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Another TechEd week is behind us, and what a week it was. The big coming out party centered around Office with its pending 2007 release later this year/early next year. As usual, the best part is spending time with all the people you usually only communicate with over email and follow on the blogosphere. This year was quite different for me as I staffed the Office Technical Learning Center (TLC) as a subject matter expert for CMS and WCM. This meant I didn't get to attend many sessions, but those I did attend were fantastic.

The virtual world meets the physical... Before I go any further, I want to thank everyone who came up and introduced themselves over the course of the week. As a blogger, you just don't know who reads what you post. At times other bloggers will link to what you post, but that's only a select few. From the moment (literally, I hadn't even made it 50 feet from the bus drop-off Monday morning) TechEd started, a gentleman from Wisconsin came up, introduced himself, and said how much he enjoyed my blog. I was lucky enough to experience this a handful of times during the week. Frankly, it's a humbling experience and greatly appreciated, but most of all, it energized me to post even more. Come to think of it, I had a similar experience last year at my first TechEd.

CMS/WCM presentations/talks I also had the opportunity to offer my experience and give a general overview of the CMS Assessment Tool during Arpan's session on CMS to WCM Migration (OFC329) Thursday afternoon. Following the session, Mitch Prince (the man behind the CMS Assessment Tool and the white papers on the MSDN Migration Center) and I co-hosted a migration theater and chalk talk in the Office TLC where Mitch showed more of the reports in the tool and we talked about best practices as well as answered questions in an open forum.

Lack of CMS future awareness One constant theme during the week that floored me was how many people came to the TLC asking the same question: "so what is Microsoft doing about CMS... when will we see the next version?" While I feel Web Content Management has been under appreciated in the discussions about MOSS 2007, I didn't realize so many weren't aware of it. There was even one person I met (Tina... sorry if you're reading this, I forgot your last name) who was sent by her boss primarily to find out what was going on as she had heard there wouldn't be a next version of CMS! Thankfully she found us early in the week (Monday I think?) so we were able to give her the real story and steer her to the right sessions that week.

Let me be as clear as I can be to anyone who's a tad bit confused or not completely aware:

  • CMS 2002 is not being "upgraded"
  • CMS features have been rolled into the next version of SharePoint Server: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS)
  • MOSS is built on top of Windows SharePoint Services v3 which is built on ASP.NET 2.0
  • These features, collectively, are labeled Web Content Management and are part of a broader Enterprise Content Management strategy in MOSS that includes document management, policy & guidance (SOX, HIPPA, etc), and records management
  • CMS customers should consider MOSS, WCM specifically, as their vNext of CMS

Birds of a Feather This feature, new for TechEd 2005, was much better organized this year. During non-dining times, the meal hall was used as the BOF venue. On Tuesday night I hit Customizing SharePoint hosted by my good friend, Heather Solomon. Heather did a great job with a backed house! Shane & Amanda co-hosted, Todd, Spence, and myself were also on hand and I think each of us were able to lend a hand within our fields of focus. Only complaint: how did so many licensing questions get mixed with customization questions? Oh well, we were able to handle most of them.

I also hit Mark Miller's (of DevExpress) Refactoring BOF with my friend Greg. While a much smaller audience, it was a fantastic discussion. Afterwards a handful of us skipped the last group of BOF sessions and threw a few back. After catching the last bus, Heather, Greg, Shane, Amanda, and I grabbed a late dinner at the hotel bar... finally had some good down time hanging out with some northern friends from Canada.

Night Life The night life, as always, was a blast as well. Every night was busy, from planned dinners & parties, to the party at Fenway (separate blog post coming on that special night), and Tuesday night's Birds of a Feather night. I surprised myself, but skipped the MVP/MSFT Influencer party Wednesday night after having plenty of very late nights leading up to TechEd as well that week. But, I had to get up at 4a Thursday to prepare for my sessions.

I've uploaded all my photos from the week (not many unfortunately) to my Flickr account which you can view here.

Overall, the whole event was a blast! The day-life at the conference center was fast paced and flew by. Looking forward to next year!

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