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SSW Update - May 2001

Office XP - What's in it for me?

27-30 May, 2001, Sydney, Australia
Be among the first to get in-depth training on Office XP and Office 2000. Get in-depth looks at leveraging .NET and deploying Office XP, as well as great sessions on XML, Outlook/Exchange, and SQL Server.
Every attendee gets a FREE copy of Microsoft Office XP Developer!

User group meeting

The Access/SQL Server/ASP.Net Users Group
Wednesday, May 16 2001, 5:45 pm



At this months User Group Adam Cogan will explain what Office XP means to you as a developer. This session focuses on getting the most out of Office XP and includes demos of the new capabilities for Individuals and Teams.

PC User Magazine said that "Office 2002 is strong on collaboration and the Web. On these scores alone it will deserve attention if you're trying to make the Web work for your business."

See You There! | Sorry I can't make it

Don't forget that as Microsoft have moved to new premises, so has the User Group. Need a Map?


Remember Ken Getz from the User Group in March? He is back in town!

The ODDC Conference - Pre and Post Conference Tutorials
In addition to all the other sessions you can attend at the upcoming Office Deployment and Development Conference (ODDC) in Sydney, 28 May through 29 May, don't forget that you can attend pre- and post-conference tutorials, as well. On Sunday, 27 May, Ken Getz will be presenting two half-day seminars, 'Getting Started with XML' and 'Making the Most of XML', where you can learn how and why you could make use of XML in your applications. On the same day, Brian Randell will be digging into the workflow, digital dashboard, and other new features in MOD 2002, in his sessions: 'A Developer's Jumpstart: Office XP and Microsoft Office XP Developer', and 'Advanced Microsoft Office Developer'.

On 30 May, after the conference, take the opportunity to get started with .NET! Ken and Brian will be presenting together (if you've heard these guys, you know that this promises to be an enlightening and entertaining day) 'Getting Started with .NET' and 'Expanding your .NET Horizons', working their way through as many .NET features as is humanly possible in a single day. On the same day, Don Kiely will be providing two half-day sessions on SQL Server 2000: 'Introduction to SQL Server 2000' and 'Office VBA Programming with SQL Server.'

This is a great opportunity to learn about XML, SQL Server 2000, MOD XP, and .NET, so sign up now. Drop by for more information on these tutorials. If you have questions about the content of their sessions, contact Ken or Brian at and

CroissantSSW Tech Breakfast - SharePoint Portal Server
Make the most of your day by starting off with an SSW Tech Breakfast. The SSW Tech Breakfast is a great way to get to know what is good and bad about the latest technologies. You take away real knowledge of what you can do to benefit your business. The next breakfast is on Tuesday May 15 on SharePoint Portal Server. Register here

SSW Eats It's Own Dog Food Yet Again!
SSW has installed SharePoint Portal Server as a replacement for it's intranet and has built solutions using this technology for a number of it's clients. Portal Server definitely needs a well spec'd machine; Microsoft recommend a dual processor! but the reports from the guys in the office are that it's very usable on a single proc with 512MB of RAM. It is a great way of finding information, and there were whoops of delight every time we created new web parts for it!

50 Days to Register!
Do you have illegal software on your network? Can you be certain you have a license? If you are running illegal software you run the risk of heavy fines. However, there is a solution! The BSAA (Business Software Association of Australia) is currently in the middle of a 60 day truce, recognised by Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia and other software providers, which will allow you to register your illegal software with no threat of litigation.

In the old days you might have got away with being slack. This days it is a different sorry. SSW can provide a software audit and related services, if you want assistance contact 696e666f72407373772e636f6d2e6175 at SSW.

MSDN research

As a few of you may know I was recently appointed an MS Regional Director. I am happy to report that this position comes with some perks, so I was flown to Redmond this month for some .NET training and there's a few points of interest and concerns which I'd like to share.

BTW - Microsoft headquarters is not one massive office block as I had expected, but a whole bunch of buildings, much like a University campus. It is huge, it is like every campus in Australia joined together! All the walking involved must be Bill's way of keeping the geeks fit.

Anyway, everyone over there is going crazy about browser-based solutions. Browser Based Solutions are great, but everyone seems to be over-exaggerating the demise of "rich" windows clients. I feel too much emphasis is being placed on browser-based clients.

Windows-based clients are richer and Power Users know it. Even a regular User often feels something is missing. I recently gave a user their new web based application - which replaced their old and cranky Access app. All Mary does is find and enter data, but she said "it feels like I have taken a step backwards: it's a little slower, the right-click menus have gone and I have to use the mouse more often."

Web Services are very important feature of .NET, but are developers being made aware that they can take advantage of them in Windows clients? I haven't heard a speaker from Microsoft talk about it. Did You know Napster (one of the most popular, recent Web-based technologies) is built around a Windows client, not a browser. The Windows clients is taking advantage of a kind of Web Service. Now I know that they are being screwed in the legal system and the service is all but useless, but if they ever release a new version, I expect it would be based on VB.Net and Web Services.

So Access/VB/Winforms are cool because of their richness. So when we are developing a browser based front end we keep this in mind. Here are a few ways you can also make your web based forms richer:

  • Use Drag and Drop (you'll need a control)
  • Use Drop down menus
  • Use Toolbars
  • Use Right click menus (you'll need a control)
  • Use Double Clicks (why do developers seem to forget about them when developing web pages)
  • Use Default Buttons (good luck)
  • If it is an intranet make sure you can design for IE5 and higher. In today's world there really is only one browser to worry about. It is not worth designing for that other browser...what is it called? Opera (BTW that is a joke, I don't want Netscape hate mail).

Get your developers using Outlook Web Access - part of Exchange 2000 - it is richest based web interface I have seen to date, and a great way for you to see what is possible.

In the meantime, don't get led astray by the fanfare of browser-based development. Choose the client that makes the most sense for your users. If none of your users are mobile currently, you should still architect your applications to allow for new UI layers in the future (whether they be Windows CE, .NET compact framework, HTML, DHTML, WAP, or whatever-based). Continue to look at and learn about .NET technologies as it is what you will be using in the very near future.

And also, a plea to Bill - my legs are killing me, invest in some golf buggies for getting around your small town, know by all Microsofties as 'Corp'!

Cheers until next time,
Got a comment for Adam? Email Adam

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