2014 Community Activities Wrap-Up

Yours truly at the MVP Summit. Silence before the storm.

Yours truly at the MVP Summit. Silence before the storm.

Last weekend I drove to Hinckley in the UK with my buddy Elio Struyf to present a session at SharePoint Saturday UK 2014. Once again it was a very nice event with a great atmosphere and a lot of opportunities to catch up with old friends. It also marked the end of a very busy year as far as my speaking engagements was concerned.

I delivered 15 talks at 12 events throughout Europe and online. Top that off with my first MVP Summit – the only conference I went to where I did not have to present a session but where I had many very interesting discussions too.

Here’s the list of where you could bump into me this year:

  • SharePoint Saturday Stockholm, January 25
  • SP24 Conference, April 16
  • SharePoint Saturday Belgium, April 26
  • SharePoint Saturday Netherlands, May 24
  • SharePoint Saturday Oslo, May 31
  • SharePoint for the IT Pro Moscow, June 4
  • ITProceed Antwerp, June 12
  • SharePoint Saturday Jersey, September 27
  • Xylos Technology Day Brussels, October 3
  • Microsoft Partner Tech Leuven, October 10
  • SharePoint Connect Amsterdam, November 18
  • SharePoint Saturday UK, November 29

I already have some conferences planned for 2015 too:

  • SharePoint Saturday Stockholm, February 14
  • SharePoint Evolution Conference, April 19-22

As always, my full speaking agenda can be found here.

Additionally, I also joined the BIWUG board last week – Belgium’s SharePoint & Office365 related User Group. A few years ago, these guys got me into public speaking in the first place so it’s very nice to join their ranks and work together to organize some awesome events. SharePoint Saturday Belgium will be back this year, we are hoping to announce the date in a few weeks.

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday UK 2014

I’ve been going to SharePoint Saturday UK since 2012, when it was still in Nottingham. Great content, great speakers and a great atmosphere. As a plus, it enables me to stay in touch with many friends in the UK SharePoint community – who I typically only see a few times a year. Last year Brett, Tony and Mark gave me the opportunity to speak and so will I be doing again this year.

I’m delivering my talk on setting up the required infrastructure to use SharePoint Hosted Apps on-premises:

SharePoint Apps for the IT Pro – What you need to know

Level: 200
Track: IT Professional

By now, every SharePoint IT Pro is probably aware of the fact that Full Trust Code (aka the farm solution) is not cool anymore. We can’t really say that we regret Microsoft’s choice for the new App model: On far too many occasions we had to watch our beloved and carefully nurtured SharePoint farm go down because some developer type messed up big time – “But it works on my machine!” Running code outside of SharePoint that can still interact with content within SharePoint sounds trivial at first but it absolutely isn’t. In this session you’ll learn how to prepare your infrastructure to run SharePoint Hosted apps reliably.


SharePoint Saturday UK 2014 is held in the Hinckley Island Hotel in Hinckley (Leicestershire) on November 29, 2014.

Registration has opened on the event website. If you’re looking for a room at the venue, there’s a nice autumn promotion going on at the moment.

Renewed as a SharePoint Server MVP

Like many of my colleagues in the SharePoint community, October 1st is the day I put all my rules about reading email aside: MVP renewal day! As this was my first renewal, it was extra special seeing the “Number of awards” on my profile page increase to 2. It’s official: I’m not a newbie anymore.

First and foremost I really want to thank my employer Xylos for supporting my community activities in such a fantastic way. I’m privileged to work for a company that not only values my contributions to the worldwide SharePoint community but also actively supports them in a way that not many companies would.

Looking back at the events I presented at this year also makes me want to thank all my friends in the SharePoint community for having me speak at their events and for being such an awesome bunch altogether. And of course I also want to thank my wife and daughters for putting up with all these trips.

A special thank you goes out to the organizers and fellow speakers of all events I did in the last 12 months:

  • SQL Server Days Belgium
  • SharePoint Saturday UK
  • SharePoint Saturday Stockholm
  • SP24 Conference
  • SharePoint Saturday Belgium
  • SharePoint Saturday Netherlands
  • SharePoint Saturday Oslo
  • SharePoint 2013 for the IT Pro Moscow
  • ITPROceed Belgium
  • SharePoint Saturday Jersey

In a few weeks I’ll be going on my first MVP Summit. I’m pretty excited about going, especially because it’s my first trip to the States – No, I never made it to the SharePoint Conference unfortunately. The Summit itself is under strict NDA so I won’t be discussing much in public however.

Back to London! Speaking at the SharePoint Evolution Conference 2015


In a rather bold move, Steve Smith and his team at Combined Knowledge asked me to speak at the SharePoint Evolution Conference again. I’ve missed their 2014 road show but attended all five previous conferences. In 2013 I was selected to speak for what would be my first international speaking engagement. Since then I’ve done many talks in many countries but the Evolution Conference will always be near and dear to my heart.

When I first went to London in 2009 for the inaugural European SharePoint Best Practices Conference I was relatively new to SharePoint and I still remember meeting a lot of thought leaders in our space for the first time. When the ashcloud struck in 2010 my flight got cancelled but still managed to get there in a last minute roadtrip. A lot of overseas speakers had to cancel but nevertheless the team delivered an awesome conference once again. In 2011 and 2012 I participated in the live blogging initiative – it’s not easy to write all these blog posts and still get to enjoy the conference, but I still had a great time.

Although I knew that the team does their best to not only deliver the best content presented by the best speakers out there, the London conference is also known for its superb entertainment and evening activities. But it wasn’t until 2013 when I was a speaker myself that I fully realized that Combined Knowledge sets the standard for all conferences out there. A great atmosphere amongst the speakers, plenty of time to have fun and a superb speaker dinner in the Tower Bridge.

If you want to share in the excitement, head over to the conference website and register now! You won’t be dissapointed. http://sharepointevolutionconference.com/

I’m presenting the following sessions:

SharePoint farm architecture – Using Host Named Site Collections

When it comes to your next SharePoint farm architecture, it’s essential to reduce complexity as much as possible. One of the common pitfalls is creating too many web applications and application pools. This session will discuss the reasoning behind that decision, the consequences and how we can improve. Deploying a farm solution across 20 web applications is no big fun, and fighting memory pressure isn’t either. We’ll look at some techniques and good practices that you can use when designing your next SharePoint farm. Keeping it simple is key to a predictable, supportable and performing deployment. One of the tools in your belt are host-named site collections. We’ll see how they match up to the traditional path-based approach as well as their main advantages and disadvantages both from a technical and organizational perspective. Make your next on-premises farm future-proof and cloud-ready

Publishing SharePoint with the Web Application Proxy

Now that Microsoft has discontinued its ForeFront products line, SharePoint professionals have to look for another way to publish their environments to the internet. The Web Application Proxy (WAP) – introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2 – does just that. Based upon Active Directory Federation Services it enables you to set up a reverse proxy server with advanced capabilities, even if you’re just running Windows authentication. This session will look at its feature set, how to set it up and how to enable more advanced scenario’s like using SAML claims, publishing SharePoint apps and multi-factor authentication. WAP can also be your first step towards a hybrid SharePoint deployment, so this session will also get you one step further down that road.