SharePoint, Workflow and Microsoft Search Server

Earlier this week, I headed into Microsoft’s offices in London for an evening meeting of the SharePoint User Group UK.  I’m not a SharePoint expert by any stretch of the imagination (I’ve looked at various SharePoint products over the years but have no implementation experience) but I am interested in the product’s development – particularly as it seems to me that it is finally starting to gain some traction with customers.

The first session was a deep dive into developing Workflow with SharePoint and InfoPath, presented by Chris O’Brien.  To be perfectly honest, this went a little too deep into developer concepts for me to follow, but Chris has written about it on his blog for anyone who wants the details.

The second session was presented by Andrew Woodward, who looked at Microsoft Search Server 2008.  I’m particularly interested in this as it’s only a few months since I spent some time learning about implementing enterprise Search using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and the replacement of MOSS for Search with Search Server provides many new options for federated search that will be eventually be backported into the main MOSS product (initially via Microsoft Update and then as part of MOSS 2007 service pack 2).  What’s particularly interesting is the positioning of Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express as a free product – meaning that even small businesses can afford to implement SharePoint for enterprise search (and also potentially allowing for the creation of SharePoint appliances, much like the Google Search Appliance).  There’s more about Microsoft’s enterprise search products (including Search Server) on the Microsoft website.

Overall, the evening was interesting (and well attended) – for future events, check out the SharePoint User Group UK website.

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