Monday 31 May 2010

New Business Intelligence Features in Sharepoint 2010

This is a cross post from the ErgoGroup Blog

Now that the dust has settled after the release of the new 2010 editions of SharePoint and Office and also the new release of SQL Server 2008 R2, we can take a look at the new Business Intelligence features that have been added to these products. Some of the features are brand new while others have been updated.

So lets first look at two of the new features for Business Intelligence that are in SharePoint 2010.


PowerPivot_Logo PowerPiviot or as its previous project codename “Gemini” is a new feature that allows you to move massive amounts of data around in seconds. Where before pivot tables could end up being very big and cumbersome, PowerPivot is the superhero edition, in that it can manage large volumes of data quickly and easily. In addition you can build new applications with Excel that can published to SharePoint, essentially allowing your Excel wizards to create data driven applications quickly.



You can take a look at some of the online demonstrations of PowerPivot here

Visio Services

Another new addition to SharePoint is Visio Services which allows you to share your Visio diagrams across the organization by publishing them to SharePoint. This helps to reduce licensing costs and also administrative overheads by removing the requirement for either Visio or Visio viewer to be installed on the client computer.

Additionally by using data enabled Visio diagrams you can make updatable documents with data coming from a number of data sources. In essence you will never need to manually update the document again before distribution. Multiple diagrams can be combined to give better information to your users.

SQL Server 2008 R2

Now we can take a look at the new Report Builder 3.0 that is included with SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services.

SQL Server Reporting Services has undergone an overhaul in the latest edition of SQL Server 2008 R2. The service front end has been updated with a better interface and now has AJAX support. One small thing that will make life a lot easier for the users is the addition of a cancel button if you run the wrong report by accident.

Report Builder 3.0

The new Report Builder 3.0 now has support for geo spatial data and maps which can improve the visualization of your data dramatically. Maps are a very strong visual tool and by having spatially aware data you can make your reports more interactive and give a sense of scale across distance.

Reports can also be made as ATOM feeds which means they can be consumed by standard RSS readers such as Outlook 2010 and also can be used by PowerPivot as a data source and thus making your data linking much easier and quicker.


This is only a sneak peak at some of the features that have been released as part of the toolset in Microsoft Business Intelligence stack and I will be giving a presentation on these tools and more at IT Galla 2010 in ErgoGroup Stavanger on June 3rd 2010. You can register for this event here


Monday 24 May 2010

MCITP SQL Server 2008 Database Developer : Exam 70-454

I have just finished the exam 70-454 UPGRADE: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 DBD to MCITP SQL Server 2008 DBD. This exam is an upgrade for those database developers who have already attained the MCITP Database Developer on SQL Server 2005.

As an upgrade this exam contains elements from both 70-433 and 70-451. Like upgrade exams this allows people who have already got their MCITP to combine two exams into one so that they don’t have to pay for doing both exams. By doing this exam you will get two new certifications, the MCTS SQL Server 2008 Database Development and MCITP SQL Server 2008 Database Developer.

Since I had completed the previous MCITP and I have completed upgrade style exams before, I had an idea of how to go about this exam. I looked at the major changes from SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 and made sure to cover them. Also it should be noted that this exam does not cover the new changes in SQL Server 2008 R2.

Anyways, some information about the exam. The preparation materials for this exam as a whole are fairly limited in that there is no specific book for exam 70-454. However there is book for 70-433 (I didn’t use this) though I did use my own set of posts on 70-433. Additionally there is a sample exam on Measure Up for 70-433 but there is none for 70-451.

Again like my previous post on 70-566 the issue was again how to deal with the Pro part of the exam. I used articles in the MSDN library and the SQL Server Books online as well as a copy of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Trial to make sure I could run through any of the concepts that are mentioned in the exam matrix for exam 70-451.

And finally the new logos after completing this exam

MCITP logo MCTS Logo

Tuesday 11 May 2010

SharePoint 2010 Beta Exam dates announced

So we are finally getting the information on when the SharePoint 2010 beta exams will be happening. They will be running from May 21 2010 until June 11 2010.

Registration for the exams will open May 17th at 12AM EST

If you have registered your details with the Microsoft Learning Connect site you will have received beta codes for the exams by now. If you haven’t registered yourself, they may be announced later on the MSL Born to Learn blog

Frequently Asked Questions
You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about beta exams here:

For Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) help and information, you may log in to the MCP Web site at or contact your Regional Service Center:

For updates and information about exams, visit the Born to Learn blog at:

If you have questions or comments about the Microsoft Learning Subject Matter Experts program, contact

Post DDD Scotland

Logo Another conference down and this time I was lucky to a speaker at this one. The event was Developer Days Scotland a locally organized event with local community speakers for the local community. As you can guess its about being local! Its a great event showcasing the best of the the UK talent with the odd foreign guest thrown into the mix (like myself). It was superbly organized by Colin Angus Makay, Andy Gibson, Craig Murphy and supported on the website by Phil Winstanley.

The idea behind DDD is that the sessions are submitted by the speakers and the community chooses them in the form of a vote. That way the community decides what it wants to see rather than the organisers so it remains a more democratic system. Also for the speakers it means that someone thought enough of your talk to vote for it so they might actually show up!

My session. Photo by Craig Murphy ( I presented the Defensive Programming 101 session to a fairly packed room who thankfully had great stories to share and gave me some new insights into the topic. The slide deck for this presentation is available here and the code demos are here.

I managed to poke my head in at a few sessions and caught Martin Hinshelwood’s session on Scrum with Team Foundation Server 2010 which was very informative and also gave me a load of information on how to upgrade our TFS 2005 server to 2010. 

In the speakers lounge, at times I was the only non MVP in the room, for which I got some friendly abuse and the jibes of “Sorry are you under NDA??”. It was great to be able to talk with some extremely knowledgeable people and get some extremely helpful advice on different topics that I had been looking at. Chatting to Liam Westley and I managed to get some great information on accessories for my HP laptop.

On the Friday night before the event, there was a speaker and organiser dinner where we witness to a flammability test on hair products ably demonstrated by Phil and Seb Lambla. As a public service announcement, certain hair products are highly flammable and should be kept well away from naked flames.

The post event dinner was excellent and we were treated to a very tasty Italian meal where due to some clever spotting by Phil and Liam some of us managed to order steaks much to the chagrin of the other people at our table.

Overall it was an excellent event, well run and organised and that showed in the final result. Enthusiastic speakers whose talks where chosen by the people who go to them. I think it gave me ideas and that we should run something similar in Norway. I suppose that is how it all starts really!

Photos from the event can be seen here