SharePoint Down Under


Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today, it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles M. Schulz

The month of August is just around the corner, can you believe it? To us in the northern hemisphere that means the dog-days of summer are upon us. Hordes of Europeans are packing up their caravans and making the annual migration to the beach while those in North America busy themselves with backyard BBQs and their own vacation plans.

If you’re part of the SharePoint community in Australia, however, the month of August marks the beginning of winter’s end and the kickoff of 3-months worth of SharePoint Saturday events, nationwide.

ElaineWe recently caught up with Elaine Van Bergen, SharePoint MVP and community leader from the Melbourne area, to talk a bit about her journey from SharePoint novice to specialist extraordinaire, the development culture in Melbourne, her technology interests and some of the development challenges she’s faced recently.

TM: G’day, Elaine. Tell us what you’re up to at the moment.

EVB: I’m an Architect at OBS in Melbourne and a Virtual Technology Solutions Professional for Microsoft Australia. I’m also a Microsoft Office System Special Interest Group (MOSSIG) board member.

TM: How long have you been using SharePoint?

EVB: I’ve been working extensively with SharePoint since the 2001 version and have been involved in all areas of projects including gathering requirements, assisting with governance, defining infrastructure and application architecture, solution development and training.

TM: Tell us about your journey from technology enthusiast to professional developer to community leader.

EVB: I jumped into .Net programming when it was in its beta phase, and also got involved with SharePoint very early on. In both cases there wasn’t a heap of public information around on various topics so attending local user groups was a great way to find out information such as best practices or how to solve particularly difficult problems. By attending I also met a lot of people with similar technology interests. Over the years I then started to present on various topics and eventually decided to help get involved in running MOSSIG

TM: What’s the development culture like in the Melbourne area?

EVB: I think we have a great culture, plenty of active user groups and online communities with people sharing a lot of information !

TM: What development challenges have you faced recently?

EVB: With SharePoint development there is always a battle to ensure that code is developed in a best practices manner. There is still really low awareness on simple topics such as using design patters and creating a layered solution structure including unit testing. 

TM: Something tells us you like SharePoint ;) , tell us why.

EVB: I’m passionate about SharePoint. It’s an incredibly powerful platform that offers a lot through configuration , you can then really ramp it up to the next level by coding on top of it. It means that a lot of the ‘framework’ type of pieces are taken care of by the platform so things like how to store a document, search and security don’t need to be built so you can concentrate on building requirements that are more unique to the customer.

TM: What are some things you’re hoping to do with Isolator for SharePoint?

EVB: Help build more robust code by ramping up the amount of unit testing in projects that I work on.

TM: Any interesting side projects to promote?

EVB: SharePoint Saturday events coming up in Australia, I’m helping organize Melbourne but also hoping to get along to Sydney and Canberra.

SharePoint Saturday kicks-off August 7th in Sydney, followed by Canberra (September 18th) and Melbourne (October 30th).

Typemock is a proud sponsor of SharePoint Saturday in Australia. Typemock Isolator for SharePoint makes it easy to test your webparts or any other SharePoint components (including support for SharePoint 2010).