blue-infinity on Identity Federation and Extending SharePoint Search - TechDays 2011

For the fourth consecutive year, blue-infinity had the pleasure of speaking at Microsoft TechDays 2011, the largest Microsoft event in Switzerland, which took place in Geneva on April 5th and 6th.

For the fourth consecutive year, blue-infinity had the pleasure of speaking at Microsoft TechDays 2011, the largest Microsoft event in Switzerland, which took place in Geneva on April 5th and 6th.

The event, with almost 40 sessions, was attended by 440 people and presented the latest technological breakthroughs such as Windows Azure, Silverlight 5, HTML 5, Windows Phone 7, Office 365, SQL Server ‘Denali’ and System Center 2012 amongst others.

With blue-infinity as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we presented 2 sessions: Active Directory Federation Services Version 2, and Extending Search with SharePoint Server 2010.

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) is Microsoft’s solution to the challenges of identity federation.

With the development of the cloud, software and services are increasingly spread around the world and users must identify themselves to access these various services. Having one set of credentials would be ideal, so that users don’t need to remember usernames and passwords for each service they wish to access. Unfortunately, whilst this is usually possible in one’s own enterprise (often thanks to the implementation of Kerberos), it is still a challenge to achieve this internally, never mind in the cloud. With the implementation of ADFS however, services are federated and users are able to gain access with just one unique set of credentials – be it internally, in the cloud or at a partner organization.

Extending Search with SharePoint Server 2010 is a huge topic - a full week of discussion would not be enough to present all of the search capabilities in SharePoint Server. Therefore, we have been focusing on three main extensibility areas: End-User Enhancements, Connectivity Services and Federation.

For the end-user, one of the most important pages in a SharePoint site is the Search Center, the place where the user is going to find information. Therefore it is essential to configure this page so that it is efficient and aesthetically pleasing. At TechDays, we showed how we can, without using SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio 2010, configure the SharePoint Search Center to return only relevant information to the user within a great interface.

Searching for information also requires access to various data stores, such as databases, SAP systems, and many others. With the “Business Connectivity Services” (BCS) included in SharePoint Server 2010, it is possible to search in these underlying stores, in a transparent manner.

Finally, we spoke about query federation. With query federation, it is possible to bring external data into the SharePoint search results. What if I want to search for a consultant fulfilling a set of specific skills for a project? Perhaps I would like to search not only in my own enterprise but also on LinkedIn for example. With Query federation, I will be able to do this by federating the search results from various sources.

Our presentation on how search is easily extended with SharePoint Server 2010, is just a small example of what makes SharePoint Server one of the best collaboration platforms available today.

The recorded session can be viewed at:

http://www.microsoft.com/switzerland/msdn/fr/techdays/agenda.aspx

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About the author

Valerie Alonso

Valerie is part of the blue-infinity Solutions team and takes an active role developing relationships with our Microsoft clients and managing our partnerships.