Monthly Archives: June 2014

Hadoop and Power Pivot courses in the works

Doug Ortiz, PowerPivot instructor

Doug Ortiz, Power Pivot instructor

We here in the LearnNowOnline production department have been busy with back-to-back shoots for two popular technologies that help you manage and analyze your data.

Barry Solomon was here covering Hadoop. Hadoop is a syntax based OS and application used to manage large data files. By large I mean data files that gets into terabytes of size. With many new ways of covering data these days it gets more and more important that companies have a way to manage this large amount of data. Hadoop works from a VM and then is used to connect to the database files. The course we’re working on will cover the “why” and “how” for Hadoop.

Last week we began production on our Power Pivot fundamentals courses with Doug Ortiz. Once you have all that data mentioned above, how do you use it effectively? Power Pivot helps a company to analyze that data. It is an add-on for Excel and can be run in a SharePoint environment. Power Pivot gives users the ability to import millions of lines of data from several database sources. Once the data is in Excel, a company then can use the Excel’s tools to help sort the data and use the analytical capabilities, such as Data Analysis Expressions (DAX).

Our new courses for Hadoop and Power Pivot are scheduled to be released in July. Watch our web site for more information.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

Cross Platform Development with Xamarin

crossplatformxamarinbwithWC

This week Wally McClure presented the webinar Cross Platform Development with Xamarin. He shared great information about using Xamarin to create mobile applications for iPhones and Android-based phones using Portable Class Libraries. If you missed the webinar and are interested, you can view the replay now. In fact, recordings of all of our past webinars are now available on our web site on our webinar archive page – check it out!

Our next free webinar, Getting Started with AngularJS with John Culviner, will take place on Wednesday, July 9th. This session will cover why AngularJS is quickly becoming one of the most popular frameworks for building HTML and JavaScript applications. Register now

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

Making Sense of One ASP.NET

makingsenseaspnet

Last week we held our Making Sense of One ASP.NET webinar, presented by expert Mike Benkovich. If you missed the live event, you can watch the recording now. In this session, Mike took us through the new features of .NET 4.5.1 and how you can use them to build responsive, connected, and modern web solutions with ASP.NET. Thanks for a great event, Mike!

Our next webinar, Cross Platform Development with Xamarin with Wallace McClure, will be held on Wednesday, June 25th at 11:00 a.m. CDT. Register now

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.

8 Key Players in Your SharePoint Rollout, Part 2

SharePointRolesCloud

In my 5/12/2014 post I took a look at one of the main reasons many SharePoint installations fail—lack of user buy-in. One of the best ways to get buy-in is through SharePoint education. Then in my 5/29/2014 post, I began to look at some of the primary roles within a company that are involved in planning and implementing SharePoint. I covered how targeted and structured training within these roles can create an environment where communication can flow freely, resulting in SharePoint deployments with a high rate of success.

In this post, let’s take a look at the remaining roles within a typical SharePoint deployment, and why they also need a solid understanding of SharePoint in order to obtain buy-in, and thereby create the necessary steps to insure a high level of success.

Developers

Developers are given the task of implementing the business logic that controls the document flow within SharePoint. Typically this should be the most obvious place to throw training dollars, but surprisingly many companies don’t believe it necessary. They feel SharePoint development is no different than any other Web development so why bother. Unbeknown to them, they have now greatly increased their chances of stepping on one of the biggest landmines in SharePoint deployment—code from an uneducated developer. SharePoint provides a very powerful framework that gives developers a huge amount of leeway on how they can extend it. Not taking the time to understand the pros and cons of all options can jeopardize the security, stability and maintainability of a SharePoint installation.

SharePoint can also suffer from poor coding practices. There are many development tools and concepts that can be leveraged to extend SharePoint from C# to MVC, from JavaScript to Entity Framework. Each area can introduce a weak spot if developers are not up to speed on the latest coding practicing or versions. Companies that want to maximize their chance of a successful deployment should make sure that their development teams have the right knowledge so they can make the best decisions and build components and workflows that are rock solid.

Designers

Depending on the size of the company, the design of the SharePoint site might be controlled by a team other than developers. Designers are responsible for the look and feel of the site and likely do not have a strong programming background. They may control areas like images, color, fonts, logos, layout, and branding that are implemented throughout the site.

Since part of the success of any SharePoint deployment is getting your employees to use it, attention to design and the user experience cannot be overlooked. Your design team needs to become familiar with SharePoint and understand how people will use it, so they can then design a solution that is easy to use and increases productivity. Any solution that creates a burden on performing even the simplest of tasks will not be adopted.

Administrators

Another key role in the deployment of any SharePoint installation is the administrator role. This person is the infrastructure guru that is ultimately responsible for allocating internal resources and installing all the services necessarily to get SharePoint up and running. The administrator will, of course, be guided by the detailed plans laid out by the infrastructure architect. Clearly this is a role that needs to have a firm understanding of SharePoint. Bad decisions by the administrator could lead to security breaches, loss of documents, degraded performance and/or site outages. Each of these could break the trust of its users, leading to a slow adoption curve or even no adoption at all.

Site Owners

Once SharePoint is installed and operational, the task of configuring SharePoint falls to the site owner. In many smaller installations, the site owners and champions will be the same person. Since the champion role requires a much deeper understanding of SharePoint, and therefore much more training, many larger companies may elect to limit the number of champions to what they need, and instead have additional site owners.

To make SharePoint more manageable, companies will break up SharePoint in many ways (by department, region, floor, rolling dice, etc.) since it is impractical for one person to manage it at the global level. By dicing the site up into pieces, individual site owners can customize the look and feel, as well as security, to meet the direct needs of that group.

Site owners are like mini-administrators. They have full control over their little piece of SharePoint and are responsible for creating and managing their site or sites. This may include the type of templates and document libraries used, as well as creating users and assigning access rights. There are still needs that would require going to the company administrator…for example, if their site runs low on storage space.

Even at this level, education and training is very important because these site owners need to understand how to do the tasks necessary so their users have a positive and engaging experience. This is the last group to influence SharePoint before it goes live.

Power Users and Business Users

Now that your SharePoint is live, the education needs don’t stop. You’ll likely have hundreds or even thousands of employees who can now take advantage of the power of SharePoint. But will they use it if they don’t understand it? Often users tend to get intimidated by SharePoint. They have been doing things one way for so long that it is difficult to trust that a new way would be better. The quickest way to gain trust and increase engagement with SharePoint is through training—successful SharePoint deployments always include training for their general users. That way they can feel comfortable working in this new environment right off the bat, and can more easily trust that this new way of doing things will be a better and more productive way than before.

In Summary

Creating a successful SharePoint deployment requires a conscious buy-in to the solution that starts from the top of the organization chart all the way down. Any member of the team who doesn’t understand or doesn’t trust the solution will be a kink in the armor. Too many kinks will cause the solution to stall, falter or fail. To get everyone’s buy-in, the best prescription is education. By training the top, you can be sure that the design and necessary resources will meet the needs of the business. By training architects, developers and administrators, you can be assured that the installation is rock solid and performs well. By training at the user level, you can be confident that the solution will be adopted and the company will reap the benefits.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to one our indispensable SharePoint gurus and instructors, Philip Wheat, who assisted me in putting some of the content together for this blog series.

About the Author

martysMartin Schaeferle is the Vice President of Technology for LearnNowOnline. Martin joined the company in 1994 and started teaching IT professionals nationwide to develop applications using Visual Studio and Microsoft SQL Server. He has been a featured speaker at various conferences including Microsoft Tech-Ed, DevConnections and the Microsoft NCD Channel Summit. Today, he is responsible for all product and software development as well as managing the company’s IT infrastructure. Martin enjoys staying on the cutting edge of technology and guiding the company to produce the best learning content with the best user experience in the industry. In his spare time, Martin enjoys golf, fishing, and being with his wife and three teenage children.

Training or reference material?

newdudethinking

Just like all of us learn in different ways, each of us also has different uses and needs for our technology training resources. When it’s time to find a training or reference tool, what is right for you?

Do you go for the least expensive and save a few bucks? Do you look for volume and choose the solution with the most hours of training? Do you choose a training tool or a reference tool…or can one solution give you both?

In most cases, the cheapest or largest learning solution will not be the answer you need. For example, if you need to learn a technology from start to finish, a YouTube video isn’t going to get the job done. If you need some quick help with a project, taking a week-long class is going to be overkill.

I have heard many people say, “I paid for a training solution, but once I started using it, it wasn’t able to solve my problem.” That’s why I think it’s always best to look beyond price and volume of training initially, and instead take a few moments to clarify your needs and what issues you are trying to solve. Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • What is your learning style? (see my April 28 and May 15 posts)
  • Are you new to development/programming, or are you experienced?
  • Are you looking to solve problems or learn specific new skills?
  • Do you need to learn a new technology from scratch?

Your answers to these questions are going to point you in the direction of the right learning resource. Ideally the ultimate learning tool has it all. It supports your learning style(s); it’s versatile for all skill levels; and it’s flexible enough to serve as both an in-depth training resource for new skills and technologies, as well as on-the-spot reference material to help you with your day-to-day questions.

There are a lot of training tools out there, but for Developers and IT Pros, I truly think we’ve got the best. We have built our learning material to be an excellent resource no matter what your learning style, and have designed our solution so you can learn a topic or technology from intro to advanced, as well as use it as ongoing reference material. And as your needs change (you become more experienced, you have new projects and technologies to tackle, you get a new job), our up-to-date content and versatile delivery will continue to help you get the job done.

Give us a try and see what you think.

In future blogs I will discuss what makes the best reference material and the best training material. Stay tuned…

About the Author

Craig PhotoCraig Jensen is the President and CEO of LearnNowOnline. Craig has led the company’s change from instructor-led classroom training, to self-study CD/DVD training, to the award winning online learning solutions offered today. Craig is passionate about helping individuals and businesses of all sizes solve their problems through practical learning and technology. He is involved in setting direction for the company, including selecting training content for development with resources to support all learning styles. He is also involved in The CEO Roundtable organization in the Twin Cities as well as the Minnesota High Tech organization. In his spare time, Craig loves to travel, golf, and partake in water sports of all kinds.

Introduction to AngularJS with John Culviner

Watch the trailer for “AngularJS: Getting Started.

Watch the trailer for “AngularJS: Getting Started.

AngularJS is an open source MVC framework for efficiently creating dynamic views in a web browser using HTML and JavaScript. It is being actively developed by Google and others who are investing time and money to make it a great framework. AngularJS has been described as the “one framework to rule them all” by Brad Green, director of engineering and manager of AngularJS at Google.

The LearnNowOnline production team has been working with expert John Culviner to create two new courses that explore AngularJS, including how it compares to other libraries such as jQuery, Backbone, and similar technologies; and examples covering Directives, Controllers, Filters and the like.

AngularJS: Getting StartedNow available
AngularJS: Singular Page ApplicationComing June 10th

John is an independent software consultant who works extensively with AngularJS and .NET, and is a JavaScript single page application guru. In our AngularJS: Getting Started course, he makes the bold statement that from what he’s seen, AngularJS appears to be the number one framework out there. See if you agree! Log in to your account to start learning about AngularJS now, or visit our web site to learn more about available courses.

About the Author

BrianBlogpicBrian Ewoldt is the Project Manager for LearnNowOnline. Brian joined the team in 2008 after 13 years of working for the computer gaming industry as a producer/project manager. Brian is responsible for all production of courses published by LearnNowOnline. In his spare time, Brian enjoys being with his family, watching many forms of racing, racing online, and racing Go-Karts.