In the few months that I have been working for myself I have learned a whole heap of new skills and expanded on number of my existing skills, so I thought I’d start to document a few of them.
GoodBarry / Business Catalyst
I first came across GoodBarry at BarCamp #3 early in 2008 and thought, great idea, I’d like to know something more about that. Late last year I had the chance. I’m doing some contract work for a GoodBarry partner building GoodBarry sites. I’m also setting up one for my sister, just to practice with the GoodBarry platform even more. I love the GoodBarry concept – a complete tool for online businesses. My sister currently has a website with hosting, an online shop, a payment gateway, and a mailing list app – all costing lots of dollars each per month, and the look and feel of jumping from the website to the online shop is not consistent. With a GoodBarry site, it is all in the one place with consistent look and feel for a very small monthly fee – including hosting!
So I have well and truly got stuck into knowing everything I can about how to build a GoodBarry site. There is just so much you can do with this platform, it’s quite amazing, and they are always adding new features that make it even better. Of course, as with any packaged system there are some limitations as to what you can do, but in most cases you can work around it.
The site I’m building for my sister is an exercise in minimalist styling and trying to use the templates out of the box that GoodBarry provides. I’ve had to make some small changes to the layout and CSS but overall it looks quite good as a basic template. (I will post a link to the site once it’s live).
So have a look at the site’s I’ve been part of – I’m quite proud of them
- www.reportsurfer.com – a site to upload, share and run Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services reports. The reports list is a GoodBarry web app with some custom CSS. Next steps is to make it a full social networking community once GoodBarry release some new features.
- www.angrykoala.com.au – a website showcasing the business of Angry Koala – a Microsoft Partner specialising in Business Intelligence. There is a lot of lovely graphics and CSS on this site, but it still is a GoodBarry site underneath.
SQL Server / Microsoft Products
I’ve been doing a small project on SQL Server for a client and any hesitation that I may have had that I had not used SQL in a while has well and truly gone, and I am tackling different things every day and increasing my skillset with SQL Server all the time. Things I’ve been doing are:
- Merge Replication
- Backups and Maintenance Plans
- Scheduled Jobs
- Server Roles and security
- SSIS packages, including migrating from DTS packages on an old SQL Server 2000 box and using BIDS to build the packages
- General Transact SQL statements
And I just love that this is all able to be done remotely from my desktop logging into 4 different servers to keep an eye on how they are going.
Also on the Microsoft front I have been getting much more familiar with Microsoft CRM and other Dynamics products like AX and NAV via some downloaded VPC’s from Microsoft. I already knew a fair bit about CRM and NAV but it’s good to keep my hand in and discover and learn some new things.
Word Development / Confluence
I’ve just completed a nice little word development project to set up a small business with excellent looking, well functioning templates, complete with lots of autotext entries. I love doing this stuff because it is very easy for me and it’s something I can do really well.
I’ve also been playing with Confluence to try to convince them that Confluence is the way to go for their team collaboration. I love Confluence and would recommend it to any business that either has SharePoint (as an add-on to SharePoint) or for a small business that can’t afford SharePoint. Confluence even has pricing specials on at the moment that makes it even more affordable for a small team – and they will host it for you.
I went to a user group a few weeks ago on SharePoint and I rediscovered my passion for it, so much so that I would really like to work with SharePoint full time. Doing SharePoint and integration with other MS apps in the business. It was confirmed to me that yes, I do know my stuff with SharePoint and I can go into a business and add value to them from day one in their SharePoint implementation. Yes, there is still a heap I need to learn about SharePoint but I think that’s the case with most people too.
So yes, I have been keeping busy and keeping my hand in to existing products that I have previously used and learning a whole heap of new stuff along the way.
UPDATE: The Angry Koala site is now live (www.angrykoala.com.au) and it looks fantastic (I didn’t do the beautiful design I just built the site in GoodBarry).