Careers: Interviews
Yaroslav Pentsarskyy, Top Expert in SharePoint and custom .NET solution architecture and implementation, Microsoft Certified Application Developer

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., ITCP, MVP, DF/NPA, CNP has an exclusive interview with Yaroslav Pentsarskyy.

Yaroslav PentsarskyyYaroslav is currently involved in SharePoint and custom .NET solution architecture and implementation at Hot Tomali Communications. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and is a Microsoft Certified Application Developer with an extensive development portfolio involving medium and large businesses, non-profit and government organizations.

Yaroslav has been involved in software development since 2000 and is highly passionate about his work.

Yaroslav ensures project success through close and continuous interaction with end users and stakeholders throughout each phase of the application development lifecycle. He applies Rapid Application Development techniques and methods to ensure solution efficiency and quality. Yaroslav enjoys actively contributing to the widespread technical community. He shares his ideas and findings with user group members by presenting at local events, online community, and his blog:

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:41: Yaroslav shares what triggered his initial interest in computing science.

:00:59: Yaroslav, you are a Microsoft Certified Application Developer; what does this mean?
"....MCAD is Microsoft's way to certify individual technical knowledge. It's also a great tool to measure your own skills...."

:01:29: How would you define collaboration today, and how does collaboration benefit organizations? What is SharePoint's role in all this?
"....I would define collaboration as sharing information....Any organization can benefit from collective learning and knowledge sharing. SharePoint is a set of tools that facilitates collaboration. There are probably many tools that could do what SharePoint can, but it's that specific set and ease of use that makes SharePoint unique...."

:02:42: Can you share your expertise on Rapid Application Development techniques and methods when developing custom solutions for SharePoint?
"....Rapid Application Development is a set of industry proven practices that make software development more robust, efficient and ready for change. My favorite RAD best practices for SharePoint are: Daily Build, Evolutionary Delivery, Inspections, Miniature Milestones, just to name a few...."

:03:28: What are your views on taking the most out of the SharePoint framework, advanced configuration over developing custom components?
"....My main recommendation is that even when you are a developer, learn the basics of SharePoint, then advanced configuration, then move on to development...."

:05:18:  Please share your lesson on: advanced SharePoint customizations: branding, workflows, event handlers, web-parts, leveraging alert framework.
"....Customization: If you need to make a change, always create new definitions since out-of-the-box components can be easily broken either by you or by the next product or system update....Workflow: Check community or vendor offerings before developing your own workflow....Event handlers: Use community tools for deployment of your custom event handlers....Web-parts: Check out SmartPart solutions available from community CodePlex....Leveraging alert framework: Have a solid understanding of client needs before going to in-depth deploying of your own custom modules for exploring it...."

:07:35: What are your tips on SharePoint integration with custom solutions, back end processes, and legacy systems?
"....Try not to clutter your SharePoint system with too much of the functionality. The main purpose of SharePoint is to provide a platform for collaboration....When working with other custom solutions or legacy systems - design for a change. If you require one calculated value from the legacy system, make it configurable on the receiving end....To reduce application maintenance, make your solution very configurable using options or admin interface...."

:08:47: Can you provide more details on Content Management Solutions: Architecture and implementation, and building appealing and robust systems with MS Office SharePoint Server or Telerik Sitefinity?
"....There are a number of surprises when building solutions for the web: security issues, browser compatibility, performance, usability, integration with other components (like Flash). MS Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) is a great platform to build internet facing websites in medium and large sale organizations....However, it's a journey - your site needs to be supported, maintained, daily issues need to be resolved, the infrastructure monitored. This applies very much to MOSS-driven internet websites simply because they are larger scale solutions....Sitefinity is a great example of a simple and efficient Content Management System (CMS) that compares to MOSS in many features....With Sitefinity I still have access to a variety of tools available on MOSS. You can find a comparison whitepaper on my blog where I compare two CMS in terms of implementing internet facing sites...."

:11:25: What would you say are the top 10 resources in Collaboration for IT professionals?
"....TechNet (blogs), MSDN (blogs), SharePoint blogs, SharePoint MVPs blog, Technorati, SSWUG.ORG, Local SharePoint and non-SharePoint user groups, local conferences (, worldwide conferences ("

:12:29: Can you share your top tips for using SharePoint as an application development platform?
"....By learning out-of-the-box features you will learn why various components were architected the way they were and what is the best approach to architecting your own modules....Prepare for many surprises. The SharePoint platform is a complex set of features. Techniques you're used to in .NET development may not be efficient when developing with SharePoint....Utilize online resources....."

:13:24: How can you extract business intelligence from SharePoint?
"....There are various features available out-of-the-box that in one way or another contribute to SharePoint business intelligence (BI) capability: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Excel Services and many 3rd party tools, (for instance Bamboo Solutions.....Performance Point)....To compare Excel services (which is sort of the main BI tool right now) to Performance Point: With Excel services we get kind of an entry level BI more for smaller and medium scale implementations. Performance Point is an evolution of BI and brings more great features...."

:14:55: What are your key lessons for writing secure applications layered on top of SharePoint?
"....Don't overuse permission elevation....Be cautious with what you drop into your Global Assembly Cache....Always ensure you verify which users are able to access your components and features...."

:17:06: What tips can you provide for working with structured and unstructured data in SharePoint?
"....My main tip is to start with out-of-the-box capabilities and exhaust built-in options before moving on to building custom components...."

:18:30: Predict how collaboration will evolve in the next two years and then five years.
"....I think next peak of collaboration will involve mobile devices being more accessible to more people and more user interaction tools available due to less costly bandwidth. In terms of five years, I see organizations accessing the collective employee knowledge pool.... Online video will be evolving more than ever. Online learning courses, webcasts will provide more interactive content because it's simply easier to record it and view it...."

:19:44: Yaroslav shares a story centered around his work.

:21:01: The UN-founded International Federation for Information Processing or IFIP has their Professional Practice Partnership Program which received full ratification at the world general assembly in August 2007 with their first implementation meeting in Montreal hosted by CIPS in October. This marks an historical inflection point and speaks to IT as a recognized profession with global standards, profession-based code of ethics, and widely adopted professional certification-all happening in 2009. Can you provide your comments?
"....The program will help to establish standards and recognize organizations following those standards. Similar practices have been implemented for many years in more established disciplines such as law, medicine etc. IT is a vital link in a world's economy, culture, education and various other dimensions. As we're continuously moving into the digital age, Professional Practice Partnership Program will guide the industry and ensure quality and professionalism in organizations across the world...."

:22:21: Are there any other questions that would you ask and what would be your answers if you were doing this interview?
"....Is SharePoint mainly for Enterprise-level organizations?...."


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