I’m Andrew Connell, a web developer from St Johns, Florida who loves to learn new things in tech and help others learn them too. Microsoft has recognized me every year since 2005 with their annual MVP Award . I’ve been teaching for over 15 years in just about every way you can. During most of that time I’ve focused on enterprise platforms such as Microsoft’s .NET Framework, Office platform, SharePoint and Microsoft Azure. Lately, this has translated to emerging technologies such as Node.js, Angular, and Docker.
I share this knowledge in the various classes I’ve taught (both in-person and online), sessions at international conferences, on my blog and in the podcast I co-hosted from 2013 through 2022 (the Microsoft Cloud Show . Today the best vehicle for me to help people is with video, and that is why I’ve started Voitanos.
I started my technology-focused blog in 2003 as my own personal tech journal but over the years it became my publishing platform. Over time, my blog became a trusted resource in the industry and continues through today.
The natural progression from writing blog posts is to work on a bigger and more structured project. This means writing a book! After contributing to numerous books as a co-author and many technical articles ( which you can find in this list of publications and books on my Amazon author page ), I wrote my first book, Professional SharePoint 2007 Web Content Management Development .
In 2009 I co-founded an in-person classroom training company, Critical Path Training, that focused on Microsoft Office and SharePoint related courses. During this time I learned a lot about the training business, what worked and what didn’t work so well. Classroom training is a great resource, but in today’s world of frequently improving products and rapid releases, a one-time classroom experience doesn’t work in favor of a video based offering that can be easily updated. I owned and operated Critical Path Training with my business partner until early 2013 when I sold my interest to seek new challenges.
I spent a lot of time authoring technical courses while involved with Critical Path Training. These were big courses too!
After Critical Path Training, I continued writing courses for customers including Microsoft. Microsoft hired me numerous times to write courses for their Microsoft Learning site including 30+ modules across learning paths 5+ supporting self-paced learning for the [now retired] MS-600 exam on topics like Microsoft 365 Fundamentals , Microsoft Identity , Microsoft Graph , Microsoft Teams , SharePoint Framework , and Office Add-ins .
I’m also the author of the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program training course among many others.
During all this time I was working my way up through the ranks of presenting at user groups, regional conferences ultimately moving up to major international conferences.
Throughout the years I’ve been fortunate enough to share what I’ve learned at conferences like Microsoft’s TechEd, Build , Ignite , the Microsoft 365 Collaboration Conference (formerly the SharePoint Conference), the European SharePoint Conference , 365 EduCon (formerly SPFest), Angular’s ngConf & AngularU , SPTechCon , and SP Live360 , among many others all around the world in North America, Europe, Asia & Australia.
I get a rush in sharing knowledge and making sure the people who attend have fun learning too!
Another education vehicle I’ve used is video. I’ve published numerous on-demand video courses through Pluralsight, a popular platform… you can the list of nearly 20 courses I’ve published on my bio page on Pluralsight .
This experience of publishing my own courses on another platform for me thinking about the ideal educational experience. On-demand video nailed it, but I wanted more flexibility in how my content was delivered and how people could consume it.
Which Brings Me To 👉 Voitanos
I believe that on-demand video-based training is one of the most effective ways to learn. You not only get to see how someone does something but as an instructor, you can convey excitement and passion that you simply can’t do in print.
So why did I start Voitanos? Voitanos is where you will find my courses going forward. This way I can control the learning experience and delivery to consumers in the way that works best for them, free from the limitations of existing platforms.
While Voitanos will initially have traditional video-based courses that have a similar delivery format to what you see in other places, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have some big & very different ideas on how to best deliver the perfect online learning experience.
From September 2003 until March 2013 the majority of my site was implemented using the SubText blogging engine & a custom skin. The site was hosted at OrcsWeb. Originally I started with the .TEXT blogging engine that was forked and dubbed SubText. This served me well for many years, but in later years the community behind SubText evaporated and it started to show it’s age.
In March 2013 I changed everything up to an open source CMS solution, OrchardCMS , and is hosted in the Microsoft cloud ( Microsoft Azure Web Sites , Azure SQL Databases & Microsoft Azure Storage . This was a much better, robust, and flexible solution for my site as I wanted a true CMS engine compared to just a blogging tool. I’ve written numerous blog posts and articles on the subject of migrating to Orchard if you’re interested.
However, over time I realized I just didn’t need the complexity of cost of a CMS. Not that there’s anything wrong with Orchard, but I wanted to go with something simpler. And so…
In August 2019 I re-launched the site again . This time, I moved away from the dynamic database set up and went with a static site. I’m using the engine Hugo to create the site and host it using Microsoft Azure . The site is automatically built & deployed using GitHub Actions .
I like the simplicity and speed of a static site. Nothing wrong with a CMS like Orchard, but I just found I didn’t need the multi-user or dynamic capabilities of a CMS anymore.