IBM ConnectED 2015 Call For Abstracts - What Do Those Tracks Mean?

So the call for abstracts are out for ConnectED 2015 this coming January.  For those of you who don’t know.. ConnectED is a very different beast that Lotusphere or even Connect prreviously. It’s intention is to be much more technical as well as smaller (encompassing the Swan only). Think of it more like a technical user group, more opportunity to learn and network.

Smaller also means fewer session slots available so you need to submit if you want to speak as soon as you can.  Call for abstracts closes on October 8th.  Some tracks are still here (yay Best Practices!) some have moved on (SNT) and some are brand spanky new!.  Take a look at the track descriptions below to find out where you fit.  I’m particularly excited about Track 6 - Beyond the Everyday which looks at pushing the boundaries of IBM technology and where it coexists with other environments.

Track ONE: Strategy and Innovation
Who should attend?: CIOs, IT managers, IT professionals of all levels

Take your collaborative environment to the next level! Laying the foundation for the week, and designed for all levels of IT professionals, this track concentrates on these brand-new, “hot-off-the-press” technology innovations coming from the IBM labs and engineers, including exciting new technologies and glimpses of the future from industry gurus. From social transformation and exceptional web experiences to adoption best practices — and with “sneak peeks” at every turn — this track will be full of sessions that you won’t see anywhere else!

Track TWO: Application Development
Who should attend?: Developers and architects of all levels

The speed of business has accelerated to meet the speed at which people interact, digitally. People are “always on”, consuming data at constant rate. Their interactions and the Internet of things, are sources of that data. Traditional business processes are expected to combine that data with that which is inherent in their systems to provide individualized experiences to end users. This experience needs to be always available and customized to the device from which they choose to access it.

In this track, application developers will learn about building applications in a world of social interaction and information. Topics will include Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, and Social, using technologies for IBM Domino, IBM Connections, and IBM Exceptional Customer and Employee Experience Suite.

Track THREE: Infrastructure and Deployment
Who should attend?: System administrators, IT managers and integrators of all levels

The Infrastructure track is at the technical heart of IBM ConnectED; these sessions will provide the knowledge you need to design, deploy and manage a collaboration infrastructure tailored to your business needs. You’ll learn planning considerations, administration/deployment techniques, and daily “tips and tricks” straight from IBM’s software architects, developers, product managers and “in-the-field” experts. Whether you’re a new systems administrator, an experienced collaboration architect, or something in between - this track will provide what you need to get to the next level.

Track FOUR: Best Practices
Who should attend?: IT managers and practitioners: application developers, system administrators, integrators; technologists of all levels

The popular Best Practices track is delivered by the community – for the community - -and is all about technical solutions that can be implemented TODAY. Whether it’s adoption or development — Domino, mobile, cloud or portal, sessions here provide tips, tricks, and quick maneuvers with a focus on learning from the experiences of others. No product or marketing sessions found here, these sessions take away pain, bring back the fun and deliver the technologies. So put on your thinking cap and see if you can create a session that will meet these standards! We want to hear from you!

Track FIVE: Spotlight on IBM Business Partners
Who should attend?: IT managers and practitioners as well as business leaders and professionals

Back by popular demand! Sessions in this track showcase the highly-acclaimed solutions that our Business Partner community is known for - with technical detail and best practices on how the solution was built! Whether your focus is social software, email, unified communications, or creating exceptional digital experiences - on-premise or in the cloud - there’s something here for you!

Track Six: “Beyond the Everyday”
Who should attend?: IT managers and practitioners: application developers, system administrators, integrators, technologists of all levels

In this track, we step outside the standard uses of our IBM technologies and see how people have combined tools and new techniques to innovate and extend what their software can do. Meeting the demands for multiple technologies, platforms, frameworks, mobile, cloud, on premises and beyond, “Beyond the Everyday” is a deep technical track where approaches will be explained and demonstrated. These sessions may feature IBM products as part of a larger story or may be entirely focused around stretching the products we know to the limits of their capabilities. One think is for certain, they all will be about new ideas and will leave the audience excited to try for themselves!

Track Seven: Chalktalk Sessions
Who should attend?: Any and all ConnectED attendees, both IT and business roles

Come one, come all! Chalktalk sessions are informal, interactive discussion groups for attendees to share ideas and experiences in an small group, and open forum setting. Feel free to submit topics that interest you, either those you would like to lead, or topics and discussions that you’d like to participate in! As a reminder, attendees build the agenda by voting on all submissions and ultimately select the sessions that will appear on the agenda. So you’ll be sure find something that’s well worth your while!

Sessions will likely focus on the areas below, but other ideas more than welcome!

  • Messaging and Collaboration
  • Social Software
  • Exceptional Digital Experience portfolio
  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • and more!

Adding External Users To Connections 5

Last week I did a presentation at Icon UK on the new Connections 5 feature that allows you to add external users into your Connections environment.  To write the presentation I built my own environment multiple times using different techniques for adding external users and discovered some interesting stuff along the way.  Since the presentation doesn’t have my commentary on it i’ll try and summarise that here

1. On page 6 are a list of things an external user can do according to IBM documentation.  Some of the items on that page (in italics) actually didn’t, in any of my testing, work.  This is because there are conflicting security limitations on what a user can’t do (see items in bold on page 7)

So for example although the documentation states that an external user can share files with people or communities, it also states that they can’t use type ahead or directory lookups.  Preventing type ahead and directory lookups actually disables the ability to share files with a user since there’s no way to lookup a user.  Sharing files with a Community works fine.

2. The external users can be added via an LDAP attribute from your LDAP server or by a separate LDAP server or branch.  Although an entirely separate LDAP server is more secure and in my opinion preferable, it must use a search base which means flat names in Domino can’t be part of the external LDAP source.

To counteract this in one instance I faked a hierarchy as the users were created (using a simple Xpages app to allow people to self register and manage their own passwords and setting a fake hierarchical name for them in the background).  In the other instance I used the same LDAP source as for internal users but with a specific attribute set to the word “external”

In general the external users feature has been locked down securely enough that i’d highly recommend it for inviting people to work with your Connections communities .