Sparks Ideas – ConnectED 2015. What Inspires You?

I’m delighted to confirm that Spark Ideas is back this year at ConnectED 2015.  This is organised by Nerd Girls and the idea is that people speak for up to 6 minutes on our topic.  This year’s topic is “Inspirations” so what we want to hear is about anything or anyone that has inspired you.

Sparks are always popular as  I think previous speakers and attendees will tell you  – it’s also something out of the standard conference fare.  Since this could be your last chance to spark  I hope we’ll see you there but even more I hope you want to speak and share your inspiration with us.  Please email me , Kathy Brown, Susan Bulloch or any of the Nerd Girls or even  Or DM any of us on Twitter if you want to talk through an idea.  Trust me, we want to hear your ideas and we want to hear from people who have never “Sparked” before.

Nerd Girls are about celebrating everyone’s uniqueness , what drives us to create our own path.  We hope to see you there ..

2.30pm on Tuesday in Swan Rooms 3&4


Connections 5 Customisations – Problems With Stylesheets

This weekend we upgraded a site with heavy customisation from Connections 4.5 to Connections 5 CR1.  Part of that migration was using the lc-migrate tool to export and import the artifacts and ensuring the customisations (customizations for any google searches!) were in place.  All seemed to be fine for a couple of weeks but then suddenly our custom stylesheet was replaced by the default Connections 5 theme.

That made no sense, no changes were done and the css and images were still in the right place under /customizations/themes/defaultTheme – where they had always been.  Looking at SystemOut everything seemed fine.  I cleared the temp folders (/profiles/AppSrv01/temp and wstemp as well as /config/temp) and tried updating the version stamp using wsadmin (LCConfigService.updateConfig(“versionStamp”,””) and restarting EVERYTHING but no luck.

Luckily my subsequent PMR ended up with Susan who remembered an internal PMR that referenced changes in how customisations work.  Specifically that relative URLs for images no longer work either when used in stylesheets so


has to become


The detail for this isn’t in the documentation that I could find but this IBM’er has a great blog piece on it

Paul Godby Connections Customization

In addition the defaultTheme folder (as specified in the documentation) no longer works for custom stylesheets. You have to use a folder called gen4Theme and move the stylesheets in there.

Luckily I was working with the amazing Mark Myers on this who pulled out the stops and got the CSS changed and working (dynamic sizing and all) overnight.

..aaaannnndd we’re back in business.   Go Team!

p.s. the reason it had looked fine for us for weeks across several people/ machines and browsers was caching of the original design elements.

What’s Up With ConnectED 2015 And What I’m Up To…

So it’s nearly holiday time which means it’s nearly panic finishing sessions time for the great January Florida adventure.  This year the conference is very different, more technical, smaller, modelled on the idea of a user group.  There are plenty of things you know and love like the Best Practices track curated by Susan Bulloch and some new things like the new Beyond track which are technical sessions demonstrating very cool stuff you can do when integrating IBM products with other technologies.


Done? Good…..

This year with things smaller and a bit less frantic it gives us all room (and spaces)  to hang out with friends, exchange ideas, catch up, as well as finalise those plans for world domination.  To me that’s ideal, it’s been years since I’ve had a chance to do the conference at anything less than a flat out pace.

In terms of sessions I’m doing a few things….

In the Best Practices track I have a session on Connections design called

Creating Your Own Connections Confection – Getting The Flavour Right
IBM Connections 5 comes in a variety of exciting flavours – fancy a vanilla install, or maybe you want to add some extra sauce like External users or IBM Docs? A sprinkling of File Viewer and a few Surveys or maybe a dollop of Sametime. In this session we’ll take a look at how to build the right flavour combination of Connections for your business from deciding what features you want through to architecting a solution. We will have plenty of “How Tos” such as how to add external users to your Connections communities securely and what does their experience look like? How much Sametime is just enough? What’s the difference between IBM Docs, File Viewer and EditLive in features and deployment? If you’re new to Connections, planning a move to Connections 5 or even considering what Connections features you might want to add, this is your session, low fat and calorie free!

In the Beyond track I have a session on LDAP and integrating external users into Connections.

Then I am working with Terri Warren @ IBM on a Best Practices session about integrating directory information into Connections applications and single sign on.

Finally I’m on stage with Mat Newman and Susan Bulloch (but let’s be honest, we all know who the stars are here) doing a User / Support / Admin blast type thing (still in formation).

… and then possibly more important than any of that.. SPARK IDEAS is back.  This year we want to hear about who or what inspired you to push past what you thought you could achieve or reach for.  Sparks is always a great session that people seem to really enjoy and yes i’ll be reaching out to some of you looking for volunteers to talk for no more than 6 mins.  If you want to see previous sparks visit our Vimeo channel.  Otherwise please email or any of the Nerd Girls directly or send me a DM on ping me on Skype.  This could be your very last chance to attend and participate in a Sparks session in Orlando so don’t miss it.