Adding External Users To Connections - A Nice Simple Tool

Ever since Connections 5 gave us the ability to add external users to Communities it has been the number one requested feature from customers. The problem is that external users must exist in a LDAP source and also must have a profile in Connections that is created via TDI.

There are lots of ways to do this but few that are end user friendly and simple.  For that reason, some time ago we started to use our own XPages application that we make available to customers that automates the onboarding of external users into Connections.  The application is very simple and has two possible modes you can run in

  1. User self registration.  An external user can go to your website and create their own name / pw and email address. The system then sends an email to confirm the address is valid and asks them to click to activate.  On activation they create their own password that is checked against password requirements in the app (such as length, upper case, special character etc).  Once created the user can also self service a password reset via an email request sent to their account.
  2. User invite.  In this mode external users cannot create their own accounts but are instead invited by someone inside the company who again - goes to a webpage, creates a request and emails an activation link to their contact.  The rest of the process, activation, password checking, password reset remains the same.

It’s a single Domino database and can be set up in only a couple of hours.  Of course you still have to create the TDI sync but that’s a requirement no matter what you do.  For some time we’ve been considering how to make this tool available to the community at large since every customer we work with struggles with the same issue and we now have several good iterations of it we could share. We aren’t a product company and don’t want to sell it but we also can’t afford to commit to free support for a free download.

I’m not entirely sure of the answer. So far it’s been a non-issue since I’ve given it to customers we already do consultancy for or who ask us for consultancy. We’ve only charged for custom changes if required.  If you’d be interested in a copy of the database, seeing or testing it let me know and we’ll work something out.  It’s not open source, the code is our copyright but If you have any suggestions as to how we can make it more available without committing a lot of resource to productise it (which I would have to do for OpenNTF) I’d be very happy to hear them.