A Few Days In Brussels #EngageUG

I have just returned from Engage UG – Theo Heselmans’ European conference, this year held at Autoworld in Brussels.  A beautiful location, even for someone who cares little for cars (but enjoys belgian beer, frites and chocolate).

With over 400 attendees, this was the largest Engage yet and I thought the energy level and excitement was higher than before due I think to the presence of vast numbers of the HCL team who were not only presenting but out in force in roundtables, social events and random “stop in the hallway” questions.

As the clock ticks down to the final signing of the contract to acquire Domino, Sametime, Traveler, Connections, etc, from IBM and transfer them in entirety to HCL we are all just waiting for that starting gun.

Richard Jefts brought some good news and the vision that HCL has for all the products they are taking on – see the prominence of Notes & Domino as well as (to my surprise and delight) Sametime.  Sametime is a significant part of HCL’s “Better Connected World” story. The intention, as you can see from other items on the wheel, is to open integration to other technologies and systems as a priority.  You will see an item on the wheel called “LEAP” and wonder what that is, it is the renamed Forms Experience Builder central to HCLs low-code development initiative. Think drag-and-drop form building through the web.

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There were probably 25% new attendees who had never been to Engage before. My session on Exchange on-premises and Domino at 8am had a nearly full room which is very unusual for an early technical session.  Tim’s session on DQL was also full.  All of our sessions will be published here over the next few days.

I also participated in a round table on template modernisation.  I will talk more about that on a later blog but I am co-ordinating a team who are working on updating the existing templates such as discussions and teamrooms. A demo of our live app  for iPhone was presented at Engage and the screenshot below showing the discussions template as it currently is (left), our app (in the middle) and the possible path it could take as iDMA progresses (on the right) gives you some idea of what we’re doing. iDMA is the Notes client currently for tablets and soon for iPhones.

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Speaking to Maxx Sutton @ HCL who heads up the iDMA development team, it’s clear there is an opportunity for both supporting existing and reimagining new Notes applications as iDMA itself develops.   For instance, the icon on the bottom right of the “where we could be heading” screenshot would be a ‘create new’ action that would automatically generate to support any “create” action that appears in the view in Notes. Still early days obviously, and I’ll be reaching out to the Community each step of the way.

Of course as usual our speaker gifts (both Tim and I spoke) were bang on.  Tim is researching if he can paint my yellow mini the grey and black of our own but I’m not sure I want to risk it.

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Once more – a huge thank you to Theo, Hilde, the HCL team, all the sponsors (including us :-), speakers and attendees plus the barman at the Sofitel who kindly brought drinks up to the roof for us.

Language Packs, Verse and A New App Dev Pack, Someone Has Had A Busy Week..

Well a bit more than a week.

This week the G1 language packs for Notes 10.0.1 that include French, German, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian, Chinese and Korean were made available.  If you are now having a bit of deja vu that’s because these language packs were already released once and very quickly withdrawn when it was discovered there were considerable problems in the way the translations had been done.  To their credit HCL withdrew the products almost immediately when they were told of the issues and have been working to redo and re-release them all.

So why were the bad versions released at all?  This goes back to the transfer from IBM to HCL.  In the IBM days there was a large team who were entirely responsible for product translation but weren’t part of the collaboration development team, they were just a general IBM product translation team.  When HCL took over the products they didn’t inherit that team which meant they also didn’t inherit any of the knowledge that team had about the quirks and challenges when doing the Notes translations.  HCL went ahead with having the translations done without realising the hurdles they needed to verify. None of that is great but in my opinion it shows commitment and intent that they withdrew the products almost immediately and then made redoing the translations correctly their highest priority.  They have also committed to a day 1 release of G1 languages with English in future versions.

So we had a stumble but one that was publicly claimed, explained and fixed quickly.  I can’t expect more than that.

Last week was the release of the new update to App Dev pack for Domino v 1.0.1 which includes the Node.js integration features that can now be depoloyed under Windows as well as Linux.

The new IAM (Identity and Access Management) service provides OAuth authentication for applications running outside Domino to Domino resources.  By installing IAM you can authorise it to use LDAP over Domino or Active Directory as its IdP (identity provider) for authenticating users.  There are a few steps in setting up IAM including setting up secure LDAPS in Domino or Active Directory so I’ll be covering that in more detail on its own blog.

More on the App Dev Pack update here and IAM specifically here

Last week we also got an update to Verse on Premises ( v1.0.7 ) which I have rolled out for a few customers so far.   The deployment if you already have verse installed is very easy (just make sure you back up your Plugins folder before deleting the old files). Here is a list of new features including some significant calendar enhancements and work towards providing the Verse UI on mobile browsers where it’s not appropriate to use the Verse app.

Lastly I heard very good things about the Connections workshop (jam) in Switzerland this week with the product team working to brainstorm ideas on Connections wanted features.  I will be attending the London workshop next week and look forward to hearing more.

 

 

 

 

 

HCL Launch New Collaboration Site & Client Advocacy Program

Today HCL went live with their own site for their collaboration products at https://www.cwpcollaboration.com. It’s Domino-based and we even have new forums you can sign up for (and the sign up process is easy).

The big news for me is the launch of their Client Advocacy Program which you can read about and sign up to on the site. The Client Advocacy program connects customers directly with a technical point of contact in development, it’s free and open for registration now.  You can read more in their FAQ here, but for those of you who are tl:dr here’s a taster.

Why is HCL Client Advocacy participation beneficial?

A Client Advocate provides the participant:

  • opportunity to discuss successes, challenges, and pain points of the customer’s deployment and product usage
  • a collaborative channel to the Offering Management, Support and Development Teams
  • proactive communications on product news, updates, and related events/workshops
  • more frequent touch points on roadmaps and opportunity to provide input on priorities
  • facilitation of lab services engagements or support team as appropriate

You can request to sign up here

I think we can all agree that even in these early days HCL are showing customer focused intent and following up quickly with real actions to reach out and encourage us to talk to them directly.  I know this is just the beginning, the foot is down hard on the acceleration pedal and I’d recommend you follow HCL_CollabDev on twitter as well as the new Collaboration site.  And feed back.  They want to hear what you think and what you want.  If you feel something is missing or you have an idea, feed back.

Above all don’t paint HCL with the IBM brush, this is a new company with new ideas and their own way of doing things.  Exciting times.

My NWTL Sessions – Verse On Premises

As part of Alan Hamilton’s NWTL (New Way To Learn) initiative, I have recorded sessions on Verse on Premises, the first on Installing and the second on integrating it with Connections. My installation session has been updated into this blog entry for VOP 1.0.1 which shipped today May 8th.  I am sharing that and  my second presentation which is on how to integrate Verse On Premises with IBM Connections.  In my example I use Connections 6 as the instructions are the same as for Connections 5.5 but that isn’t supported by IBM currently to YMMV.

To access all the NWTL sessions if you’re a Business Partner you can register here.  Thank you to Amanda Bauman for recording the session with me.

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Integration Verse On Premises & Connections – Small Problem

This week I have been working on integrating Verse On Premises running on Domino 9.0.1 with IBM Connections.  Alright Connections 6 which isn’t supported right now.  The actual configuration is fairly simple and detailed on one page of IBM documentation.  It involves pasting some CORS redirection lines from the IBM document into your httpd.conf file and then replacing the server hostname with your own.

When I first did it against new servers the profiles integration worked fine but the Files (both accessing and uploading) as well as Follow/Unfollow actions failed.  That pointed fairly clearly to an issue with the OPTIONS request type and firebug confirmed that was throwing a 401 unauthorized error.  Finally I started to run out of ideas and asked Roberto Boccadaro if he could share his httpd.conf with me.  When I compared three separate environments the most glaring difference was with the SetEnvIf variable which is Step 5d on this page

SetEnvIf Origin “^https://(vop_server_hostname\.)?(domain_name)$” origin_is=$0

IBM’s instructions on that page tell us to use escape characters before each full stop so my variable setting would be

SetEnvIf Origin “^https://(mail\.)?(turtleweb\.com)$”origin_is=$0

However that was the problem.  The https:// caused the 401 error and I had to replace it with escaped forward slashes so my new URL is

SetEnvIf Origin “^https:\/\/(mail\.)?(turtleweb\.com)$”origin_is=$0

I applied that single change and everything immediately worked.

I have let the IBM documentation team know but if you have the same problem, check your SetEnvIf variable.

A Few Things From Connections 6 System Requirements

Connections 6 is due to be released on Friday but yesterday we had the announcement and the system requirements.  I took a look at them here and there’s a few things to be aware of if you’re an existing Connections customer

Operating Systems

  • Windows 2012 R2 and 2016 are both supported as server platforms but that’s it
    *Connections Content Manager isn’t supported on Windows 2016
  • Linux OS is SLES 12 or RHEL 7 so if you will almost certainly need to upgrade your OS if you’re already on Linux
  • Only 64bit OS are supported for servers
  • Installation Manager remains at 1.8.5 / 6 which can be upgraded in place if necessary
  • WebSphere Application Server is 8.5.5.10 which again can be upgraded in place if necessary
  • DB2 requires 11.1 minimum
  • SQL Server 2016 only
  • IBM HTTP Server 8.5.5 fixpack 10 required
  • Tivoli Directory Integrator 7.1.1 fixpack 6 is a minimum requirement and can be upgraded in place
  • Sametime integration requires Sametime 9.0.1 for chat and meetings

 

So those are the highlights that jumped out at me but the installation documentation isn’t out yet so I’ll find out more on Friday hopefully.  Start your engines…….

 

 

Fidgets.. taps fingers.. waits for the pinkish hue..

Connections 6 including customisable communities and Orient Me – the first component of Connections Pink is due today.

Or this week.

Or in the next two weeks.

Or very soon at least.

Usually I’m not that desperate to be first in line but I am currently writing a presentation about integrating Verse on Premise with Connections and I really really want to write it using a new Connections 6 install….

C’MON!!!