Here we goooooooooooooooo

I’m delighted to finally see the completion of the HCL deal to acquire all of the previous IBM Collaboration products including Notes, Domino, Sametime and Connections. This means that as of today IBM no longer has any ownership of these products and any current and future licenses and support have been transitioned to HCL.

As you can imagine this has been a huge undertaking (well I can barely imagine much of it) and so I expect a few bumps before everything settles in but HCL have already been working hard to get everything (and most everybody) moved over and let’s all give then a chance. They believe in the products and are committed to them in a way we haven’t seen in many years and it’s great news that some of the most well known names in the industry are moving over to HCL to join their Domino and Sametime colleagues including Maureen Leland, Mat Newman, Wes Morgan, Adam Gartenberg and Dave Kern. There are plenty of other people I could mention but since they haven’t personally gone public I don’t want to do so.

I’ve been working with the HCL teams for over a year and I can’t say enough good things about their approach, it is something very refreshing to those of us who have been jaded by the past few years.

http://bit.ly/HCLSoftware

I (Truly) Know Nothing But….

I have no idea the status of the HCL/IBM deal nor what will happen once the deal is signed and IBM no longer have any ownership of the (former) ICS products BUT….

I will be spending the rest of this week downloading any ICS software and fixes I might potentially need over the coming weeks from the IBM Software Access Catalog and Fix Central sites.

I am sure both HCL and IBM have plans for transitioning the downloads and all the data but this is a huge deal and personally I’d like to be self sufficient on day 1 (whenever that is).

Redesigning Templates – A HCL Design Project

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of a new project I am working on with HCL to reinvigorate the Notes and Domino templates as they roll out on new client platforms such as iPhone, tablet and a lightweight web client. See here for more information on the project.

My role is team co-ordinator and I will be responsible for bringing in the right resources to meet each stage of the project. I’ll be working closely with the team leads including HCLs design lead Felix Kalka, Theo Heselmans, Carl Tyler and Tim Davis. More about our team here

We’ll be keeping you updated on progress, asking for feedback and gathering ideas through the blog and surveys. We want to start with a very quick survey on discussions and teamrooms, please take a few minutes to complete it.

We really need your input if we’re going to get this right https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/96LYTDK

If you are attending the Factory Tour in Chelmsford in July I will be there with Felix to talk about our work so far, to hear about your use cases and to share ideas for each client platform. If you aren’t at the Factory Tour and would like to discuss your use of any of the standard templates, please reach out directly to me via twitter (@gabturtle) or email (gabriella at turtlepartnership.com).

Details of the project, the team and our goals can be round on the new Template Experience blog here https://templateexperience.com. We plan to keep the blog updated with our progress, sharing ideas and asking you to complete surveys as we move forward.

This is a great opportunity to push our design thinking beyond the traditional framework and I thank HCL for commiting to the project and work involved.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

A New Base – A New Hope – A New Beginning. Factory Tours Episode 2

This week I spent time in Milan at HCL’s 2nd factory tour at their offices.   It was an intense couple of days, with presentations from the development teams working on Domino, Notes, Nomad, Sametime, DQL, etc, as well as HCL executives working on building the support program, the partner program, and HCL’s client advocacy program.

After several great discussions with people from HCL and IBM all I can say is that things are moving F-A-S-T and thank you in particular to Richard Jefts, Russ Holden, John Curtis, Tony Blake, Pat Galvin and Francois Nasser for listening to my ideas even if they end up being unworkable.

Note there was no discussion of Connections at all as that deal with IBM is not finalised and HCL aren’t in a position to discuss it. HCL are targeting April 1st for the deal and early June for everything to be transitioned over, with the v11 beta this summer and the v11 launch around end of Q4.

Here are some highlights that I noted from the conversations and sessions that I want to share here.  I apologise if I have incorrectly noted what I heard.

Domino (presented by Russ Holden) – v11 Features 

  • Directory Sync from Active Directory to Domino Directory. Renames made in AD will trigger a Domino rename.  Attempting to get rid of or at least minimise the HTTP password field and make AD authoritative.  We had discussions about whether attributes in AD should/could be written to by Domino or if AD was to be the single authoritative and management source.
  • HTTP password authentication via ID Vault instead of person document, including the ability to keep the Notes password and HTTP password in the vault in sync.*Those of us who work with Traveler know the risk of changing the HTTP password until we get client certificate authentication in Traveler, and we shared that with Russ as well.
  • DAOS will still exist but in v11 there will also be Cloud Object Storage where a single instance of an attachment per note ID will be stored in Amazon’s S3 cloud by default but with the option for extensions to other servers.The concept is that it would potentially save on both on premises storage costs and backup requirements for the attachment store.  It’s not intended to be a space saving offering over DAOS as although there will be one instance of an attachment regardless of cluster replicas, that instance is based on the note id of the document.  That means whereas with DAOS an email sent to 40 people will generate only a single NLO on each cluster server, with this model there would be 40 attachments all accessible by any server in the cluster.  How appropriate this will be as a solution will be dependent on your storage and backup requirements as well as your typical mail usage.
  • A new PubSub feature that will allow applications to subscribe for updates that Domino will publish rather than poll for them.  Traveler is a good example, currently Traveler scans each user’s mail file on a polled interval to see if there are updates and if there are it then grabs them to send to your device. Polling databases asking for “anything new to tell me” is a lot of unnecessary overhead when the alternative is Domino publishing updates each time there is activity (note adds, deletes, folder adds etc).  The ability to subscribe to specific databases you want immediate activity on and for Domino to publish that activity to you as it happens obviously has a huge scope beyond performance outside of Domino as well.Which leads us to…
  • Using ElasticSearch for searching which will utilise the PubSub functionality in order to get immediate updates to process.  ElasticSearch will be configurable on a database-by-database basis including the option to have it take the place of Domino FT search.  One of my issues with ElasticSearch is its security model and they are also working on an API to address that so that we get security parity with the current FT search model.
  • Message recall for undelivered (scheduled or queued) mail.

The Clients (presented by Andrew Davis, Maxx Sutton, Barry Rosen)

The focus for v11 is very much around the client delivery and UI.

There is a new UI under development for Notes and some of its key templates that modernises it and brings it more in line with the UI design of Verse.  These are early stages but they will be part of the v11 ship.  Verse continues to be extended with very welcome upcoming support for mobile browsers and a goal to have parity with iNotes by the end of this year.

HCL Nomad, currently on public beta for iPad (yes, they know we want it SHIPPED) was demoed for Android and ChromeOS at Think and to us this week.  iPhone is also on the way.  To develop for Android HCL used OpenGL and that code can also be compiled as WebGL which, using WebAssembly, will enable Nomad to run in most browsers with the same fidelity and behaviour as on the mobile devices.

I’m not saying that would give us a lightweight client but it would totally give us a lightweight client that could be used in something like HCL Places for instance.

Sametime (presented by Pat Galvin)

Sametime 10 Limited Use, that now includes mobile entitlement, is on track to be delivered in the first half of this year.  The persistent chat feature that allows chats to be routed to multiple devices you are logged into will, in the first instance, require MongoDB with Domino coming “later”.  I have a big problem with this.  Neither me nor my customers want to bring the overhead of MongoDB into a Domino site just for this single feature regardless of how welcome that feature is.  I hope HCL prioritise “later” as “soonest” to be honest otherwise I suspect we’ll be deploying v10 of Sametime initially without its biggest feature.

Platforms will be Windows initially then Linux.  All 64bit.

Sametime will be released lock step with Domino, so at the end of this year Domino 11 will support the product released as Sametime 11.  Targeted for release with v11 is Docker deployment and support for integration with Zoom, Webex, etc. Stretch goals for v11 include getting rid of the Sametime System Console and the ability to invite external guests into chats.

In addition, they are looking to deliver chat enhancements in v11 such as read status on messages, @mentions, and multi-device file transfer so you can select which device a received file is downloaded to as well as choosing which device to answer an audio / video call on if you are logged into multiple devices.

Finally for meetings I’m delighted to hear that they are working to remove the accursed browser plugins for audio and video from v11.

Sametime 12+ includes targets that are stretch goals on v11 and additional targets such as removing WebSphere and DB2.

DQL (Presented by John Curtis)

The 1.0.1 Appdev pack which contains all the functionality you need to deploy DQL from Node is out this quarter.  The plan is to have quarterly updates to the Appdev pack introducing new features.  Some things planned for future updates include:

OAuth authentication.  This is a huge deal and has to be done right.  DQL only works as a solution if we can maintain the same security model that Domino gives us and OAuth has the ability to give us that.   Currently the OAuth implementation in the Appdev pack is application level, meaning one identity shared by anyone using that application which means no reader fields of custom user security.

They are working to support on-the-fly computation of formulas to support things like computed for display fields.

For searching there will be support for both FT Search and the new ElasticSearch with indexes created across databases and in attachments where required.  Searching rich text and mime is also on the agenda.

These are just some of my highlights.  There was a lot more and if you want to get involved I highly recommend registering for Engage UG in Brussels this May (14/15) https://engage.ug.  It’s a free user group event and HCL will be there in force with a lot more to show, hopefully on the heels of some beta content.

If you want to add your own enhancement requests and suggestions definitely to go the aha! site and add them there.  Everyone who spoke said they monitored that site and many of the features that are coming are based on posts there.

https://domino.ideas.aha.io/

HCL Client Advocacy – (presented by John Immerman)

If you are a customer or a business partner please sign up for the Client Advocacy Program @ HCL.  John Paganetti and his team will connect you with a developer advocate who will work with you to make sure your requests are heard, your PMRs don’t stall, and your ideas are taken seriously.  Much of what they do is learning about how you use the tools and what your pain points and wishes are.  This speaks to the core of who HCL are and I can’t think of any other company who would commit skilled expert resources to these kind of relationships.  If you want to be heard go register here. There are 200 companies registered already with hundreds more requested and being personally contacted.  Nothing about this is automated so don’t pass up the opportunity.

https://www.cwpcollaboration.com

Support – (presented by Michael Fiorentino)

The support model is still transitioning over from IBM including hundreds of thousands of technotes and HCL are moving away from the Salesforce support interface that IBM use to a simpler more streamlined one.  The big question I wanted to ask was whether HCL would do away with the login requirement to read technotes or get patches.  Currently IBM require you to be a customer with a support license to be able to read technotes and find out what may be wrong.  I’ve always thought that’s crazy and I know it frustrates customers and partners alike.  Both Richard Jefts and Michael Fiorentino confirmed that is not how they plan to run things and that’s a great start.

Michael also wanted to understand the business partner requirements so he could structure things to make it easier for us to open calls at the right level of expertise and to do so on behalf of our customers in an easier way.  Michael has a frankly astonishing amount of work ahead of him to get the support structure right, but he was very open to all our ideas and comments and I honestly believe they are committed to doing this right and not “business as usual”.

I heard from more people there of really good IBM’ers who are moving to HCL. I don’t want to name them here as that’s their business but I’m delighted they are joining.

Let’s all work together and do great things.

 

 

Updates from HCL & IBM In London

Today Tim and I attended the Domino 11 Jam in London with Andrew Manby as the ringmaster, it’s been a year since the original Domino 10 London Jam and it was great to see things continuing with Domino 11.  What was made clear in today’s discussion was that whereas Domino 10 was primarily about the back end and TCO features, Domino 11 is all about the client experience.  There were two new HCL UX designers present today to listen to what was said and provide their input.

First up Richard Jefts (VP & General Manager @ HCL) laid out for us what the HCL deal with IBM entails.   There are new products that are now owned by HCL including Portal, Connections and BigFix (love BigFix and want to dig into that more). The $1.8bn purchase included not just the products but taking on board all the related staff  (basically everyone except services)

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As HCL say on their Collaboration site

“A customer centric approach is the foundational element of the HCL Products business philosophy and a key component of the HCL Products and Platforms strategy to drive overall success of the product portfolios.”

That means working with customers and partners.  As Richard Jefts said today “This is an opportunity for us to revisit what we want the products and solutions to be” – Think Differently.  This isn’t just marketing speak – in the past few months we’ve seen a lot of effort by HCL to reach out , from presentations to the factory tours where many of us got to meet the development teams directly (and those continue this year) and direct sponsorship and involvement at user group events.  They are walking the walk.

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Finally I wanted to share what they are calling the future of Low Code to No Code – these platforms are developer driven and regardless of your level of expertise as a developer, there will be a way in for you with Domino 11 and its successors.

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Unfortunately I had to jump out of the jam far too early because I had a support emergency so I missed a lot of the big thinking fun but I wanted to share these screenshots with you as I think they explain a lot about where HCL stand and how they see the future.

Also on my way out the door I met and briefly chatted to another Business Partner – if you were the guy who talked to me about this blog, please connect on LinkedIn, I didn’t get your card 🙂