An Amazing Engage

Last week I was at the Engage user group event in the Netherlands.  Theo Heselmans and team put together people, sessions and entertainment for over 400 attendees and this year (by my count of hands) nearly 30% were attending for the first time.  There are only a few IRL (in real life) conferences I can manage to get to each year and I’m always pleased by what I get out of them, but this year’s Engage was for me the best event for several years primarily because of contributions from HCL and all their news about what they have been working on. Oh, and the location!  Theo always manages to choose a special location and the Burgers’ Zoo conference center in Arnhem that had us walking through a rainforest with the sound of birds each day was certainly that.

This guy walked me in on the first day, giving me side-eye pretty much the whole way.

Picture

The only thing that confused me was the milk that was put out for the tea and coffee.  I’ve never seen milk of that color before and since we were in a zoo there was a debate about the animal that produced it.  Maybe Giraffe…?

Picture

On the closing night Theo organized a trip to a pub/brewery in Arnhem called Taphuis for us speakers.  They had over 100 beers and a contactless card you tapped as you poured out your choice.  I’m not a big beer drinker but I “tapped” a lot of 5cl tastes and then came up with the not very smart idea of everyone choosing a beer that matched their age.  Let’s just say it worked out for some better than for others.  

An idea that I think really worked was having an open speaker’s area where people could gather and catch up with each other, with other attendees and with HCL.  I had several informal meetings there and having no doors encouraged everyone to come and take a seat.  The unlimited Belgian chocolate and waffles didn’t hurt either.

So, at this point, with major updates to Domino, Connections, Sametime and new products like Nomad for mobile, the question for me was: Where are HCL taking things next?  The theme for the conference was “Evolve” and although I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, there were lots of “a-ha” moments for me where the work I’d been hearing about for a year suddenly clicked into place as solutions for customers.  

I could write a lot more on what I came away excited about, but these are my highlights.

Sametime
Let’s start with Sametime.  The biggest issue since v9 of Sametime (we’re now on v10) was the IBM-driven design that was dependent on the WebSphere and DB2 architectures.  I do a lot of Sametime installs and a clustered environment would be in the region of 30 individual server elements.  When HCL bought Sametime and asked for feedback on what we all wanted the biggest request was to simplify the install and get rid of WebSphere.  Since then, HCL have released v10 and v11 of Sametime, which were primarily the Community (chat) servers and new web and mobile clients, so this time at Engage we got to see and hear about the v11 Sametime Meetings due in the next few months.

Sametime v11 already has user-side integration with any conferencing provider, but Sametime Meetings will now be delivered as a single Docker container (instead of nearly 20 servers) with everything needed to deliver its own meetings, audio, video and screen sharing in one single install.  The entire architecture for Meetings has been replaced with open source servers, removal of java, and a fast, lightweight browser client.  The focus for v11 has been ease of use for clients and simplification for administrators and it looks like they are delivering.  

If you’re interested in the new Sametime v11 mobile clients, you can register for the beta here.

Domino
As development continues on Domino, including making it the backbone for many of the other products, it was tremendous news to hear that they are now extending the investment in its function as a mail server.  The news that Domino continues to be updated and enhanced, such as adding 2-factor authentication for both web and Notes clients in v12, is what many of us had been hoping to hear from HCL.  For on-premise customers, Domino continues to be the only strategic mail solution and the only one currently being extended.  

HCL Nomad Web
Hopefully you already know about and are using Nomad for mobile, available for iOS, iPadOS and (as of last week) Android.  The Nomad brand delivers the Notes client experience through a mobile OS allowing you to access your existing Notes applications on your Domino servers without installing any server-side software or making any programming changes.  The next Nomad product is Nomad Web which is truly a new option as a Notes client.  It’s not a replacement client but it will be a go-to for many people who want to access Notes applications without managing a client infrastructure.  

Nomad Web is based on browser technology so it will work on any operating system (Windows, Linux , Mac) that can run any standard browser, giving you a “Notes client” with a small install footprint (they are aiming at less than 100mb) and running anywhere.  This is all very exciting; it looks like a Notes client, it doesn’t require a client install, it can run on multiple platforms, and since there is no server-side installation it will work against older versions of Domino as well as current.  

That’s innovation, offering an easy-to-maintain-and-deploy client as an option to both existing and new customers.  HCL Nomad Web will be going into public beta in the next couple of months.

Domino Volt
Volt is a Domino-based, visual, low-code development environment that is delivered through a browser.  What does that actually mean? I attended a workshop at Engage to learn how to develop an application using Volt because I’m absolutely not a developer and so consider myself a good test case.  After logging in to the Domino server I can click to create a form, drag and drop to position all kinds of fields, images and text, and even click for simple workflow.  It provides a way for anyone to create simple applications that can be extended for more complex work by a developer who can still use all the Domino programming tools, integration, and reporting technologies.

The introduction of an entirely new development tool aimed at non-developers and delivered through any standard browser is really interesting and I recommend attending the upcoming webinar as well as signing up for the Volt beta that is now publicly available.  Working with the beta allows you to feed back to HCL on what features you think might be missing and to contribute into getting the product right.

Register for the Domino Volt beta here.
Register for the Domino Volt webinar here.

If you go to the Engage site, you can already download many of the presentations. It’s not the same as being there in person, but there’s a ton of valuable content even for those of us who didn’t get to as many sessions as we wanted.

Looking forward to Engage 2021 already!

Engage Redux

This week we were at Engage in the Netherlands presenting, learning and meeting up with customers and friends. Another big thank you to Theo, Hilde and Femke for all the work they put into this event, by my count of hands during the keynote around 20% of attendees were there for the first time which is fantastic.

The word of the conference from HCL was “Evolve” and even I came away surprised by several of the technical projects HCL have progressed, including Volt, Sametime and Nomad for web. Each of those deserve their own blog entry so I’m publishing those individually alongside this one.

Sametime Meetings

Nomad Web

My presentation at Engage was around the delivery of the Discussions template for Nomad phone and tablet, a project I have been co-ordinating since last year. We had more technical issues with the projector and cables than I’d like, so thank you if you came along and watched the purple-tinged version, and here is the original. There is also a technote published by HCL on Wednesday containing both the template and a whitepaper detailing the design and code elements. I hope you find it useful https://t.co/o4LtwQo8jk.

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.

IMG_1709

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.

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 18.37.19

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.

IMG_1737

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.

At Engage We Are Bringing You Domino, DQL and MOAR Domino

Engage – the largest collaboration user group in Europe takes place May 14th and 15th in Brussels.   It’s free, full of great content with speakers from customers to BPs to HCL and IBM.  There are even three workshops on May 13th, the day before everything kicks off that you can register for with HCL discussing a potential App Store, Panagenda showing you how to optimise your Notes clients and IBM with ISW conducting a workshop on your ideas for the future of Connections.

Between us Tim and I will be presenting four sessions including

Face/Off Domino vs Exchange On Premises (Weds @ 8am – I’ll make it worth your while getting up!) We will discuss how Exchange on premises and the various Outlook clients line up against Domino on premises and its clients.

Domino Server Health – Monitoring and Managing (Tuesday @ 1.30pm) How do you decide what to monitor on your servers and how to manage them and how good practice management tools such as statistics reporting, DDM, cluster symmetry, database repair and policy settings can make your work lighter and faster.

60 Admin Tips In 60 Minutes (Weds @ 9am – yes that’s two sessions one after the other in the same room – bring breakfast and coffee !) You know the drill, tips for Domino, Notes, Verse on Premises, Sametime, Traveler and more

In an introduction to DQL How to use the new Domino Query Language (Weds @ 11.30am) Tim will take you through the new Domino Query Language (DQL), how it works, and how to use it in LotusScript, in Java, and in the new domino-db Node.js module, providing code examples in all three languages.

We are also pleased to be sponsors of Engage this year for the first time and to add our support to the amazing efforts by Theo and Hilde.

Register for Engage and / or a workshop here

See the agenda here

Speaker

At Engage We Are Bringing You Domino, DQL and MOAR Domino

Engage – the largest collaboration user group in Europe takes place May 14th and 15th in Brussels.   It’s free, full of great content with speakers from customers to BPs to HCL and IBM.  There are even three workshops on May 13th, the day before everything kicks off that you can register for with HCL discussing a potential App Store, Panagenda showing you how to optimise your Notes clients and IBM with ISW conducting a workshop on your ideas for the future of Connections.

Between us Tim and I will be presenting four sessions including

Face/Off Domino vs Exchange On Premises (Weds @ 8am – I’ll make it worth your while getting up!) We will discuss how Exchange on premises and the various Outlook clients line up against Domino on premises and its clients.

Domino Server Health – Monitoring and Managing (Tuesday @ 1.30pm) How do you decide what to monitor on your servers and how to manage them and how good practice management tools such as statistics reporting, DDM, cluster symmetry, database repair and policy settings can make your work lighter and faster.

60 Admin Tips In 60 Minutes (Weds @ 9am – yes that’s two sessions one after the other in the same room – bring breakfast and coffee !) You know the drill, tips for Domino, Notes, Verse on Premises, Sametime, Traveler and more

In an introduction to DQL How to use the new Domino Query Language (Weds @ 11.30am) Tim will take you through the new Domino Query Language (DQL), how it works, and how to use it in LotusScript, in Java, and in the new domino-db Node.js module, providing code examples in all three languages.

We are also pleased to be sponsors of Engage this year for the first time and to add our support to the amazing efforts by Theo and Hilde.

Register for Engage and / or a workshop here

See the agenda here

Speaker

Think-Ing From Far Away Pt5 – The Big Wrap Up

Our final podcast of Think-ing from far away is a wrap up of the week, announcements and thoughts in general.  We were joined by Maria Nordin from ISW, Kris de Bisschop from Groupwave and Christoph Adler from Panagenda. All dosed up with coffee at 8am on the last day in San Francisco.

The final wrap up podcast is here

Content from Think is already beginning to be posted here  You must have an IBM ID to login and download although you don’t need to be a registered Think attendee.  Some content already available including:

Supercharged Notes 10 Upgrade: Turning the Worst Notes Deployments into the Best from Christoph Adler and Jared Roberts

Domino on Docker Boot Camp from Thomas Hampel (and Daniel Nashed)

Get Started with IBM Connections Customizer for Dummies  from Wannes Rams and Martin Donnelly

Best Practices for Maximizing Your Investment in IBM Verse On-Premises from Drew Birnbaum and Barry Rosen

Using Node-RED to Bring IBM Domino Content into Your Web and Mobile Applications from Scott Good

Register for one of the IBM Connections in person design “jams”

Keep an eye on the Social Connections site for the announcement of where the European even in September this year with a keynote from Richard Jefts will be held.

Follow Twitter

@IBMSocialBiz

@IBMChampions

@HCL_CollabDev

@IBMLive

@planetlotus 

IBM Champions- All – List

Blogs

PlanetLotus http://planetlotus.org

IBM Collaboration Solutions Blog https://www.ibm.com/blogs/collaboration-solutions/

HCL Collaboration Workflow Platforms https://www.cwpcollaboration.com/blogs

Aha! Domino Ideas Lab https://domino.ideas.aha.io

Aha! Connections Ideas Lab https://connections.ideas.aha.io

Collaboration Today https://collaborationtoday.info

Other In Person Events Already Announced For 2019

https://engage.ug

https://collabsphere.org

https://admincamp.de

https://dnug.de

https://isbg.no

https://socialconnections.info