This week was the Engage conference held in Rotterdam - the largest and (IMO) best event Theo Heselmans has given us yet. Rotterdam is a lovely city and the water taxi that took us from the restaurant back to the boat last night turned a 5 minute ride into a James Bond chase sequence - at several points he took corners by tilting the boat almost entirely on its side (there goes Tim!) and then onto the other side (bye Mike!) before pulling a handrake turn and reversing up to the dock - worth every cent of four and a half Euro. I don’t usually find time to attend sessions beyond the keynotes because I get caught up presenting and doing other things (I find it hard to think what right now but let’s group it under “meeting people”) but this week I was rushing from presentation to round table to meetup so here’s a summary of my highlights, kept as short as I can so you aren’t tempted to tl:dr
HCL brought the energy, the enthusiasm and a huge team of people showing how far they have taken Domino, Notes, Traveler, Sametime , Verse on Premises etc. IBM had energy too but their focus was Connections/Workspace and although it continues to develop, we in the ICS community have been starved for progress on the other products. HCL together with IBM hosted several roundtables on Domino, Application Development, Notes Client, Verse on Premises etc where we got to ask for or complain about what we wanted or felt was missing and answer questions about design priorities. I won’t go through all of that other than to apologise to everyone else in the Domino/Sametime roundtable who didn’t get a word in once I started.
From that Domino round table we heard about a couple of much needed and unexpected features coming in v10 (both of which I think are so new they haven’t yet been named) around the area of TCO. One is what I’d call a sync feature for Domino where you can tell a server to keep specific folders in sync with other servers in its cluster. Those folders could contain NSFs but also NLOs (DAOS files), HTML files or really anything else. The server will create the missing files and it doesn’t use replication to do that. Even better, if the server detects a NSF file corruption it is capable of removing its own instance of the file and pulling a new one from a cluster mate - all without any admin intervention. Another great tool will be the idea of shared encryption keys for NLO files so that Server B will be able to copy even encrypted NLO files from Server A by decrypting and then re-encrypting them. Management and maintenance of NLOs and the DAOS catalog was high on my list of enhancement requests.
From the Application round table we heard about how the integration with Node and Domino will work, there will be a npm install - DominoDB that will allow Node developers to access Domino data via the Node front end. Queries to Domino from the Node server will be using high performance gRPC (remote procedure calls) - in the same way Notes and Domino use NRPC for proprietary access. The gRPC access used by Node for Domino will eventually be open source. The front end of the Node server will be surfaced using the Loopback API gateway.
Essentially what this means is that any developer who can program using Node will be able to use their existing skills against Domino NSFs. That Domino systems will, in one step, become accessible to a much wider group of developers and systems is the main application development goal.
Domino statistics and reporting can be uploaded into and analysed from within the New Relic platform. If you find this as interesting as I do then you too are clearly an administrator,
HCL Places. So that was a surprise. HCL demoed a working (but very basic) prototype of a new product they had been developing in secret (well no-one in the room knew of it). A lightweight desktop collaboration client that runs against a Domino NSF. It can include mail,, sametime , video, mentions and Notes applications. All on premises. Here is a terrible image of the prototype which - yes I know is cluttered - but focus on the features not the look and you can see that HCL are trying to take Domino somewhere we’ve all known it could go but never had the chance. The image was shared out by Jason Roy Gary who built and demonstrated the prototype and whose role at HCL is (I think) Vice President Engineering and Innovation, Collaborative Workflow Platforms.
In a week full of good news the two best were that a beta program for v10 will start with phase 1 in June and phase 2 in July. June will be a closed beta and July open. If you want to register for the beta program when it is announced then sign up for the newsletter on the Destination Domino site here
Plus there was this .
I don’t want to minimise the contribution by IBM themselves at Engage, each of the roundtables included IBM’ers alongside HCL’ers and there was certainly plenty of activity around Connections and Workplace but right now, in this blog, I’m revelling in the fact that Domino is finally getting the attention it deserves. Plus look at these great pens - they have little yellow highlighters in the top and when I asked IBM if I could buy some for customers they were happy to give me a “few”.
So - long story (it could have been sooo much longer) short. A great week , I learnt a lot, my session on Docker was standing room only in boiling heat, I had the chance to talk to people I rarely get to talk to and Engage was in another great location. I don’t know how Theo will match this next year but I look forward to finding out. Plus I got chocolate as a speaker gift.
Now don’t go messing with my high.