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06/02/2006

Made my day!

Category
1) Some Lotusphere observations from around the blogs
Axel on 1/24/2006 12:37:47 AM  
The coverage is really quite good.  
So far, my clear winner in the "most-informative-for-those-at-home" category is Stephan H. Wissel. This man is born for conference blogging.  

over here

05/02/2006

BOF101 - Speaker evaluation

Category


The verdicts are out. My session about DominoWebDAV - Domino as a file system was attended by about 25 people, whereby 18 filled and returned their session evaluation to IBM. I'm very pleased by the results:  
Quality of the material   94% Excellent - 06% Good
Quality of the speaker   89% Excellent - 11% Good
Use of Lotus products   67% Yes, 22% Undecided, 11% No  
Recommend update   100%  
Recommend speaker   100%






18 Lotusphere attendees is not a statistical relevant sample <g>, so I have to aim for a main session next year.  

02/02/2006

Lotusphere 2006 - Wrap-up, Eat Your Own Dog Food and People

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What a show it was. Yellow is the new black! While the announcement around Notes and Domino show a bright future for the product, I was mostly exited about the Workplace Managed Client offerings. And again: Please IBM give it a catchier name, Workplace Desktop as example. While other platforms seem not to be used to create the core products of that company, IBM is eating their own dog food. They base their development tools on RCP, Sametime 7.5 is an RCP application, the productivity tools are, Lotus Notes Hanover and the Workplace Managed Client. Very impressive. Time to get moving.

Nevertheless: the best of show were the people. Great on stage, great in the breaks, great to talk and party with. I finally was able to put real people behind the conversations and Blogs I follow and participate for a while. In no particular order:

Jack Dausman, Rob Novak, Rob Wunderlich, Bruce Elgort, Volker Weber, Richard Schwarz,   Ray Bilky, Libby the Notesgirl, Julian Robichaux, Alan Bell, Rocky Oliver, Declan Lynch, Ben Langhinrichs, The Turtle, Christopher Byrne, Joe Litton, the Penumbra Group members, David Ferris, Bill Buchan, Thomas Duff, Chris Miller, Carl Tyler, Ed Brill, Paul Mooney, Surjit Chana  and apologies to all I missed out in this little list.  

24/01/2006

BOF101 - IBM Lotus Domino as a File System -- SourceForge/OpenNTF as Lotus Domino WebDAV

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It was my turn. The Sandpiper room in the Swan hotel 5:45pm - I was nervous like an actor before his very first curtain. I arrived 5:20 and already 20 people were waiting to hear what I had to say. At 5:30 we were 30+ so I started the session. Since the BoF rooms didn't provide audio visual equipment I didn't bore the attendees with yet another powerpoint. I used the flip chart and my favourite very fat markers. First I walked them thought the rational of what we tried to achieve:
a) Provide round-trip editing capabilities for web based attachments
b) Let file oriented workers see Notes documents (not just attachments) through the file system
c) Provide report capabilities against Notes documents and views
After that I explained the extensions webDAV incorporates compared to standard http and what you are in for when you want to mix browser access and webDAV. (In short: unless you use our webdav:// protocol you are in for a lot of support calls since users tend to mix up click - for opening read only and right click/open with for read write operation.
It seems that the webdavhelper tool was of some interest too.
All in all I was quite happy about the turnout and the interactivity of the session. So goal for next year: upgrade myself from BoF to full session.
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about in this post: head over to SourceForge and check it out.


What I liked:
Good questions from the audience and a nice confirmation, that we do something interesting.

What I didn't like:
Domino WebDAV is not as finished as I wish, so there is a lot of work to catch up.  

24/01/2006

AD215 - Advanced Coding Techniques for IBM Lotus Domino in J2EE

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Bob Balaban walked us through the perils of coding Java locally and remote against a Domino server. In essence he reminded us, that there is no silver bullet or magic bean. When deciding how to code one must establish metrics for the task at hand to find the fastest solution. One lesson learned: obtaining a local session is very time consuming compared to keep a remote session open. However if your operation is long, that might not matter.
Bob raised hope, that he might release his famous session manager as OpenSource.


What I liked:
Bob's presentation style is a ingenious blend of deep technical understanding with a dry humor. He makes his points crystal clear.

What I didn't like:
The insight, that I know less than I wished for

24/01/2006

BP303 - Big-Time Tips and Tricks for Your IBM Domino Web Applications: The Great Code Giveaway!

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Rob and Victor from SNAPS demonstrated gold nuggets of tools to solve common problems. Their selection criteria:
- must solve a real problem
- must be usable in a different context than the original purpose
- must have been developed already
- must not be for sale

The first tool was a all Java Image resizing application done as a pure Java agent. Typical solutions require external tools and are platform dependent. The Java agent runs in R6++ and isn't dependent on anything else.

The second tool is a fix for the web native calendar views. Using CSS, XML and Ajax they fixed it with even the ability to show multiple calendars merged into one. The calendar takes care of timezones and pulls the time zone from the $preferences.nsf. All updates are done in memory, so no refresh is needed.

The third tool is a Sametime Bot, that changes its online status when new relevant content is added. So instead of bombarding you with an email or an instant message, the bot simply goes online. This is a very subtle way to notify a user of availability new content.

Before the forth tool was shown Rob teased it as the "Next level of Domino development". What they showed was nothing less than editable views for the web. A pretty complete solution for web views. Rob took us down to the memory lane how views evolved on the web up to today before he presented the final solution. They separated views data and presentation and added a drop in enhancement capabilities for any ordinary Domino developer. The functionality is incredible feature rich, so go check it out.

What I liked:
Real world code I can put to use. Pretty good walk through focusing on the real relevant pieces of code.

What I didn't like:
Can't think of anything here, other than I'd like to have more more more . Very cool session!

24/01/2006

AD306 - Advanced Techniques with IBM Workplace Designer

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After Sunday's introduction session into the Workplace Designer I got more curious, so AD306 won over AD219. IBM is pushing the JavaScript boundaries with Workplace Designer. JavaScript is both used on the client and the server to provide rich interaction. As mentioned before it falls short in terms of local (Ajax powered) interaction. However a quick glimse on 3.0 shows that that will be fixed then.
The JavaScript object model on the server is very rich. A context object provides JavaScript a wealth of information about the session, the user, the document and other context information. The presenters spend a good amount of time to explain where Workplace Designer is similar to the Domino Designer and where they differ. The learning curve for a Domino developer will be much smoother than going to J2EE.

What I liked:
Relative painless skill expansion for Domino developers (Lifelong learning anybody?)

What I didn't like:
Painful to build Ajax enabled applications, so a lot of page refreshes. I'm not sure if going all JavaScript is that great. The quality of the debugger will show

24/01/2006

AD204 - Power Programming: Examine and Manipulating IBM Lotus Domino Application Design

Category

The session first walked through the build in classes that allow design element access to show what you can do and what you can't. Then they switched over to DXL and what you can do there. The first example was to export images files. In DXL binary files are Base64 encoded, so they used a NotesMimeEntry to create the byte stream. Then they showed how to change database properties that are read only in the object. This was followed by a demo of DXL round trip engineering. As an interesting note, the presenters preferred JDOM over the DOM implementation in Lotus Script.

What I liked:
Good practial tips.

What I didn't like:
I would like to see more code!

24/01/2006

A visit to the Lotus Usability lab

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After Snapps excellent session I wandered a little around in the research and the meet the developers lab. There I was "lured" by IBM staff into the usability lab. I did a test drive of IBM's productivity tools. The tools are IBM's take on business applications like text, presentation, spreadsheets and projects. Based on OpenOffice the tools a good for the casual office users.
What intrigued me, was the attention the researchers paid to detail and the way I interacted with their tool. We discussed quite a number of features and hiccups on my way to create a presentation. The researcher ended up with a full page of notes. A nice experience -- half an hour of someone paying 100% attention to me

24/01/2006

BP314 - Web Services and IBM Lotus Domino 7 - How to be a good consumer

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The SNAPPS team walked us through the highs and lows of Web services. Using a single source of web service from Domino 7 they showed a number of clients that consume this service. I was impressed. They started off with some online sites, that can be used to test webservices, continued with a Lotus Notes Client, a MS Word document, a portlet, a midlet in a mobile form and finally a Yahoo widget (the artist formerly known as Konfabulator).

What I liked:
Clear examples, good to understand, nice balanced view on what you can do and where the caveats are.

What I didn't like:
My list of things to learn just got longer

23/01/2006

CERT701 - Certification Prep session: 701 Application Development Update

Category
Jason Collier of CertFX was walking an overflowing session room through the perils of the update exam. Most of the IT exams are a different beast to tame, than your day to day business. Jason managed to energize a tired crowd with his British style of humour and his tendency to poke fun on everybody including himself. I'm feeling much more confident, that I'll pass the exam on Wednesday, I signed up for since I got a free voucher. Of course I won't depend on my luck alone and spend time in the evening to go through the materials and the exam preparation software.

What I liked:
Comprehensive overview what the exam is all about, funny engaging presentation

What I didn't like:
Room to small, I had to sit outside

23/01/2006

BP308 - IBM Lotus Domino Web Facelift Using Ajax and DXL

Category

Need some facelift for views and  forms? Lance Spellman and Dwight Wilbanks worked through some great stuff build on Ajax and DHTM. They created an OpenSource toolkit named DFL: Domino FaceLift Toolkit. The DFL approach is fully in line with the idea of non obtrusive JavaScript. The killer feature: An agent reads the forms' DXL and figures out the additional properties of fields like datatype and size.
The toolkit allows to facelift views at well. You can get views that pretty much behave like notes views in the notes client. You got Ajax driven actions, and fully scrollable views.

What I liked:
Cool piece of JavaScript to rapidly facelift your applications. They also nicely explained where the strength and tradeoffs of their approach.

What I didn't like:
I have to wait until later to start getting my hands on the code.  

23/01/2006

AD105 - Introduction to Application Development for the IBM Workplace Managed Client

Category
IBM has a hand to pick confusing names. Would you buy a "managed client". Sounds like "software with special needs". However when you look under the hood you will find a sound concept and a rich API that allows to create cross-platform applications. At the core of the WMC is the Eclipse RCP platform. IBM threw in plug-ins that handle local storage, synchronization with the central storage, collaborative APIs, security APIs and some development tools. To prove, that this is not just a bunch of APIs from an ivory tower IBM provides a number of sample application to serve as a reference and starting point.

What I liked:
IBM made an effort to have the real developers present their baby. You could see the pride they talked about a number of their features. Also I like the general concept of blending rich interaction with browser panels and the on- and off-line capabilities.

What I didn't like:
The presenters tried to give a very complete picture of their platform, thus choosing a "flight level" that was simply too high. They duly listed the capabilities of their API falling short to show actual packages and classes, as well as sample code. After Mike Rodin himself said in the opening session: "You guys love to see code", it was a bit disappointing. I think I will head over to the developer labs and see them in person to get a deeper dive into RCP/WMC.

And: IBM --- please find a catchier name. Some ideas: Workplace Desktop, Workplace Rich Client, Workplace Experience....  uhhm better ask a branding expert.

23/01/2006

AD104 - Introduction to Workplace Forms

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Workplace Forms is the new kid on the block. The session gave a good insight into the capabilities of the Workplace Forms system. Being based on W3C's xForms it allows for structured, secure, tamper free travelling form data. The system allows you to use different clients to view form information: rich client, html browser or a wizard interface. The forms are state-aware without being connected to a server, so they are suitable to be processed disconnected. E.g. you can require that a certain section must be filled in and digitally signed before the subsequent section can be filled in. This rules are not coded in procedural code but defined as part of the xForms instance.
Workplace Forms has created a rich interaction model around the form instance. The Rich client offers support for PKI signatures and Digital sign-pads. The presenter spend quite a while to explain how Workplace Designer, Domino and Workplace Forms fit together. Workplace Forms only provides the UI and Designer, but not persistence storage. So you would want to use [insert your favourite storage system here] to store forms data.

What I liked:
Open Standards based xForms implementation with a rich interaction model support for security and signature in place.

What I didn't like:
Confusing naming: Workplace Forms actually doesn't need Workplace to run. Pricing is kind of steep with 25,000 USD per CPU + 170USD per Rich Client (Browser client are free). Express pricing doesn't seem to be in sight.

23/01/2006

BP104 - Measure Twice, Cut Once - Low fidelity prototyping in the real world

Category
Good to see paper prototyping entering the Lotus realm. Steve Caudill and Rusell Mullen introduced the low fidelity way to weed out requirement errors and improve system design. After putting the methodology into context they raved on about the virtues of fast turning prototypes. They showed a video of a paper prototyping session. I liked that a lot since I'm preaching fast prototyping for a long period of time already.

23/01/2006

JMP302 - Workplace Designer 101

Category
IBM Workplace is coming of age. Version 2.6 released just a few days ago seems to be the first one suitable to do some real world application. At the core of Workplace designer is XML and JavaScript. To make the transition from existing Domino skills easier Workplace Designer provides a host of visual layout and @Formulas wrapped into JavaScript.

What I liked:
All data in Workplace Designer is defined in XML Schema. IBM did embrace this open standard instead of creating something proprietary. The biggest advantage there is, that you can reuse industry standard schemata and base your Workplace applications on them. Why does that matter? First it shortens the definition phase of your data format, since other people defined it for you. Secondly it makes your application more portable between platforms and customers.
Deployment in a development environment is pretty easy and quite fast. While e.g. MyEclipseIde offers a similar speed of deployment for J2EE Workplace designer also takes care of the database and updates loss free the table structure.

What I didn't like:
There is a strict separation between JavaScript that is running on the client and running on the server. In reality that means, that in a lot of cases you send back the whole page to refresh just a part of it. With all the buzz around Ajax for web applications, this looks a little backward. But there is always the next version.
Deployment into development is pretty manual, with the capability to loss free updating the database.

As usual YMMV.

22/01/2006

BDD403 - Integrating IBM Workplace forms with ... the rest of the pack

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IBM last year acquired Pureedge, and their xForms application. It now is called IBM Workplace forms. Being build on an open standard workplace forms looks like Domino on steroids. On steroids not so much in terms of programmability, but in terms of data structure. Workplace forms have XML schemata as their data model and thus support hierarchical structured data. Data that would require multiple parent child relations when build in a RDBMS.
What is so special about that: Using xForms and open schemata (like UBL -- see previous ports) you can build form processes that transient your corporate boundaries. Using XML Signature and Encryption a business document can travel between all parties involved with the relevant sections being protected against alteration. This is a clear departure from the redundancy free mental model towards a process and document centric view of business processes. To add to the confusion: Workplace Forms and Workplace Designer seem to have some overlap. The biggest differentiator: Workplace Forms don't require Workplace to run, so they can "travel".

What I liked:
It's great to see IBM embracing forms based on W3C's open standards

What I didn't like:
The integration scenario with Domino was kind of blurry and there seems some internal competition between Workplace and Workplace forms  

22/01/2006

BDD201 - Slaying the Dragon 2006

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Rob Novak delivered a track to business partners about key selling points. Fuelled by a vast experience Rob shared how you can design the sales cycle to be more successful. He didn't deliver cheap tricks or shaky sales tactics, but honest experience what worked and didn't work for his company. One key message: a sales process can only be successful when you offer solutions to their real problems to the people who can make the buying decision.... and thousand things more.

What I liked:
A honest presentation full of business insights backed with a great reading list.

What I didn't like:
The session was only 75 minutes (like all of them), Rob surly has insights to share for a whole day.  

Disclaimer

This site is in no way affiliated, endorsed, sanctioned, supported, nor enlightened by Lotus Software nor IBM Corporation. I may be an employee, but the opinions, theories, facts, etc. presented here are my own and are in now way given in any official capacity. In short, these are my words and this is my site, not IBM's - and don't even begin to think otherwise. (Disclaimer shamelessly plugged from Rocky Oliver)
© 2003 - 2017 Stephan H. Wissel - some rights reserved as listed here: Creative Commons License
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