David Clover 100000HNH4 Identificações:  notes research fckeditor content_management domino website open_university 1.172 Visitas
We are getting near the end of the programming phase of our new MCT (that's 'Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology') Research Portal website here at the UK Open University. We've been collaborating with our London-based development partners Online Solutions Ltd to produce the new site. They've always done a fantastic job for us in the past merging great creativity and design skills with a comprehensive knowedge of Notes and Domino techniques.
The user requirements for the new site are complex (though fortunately not as complex as they were when we first started thinking about it) and Online Solutions Ltd has included a web-based Content Manager (WCM) which uses the Open Source FCKEditor as the back end. This is looking really good. It uses a 'WebQuerySave' event to parse the content changes and re-write them for the website, including 'Anchor' tags. My colleague Jef is writing another web-based input system, along the same lines, which will allow us to build a Domino database of information relating to projects and other items which we can use both in this website and potentially in others too so that the information can remain consistent. The goal is to use xPages for this, but the learning curve is steep so we may do a simple version first.
We've had a lot of support from users for our approach, and we also offer them a range of Template-based sites which are mounted in a Domino Content Managed environment via standard Lotus Notes 8.5 'Basic' clients. You can see the range on our Showcase site which also includes some of our web-based tools for other administrative and student-facing tasks.
I'm using Lotus Notes 8.5 and Windows 7 at home (32 bit) and at work (64 bit).
I was thrilled to find today that the ability to 'Drag and Drop' files from an Outlook email or the desktop to a Notes document has started working again. I had Windows Vista before and that function didn't work at all. Actually as far as I can see it still doesn't work in Windows 7 64 bit, and neither does the Windows/Notes 'Single Sign On' work in 64 bit Widows 7, but it's certainly getting there.
Windows 7 32 bit and Notes client (Admin/Designer et al) in 8.5 is really very good indeed for my needs.
I'd been quite excited thinking about Sametime 8.5, but now that it's released, I'm not as cheerful. I hadn't realised that there needed to be so much extra 'engineering' in terms of various servers (I've counted 6 at least) to handle the different parts. Sametime 8.0.2 just needed a single shot install of a Community Server on a single (admitrtedly dedicated) Domino box to produce a reasonable result.
I can see why the functionality might now be segmented into so many tools and services as it is in 8.5, but it's disappointing for a smaller implementaiton like ours. In our Faculty we have a 100 user ST license as we have specialised needs for a smaller group of people working together as a group on Lotus Notes platforms (which isn't the University standard). The University has itself invested heavily in Microsoft Communicator - which they've finally got working after 2.5 years delay, and we can't ignore the benefits of using that alongside ST.
But what the MS product won't do are all the things we need in the project groups such as to be able to send clips of screens to another user and to send a Notes doclink. ST 8.0.2 can do that just fine. I don't think MS Communicator handles weblinks or sending files to each other very well. But on the other hand we never managed to get Sametime awareness to work in MS Outlook or to provide us with the simple 'in/out' board we wanted for the Intranet.
I'd hoped that 8.5 would provide ways to that, but we haven't got enough money and resources at the moment to do a full ST 8.5 installation.
If there was a way to get a lot of the benefits just from the 8.5 'Community' server, that would perhaps be a way to go, but it's hard to find anyone to explain the details at the moment.
This has to be the most amazing development on the web for a long time. You'll see that I've added a very simple 'Select Language' control to the top right of my Open University 'public' blog pages. There's a snippet of code behind it kindly provided by Google. It looks as though the engine driving it has been developed as part of the new 'Google Wave' initiative that I was looking at last week. It's so simple, you might even miss the significance of it at first glance.
But what it does - and you can try this immediately - is to offer an online translation of this blog into any of 51 other languages, even including Welsh. And looking at the results, they are more than convincing to my eye. It appears that Google has analysed billions of words of text, both monolingual text in the target language, and aligned text consisting of examples of human translations between the languages. They've then applied statistical learning techniques to build a translation model.
I've been asking colleagues who have another language as their own native tongue to look at these translations and tell me how effective they are. So far the comments have been incredibly positive. You can now speak to an international audience directly by adding just a few lines of embedded code. If you've read this and your home language is not English, please post a response below to say what you think.
I can see the day (and not far away - it took me about 30 seconds to enable the feature here) when we will be adding this gizmo as a matter of course to our in-house informational websites to give them a global rather than just national and mono-lingual reach.This feature is so good, I believe it spells the end of conventional language teaching and essay writing in schools. You can already translate an essay as you type into a very good foreign language version at the Google Translate site. Genesis 11:1-9 is truly put into reverse by this extraordinarily liberating tool.