When I read this post by Dave Hay about the availability of WebSphere Portal 7.0 documentation, I wondered why it became available so early. The answer is very simple - IBM Web Content Management was announced August 31. It's already available for download, but GA will be at September 24. One more interesting thing is that new WebSphere Portal InfoCenter is delivered as a part of Portal Wiki, which has obvious advantages:
It is editable and if you'll found a mistake or unclearance in the text, you can change it right in documentation.
It is integrated with n.Fluent and can be translated into different languages on-fly, which means the translated docs will be always up to date.
Portal Wiki and InfoCenter are now searchable from one point.
From first sight the last advantage could become a disadvantage if you need to find something in InfoCenter only, but all pages of infocenter contains "wp7" in it's header, so you can limit the search scope by adding "wp7" into the search request. The only disadvantage that I've found for now, is that every time I chose another topic in the menu on the left side it refreshes the whole page, which causes big delays, but I think it will be fixed soon.
Ok, now here is the links to documentation I mentioned in this post:
Together with the new version of IBM Connections, the plugin for Microsoft Office was updated. Here is the description of it from catalog.lotus.com:
The IBM Connections 3.0.1 Plug-in for Microsoft Office provides the following features:
Add a Microsoft Office document to a Connections activity
Create a To Do list from a Microsoft Word document for a Connections activity
Add a Microsoft Word document to a Connections blog
Search on a person's name to view their Connections profile and insert their profile data into a Microsoft Word document
Add a Microsoft Word document to a Connections wiki
Add a link from a Microsoft Word document to Connections Bookmarks, or insert a link from Bookmarks into a Word document
The IBM Connections 3.0.1 Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook provides the following features:
Add an Microsoft Outlook e-mail to an activity
Create an e-mail as a To Do for an activity
Search on a person's name to view their business card, which lists a
person's contact information as well as expertise and interests
Search for content in other Connections services such as Bookmarks, Communities, Blogs, and Activities
Enhanced menu and ribbon support
Extend the Microsoft Outlook Social Connector to provide the following Connections social capabilities:
Add people to your network and sync with Outlook contacts (e.g., photo, profile details)
View your network from your Outlook client
View all interaction you share with a colleague in your network, including e-mail, attachments, meetings, and feeds
Note: This plug-in requires Outlook Social Connector version 1.1 or
higher. If you have not already done so, you must upgrade the default
version of OSC for your Microsoft Office application, or install it for
the first time. For information on Outlook Social Connector and
instructions on how to download the correct software, see this OSC article on the Microsoft web site.
The IBM Connections 3.0.1 Plug-in for Microsoft Windows allows you to
add files from Windows Explorer to a Connections activity.
Very interesting thing I've found on the passed week. This thing called Notes App Store. It is is a volunteer project started by Frank Paolino to create a single point of promotion for ISVs and their applications, developed for Notes/Domino platform. By the way, in latest This Week In Lotus podcast, was a grate discussion about this project and other catalogs, available now for Lotus and WebSpehre Portal. Interesting ideas about the target audience, advantages and disadvantages of this approach. From my point of view, this kind of catalogs are grate! And it also will be grate to integrate those we have now around WPLC, to make it simpler for the community to share and find the applications. Here is the list of catalogs, which I know about:
Many of you may be are aware about one of the greatest announce, made on the passed Lotusphere 2010 - IBM Project Vulcan. For me it took about two weeks to figure out what is it and got an idea of how it could work, because I have not been @ Lotusphere this year and has limited ability to ask questions to Gurus :( But anyway, you might know, that it is more like an IBM's vision for how people will collaborate in the future using email, social software (Quickr, Connections, LotusLive ), Portal and instant messaging Sametime all together, from single point. The question for myself, what I tried to answer this time, was: "Ok, there are a lot of social services in the Internet as Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, you_name_it, but is there any universal client or service for using all of them simultaneously (as suppose to do Project Vulcan)? " And here is what I found:
First one is Inbox2: www.inbox2.com - from my point it is the most close to what we will see soon, when the beta of Project Vulcan will be released. Here is a short video about it:
The next one is Gist: www.gist.com - another very clever combining information channels from different services, and even more, they have a PlugIn for Notes Client. Look at their web-interface demo here:
And last one is Xobni: www.xobni.com - which is actually a plugin for MS Outlook, but on their site is written, that they plan to add another plugins to other clients, and hope they will not avoid Notes :) Here is a good video on how it works:
This is what I found, and here is the latest video about Project Vulcan - a demo by Ron Sebastian:
So need to wait and test it by myself with Connections and other Lotus products :)
But despite these wins, and numerous
loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We
don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we
will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend
the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of
the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s
innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing,
are already available as open source, so customers and partners can
continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so
that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.
But I feel it will come back soon as something more adopted to real world needs, because the idea was grate!
2. Another Project is the site, addressed to xPages developers with lots of materials and aggregated information about xPages from wikis and blogs. Check it out here: http://xpages.info/ . This is the OpenNTF Alliance initiative, so OpenSource start is moving into Domino world very fast.
As far as I understand, this problem appears only if WebSeal is placed between Portal and Connections. If Portal and Connections communicate directly (ok, may be through HTTP,proxy or load ballancers), that LTPA should work and no modifications will be needed. But this is my assumption, need to check it.
I've got a question from the customer, who wanted to customize email notifications, send by Lotus Connections. All what I have found in InfoCenter was two small articles for Files and Wikis. "That could not be true!" I told to myself and started to do my favorite activity - searching. And voilà, found a grate article on this topic on developerWorks here: Customizing email notifications in IBM Lotus Connections 2.5.
As a summary:
Files and Wikis have notification templates in XML format at the same time Activities, Bookmarks, Blogs, Communities and Profiles have them as JSPs. That's why customization process is a little bit different, depending of the service.
But anyway what you can do is: changing look-and-feel of the e-mail, add images, add text with localization support, etc.
From my point of view, the most interesting thing is that if you want to, for example, add or delete the blog comment author display name or the link for leaving community to/from the notification email template, you can use variables provided by every service! See the complete list of them in the document.
Before you begin
Install and configure the Deployment Manager
Install the Primary Portal Node
Install IBM Support Assistant Lite
Configure the Primary Portal node to an external database
Federate and Cluster the Primary Node
Install the Secondary Portal Node
Install IBM Support Assistant Lite
Federate and Cluster the Secondary Portal node
Configure the Portal Cluster for Security
Configure the Portal cluster with an external Web server
Appendix A – Properties used for LDAP security
Appendix B - Adding a Vertical Cluster member
Appendix C - Adding a new node to an existing cluster
Appendix D - Running IBM Support Assistant Lite
is one of the first prototypes of the system, that can perform QA task
(automatically answering a question posed in natural language by voice) really fast,
which is applicable to almost any industry from Health Care to
The source of it's knowledge is coming from crawling a huge amount of
unstructured data including articles from Wikipedia, which is, with no
doubt, an example of crowd-sourced knowledge base and social software
Taking into account the obvious business advantages,
which systems like Watson, can bring to enterprises by speeding up
decision making, market analysis, problems determination, etc., the
problem of creating knowledge base for the systems like it, becomes to
have really big priority.
All three things above, plus the
speed of technology evolution, brings me to an idea, that the need of
social software services in enterprises for collecting data becomes
continue to rise and will become huge competitive advantage in very near
To estimate the time
when answering human questions by machine will become something
ordinary, remember how much people can do with desktop computers 10 yeas
ago comparing to what they can do with modern smartphone + cloud
Of course it is good news for IBM, that it's Social Software is very demanded on the market (and by the way, IBM have not only Lotus Connections as Social Software - do not forget about Lotus Quickr). But this means that IBM need to continue put many efforts to stay no. 1, because of strong competition with others (in Russia it is mostly the Microsoft with SharePoint 2010). Can't wait to see the reaction from the customers on Lotus Connections 3.0, which is coming very soon :)
I just want to summarize the information I've got and formulate the possible nearest future of the email, as I can see it now. The advantages of Social services, who are replacing email are:
Suitable to solve particular tasks (share and discuss files, news sharing, real-time communication).
Simplicity of self promotion (through blogging/microblogging, etc.).
Covering big auditorium (potentially any internet user can read your blog post).
You are always controlling subscribing and unsubscribing to/from any news feed.
Personalization and showing information in context.
Search and different kinds of navigation (for ex. through tag clouds).
From the other side, email still have advantages comparing to social services:
Security (encryption and digital signature).
Universal (can be used for almost any kind of activity from project planing to sharing documents).
Width of usage (almost everyone have email inbox, except some geeks).
Simpleness and habitualness of usage.
Then I decided to take a look into my personal Gmail inbox and here is what I found there: 1. Emails from different sites, that I didn't unsubscribed yet because they still have no RSS streams. 2. Booking confirmations from different hotels and airlines. 3. Registration information and notifications from different forums/discussion boards. 4. Spam. Very few personal letters received and even fewer were sent. This means that for personal communication I use social tools more than email. My inbox is now mostly used for official letters and in some cases for the kinds of collaboration for which I have no social tools yet. For example, I need to share an information and some of people are offline and I can't do it by instant messaging. Or I need to say something to person, who is using different IM/social tool and email. For example in Russia people are using local social tools instead of multinational Facebook or LinkedIn. The other statistical researches are saying almost the same, for example this two from "Pew Internet & American Life Project":
All this leads me to the following conclusions: 1. Email still has strong advantages, that social services can't solve or need some more time to deal with. By this I mean mostly it's width of usage, security and privacy and therefore it's more suitable for official kind of communications. 2. Email also has disadvantages, because of it's asynchronous type of nature and pretending to be universal. For example it's server disc space utilization, sharing large files and that you always need to know an address of the person or mail list to share something with some big auditorium.
The idea, which I finally come to is that the social software still can't replace email in some cases and email still has some potential for evolution. The direction of this evolution is in leveraging some functions of social services, such as different approaches in searching information, inside the email inbox and integrating with social services on the level of user interface and usability. Lotus Notes is definitely going this way, and doing it even faster starting version 8, but it still has something to improve in this space. That's why I have really big expectations from IBM Project Vulcan, announced in the beginning of this year and I'm sure we will be able to touch it next year, after Lotusphere 2011.
So I should say, the email is not dead, it just need somebody to reinvent "email-human" interface. BTW you can see some examples of prototypes in my post early in this year: Do you want IBM Project Vulcan? I mean Now!
Listening an interesting discussion in new "This week in Lotus" podcast, hosted by Stuart McIntyre and Darren Duke.
Here is the announce of first episode: "Horrible Lotus Notes"
tweets, the every-increasing success of Lotus User Groups, that Apple
tablet-thing, the end of Notes/Domino6.5, does Lotus really Know, and
more. Guests: Mike Smith, Tim Clark and Handly Cameron.
Interesting to hear, that Lotus Knows campaign, that was initially targeted to US market is now spreading to Europe and SA. May be we will see it in Russia soon :)
Small tip: This podcast also is subscribeable through the iTunes.
Grate news everyone! Yesterday, April 5, IBM Connections 3.0.1 was announced! All the new features are added to the Communities service and the description from the announcement letter:
Moderating community content Community owners are provided with new capabilities for the moderation of a community's content. These capabilities help community owners realize the benefits of active and vibrant community participation, while having the confidence of being able to moderate the content that appears in a community.
Enhancing communities with video and photo sharing The Media Gallery feature permits the sharing of videos and photos with a community. These capabilities can help attract more visitors to a community by creating a more compelling and satisfying experience for community members.
Generating ideas within a community The Ideation Blog feature is designed to help simplify the sharing of ideas within a community, voting on the ideas and moving the best ideas forward as projects. These new capabilities can, for example, help gather ideas from customers in a structured manner, and facilitate turning the best ideas into new services and offerings.
Integration with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) repositories The ECM integration helps users to store, access, and edit documents residing in FileNet® Content Manager and IBM Content Manager from within a Community.
During passed two weeks I've been involved into a process of integration Lotus Connections 2.5 with WebSeal, where WebSeal part was covered by Business Partner. The following are the things I have learned during that project.
1. Ask if WebSeal in current configuration allows an access for all users from LDAP, or an access is limited to some group(s)? What are the plans about access to Connections? Note: In documentation is mentioned that you need to add a user from connectionsAdmin alias to LDAP repository to make DSX work through WebSeal, but if an access to Connections is limited to some group, you need to add this user to this group.
2. Ask if in current environment there is an ability for uses to access to backend servers through HTTP and HTTPs or users have to use HTTPs all the time? Note: If only HTTPs is available, you have to use https for DSX and dynamicHosts URLs in LotusConnections-config.xml. Here are parts of my LotusConnections-config.xml file as an example:
One of the largest advantages of WebSphere Portal is that it allows to create very robust portal solutions, especially due to the clustering capabilities, provided by WebSphere Application Server. In addition, there are a number of options to put WebSphere Portal in a Cloud:
Use WebSphere Portal Hypervisor Edition, to utilize WebSphere Cloudburst as cloud platform.