Domino, Notes and videotape
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IBM ChampionsLast year I was quoted on Twitter saying “If you hated the word social, get ready to hate the word ‘cognitive’.” Boy is that word thrown out a lot by IBM these days. Not least the opening general session at Connect 2017 here at Moscone West in San Francisco.

This year the OGS was split in two. A wise decision, since they used to be too long at previous conferences. The session started with a DJ/singer who mixed music, both on her own and with Watson. She then invited the three lifetime IBM Champions up on stage, Gabriella Davis, Theo Heselmans and Julian Robichaux. After sampling their voices she had a bit of fun and mixed them into the music.

Inhi Cho, general manager of IBM Collaboration Solutions, then took the stage and talked about Watson and Cognitive, as well as about our community, which she joined last year. She is a really impressive presenter and it’s obvious that she is really knowledgeable about big data and cognitive. We were given a few demos of what’s coming with IBM Watson Workspace, as well as the way they are embedding Watson, Watson Workspace and cognitive into the ICS Portfolio.

In Connections, Sametime and Watson Workspace (there’s even an upcoming plugin for IBM Notes for this!), you can ask a robot for assistance as well as questions for help about topics. Look at this screen, for example:

Chip

Think of the possibilities here. New employees can get the information they need just by asking. We even got a demo where the presenters spoke into their microphone, and told the system to reschedule their meeting and inform the other participants about it. They also asked questions for help about certain topics, which was answered by the bot. The bot also replied, by audio!

Watson Workspace functions a lot like Slack. But as a lot of us know, the conversation becomes very cluttered, very fast. With the help of Watson and cognitive, you can simply ask for the highlights from the conversation. Watson knows what the highlights for you will be, based on your work habits, your interests and the general tone of the conversation.

Watson can also help you analyze your email,s blog postings, forum postings, comments, documents and wikipedia entries. All in all, everything shown are very impressive solutions. Now all IBM needs to do is to get them out there, promote them and get companies to use them…

Stay tuned for my summary of OGS Part 2.

Still in the US, but in a new city, on a new date and with a lot of new things you normally don’t associate with Lotusphere, now known as IBM Connect. The city is San Francisco and the location is Moscone West, a gigantic conference center in downtown San Francisco.

As Roxette said: – Don’t bore us, get to the chorus. So, I’ll get right to it. The first session I attended was the brilliantly named session “Your Mail is in the Cloud, What About Your Apps?”

This is a question that a lot of people are concerned with, because IBM has been heavily promoting companies to move their email to the cloud, and then start using IBM Verse. But most of us have a lot of applications running in Notes, which means we still got to run and administrate local Domino servers. Can these be moved to the cloud? Yes, turns out that they can. And IBM showed us how.

Some important points:

  • Files must be moved to the cloud and keep their original file path
  • Servers in the cloud have their own naming convention
  • SAML is used for authentication
  • If you use LADP you got to set up a solution that makes it possible to send requests back form the cloud to LDAP
  • You’ll need ID Vault

The process for moving is described in these images (click on them for a bigger version):

cloudcloudcloud

Most of us are responsible for gigantic .nsf-files with huge amounts of data. Personally I’ve been responsible for databases with a logical size of 100 GB. This is of course only possible through the use of DAOS, which stores the attachments, since an .nsf-file only can be as big as 64 GB.

How do you move all this data to the cloud? You could use good old fashioned Domino replication. This is going to take time, but it’s stable and very reliable. If you lose your internet connection, it will just continue when you get your connection back.

FTP: Quicker than replication, but it has to be monitored. And if you lose your connection, you need to start all over again.

Physical storage: Moving data via a hard drive, which you then ship off to the data center where they will copy it for you. This will take quite a bit of time, but you won’t have any problems with network connectivity.

Moving data online can take quite a bit of time, days even, so this must be planned in detail. Users will experience quite a bit of downtime if you don’t take advantage of weekends or holidays.

IBM calculates that this will take a couple of days. Before you start moving you must analyse and plan what applications you need to move. Some applications might not be needed anymore, or they could be replaced with other solutions.

When you’ve decided what applications you want to move, you have to go through them and check for stuff like

  • Hardcoded server names or databases
  • DBLookups and DBColumns that might create problems
  • ODBC and OS calls from Lotusscript

IBM can assist with all of these things via specialized tools.

And yes: You will be able to do this, even if you are running DAOS.

Don’t let the headline fool you. I also show you how you can do this in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and other email and calendar clients as well!

I’m a pretty disorganized person who had to force myself to become organized. And I have succeeded pretty well with it, even if I do have a few relapses now and then.

In the past keeping track of my traveling plans, tickets and hotel reservations was pure hell. Especially in the days with printed tickets. For the past 5 years I’ve been using my cell phone to keep track of everything while travelling. And I do not use one app for the hotel reservations, one app for the airline tickets and so on. I import everything into my calendar on my Android cell phone. I used to do the same on my good old Nokia N8, and you can of course do this on your Iphone as well.

First of all: You need an email and calendar application on your cell phone. Personally I’m using IBM Verse, but there are also several other apps for this, including Gmail and Outlook. The application will make it possible for you to read and send email directly from your phone, as well as read and update your calendar. I will show you two ways of updating your cell phone calendar with all of your travelling  plans, tickets and reservations.

From the confirmation page

When you you’ve booked a hotel or flight online, you will get to a confirmation page after the order has been completed. Very often you will find a link, icon or button like this on the confirmation page:

Send to calendar

 

Sometimes you will have to click on it to get suggestions for the various types of calendars and sometimes they will all be listed. In this example I’m using hotels.com. When I click on the button link pictured above I get this:

Choose calendar

 

If your email client is not listed, click on ical Calendar. Since I’m using IBM Verse that’s what I have to do. A screen pops up where I have to put in my email adress:

Email calendar entry

 

Now hit Send.

No matter what method you chose above, you will now receive an email that looks just like a meeting invitation. Simply click Accept or Add to Calendar (or whatever it’s called in the email client you are using) in that email, and the reservation will be added to your calendar, with all the most important details (like reference number, addresses, times, dates and so on).

From the confirmation email

What I describe here will only work if you are sitting on a computer. As far as I know, this is not possible on a cell phone application.

Often when you get a travelling confirmation by email from an airline, or a reservation confirmation from an hotel, the email will sometimes contain a link or button that will look very similar to this:

Add to calendar

 

 

 

Choose your email client. If you are using Google or Yahoo, it will open up your calendar and you will see a web form where you can add details and then confirm that you want to add this to your calendar.

If you choose Outlook or iCal (sometimes this will be called ics) you will be asked to save the ics file to your computer:

Save ICS

 

Open your email client. In my case I’m using IBM Notes since, as far as I know, this can’t be done in IBM Verse (which is the web version of my email) yet. Go to the calendar and find the import function. In IBM Notes it’s under File -> Import A file dialog will pop up. Choose .ics as the file type:

ICS File dialog

 

Navigate to the file, click on it and then click Import. You will be asked to confirm that you want to add it to your calendar. Do this and now it will be imported, with all the details you need.

In Outlook you import ics.files under File -> Open & Export -> Open Calendar:

Add to Calendar Outlook

 

A file dialog will pop up:

Outlook File dialog

 

Navigate to the file, click on it and then click Open. A window for creating a new calendar entry will open. Here you can add additional details if you want. Click Save & Close to create the calendar entry.

Synchronisation

The beauty of all this is that you don’t even have to think about whether you add these entries in the calendar on your cell phone or in the calendar of your email client. The entries are synchronised, both ways, between your phone and the client.

Here’s how my travelling plans look in IBM Verse on my phone:

Cell phone calendar

 

I can open one of these entries by clicking on it. If I click on my hotel reservation I will get the confirmation number, time and date for check in and check out, the address and contact information for the hotel and even details on how to cancel:

Hotel reservation

 

Pretty neat, eh? All your travelling arrangements on your cell phone.

PS! Most email providers also gives you the option to use an online web version of your email. This means that even if you have imported this in your local Outlook or IBM Notes client (or other calendar and email client) this will also be visible in the online web version! This means if you lose your cell phone, you can simply use a computer and log on to your email via web, get the details from your calendar there and then print them out or write them down.

Any ideas for even better ways to do this? Did you find any errors? Did you like this? Hate it? Please leave some feedback in the comments field below!

I Became an IBM Champion

December 15th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | IBM Champion - (10 Comments)

2017champsbyregionYesterday I was told that I’m among those in the IBM community who are named as an IBM Champion. The definition of an IBM Champion is this:

An IBM Champion is someone who makes exceptional contributions to the technical community. Contributions can come in a variety of forms, and popular contributions include blogging, speaking at conferences or events, moderating forums, leading user groups, and authoring books or magazines. Educators can also become IBM Champions; for example, academic faculty may become IBM Champions by including IBM products and technologies in course curricula and encouraging students to build skills and expertise in these areas.

When I started going to IBM and user group conferences in the early 2000s I had never thought I would be among those who could call themselves IBM champions.I used to look up to those guys and girls, and through the years I’ve been able to call a lot of them my friends. I’m also told that I’m the first Norwegian to ever become IBM champion, so I’m very humbled and a bit proud.

All I’ve tried to do is to spread the word about the IBM collaborative solutions, which I love to work with, and help people to get the best out of them. In addition to gaining friends and being able to pick up a lot of tips and help myself, I’ve now gotten this distinction. I think the manual I did for the IBM Connections plugins for IBM Notes really helped to put me on the map this year, which I’m thankful for, because it was a lot of work doing that.

I’ve also become second in command in the Norwegian user group (ISBG) and I’ve got some ideas which I hope will increase user activity even more. This is really inspiring and I will blog even more about IBM Notes/Domino, Connections, collaborative solutions, internet technologies, plugins and constructive criticism (with the odd complaint thrown in).

Also: I’m effectively out of a job from January 1st, if anyone wants to hire me or use my expertise, please get in touch. I can be used for both development, user training, strategy, architecture, writing and documentation and photography!

Huge thanks to Roger Johannessen, Oliver Busse and Lars Samuelsson for nominating me! And thanks to all those who sent me messages yesterday to congratulate me.

A new Star Wars movie and an IBM Champion award in one and the same day? Xmas came early!

The 2016 autumn meeting in the Norwegian IBM User group (ISBG) was held on November 30th at BI (Norwegian school of finance) in Oslo. Even if I wasn’t second in command for the user group I still would say this: It was a very strong and varied agenda! Here’s a summary:

Salesforce App Cloud and IBM Domino – same, same, but different

ISBG - RenŽ WinkelmeyerFirst one out was René Winkelmeyer from Salesforce.com. He’s a former star in the Domino environment, but left for Salesforce last spring. He works there as a Senior Development Evangelist. There were those who questioned why ISBG would invite Winkelmeyer to give this lecture. The reasons are that IBM has bought one of the largest Salesforce consultant companies in the world. In addition, Salesforce is very compatible with the IBM Collaboration Solutions.

Several people who used to work with Notes/Domino are today working with Salesforce, and there are also those who work with both platforms. Winkelmeyer explained the differences and similarities between the platforms.

Differences:

  • Salesforce is cloud only
  • Salesforce does not have email but you can integrate email functionality into your applications
  • Salesforce is based on relational databases
  • You are automatically prevented from publishing bad code

Similarities:

  • The structure is similar: Organisation, database and forms
  • Security model similar. You can control access and permission all the way down to fields
  • Salesforce has its own versions of forms, views and Xpages
  • Both have variations of agents
  • Both have validation and rules

Winkelmeyer then did a demo where he showed how a Salesforce applications worked seamlessly inside a community in IBM Connections, including sharing of files. He then showed how he could copy an email from IBM Verse and into an application in Salesforce. This is made possible via the APIs in Connections and Verse.

Winkelmeyer’s main point was that the philosophy where you bind yourself to one system or platform doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Today everything is about integration, not to mention web and mobile based solutions.

Download his presentation here!

Finding Your Way out of the Domino Maze

ISBG - Julian WoodardJulian Woodward is a legend in the Notes/Domino community. In the past few years he has worked for LDC Via, a London based company specialising in helping companies lift their data out of Domino. In his presentation, he walked through the challenges that comes with such a migration, whether you want to leave Domino completely or stay on Domino and only move out of the Notes client.

The challenges are both technically and for the business. For the latter you have to consider budgets, strategies, politics and infrastructure. Very often the organisations are very surprised about how tightly integrated the Notes applications are in the daily business, and how vast they really are.

On the technical side the challenge is that IT wants more standardised applications and systems and less specialised systems that are developed in house. This demands a lot of restructuring and in a Domino environment this can be especially challenging. You have Notes agents, server integrations (both between Notes applications but also with other systems and platforms), APIs and server add-ons. Scheduled agents are especially tricky as no other systems have that.

Woodward then presented a series of scenarios for moving from Notes or Domino. All based on his experiences in his work in LDC Via. These scenarios included everything from starting all over on a new platform to archiving data from Notes and use lookups to find information. His main advice was:

  • Find out the scale of the project and then do one thing at a time
  • Map out what the most important applications are
  • Both interview and observe the users while they are working in today’s systems, this will help immensely in determining the scope of the project
  • List the reasons for moving
  • How long will a new application last? Is it really worth it?

Download his presentation here!

Judicial demands for cloud services

Grete Funderum Stillum is a lawyer and partner with Brækhus Drege Lawyers DA. She gave a session that many were surprised was on the agenda. This was a about corporate law and not technology. The feedback afterwards, however, was great. People found it very interesting and felt that we should repeat it during the spring meeting. She received a lot of questions during the presentation, so it was clear that she struck a nerve with people looking to move into the cloud.

Funderum’s point was that organisations often forget the judicial demands coming into play when moving into the cloud. Her message was that this should be one of the main concerns already from the start of such a migration project. One of her examples was that standard agreements with cloud providers very often were non negotiable.

She also pointed out that you are responsible, and not the cloud provider. However, it was very beneficial for a cloud provider if they had expertise about this so that they could guide the customer.

Personal data is something that the law is very strict about (but strangely not when it comes to cookies!) and it’s also a difference between sensitive personal data and regular personal data. The Norwegian watch dog Datatilsynet has specialized forms and guides on how to take care of this.

In May 2018 a new EU regulative will come into play. This will make it necessary to document your internal control on data security in your organization.

The presentation can be seen here, but in Norwegian only.

Time for the Digital Workplace

After a lovely tapas lunch it was time for a presentation from Swede Erik Näslund. He works in EGBS which specialises in transforming IBM Connections into a social intranet with focus on user needs. Their philosophy is that if you need to train your users to use a system, you’ve failed.

As an example, he used his cell phone and Ipad. Most people are able to start using them without any form of training. Why aren’t your tools at your workplace like this? In the future robots and automated processes will perform more and more of the routine labour we perform today. We should therefore concentrate more and working with knowledge and creative jobs. Instead we are using a lot of time on chores like registering hours. Näslund says this is completely unnecessary. – My cell phone already know I’m in Oslo, when my plane took off and when I’m back at the office. I still have to register this manually in our internal systems at work. This should happen automatically.

He pointed out that even if the death of email was greatly exaggerated, people still don’t read their emails. They only read the first four lines. The solution is very often to install IBM Connections and share information there. The result is that 10-20% of the employees adopts to using Connections. This is not productive.

So then you start training your users and start choosing super users and so on. You then end up with a 40% adoption rate. The reason is that people are not interested in learning about files, communities, profiles etc. The way we think when we want to introduce a collaboration tool is completely wrong. The processes and people should not have to adapt, it’s the product that should adapt to the users way of doing things.

Digitalisation of the workplace is not an IT investment, it’s a continuous project. Adapt the technology, not the users!

You can download Näslund’s presentation here!

IBM Softlayer in Norway

softlayerThe first thing Kjell Langeland from IBM Norway pointed out when he started his session was that even if Softlayer was the foundation of IBM’s new data centres, the service is now called IBM Bluemix. This autumn they opened a new data centre at Fet in Norway. Such data centres are called Bluemix Data Centre and what used to be called Softlayer is now known as Bluemix Platform.

The customer can rent a physical server. With the help of wizards she can set up and configure the server (operating system, surveillance software and so on). You can also rent on an hourly basis pr month.

IBM and VMWare is now conduction a strategic cooperation where IBM can rent out VMWare licenses in Bluemix.

So far  the Norwegina data center has gained 100 customers, and a lot of well known platforms and companies are using the service.

There was a big interest in this session, and Langeland received a lot of questions.

You can see the entire presentation here!

Updates from IBM Norway

Vidar Svendsen and Emmar Hoel from IBM Norway then showed us what the latest news from IBM are. Main points:

  • Watson Work
  • Box as a file service inside IBM Connections
  • The cooperation between IBM and Cisco which makes it possible to use WebEx as web meetings inside IBM Connections. You can also use Jabber and present Files and files from Box inside WebEx meetings
  • Information about IBM Connect 2017 (previously known as Lotusphere) which next year will take place in San-Francisco

You can get all the details in their presentation here!

Competition and pizza

We finished up with a Kahoot quiz which this time was a pop quiz. I won but as second in command at the ISBG board I only won fame and glory. Julian Woodward got away with the prize.

After a raffle and some more prizes Hogne thanked everybody for coming. He then asked for help in promoting ISBGs activities and said that the board of ISBG appreciates any feedback from their members about the future of ISBG. It’s obvious that the bar is set higher these days for traveling to conferences. All ideas are welcome.

The day was rouned up with IBM Norway treating us to pizza and drinks, so we all went full home. Full of both knowledge and food.

The next ISBG meeting is the spring seminar in June of 2017, but you shouldn’t be too surprised if there are other activites before that. Stay tuned!

A huge thanks to BI for lending us a conference room and for a splendid lunch, and heart filled thanks to IBM Norway who always are supportive of our conferences.

7 Great Tips About IBM Notes

November 18th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | Notes - (2 Comments)

The IBM Notes client is an important tool for a lot of IBM customers. It’s a powerful client (albeit a bit cranky at times), which has a lot of features that people don’t know about.  So here are 7 quick tips to make your work day even more efficient.

1) Find a Notes application/database quickly

There’s no need to spend time looking for a Notes application or database on your workspace or in the bookmark menu. Simply use the search field under the Open-button (or the binoculars if you have docked the Open list). Just start typing the name of the application and Notes will list all the applications containing the letters you are typing. Then you can simply just click on the correct one:

Search

No more time spent looking for applications!

 

2) Create a new email at any time

To create a new email, simply hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and then hit the M key. A new email will open up. You don’t even need to have your mail application open!

 

3) Create a meeting out of an email

Sometimes an email discussion has gone on long enough. If you feel the time has come to have a meeting you can create a meeting out of an email by right clicking on the email and choose Copy into New -> Calendar Entry:

Copy into New

 

You will now be asked what kind of calendar entry:

Choose calendar entry type

 

Choose Meeting and click OK. A new meeting form is prepared. All people in the To-field will be in the Reuired field and all the people in the Cc field will be in the Optional field. All contents of the email, including attachments will be included (remove the attachments!). Now you can continue scheduling the meeting.

 

4) Paste as plain text

When pasting text from another document into a rich text field in Notes, all formatting from the original source is kept (colors, fonts, tabs and so on). If you want to paste the text into a rich text field, but remove the formatting from the source, simply hold down the CTRL and SHIFT keys on the keyboard while hitting the V key. Now the text is pasted as plain text, and it will be in the same format as the rest of the text in the rich text field. Easy peasy!

 

5) How is your day?

When you start your working day you want to know what’s on  the agenda today. No need to open your calendar for this. Simply open the right sidebar panel called Day-at-a-Glance:

Day at a glance

You can even look at other dates in the past and future as well.

 

6) Trace your history

Did you know that Notes keeps complete track of every single Notes application and document you’ve opened in the seven past days? It’s true! No more brain twisting trying to remember what you did yesterday! Simply click on History in the bookmark menu (under the Open button or under the binoculars if you have docked the Open list), then the date you want to check and finally the name of the application. Now Notes will list all documents you worked with in that application on that date:

History

 

7) Don’t develop a mouse elbow

We all use the mouse too much. But did you know that you can access any action button in a Notes document or view without having to click on them? Simply hold down the ALT key on the keyboard. You will then see a number in the upper left corner of all the action buttons. Simply click on the corresponding number on your keyboard (while still holding down ALT) to trigger the action button.

Example: If you want to send an email, you don’t need to move the mouse button up to the action button Send and on click on it. Simply hold down ALT and hit the 1 key on the keyboard. Neat, eh?

Hope you liked these tips. If you did, or want to add something, leave a comment!

7 Quick Tips About IBM Connections

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in Connections | IBM - (7 Comments)

IBM Connections is a great tool for collaboration. But there are some very quick and cool things you can do to make it work even more efficient for you. Here are 7 tips:

1) Filter your activity stream

A lot of people find the activity stream (news stream on the IBM Connections front page) to be overwhelming and confusing. Not to worry, you can filter out anything you want. There’s a pull down menu at the top of the activity stream, under the status field, that you can use to choose the specific information you want to se updates from:

Pull down menu

Click on it to choose the application you want to see updates from, so that you won’t get drowned in information:

Pull down menu options

 

2) Save postings for later

Sometimes you see a posting in the activity stream that you want to either read or follow up on, but you haven’t got time right now. This can simply be solved by saving the posting. Simply click on Save to save it for later:

Save posting

You will find this posting under Saved in the left menu. Read all about saving and unsaving postings here.

 

3) Sort a search result by application

Let say you do a search on all contents in Connections:

Search field

 

The search result will look like this:

Search result

You can now sort the search result by application by clicking on the application name in the left side menu:

Search menu

If you want to look only in files, you choose Files. If you want to search only in wikis, you choose Wikis. And so on.

 

4) Quickly find your most recently updated communities

A very quick way to find your most recently updated communities is to click on the Communities menu at the top. Those communities will be listed at the bottom of the pull down menu:

Communities menu

 

5) Find the latest post in a forum thread that is sorted as a conversation

In a forum thread, you can choose to sort it either by date (upon which you can choose to show the oldest or newest posting at the top) or by conversation. If it’s sorted by conversation, it can sometimes be hard to know what the newest posting is. Luckily you have a link at the top of the forum thread where you can choose to jump to the latest post:

Latest posting

 

6) Convert an activity entry into a To do

Sometimes someone will post or share something into an activity that triggers the need for an action. In those cases it’s important to set a due date and assign this task to someone. Thankfully, you can actually convert most activity entries into a To do. Here’s a an ordinary entry. By expanding it and then click on the More pulldown menu, we find the option for converting it into a To do:

Convert to To do

After choosing this, you can assign it to someone, as well as set a due date and add tags and more information and attachments. You can even convert emails that have been uploaded to the activity in this way!

 

7) Quickly search for people and profiles

Under the Profiles menu at the top, you find a menu item called Directory:

Directory menu

After clicking on this you will get a search field where you can simply start typing the name of the profile or person you’re searching for. Connections will suggest profiles for you while typing

I hope these quick tips are useful to you. If so, please leave a comment or share it on social media. If you have anything you want to add or give me feedback, leave comment!

No more NotesLast week there was an online presentation co-hosted by TeamStudio and TLCC where IBM presented their roadmap for IBM Notes/Domino.

I didn’t listen to the whole thing, I skipped some parts, because I could basically read the slides. In addition, they didn’t present anything new that they didn’t present at IBM Connect 2016. Nothing! Except one thing: You can now also use Outlook 2016 with Domino. Yay…

To paraphrase a friend of mine in the Domino community: “They are killing it, man.” And I find it hard to argue against that. For the past three years, I’ve been telling people who said that Xpages was going to save Domino that they were wrong. And this latest roadmap (which is the same as it was in January in Orlando) makes me ask: Is IBM interested in saving Domino?

Now, the Notes client was never going to be saved. We all knew that, even if IBM never comes right out and say it. But when it comes to email, they want you to start using IBM Verse or they actually want you to start using Outlook. In a world where people want to run light clients and use handheld devices, a huge bloated client is not the way to go, so I’m not really complaining about that. But the seemingly lack of commitment to the Domino platform is glaring.

It’s time to start delivering on your promises when it comes to Domino, IBM. But what’s happening is just one slow and drawn out torturing of a dying beast. If you’re not dedicated to the platform, at least come out and say it. “It will happen at Connect 2017,” they say. What will happen? That you will say the exact same things you said at Connect 2016? And the Java version running on the platform now isn’t just outdated. It’s a sediment on the bottom of the ocean which still hasn’t turned into black gold, and never will. We have been promised a Java update for a year now, and it still hasn’t arrived. Neither has any of the other stuff they promised.

One of the things that makes me want to say that “this is it, folks,” is the way IBM now lets you use Outlook with Domino. What’s basically happening is that IBM is saying: Connect Outlook to Domino, have the entire .nsf mail file downloaded to an Outlooks .pst file and then you can just move that pst file onto an Exchange server or up into the Office 365 cloud. They are even eliminating the need for a huge migration project, like a move from Notes to Outlook used to be.

My employer is, like 99% of the rest of the world, using Office 365. Mail is a part of the Office license, which basically means we are currently paying for two different mail platforms. In a time where we are struggling financially (I’m currently made 50% redundant), and we have to cut costs, what do you think we are going to choose? Staying on a platform where the company making it won’t make a commitment? Or go with the company which is constantly developing and refreshing their platform, and also makes integration and single sign on between all their products a default functionality?

Domino will remain in my company as an application server, because we are still running lots of Notes applications. However, we are currently webifying them and using anything but IBM technology to do so, apart from the nsf files which, for the time being, still will be on Domino.

Oh, well. See for yourself, and tell me if I’m wrong:

And here are the slides:

Very often, the start page of a wiki in IBM Connections tends to look like this:

Text only wiki

This looks very dull. It’s not very inviting for the users and the need for scrolling will make it harder for the users to find what they are looking for. Yes, you can tell the users to search the wiki, but believe me, they won’t!

I’ll admit it straight away: The wiki pictured above is made by yours truly, and it was made to document how to make wikis (am I meta or what?). The feedback from the users was that while my documentation was really good, it wasn’t very inviting for them to start using it. In this day and age, people want easier access to things. They want pictures and graphics, and their cell phones have spoiled them when it comes to no need for scrolling and having big colorful buttons to push.

A few months later we introduced Skype for Business in our company. And when the time came to create a wiki on how to use Skype for Business, I decided to try and spruce up the documentation a bit more. So this is the start page for the Skype for Business wiki:

Wiki icons

This time the feedback was much better:

  • Users didn’t have to scroll
  • The page looked much more inviting with graphics
  • The icons and text gave a good description of what each link was about

Both the icons and the text are clickable links (I show you how to make image links in a Connections wiki further down in this posting) and we took this even a step further in our next wiki. I can’t take full credit for what I’m showing you next. It was shown to me by Erik Borse from the company Item, and I rolled with it and expanded upon it.

We created a wiki to document our internal processes. From the wiki start page (which I cannot show you), you can click on an icon for Strategy and management. This is the wiki page you arrive at if you click on that icon:

Powerpoint icons

Each box is clickable, and it gives the user a quick and easy way to click on further down in the wiki structure. In addition, each box has it’s own unique color. If a user clicks on the orange box, all boxes and colors on the underlying pages will be orange. This way the user knows she is still within the same subject and page structure.

The really good part here is that there’s no need for the users to design those graphic buttons in a graphical tool You can create them in Microsoft Powerpoint.

  1. Start Powerpoint
  2. Go to the ribbon called Insert:
    Insert ribbon
  3. Click on Shapes:
    Shapes
  4. Choose the shape you want. The mouse pointer will now become a cross hair
  5. Click inside the Powerpoint document, hold the left mouse button pressed and then drag the mouse pointer to the right until you the figure has reached the desired size:
    Shape
  6. Release the mouse button
  7. Double click on the shape to go into editing mode. Add the text you want. If the text gets too big, you can either decrease the font size (just like you would change font size in a normal text document) or click on any of the circles surrounding the shape to resize it by pulling back or forth:
    Shape with text
  8. You can change the color of the shape in the ribbon menu:
    Color ribbon
  9. Click on the shape and make sure it looks like this:
    Shape with text
  10. Copy it (Hold down CTRL+C). If you hear an error sound from Windows, click outside the box and the inside it again to mark it. Try again
  11. Go to the wiki article, put it in edit mode, place the cursor in the spot where you want to paste the shape and paste it (CTRL + V):
    Pasted

PS! Making buttons like this from Powerpoint only works in Windows, it will not work on a Mac! 

What will work on both in Windows, Linux and on a Mac, however, is pasting regular images into the wiki article. And now I’ll show you how to create a link to another wiki-article, so that when a users clicks on an image, that article will load. This method works both for regular images and images created with Powerpoint:

  1. Open the wiki article you want to link to
  2. Go to the URL-field, mark the entire text and click copy it (either by right clicking on it or CTRL + C):
    Copy URL
  3. Go to the wiki article you are editing and click on the image you want to create into a link, right click on it and choose Image Properties:
    Image Properties
  4. The following screen will pop up:
    Image Properties Popup
  5. Click on the tab called Link:
    Link tab
  6. The popup will now give you this form:
    Link attributes
  7. Paste the wiki page address into the URL field. Use the Target pull down field to choose whether this link should be opened in a new window or not
  8. Click OK

That’s it. Now the image will contain a link that will open the wiki page you linked to. Save the wiki article and test that everything works fine (it should).

I’m not saying this is the perfect way to construct wikis, but in my experience it does make wikis look nice and easier to use. And it’s really easy to learn how to do it, without becoming an HTML expert. Of course, if you do know HTML, you can make some pretty impressive wiki designs, but I wanted to show you an easy trick which is more achievable for everyone.

Did you like this tip? Leave a comment either here or on the social media platform where you found it! And give me a follow!

Just like you have version control of files in IBM Connections, you also have complete version control of wiki articles inside a wiki. Every time someone edits an article, and save the changes, the last version of that wiki article will be kept.

The versions of the article are listed at  the bottom of the wiki article. Click on the tab Versions, to the righ of the tab Comments:

Wiki versions

Restore previous version

You can restore a previous version of a wiki article in the following way:

  1. Find the version you want to restore and click on the link to the right called Restore:
    Restore wiki article
  2. You will now get the following message:
    Wiki versions
  3. Click OK to restore this version. This will now be the current version, and the version you replaced will now be pushed down on the list. Connections will even tell you what version you restored the current version from:
    New version

You can now of course restore back to the previous version by clicking on the Restore link behind it in the list. Here I’ve done this:

Restore original

Compare versions of wiki article

You can also compare versions to see what’s different between them. If there is more than one version of a wiki article, you will see this at the bottom, under the tab Versions:

Versions

To compare two versions against each other you choose the number of the versions in the pull down fields. In the picture above, I’ve selected to compare version five against version four. Click on Show comparison. Both articles will now shown next to each other:

Version comparison

The text marked green is the text that’s been added or changed in the newest version and the items coloured yellow are text that’s been deleted in the newest version.

You can also choose to compare other versions in the fields at the top:

Choose version

So as you can see version control of wiki articles is a very useful tool.

Please leave your feedback below. Always appreciated. And if you have any questions regarding Connections, don’t hesitate to ask.