Domino, Notes and videotape
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Learn How to Make Domino Mobile Apps

November 5th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in Domino | IBM - (0 Comments)

Domino Forever

IBM now gives you the chance to learn how fast you can get mobile versions of your Notes/Domino up and running. On November 29th they have a webinar, where you will get full information on how you can get started. (more…)

Ed Brill

While in Chicago, I met up with Ed Brill, former head of Notes/Domino and IBM Collaboration Solutions, and got him to tell his side of the story. 

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IBM Buys Red Hat For $34 Billion

October 28th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in IBM - (0 Comments)

Red Hat logo

IBM and Red Hat announced Sunday evening that IBM is buying Red Hat for $34 billion. The world’s cloud landscape is now totally changed, and IBM will now be the biggest cloud and hybrid provider in the world!

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IBM Champions

 

I’ve been an IBM Champion for the past two years, and I would really like to be one for 2019 as well. I need your help. Do you want to nominate me? Well, then this posting is written to tell you what you can write on the nomination form.

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Paaaartyyyyy! Domino Forever!

October 24th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in Domino | IBM | ISBG - (1 Comments)

Yellow party

The superlatives and positive messages about the Norwegian user group’s (ISBG) launch of IBM/Notes Domino V10 in Norway yesterday has been pouring in all morning. As the leader of ISBG, this makes me immensely happy. And it gives bright hope for the future, and we will use this momentum when we’ve now started preparing for the spring seminar. Read on to see what happened at the launch!

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A real life story that happened to me with two different customers.

Once upon a time there two files. Each file was used in a different organisation. The files were important for the organisations and several people needed access to them as several departments and projects needed to be able access, update and read them.

The Microsoft customer

Office 365 appsIn the first organisation the file was created by a team manager who then uploaded it into a team room in Microsoft Teams. Everybody with access to the team room could now reach the file and work on it. However, they didn’t have version control, nor could they really set different permissions for different users of the team room.

Furthermore, other teams also wanted access to this file. But as long as they weren’t members of that particular team, they couldn’t reach the file. The solution was to upload a copy of each file to the other team rooms in Microsoft Teams. Each team got a different copy. The problem with that solution was everybody was now working on different files. This created a lot of confusion.

Finally they had to sit down and try to merge all the copies into one file, which took a hell of a lot of manual work. When the file was to everybody’s liking, they now uploaded it into Sharepoint. They could now add this Sharepoint file to several team rooms in Teams. They could also set permissions so that some teams could write to the file, while others could only read the file. But they could only set the permissions for the team room as a whole. They also had version control now.

However, the team members had a hard time understanding why the file wasn’t in their Teams files. They had to remember to go to the Sharepoint tab in Teams to get to the file. If they wanted to see the file revision and version control, or wanted to see who had done what to the file, they had to open the Sharepoint app. It was a lot of unnecessary work that made a lot of users rather grumpy and confused.

They also wanted to share the file outside of their organisation with a couple of business partners. This could be achieved via a guest account, but this wasn’t something they wanted to do. Instead they discovered that they could share the file externally via the Offie 365 apps, but only if you changed several permissions in the Sharepoint admin tool first. It was a lot of work and they ended up emailing the files to the external users. They then uploaded the edited file they got in return into Sharepoint, with all the pitfalls that came with such an approach.

What they did love though was the ability to let several people edit a document at the same time in their web browser. This worked beautifully, and they could have an online meeting where everybody was working on the same file, seeing the updates being made live. After saving, all the formatting in Office file was intact.

It was also very easy to access the file via Windows Explorer and to open it up in Office to work with it locally on their computer.

But as the number of Teams grew and people started using more and more of the many apps inside Office 365, it became more and more difficult to have the overview the workers needed to keep up to date. There was no singular newsfeed to keep people updated.

The IBM customer

IBM Connections LogoIn the second organisation the file was created by a team manager who then uploaded the file to his own profile in IBM Connections. He then shared the file with his team via the community the team had in IBM Connections. Now all the members of this community could both work with and read the file. They also had full version control and they could also set different permissions for different  community members.

Other teams also wanted access to this file. This was no problem. Since the original team leader had uploaded the file to his own profile, he could just share the file with any other community or other users directly. Everybody was  now working with the same file without any hazzle.

And even though the file really resided in the original team leaders profile, each community saw the file in the Files view of their community, as if the file was there. There was no need to look for other apps or tabs inside the community. To see who had done what to the file, and to have revision and version control, all they had to do was to to go to the file inside their community. All the details were there.

They also wanted to share the file outside of their organisation with a couple of business partners. This could be achieved via a guest account, but this wasn’t something they wanted to do. And since they didn’t want t to do that, there wasn’t much they could do, without buying a third party app like Box or similar. This was a major grievance for the organisation.

What they also wanted was to be able to let several people edit a document at the same time in their web browser. To be able to to this they had to buy IBM Docs as it doesn’t come out of the box in Connections. But they soon discovered that IBM Docs screwed up the formatting in the Office files, especially in Excel and Powerpoint. For Word documents, they got by.

However, it was very easy to access the file via Windows Explorer and to open it up in Office to work with it locally on their computer, something they were very happy with.

What the IBM customers also was very happy with was that no matter how many communities or how much functionality they used, everything was contained within the same user interface, the same program and the same newsfeed. You didn’t need to think about when to use what functions, everything was inside IBM Connections.

Conclusion

Microsoft’s Office 365 has great functionality when it comes to document editing and creating good and useful Office files. It’s also good for smaller collaboration teams. However, there are way too man apps and way too many possibilities, and despite this, it’s still very difficult to share information and files between these apps. Heck, it’s even hard to share information and files between different teams within the same application. For a large organisation, I would definitely think long and hard before I started using a lot of these apps, especially Teams. A Sharepoint site is better, but then you will have a lot of development costs in addition to the license. Unless you find a good Sharepoint template to use.

IBM Connections on the other hand works out of the box. There’s no development needed, unless you want to of course. It’s also very easy to share information and files across the organisation and the various applications inside Connections. The users are thinking of Connections as one app, unlike Office 365 where you have to deal with many apps. This latter so confusing that Microsoft has made an 85 (eighty five!) page manual to tell you when to use what app…

Bot solutions have the ability to create guest accounts so that you can invite external users. But where Connections can’t share files outside the organisation out of the box, Office 365 actually can.

Both solutions makes it seamless to work with files directly from your local PC and from your email.

So both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I find Connections to have the upper hand when it comes to social collaboration and it has a lower learning curve when it comes to working effectively with it as a collaborative tool across the silos of your organisation. Office 365 still encourages silos.

However, if all you want to do is work with files and not much else, Office 365 is the way to go. And: You can actually work with Office 365 files from Connections. Something you cannot do the other way around.

Any thoughts, questions or comments? Use the comment fields below!

 

I Became Engaged Again

May 29th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in Engage - (1 Comments)

Theo HeselmansA week ago today the annual Engage conference started in Rotterdam, on one of the most amazing conference venues I’ve been at so far, the ship SS Rotterdam, which is a permanently moored hotel ship in the harbour. Theo Heselmans put on a stunning conference, where over 400 people attended. They were IBM Customers, end users, IBM business partners, members from other user groups, people from IBM and I’m sure there were other representatives as well.

As a part of the Brainworker consultant pool, I was treated to this trip by Arne Nielsen, who footed the bill. We did a road trip from Norway to the Netherlands, via Sweden, Denmark and Germany both to and from the conference. It was a nice trip, but I think we will fly next year…

Ego in session

Photo: Kristoff Bruers

I also did a presentation at the conference called “30 tips about IBM Verse.” I was so nervous that nobody would come, but it turns out I got a full room with 50 people. And the feedback was great.

Milan Matejic wrote: “Nice Session for everybody who plans to use Verse Client on a regular basis. Packed with lots of information delivered in a funny and energetic manner.” Aww! Thanks!

Notes/Domino v10 and 11

IBM presented a lot of things around IBM Notes/Domino v10 and v11. I’ve written about most of the Notes 10 stuff in this blog posting, but I will mention the new stuff they presented at Engage about 10:

Domino

  • Support for unlimited documents in folders – This really means nothing to me
  • Enhancements in Domino Cluster Administration – This was about time
  • Cluster configuration document – This means you have a place to you configure the files and directories, which have to be clustered
  • Domino statistics and monitoring via New Relic – Great for administrators
  • A lot of self repairing and self healing on the Domino server
  • Roll out automatic updates of the Notes client from the Domino server – Oh yeah!

Notes:

  • Forwarding multiple mails in ONE EML-file including attachments and formatting – Yeah… Outlook could do that ten years ago
  • Scheduled mail delivery – Have to send out an announcement tomorrow before lunch, but you won’t be at work? Schedule it!
  • Mail policy checks BEFORE the mail is sent to the server – This one I liked. You can actually prevent people from sending out confidential emails
  • A new “Team Calender” – This can also be used as a Team Mailbox. But most important: You can overlay the Team Calendar over your personal one! Yay!
  • Forwarding meeting invitations to other persons – Should have been made 10 years ago. But it comes with a twist that the competition doesn’t have: You can set up when you create the meeting whether people should be allowed to forward the meeting invite or not

Sametime:

  • Persistent chat – This means you can log off Sametime in your Notes client, and then continue the conversation, uninterrupted, on your mobile client. And vice versa.

iNotes:

  • Nothing new here, but it was strongly hinted that when the lacking functionality in IBM Verse is in place, Verse will replace iNotes as the Domino webmail platform.

Nomad:

  • What’s Nomad? It’s the ability to run your Notes applications on an Ipad, without the need of any coding! Everything (except mail and calendar) will work! I got to do testing with this on an Ipad, and it worked beautifully

HCL PlacesHCL Places

  • This was the biggest news. Turns out that HCL, who took over development of the ICS portfolio (except IBM Connections), have started developing an alternative to the Notes client. It is more reminiscent of an application with feeds, but it’s still early days.

The first beta of Notes/Domino 10 will be out in June, and the second one will be out in August. We did get to se the new Notes 10 client, and I was severely disappointed. It looked just like V9, but Feeds, OpenSocial Component and Composite Application Editor will be removed. This an attempt to make the client lighter. It also stems from customer feedback that almost nobody was using these features of the client. You can also change the colours of the client in totally different ways than before, but a visual impression is so important, that I really wish the design of the client had been changed.

Notes/Domino v 11 will be out already next year. That version will have a much tighter integration with Active Directory, so that you will be able to create Notes users in AD, and then they will be automatically created in Domino Directory as well. Another vision for Notes/Domino 11 is that of low code. It will be even easier than it is today to set up applications, both for mobile, web and the client itself.

Also, the Domino Designer might get killed off, so that you can the Visual Studio Plugin for coding instead. The idea is that anyone should be able to code a Domino based solution, without much, if any, knowledge of the Domino platform. With new and improved APIs they will be able to read from and write to Domino. Personally, I hope they also get rid of Eclipse.

It was also revealed that over 200 developers (TWO HUNDRED) were working on the next versions of IBM Notes/Domino. And at one of the presentations, the lead developer agreed with me that Xpages had been a blind alley. Thank you! I’ve been saying that for years. And:  There’s no end of life date for Notes/Domino.

There was also talks about IBM Domino in the cloud. You can already today move your Domino applications to the cloud or run them in a hybrid environment. This will be made even more easy in the future.

Phew! That was quite a lot about Notes/Domino 10 and 11. What else did we learn?

IBM Watson Workspace

Kirti GaniWatson Workspace is something IBM is pushing really these days. They have already made templates for various types of businesses, that will make it easier for organisations to have spaces where teams can collaborate, and have their data analysed in ways that will make it easier for you to make quick business decisions. At least that’s what IBM says. It can also be integrated into IBM Connections Cloud. Contact your local IBM sales person, or partner, to give it a try.

I also attended a few sessions where organisations did presentations on what they are using IBM’s Watson technology for. I especially liked Margo van der Stam’s presentation about what the Dutch tax office is doing by automatically processing letters from the public. It was very interesting to hear about the challenges they have by making the automatic process recognise things like addresses, censoring the names of the sender and decide on the right cause of action. It’s all still in being developed, so there is a manual review as well.

I also saw demos on how to make scripts and customise the templates so that you can add your own actions that you can trigger Watson to do. It is a very promising technology.

Sponsors and partners

SponsorsThe sponsor room was great, with a constant stream of food, snacks and drinks. It was also nice to talk to several of the business partners and sponsors about that they could offer for Office 365, Notes/Domino and IBM Connections.

And speaking of IBM Connections. There was nothing announced about Connections. Less than a year ago at Social Connections in Vienna, it was all about IBM Connections Pink. Now? Quiet. The only times it was mentioned was whenever IBM denied they were only thinking about cloud customers, or when it came to integrating IBM Watson Workspace into communities in IBM Connections.

In addition, I attended a couple of sessions about how to leverage your Notes/Domino data by using various types of technologies and development platforms. Especially Paul Withers talk about Node.RED and the Domino APIs was great. I’ve worked way too little with stuff like this and should really get my act together.

The people that you love

Red PillAnd that was the technical stuff. Another important part of the conference is the social bit. On Tuesday the sponsors and speakers were pampered to a great dinner, with tribal drumming and didgeridoo playing, on the deck of the SS Rotterdam. In beautiful weather, I might add.

On Wednesday Theo took us speakers, as per tradition, on a secret tour. We started the evening at the Dutch Pinball Museum and ended up with a dinner at the Euromast tower.

The next morning Arne and I drove back, and thanks to lots of road construction work on the German Autobahn, we weren’t home in Norway until 3 in the morning. And I had to be at the train station at 04.20…

Once again, Thanks for a great conference, Theo. You give us other user groups something to really strive for! And thanks to all the attendees, especially my fellow IBM Champions and the other speakers, for helping to make it great. See you all next year!

You can see my entire photo album from the conference here:

Engage 2018

Other people’s blog postings:

 

The conference IBM Think was held in Las Vegas from March 19th to 22nd. Over 30 000 people were there, and the conference covered subjects like collaboration, IBM Connections, blockchain, cloud, encryption and artificial intelligence.

As I’m an IBM Champion for ICS and the leader of the Norwegian ICS usergroup (ISBG) I was mostly interested in the portfolio of IBM Collaboration Solutions. As I wrote back in October 2017, HCL has taken over the development of the ICS portfolio, except for IBM Connections, while IBM will still be handling sales and customer contact and support. The most surprising revelation that came out of this is that we will get a Notes/Domino v10, and IBM and HCL has already started delivering demos of what they have promised so far.

However, even that news was eclipsed by the demo showed at Think. You can now actually run Notes applications on you Ipad, without any development, what so ever, needed!

You can simply run them on the Ipad, and all functionality will work as if you were in the Notes client. This includes Lotusscript and the Formula language!

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this demo, provided by Alan Lepofsky:

 

 

It really seems like IBM & HCL has set a pace we haven’t seen from IBM since…since… a long time. They are even going to do marketing! Now, if this only could be followed by actually talking to and meeting with customers, we might have something. Anyway, that video is awesome, and I can’t wait to show it to the Notes/Domino customers I have left.

As for Connections, on the other hand, it was peculiar how little news that came out of IBM Think. Last year, everything was all about IBM Connections Pink. This year there were a few sessions about IBM Connections Engagement Center, but so far I haven’t seen any announcements about how the development of IBM Connections is coming along.

It’s no secret that when the Norwegian user group have seminars or webinars about Connections, the interest from our members is considerably lower than when we have presentations about Notes/Domino. So I’m wondering about what will happen on the platform. My guess is that it won’t be long before HCL takes over Connections as well. Especially since IBM seems to be focusing everything on Watson Workspace and Watson Assitant. Not to mention quantum computing and big data analysis. Time will show.

Anyway, the video is just awesome. I can imagine the applause in Vegas when it was demoed.

 

What’s in IBM Domino v10

February 28th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in Domino | IBM | Notes - (27 Comments)

Domino 2025

IBM and HCL, who took over the development of the old IBM Collaboration Solutions portfolio a few months back, minus IBM Connections, held a joint webinar today to present their plans for IBM Notes/Domino v10. You can see the recording of the webinar here.

The people who held the webinar were Bob Schultz, GM IBM Collaborative Solutions & Talent, Andrew Manby, Director IBM Product Management Collaboration Solutions and Richard Jefts, GM/VP HCL Collaborative Solutions. The idea is that contrary to what IBM did before, the whole process towards a finished release of Domino 10 will be transparent. And this is just the first part of the new regime of information. There will be more webinars, blog postings and information sessions at the IBM Think conference, as well as at user group meetings.

The main points of what is coming in Domino 10:

  • Slimmer, faster and better looking Notes client
  • Missing mail features will be added
  • Better Microsoft integration for mail and productivity applications
  • Use of modern development tools and frameworks
  • Better core performance and functionality
  • Easy to use authentication and administration
  • Even better integration with Outlook and Sametime
  • There will be a lot of new development on the mobile experience, both for mail and apps
  • The Sametime client will from now on give you persistent chats through all platforms (about time!)

The most important details they gave us about Domino:

  • Active Directory integration made much simpler (how I wish that had been the case 3 years ago)
  • 256 GB NSF-files!
  • Automated database repair
  • Replica and synch-up and currency monitoring
  • Full text auto update on search and resilience
  • Docker Enterprise Edition images will be available
  • ID/Vault management improvements
  • SAML IPD upgrades (including ADFS4.0) for single signon
  • A much improved API which makes it easier to read from and write to NSF files
  • Exchange Web Services to connect to Exchange and Outlook clients in a much better way than today

We were given a short demo of some of the Notes functionality, but thus far a new design of the client was nowhere to be seen. New Notes functionality highlights:

  • You can edit rich text fields in Word instead of Notes
  • You can schedule (ie: delay) emails
  • You can mark several emails and send them as attachments in a new email
  • You an now invite other s to an appointment or meeting

Something a lot of developers and Javascript fans no doubt will cheer for is that Node.js will be added to the Domino development environment. This will make it much faster and easier to develop modern solutions, both in the Notes client and on mobile and web.

Jason Gary then did a guest appearance and showed how he used Node.js and the REST API to write and read from a very simple nsf-file.

Domino 10 will be released in the second half of 2018. And yes, there will be a beta plan announced. I’ll sign up for it, no doubt.

So, what do you think? Will this make a difference? Will Notes/Domino still have a future? Leave your comments and feedback below.

 

Social Connections in Vienna

October 27th, 2017 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | Social Connections - (0 Comments)

Last week I attended the Social Connections conference in Vienna. This conference is put together by a group of users and IBM partners, and they alternate between North-America and Europe. This was the twelfth conference, but it was my first.

Not only did I attend, I also did a presentation myself. Since I’ve become Mr. IBM Connections plugins over the last two years, I naturally gave a presentation on those. Again.

Vienna is a beautiful city, with a huge legacy of culture, architecture and history. I arrived the day before the conference started and therefore took the opportunity to do some sightseeing. There are those who frown upon those “hop on and off” tour buses that you find all over the world now, but I love them. They are perfect for getting around to see the best sites, and not too expensive.

The conference itself was attended by several IBM-ers, and they started off and ended the conference by talking about the future of collaboration. Over the two days the conference lasted we could learn about:

  • The way your organization changes because of digital transformation
  • Administration of IBM Connections (which can be a bitch on-premise)
  • Various third party apps and solutions for IBM Connections (and that’s growing, something I’m personally very excited about)
  • Integrated workspaces for employees
  • How to boost user engagement and make sure your change to collaborative solutions succeed, and how not to do it
  • The file solution Box which makes it easier to share files from Connections with people outside your organization
  • Livegrid, which is an even easier way to get your data out of Domino, or make it more easily available for other solutions (and for them to write back to Domino)
  • IBM Watson Workspace, IBM’s version of Slack where you can add their Watson technology, which will function as a bot that can answer questions. A lot of banks are using similar solutions these days without their customers even knowing about it
  • IBM Connections plugins for Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer, IBM Notes and the MacOS (given by yours truly)
  • Security and hacking. A great lecture was given by my fellow Norwegian Robert Farstad about how they asked professional hackers to hack the IBM Connections solution used by Høyre (the Norwegian political party who currently holds the Prime Minister in Norway)
  • Searching for contents and files
  • Docker
  • IBM Connections Engagement Center and IBM Connections Customizer

Vienna HallwayPhew! Quite a list. But a great conference. If you are interested in learning about any of this stuff, you can find the slides for each session in the agenda. Just click on the More Info button.

I’m interested to see where IBM Connections Pink is going. It seems exciting, but how will customers react to it going from an out-of-the-box-solution to a make-it-into-whatever-you-want-it-to-be solution?

The venue was fantastic. It was like you could hear the ghosts of winter balls past, with the waltz ringing in your ears. Chandeliers, tapestries, long winding staircases, statues, paintings and all other things you think about when you talk about the old Vienna.

Well done to all the organisers! Can’t wait for the next one. Check out my photo gallery from Vienna and the conference.

Here’s my presentation: