4th OpenNTF Development Contest – First summary

The contest is over, long live the contest! This is what I think is the outcome of the latest OpenNTF development contest. Many people might have been a bit tired of contests and I heard voices saying: „Uh, the 3rd contest is just over and they already start a 4th?“. Or: „The contest ball is flat, the air has gone!“. Looking back to the start of the 4th contest I must admit that people were not so wrong when they moaned. But the run-time of the contest was chosen a bit longer and the air returned to the ball in the last couple of months, the momentum came back.

Why am I saying this? Just check out the contributions to this contest! There are people out there who really put effort into this contest and came up with amazing applications, controls, widgets and libraries. The contest ended last night and I would not be surprised if Niklas added some more nice videos/contributions to the list today and maybe even tomorrow. The first 3 contests taught us that the best stuff was handed in in the last 72 hours of a contest even when the whole thing ran for months. Continue reading

IBM Connections 4 – Key Features and Benefits

2 weeks ago IBM announced IBM Connections 4. This is an exciting new version which adds so many new capabilities to this great piece of software that every existing installation should get updated as soon as possible. Here is a short video showing an overview.

What I like most about Connections 4 is:

  • Activity Stream
    The activity stream  shows a list of all your activities. This is not limited to ToDos but shows twitter or Facebook like activities like personal information, information about updated documents and even eMail! So you have got everything you need in a single place. It has to be well balanced though not to get flooded with stuff and miss the important information.
  • Embedded Experience
    How cool is that? When getting an entry in my stream let’s say from a vacation app I can approve or reject an application right from my activity stream using Embedded Experience. This example obviously only works if a developer enables the vacation application for Embedded Experience. Or somebody sends you a document and you can edit it inline. So cool!
  • Integrated eMail and Calendar
    Access your eMail and Calendar right from IBM Connections. It does not matter if it resides on a Domino Server or an Exchange Server, although I hope you are on Domino and not on the server that must not be named.
  • Social Analytics
    IBM Connections 4 ships with an IBM Cognos component that allows to analyze social activities in Connections in various ways. It comes with a huge set of predefined analytic templates  to get you started. That’ll help you to understand how your Connections instance is being used and what’s needed. It also helps to detect trends and current favourites.
  • Mobile Access
    Well, this is quite cool but kind of expected to be available nowadays.  Install the Connections App on your device and use it anywhere you want.
  • Connection Connectors
    We all know the Quickr Connectors which allow to use Lotus Quickr from Lotus Notes, Windows Explorer, MS Office (Word, Excel Powerpoint), Sametime and so on. Now there are IBM Connections Connectors although they are not called connectors. Luis Benitez just blogged about the Desktop Plugin and has some nice videos on his blog.

If you like IBM Connections as much as I do and you are a developer you should not miss out on the OpenNTF development contest. Develop something for Connections and win $1000!

XPages Twitter Controls go Mobile!

Last week I blogged about my Twitter Controls which I handed in to the 2. XPages Development Contest. It fulfilled the requirements of the contest by being a social app that uses the Twitter API and OAuth for authentication. One component was missing though: MOBILE.

So I sat down and checked the possibilities to make the app run on smartphones. There’s DOJO and the Mobile Controls integrated in the Extension Library 8.5.3. I took my first shot and had a mobile application together which pretty much has the same functionality as the web app in no time.

Then I checked jQuery Mobile which seems to be used by most of the developers out there. I toyed around with it for a while and put together an app based on jQuery Mobile that provides the same functionality as the web app – awesome! I named it hedersoft tweet v1.1 and uploaded it to openNTF.

UPDATE: Niklas created a new video showing the controls in action. Watch it on XPages.info or download it from the contest page.

Here are a few screenshots.

XPages Twitter Controls on OpenNTF – Let the contest begin

I’ve been busy recently founding my own company hedersoft. There was no time left to blog or tweet a lot since administrative tasks ate it all up. Now things are getting back to normal and I’ll do my best to save some time to share my thoughts.

Anyway, hedersoft as an IBM Business Partner focusses on XPages. We will make basic applications and modules available as OpenSource and publish them on OpenNTF. Lars Buntrock started with his „Database Open Dialog“ and I uploaded „hedersoft tweet“ just yesterday. This application consists of 5 custom controls, each of which can be used seperately or together as a basic twitter application. These controls are:

  • OAuth authentication control
  • „All Friends“ stream
  • „Mentions“ stream (@Replies)
  • „Direct Messages“ stream
  • Status Update control

Wired together it looks like this:

We nominated the twitter controls for the 2. XPages Development Contest. Feel free to download the controls and play around. They are OpenSource released under Apache Licence v2.0. If you have any feature requests or defect reports then please post them on the project page on OpenNTF.

XPages Development Contest: A Review

This monday OpenNTF announced the winners of the „XPages Development Contest“ sponsored by We4IT. The winners are:

  1.  Ferry Kranenburg for his Multi Database Search Control
  2. Dennis Chen for his ZK Spreadsheet for XPages 
  3. Rami Muurimaki for his XPages PDF Exporter Custom Control 

Congratulations to all of you and enjoy your iPads!

I reckon the contest can be regarded as a big success. I enjoyed a nice night before the contest started on which Niklas told me about the contest and what he expected from it. He said that if 10 controls will be submitted the contest is a big success. Well let’s check the numbers: We have 54 custom controls and 10 library controls. That’s 64 controls! That is 6.5 times more than expected. I assumes that Niklas spread numbers that were agreed on in the steering committee. So to OpenNTF: Congratulations as well!

Now, let’s talk about the controls themselves. 64 controls are awesome, but what kind of controls are we talking about? There were all kinds of controls! We have very simple ones like the Daily Dilbert Control by Ulrich Krause or the Stop Watch Control by Rolf Kremer just to name two. On the other hand there are very sophisticated controls like the three winners or the Select Database Control by Lars Buntrock and the View PickList Control by Mark Hughes. There are many more so please do not blame me if you are not mentioned here.

Now that the contest is over and the winners have been named I think the goal of the contest has been too broad. The variety of the controls is so big that comparison between the controls is not possible in all cases. The next contest should have a challenge more narrow like „Provide custom controls which implement Lotus Notes functions“ or „Provide custom controls which implemet interfaces to Third Party products“. It has to be narrowed down to make it more compareable and judgeable.

Anyway, I personally expected Mark Hughes‘ View PickList Control among the last three. Why? Because it has an immediate business impact and everybody needs it. But don’t get me wrong: I do not want to kick one of the winners from the podium, the y definitely deserved to win. It’s just that if I had the chance to vote Mark would have definitely got an iPad.

So, after the contest is before the contest, isn’t it? The community is the biggest winner anyway and benefits from all those controls handed in. So please let many more contests follow.

XPages Dev Contest – a big success so far!


Everybody already heard about the Xpages development contest on openNTF.org, right? Now here is a little summary of the weeks behind and a look forward to what can still be expected.

I am not quite sure what the hosts of the contest expected when they first announced the contest, but I guess the number of controls handed in so far already exceeds their expectations. OK, the number of participants compared to the number of controls is rather low, but we are only half way through the contest and the status quo should encourage more developers to participate. Here are some numbers:

No. of controls handed in so far: 18 (It’s 25 already, see Niklas‘ comment)
No. of developers: 8

See the full list of controls on xpages.info. So this is to all developers out there: The chance to win one of three iPads has never been higher! Sit back, generate some ideas and start coding custom controls. You don’t know how yet? There are a lot of sources on the web about xpages and custom controls. There’s also the brilliant „Mastering XPages“ book.

My prediction is that the contest will end with more than 40 controls submitted and about 20 contributors. Three iPads between 20 people. Wait a minute, I have to sit back for a moment. Ideas, ideas, …