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.
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  • 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!
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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 development for IBM Connections – Win $1000!

Inspired by Niklas‘ blog posts on the topic I started my fist baby steps in developing small apps for IBM Connections. Once you understand the basics it’s quite easy to do. As an xpages developer you can create apps that seamlessly integrate into connections. People do not see or feel that they are working in an external app.

You can use all Connections data in your app by utilizing the Connections REST API. The extension library provides single sign on controls so that once you are logged into Connections you are also logged into Domino. It’s all there, what’s missing are some app ideas and examples. The 4th OpenNTF development contest sponsored by IBM Business Partner hedersoft now opens a door. All of you out there interested in giving xpages in IBM Connections a try now have the chance to get a reward for your efforts.

Win $1000 for your idea! Niklas put a little video together that should help you to get going. If you don’t have an IBM Connections environment IBM jumps in. You can work on a shared image provided in the IBM Smart Cloud. It is running IBM Connections 3.0.1, Domino 8.5.3, SSO already up and running and the latest Extension Library. Just drop a note to Niklas (niklas_heidloff at de dot ibm dot com) and he will give you access to the image.

The submissions are due on December 2nd 2012. This sounds a long time but do not underestimate the time till you got everything in your bag to get you going. So send a new mail to Niklas now!

Happy coding and good luck!

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.