Friday, February 29, 2008

A couple of new features added to Profiles 2.0

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Just wanted to bring to your attention a couple of new features and changes which will be available in Lotus Connections Profiles v2.0.  However, since we are cool people, we get to see a sneak peek of these features in TAP.

Today, I noticed the addition of 'Add to my colleagues' when you are viewing someone's profile:


When you click on that link, you can enter a message which will be sent via email to the person you are trying to 'friend'.  Not only that, but we have an updated Person card:

Now, anywhere you see a name you can send that person an email.  Additionally, if you expand 'More actions' you can add that person as a colleague!!!  Now, imagine yourself browsing a document library, or browsing Dogears.  You find this person who has a lot of interesting materials and you want to add them immediately to your list of Colleagues!!  There's no need whatsoever to stop what you are doing, go find them in Profiles and then add as a colleague.. you can do it from anywhere the pop-up business card shows up!! Let me repeat that.. you can do that from ANYWHERE the pop-up business card shows up -- including non-Lotus Connections applications (e.g your intranet portal, your document repository, your rich client applications, etc...)

Very cool!!!!!

Ohh.. and don't forget that in 2.0 you have total control on the links that appear in the pop-up business card!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lotus Connections and Sharepoint Capabilities

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I've gotten te same question from two customers,so it's time to blog about it.  Mainly, they want to know what is possible today with Lotus Connections and Microsoft Sharepoint.  Let me clarify, though, that there's no  integration out of the box with Connections and Sharepoint.  The following are all capabilities that are available leveraging the Lotus Connections APIs:

  • Expose Dogears in Sharepoint 
  • Expose Blogs in Sharepoint 
  • Expose PersonCard in Sharepoint (documented in my article)
  • Link to Profiles (instead of the Sharepoint user info page) when clicking on a user's name in Sharepoint (documented in developwerWorks my article)
  • Use Communities as an access control into Sharepoint sites
  • Adding a 'Dogear this' button to Sharepoint pages
  • Add a widget to the Lotus Connections Homepage with 'My Sharepoint Sites' (similar to the Quickr porlet: My Places) 
  • Add 'My Sites' as a link in the PersonCard which takes someone to a user's list of Sharepoint
Note: Updated 8/29/2008 to include link to 'My Site' integration in Person Card.

Customizations available to Lotus Connections Profiles

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I've also been getting a lot of questions as to what can be customized and/or configured inside of Lotus Connections Profiles.  I'm also in the process of updating the Lotus Connections POT presentations to reflect this.  I, of course, wanted to give my faithful readers a sneak peek!!  So here you go:

What can be extended / changed in Profiles ?

  • Field names (e.g. Change 'Department Name' to 'Business Unit Name')
  • You can add up to 3 extra fields in 1.x and up to 99 in 2.0
  • You can change the order in which the fields are displayed / edited
  • You can change which fields are editable and which aren't 
  • You can specify which fields are synchronized back to the data source and which aren't
  • In 2.0 you can specify which fields show up in the business card
  • In 2.0 you can add extra links in the pop-up business card
  • Branding
And this is all done by modifying an XML file!  No code is needed -- this is purely configuration!!

Branding, of course, could require some coding if it's beyond changing colors and the nav bar logo.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm addicted!

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I'm 71% addicted -- I can't imagine what you had to answer to get an 80% addiction!!! smile

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

HD DVD is dead -- take that Mircrosoft

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So in true spirit of "sticking up to the man", I thought I would blog about the huge announcement made by Toshiba late yesterday.  I wonder what that means to all the Xbox owners?  Do they have to send in all their Xboxes to get them re-furbished and converted into BlueRay?   What about the current HD-DVD owner ?  Is Toshiba and Microsoft going to provide some kind of refund or coupons to switch over to BlueRay? 

I haven't seen anything in the news as to how this is going to affect Microsoft but they were one of the big proponents of this format.  My theory was that BlueRay was going to win since that's what ships with most PlayStations and we all know how PlayStation totally overshadows the Xbox in market share.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My experience with Connections 2.0 at a customer site

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Last week I spent two days in Chicago assisting a customer deploy the Alpha version of Lotus Connections 2.0.  (If that's not bleeding edge, I don't know what is).

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the customer was ecstatic at seeing Lotus Connections 2.0 in their infrastructure.  They had seen it at Lotusphere and couldn't wait to get it going ( and IBM delivered !!! ). Additionally, 100% of the Lotus Connections 1.0.2 TDI scripts that I created for them worked.  I didn't have to change anything!

One new thing that I noticed in the installer is that you can now install 6 applications (including the Homepage) on one pass.  You no longer have to run the installer 1 time per application, which was pretty annoying before.  Moreover, you can now specify where you want user data to come from:  LDAP or Profiles (more on this tomorrow).  And yes, this means that Connections 2.0 will no longer officially need an LDAP!

The Profiles database only has a couple of new tables.  These keep track of your friends, tags assigned by others, etc.  To convince the customer that we are the best, we brought in Angela Self.  She did an amazing job branding Connections 2.0 with the customer's look-n-feel.  Take a peek below:


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

That's cool!!! -- Recording in Sametime Unyte

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Today, I used Sametime Unyte for the Lotus Social Software community call.  I have to say that I'm very impressed about its recording capabilities.  This community usually utilizes a Sametime Advanced chat room to share a presentation and provide a chat room.  Whenever I wanted to record a presentation, I would use Camtasia, put my phone on speakerphone and record away using my laptop's integrated microphone.  The audio quality wasn't great, but it got the job done.

UnyteToolbar Now in Sametime Unyte, when you log in as the Moderator, you get a 'Record' button in the top toolbar. 

I thought to myself: "Hmm.. maybe this is a good way to record the screen sharing/presentation session".  To my surprise, the following dialog comes up:


WOW!!  "Does this mean that this will record the audio too?", I thought.  Sure enough, I put in the conference dial-in number and the passcode and I hear Sametime Unyte joining my bridge!  NICE!!! smile   So Unyte can record both the presentation/screen and the audio from a conference call-in!!!!  Love It!!! 

Sorry if you all knew this, but I did not know of this feature.

Anyway, after the conference is done, a Flash file is produced automatically and can be posted in a repository for sharing. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Step-By-Step: Using Connections API from Sametime v7.5.1

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Daniel Kehn, Sr. Software Engineer for WPLC, has published the following article:  Integrating IBM Lotus Sametime with the Lotus Connections REST services.  This step-by-step article is yet another example of the flexibility of Lotus Connections and its consumability.  If you are in touch with business partners and/or customers who wish to write their own solutions, make sure you point them to this article.

The article is currently the Top Story at Lotus DeveloperWorks so I'm sure it's going to get a lot of exposure!  Here's an abstract of the article:

This article teaches you how to extend IBM Lotus Sametime Connect so that users can more easily reach out to the coworkers of a chat partner for help. The solution leverages the department hierarchy available in the Profiles component of IBM Lotus Connections. The same solution could easily be extended to help connect your employees to others using relationships unique to your business (for example, those who share particular interests, recognized experts, support organization members, and more).

Isn't that cool?? Spread the word and Dogear it!!