Tuesday, December 23, 2008

IdeaJam iWidget for Lotus Connections

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Last night Bruce Elgort, from our friends over at Elguji, used Twitter to see if anyone could answer some questions he had about Lotus Connections and iWidgets. A couple of minutes later, I responded to Bruce offering my assistance. We used Twitter to coordinate whether we could speak over the phone (a.k.a Skype) and minutes later we were Skyping away! (Is "Skyping" that the right word?? I'm still new to Skype...)

Anyway, he wanted to know what the effort would be to create an IdeaJam iWidget for the Lotus Connections Homepage and what would be the easiest approach. I told him that if he could get me a very simple HTML page, I could do an iWidget that would call that HTML page via an IFRAME. We agreed that we would follow up today in the morning to see how much progress he'd made.

Turns out that about 1/2 hour later, he lets me know that his side is done. To say the least, I was very impressed! You see, IdeaJam is a Notes/Domino application. Therefore, all he had to do was create a new 'View' that provided just the data that he wanted and rendered that as HTML. (Don't ask me what a View is.. I know very little about Notes/Domino applications, but I'm sure Bruce will discuss more at his blog later today).

Now that he had his View rendering the data, I had to create the actual iWidget to be deployed onto Lotus Connections. This process took about 2-3 minutes! The iWidget is very simple and only has about 4 lines of XML in it. If you want to take a look at the iWidget XML, click here. I then went into the Lotus Connections Administration interface, added the iWidget to the Homepage (which I have already proven that it takes less than 30 seconds) and voilá!

We then spent some time playing with the CSS to get the look-n-feel right and produced this:

The iWidget displays the 5 most recent ideas and the IdeaSpace they belong to. If you want to use this iWidget on your own Lotus Connections deployment, simply point to this URL:

I think that what's also impressive about this story is that Twitter enabled this collaboration. I've only met Bruce (recently) via Twitter and had never collaborated with him before! Yet, we were able to get together and quickly create this nice piece of integration!

Very cool, right? What do you think ?

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