Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting the Lotus Connections Portlet to work with WebSEAL

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Last week, I spent a day at a customer up in New Jersey. They are currently deploying a pilot of Lotus Connections 2.5. One of the most important things for them is to be able to mash up Lotus Connections with their existing intranet applications via their portal (powered by WebSphere Portal, of course).

To simplify sign on for all their employees, they use WebSEAL and SPNEGO to provide single sign on for all web applications. This way, an employee logs on to their workstation in the morning, and they are never prompted to log on again to other web applications.

As we deployed the Lotus Connections 2.5 Portlet, we ran into an issue. The portlet wasn't built to support an SSO solution in the middle (it mostly depends on WebSphere SSO which is based on something called LTPA token). At this point, I had to figure out how to change the portlet to support WebSEAL, so I went on and downloaded the source code for the portlet (isn't it nice when they make the source code available?)

It turns out, that it wasn't that hard; I was able to do it in less than 30 minutes. Here's what I did:

  1. Import the code into WebSphere Portlet Factory
  2. Edit WEB-INF/models/lcaccelerator/services/BlogProvider
  3. Look for getAllBlogsRest
  4. Expand Advanced options
  5. Notice how there's HTTP Cookies and Forward HTTP Cookies. Given the developers are using HTTP Cookies to forward the LTPA cookie, let's go with that. As seen here:
  6. Now, let's create the actual method. What I did was copy/pasted the src/com/ibm/lconn/lcaccelerator/utils/LTPAUtil class and renamed it to WebSealUtil class.
  7. At the same time, I renamed getLtpaCookie to getWebSealCookie and I changed the implementation to:
  8. Note that I'm getting a cookie called PD-CC. Not sure if that's what it's always called in WebSEAL, but that was the name in this case.
  9. Re-packaging and sending to the portal server fixed the Blogs portlet. Then repeat the above steps for the Dogear and Activities provider


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reto 2.010: A Local Web 2.0 Competition

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This past week I had the opportunity to serve as one of the judges for a local Web 2.0 competition called Reto 2.010. IBM is one of the sponsors for this competition and the local team asked me to be a judge.

The competition was open to local college students. The purpose of the contest was to see who could create the best mashup application using the API's of El Nuevo Día, the largest local newspaper.

Teams from all around the island submitted proposals. The top 6 proposals were selected and teams were asked to prepare a presentation and prototype. Each team had 45 minutes to present their idea. As a judge, there were three areas I had to look at:

  • Tecnical Innovation
    • The use of state-of-the art tools, algorithms, methods and techniques.
    • Creative use of the API’s Integration.
  • User Experience
    • Easy to use and effective User-centric design.
    • Use of effective User Information/Interaction Architecture Patterns.
  • Commercial Potential
    • Simple but clear monetization methods.
    • General revenues models

I really enjoyed the opportunity to see what these college students could come up with. I have to say, though, I was a bit disappointed to see that most students decided to create either a .NET or PHP web application. Next year, I plan to give a workshop to students and introduce them to IBM Mashup Center.

The winner has been selected and each team member will get $3000 plus a trip to the next Web 2.0 conference. The winner will be announced on June 12th. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 10, 2010

2nd Annual Bloggers Conference - A Recap

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As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend was the 2nd Annual Bloggers Conference here in Puerto Rico. Unlike last year, this year's took place on a Saturday (as opposed to a Wednesday).

Since I was the first speaker of the day, I thought it would be appropriate to get the audience engaged and motivated with the revolution that is Social Media and some of its stats. And to get everyone up to speed with the latest on Social Media, I kicked off the day with this video from Socialnomics: Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh).

(hint: this is also a good way to burn 4 minutes ). Once the video was done, I talked about the benefits and business value of blogging inside and outside of the firewall. I briefly touched on some of the challenges and adoption topics, but there wasn't enough time to cover everything in 40 minutes (even if I had those extra 4 minutes from the video). I wanted to be respectful of the audience and leave enough time for questions.

There were some interesting questions from the audience. Some where specifically around IBM's usage, which product we use in our intranet (Lotus Connections, of course), and the best way to get others engaged.

After the conference, I received various requests to get a copy of my presentation (in Spanish). I've posted my presentation (along with speaker notes) in and you can download it from there.

In all, there were close to 150+ attendees and I think it went very well. There was one speaker that turned their 40 min slot into a 2 hr infomercial, and I hope that doesn't happen again next year.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

2nd Annual Bloggers Conference

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This weekend will be the 2nd Annual Bloggers Conference here in Puerto Rico. I attended last year and the event was very popular. There were about 150 attendees and I got to meet, for the first time, a lot of the local Blogging and Twitter community.

This year, I'm going to be presenting along the lines of a previous talk I did on Using Twitter and Blogs to Generate More Revenue. In it, I'll be presenting the business value of blogs, some of my personal recommendations on things to do,/avoid, using blogs for SEO (search engine optimization), how to get started, and measuring results.

(I've got the first time slot of the day, so I'll have to think of something to make sure the audience is awake [and stays that way!]. Thoughts?)

Here's a quick peek at the schedule:

7:30 am – 8:50 am - Breakfast and gathering

8:50 am – 9:00 am - Welcome

9:00 am – 9:40 am - Blogs as an Enterprise tool - Luis Benítez (IBM)

9:40 am – 10:20 am - Open Source - Ricardo Alcocer (Tecnología Libre)

10:20 am – 11:00 am - Women in the blogosphere - Julizzette Colón Bilbraut

11:00 am – 12:00 am - Panel: Blogs as a social activism platform - Mario Nuñez Molina, Michael D. Castro (Poder 5), Ricardo Alfaro Ramos (The Explorer Company)

Moderator: Rafael Lenín López (President ASPPRO, reporter Wapa TV / Radio Isla 1320)

12:00p – 1:00 pm - Lunch / “Windows Live Writer”, “Office 2010”

1:00 pm – 1:40 pm - Usabilidad y optimización - Jorge Suárez

1:40 pm – 2:20 pm - “Moblogging” - Héctor Rodríguez , Josué Merced Carrión

2:20 pm – 3:00 pm - A look at the caribbean blogosphere - Alexéi Tellerías (Catarsis Diaria)

3:00pm - Giveaway and Closing

To view the event details (date, time, directions, maps, etc), check out the page in Facebook. Please RSVP and I'll see you there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Video Streaming in Lotus Connections

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Back in January 2010, we had Lotusphere. Because something came up, I had to leave Lotusphere immediately after the Opening General Session. One of the things that I missed from the session was a new solution available from a business partner. Ever since Lotusphere, I kept hearing about "Genus this" and "Genus that" and I wasn't sure what it was until recently.

It turns out that Genus Technologies introduced its Media Upshot solution for Lotus Connections. I noticed that Ted Stanton had posted an internal file with some screenshots. When I took a peek at the screenshots, I was very impressed. Here are some screenshots so you can see how it looks.

I reached out to Genus and they sent me the following demo which shows how their solution integrates tightly into Lotus Connections.

So if you are looking to add video streaming to Lotus Connections, Genus is the way to go.