Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How To Get Push Notifications for Lotus Connections Status Updates on your iPhone

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I'm a big fan of status updates and being alerted when something around me happens. Case in point, I created a plugin that will alert you anytime one of your colleagues does something in Lotus Connections. The plugin is also available for download from our app store/catalog site. From my external social network, I also wanted to get notifications. Luckily, the Twitter client that I use, Nambu, gives me notifications every time I get a mention or a direct message.

And these solutions are great, but only when I'm at my desk. What about when I'm mobile? Well, about 3-4 months ago I discovered Boxcar. Boxcar gives you Push Notifications on your iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad). This was a great discovery because until then I would only get text messages only when someone wrote a direct message to me on Twitter. cool, because every time I was mobile I would be notified when someone re-tweeted my messages, mentioned me, favorited one of my messages, etc.

So where am I going with this? The iPhone app for Lotus Connections doesn't have push notifications yet. On the other hand, It turns out that yesterday Boxcar updated their application to support much more than just Twitter. You can now get push notifications from Google Buzz, Facebook (which the Facebook app already does, so not sure what the value is here), Twitter Lists, Google Voice, App Recommendations, and RSS/Atom Feeds. Now that I could point to any Atom feed, it was time to put it to the test.

I went on to BleedYellow (from my iPhone) and got my feed for status updates from my network (it's the feed that shows up in the bottom of the screen) and added it to the Boxcar app.


Then I got Cali to update her status and a couple of seconds later here's what I saw:


and when I unlocked:


Pretty cool, huh? This should work with any Lotus Connections server. I think, however, that the feed retrieval happens from the Boxcar servers per se (not from the mobile device). Therefore, if your Lotus Connections server is behind the firewall, I don't think the Boxcar servers will be able to retrieve the feed. You should be able to make it work with Greenhouse, ibm.com, myDevWorks, etc. Here are the feeds for those (you'll need to replace with your key):

https://www-950.ibm.com/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=6bf09e5d-d022-4ee5-b079-ff6f61ccf619&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=cf0bf955-848f-4daa-a35f-fcddd434d9a9&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

https://greenhouse.lotus.com/profiles/atom/mv/theboard/entries/related.do?key=5a428441-dcac-4278-916e-aa28d5323eca&messageTypes=status&comments=all&sortBy=lastMod&sortOrder=desc&lang=en

I do see an option, however, to have your Growl notifications pushed over to your iPhone, but I haven't been able to play with this. This could be a way to get push notifications from internal status updates.

You also don't get to see who posted the status update, but I'm playing around to see if there's another feed that provides that info. I'll let you know if I find it.

You can download Boxcar from here.

Enjoy!

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