Saturday, January 14, 2012

How To Add Twitter Search Widget to IBM Connections Communities

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In my previous blog post, I shared how to add a 'Subscribe in iTunes' button to the Media Gallery in IBM Connections. In the video that I shared, you may have noticed a widget that I had added to my demo community in IBM Connections.

I've created a simple widget that exposes Twitter's Search widget inside of a community. You can configure this widget so that you can specify which hashtags to monitor. The widget updates in almost real-time every time someone uses the hashtag in Twitter. This is great if you want to have a community that supports a product launch, or a customer support community, or even a social media marketing community.

I'm working right now to get the widget posted in the Lotus App Catalog. Once the widget is there you'll be able to simply install it on your server.

UPDATE: 16/Feb/2012 - The widget is now available in the catalog here.

If you want to use it immediately, you can use the copy that's running on my publicly facing server by following these instructions:
  1. Follow the steps here to check-out and modify widgets-config.xml
  2. In the section for community add the following 1 line of code

    <widgetDef defId="TwitterSearch" url="" 
    modes="view edit" primaryWidget="false"
    iconUrl="" uniqueInstance="true"/>

  3. That's it!! 1 line of code! Now, save and close the file and check it back in as documented in the instructions in step 1.
Once you restart IBM Connections, you'll be able to add the widget to any community and configure it for any hashtag. This simple widget took me about 10-15 minutes to code showing once again the extensibility and flexibility of IBM Connections. And because it was created by me, do note it's not officially supported by IBM and is provided as-is.

Here's a video that shows the widget in action.

Let me know what you think and if there are any simple changes you would recommend. I'll also be demoing this on my Monday session at Lotusphere '12 #ls12 so hope to see you there!
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