Thursday, 27 September 2007

Social Networking - A Different Perspective

I attended an interesting session in London this morning, hosted by a consultancy practice who really do get the power and value of social networking.

The speakers knew their stuff, and seemed to have a lot of real world experience ( they certainly mentioned a large number of "blue chip" clients and prospects ).

The most important point made ( and it wasn't just made by me !! ) was that Web 2.0 is far far more important than the technology that (currently) underpins it - I love AJAX, DOJO, RSS etc. but it's not going to help my business spend less to make more. Web 2.0 ( I so hate that phrase ) is all about the power of user-owned, user-created, user-managed, user-moderated content - the power of communities, collaboration, information sharing etc.

As a technologist ( aka geek or nerd ), I still worry about a couple of things about this whole area: -

* As a business, who can I trust to host, maintain, secure AND BACKUP my content, IP etc. ? Do I really want to bet my business on a 3rd party service, especially if it's free. I'm old fashioned
enough to believe that you get what you pay for and, therefore, the corollary of that is also true - if you don't pay, you can't whinge

* Do I really want to encourage my employees to create potentially massive amounts of uncontrolled, unstructured data ?

Neither of these things are show-stoppers - many companies offer security, reliability, SLAs etc. and unfettered creativity is far better than drone-like subservience.

The other thing that did come out of today's session was an important message that business leaders need to hear - your employees ( past, present and future ) will be using social networking tools at some time ( instant messaging, blogging, chatrooms, newsgroups, discussion fora etc. ).

Therefore, control is (a) hard and (b) somewhat fruitless - save the stick and offer some carrot - provide the tools in a safe, secure, organised ( rather than controlled ) manner, with the caveat that, if you create the content during office hours on our kit, we reserve the right to own it, moderate it and (in some extreme cases) remove it.

All in all, a good investment of a morning ( and the coffee was good, strong but good ).

Thanks to Casper, Ed and Jon for the invite.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Conflict Resolution

If you see something similar to: -

(Sep 7, 2007 2:11:50 PM), PortalExpress.install,
com.ibm.wps.install.ExternalCommandAction$OutputWatcher, msg2, StdOut:
[wsadmin] WASX7017E: Exception received while running file "C:\Program
Files\IBM\PE\PortalServer/config/was/wmm_SecurityConfigWmmUR.jacl";
exception information: com.ibm.bsf.BSFException: error while eval'ing
Jacl expression:
(Sep 7, 2007 2:11:50 PM), PortalExpress.install,
com.ibm.wps.install.ExternalCommandAction$OutputWatcher, msg2, StdOut:
[wsadmin] invalid command name "checkUidPw"
(Sep 7, 2007 2:11:50 PM), PortalExpress.install,
com.ibm.wps.install.ExternalCommandAction$OutputWatcher, msg2, StdOut:
[wsadmin] while executing
(Sep 7, 2007 2:11:50 PM), PortalExpress.install,
com.ibm.wps.install.ExternalCommandAction$OutputWatcher, msg2, StdOut:
[wsadmin] "checkUidPw"


during an installation of WebSphere Portal Express 6.0, then the problem
MAY be due to a port conflict.

I saw this yesterday, where Symantec BackupExec was listening on port
10000, which the WebSphere Portal installer uses ( it's actually used by
the server1 instance which is started during the Enable Security phase ).

Once we temporarily suspended the BackupExec service and performed a
clean installation ( having uninstalled fully, removed VPD.PROPERTIES,
empty folders etc. ), the installation completely normally.

Being a typical techie, I also made two or three other changes prior to
the installation ( renamed the installation images to W-Setup, W-1 etc.
) and installed into C:\WebSphere rather than C:\Program Files. However,
my money (£££) is on the port conflict, knowing that WebSphere will try
and use it.

If in doubt, use NETSTAT -AN | FIND "LISTENING" to see what's going on
BEFORE you do the installation. Additionally, or alternatively, use the
TCPView utility from SysInternals at: -

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx

Thanks to Chris for his patience and hospitality ( and copious amounts of coffee and water )

Have fun

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, nice new redbook draft for WebSphere Portlet Factory

More light reading for the weekend, to go with the Portal Express
redbook and the Programming Portlets book.

Portal Application Development using WebSphere Portlet Factory

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpieces/abstracts/sg247525.html?Open

Enjoy

More theming

I've played around with the themes in WebSphere Portal Express. The more
I play, the more I like. Being a noob to web design, CSS etc., I'm
mightily impressed that I only need to change one properties file to
change the colours of a menu item, page title, menu etc.

Not sure whether I mentioned this already, but the beta of WebSphere
Portal Express 6.1 also includes a whizzy theme customiser application.
Have only played a little, but it rocks...........

More to come ...

:)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Would you drive your car without a dashboard ?

No ? Well, how can you run your business without one ?

Seriously, have just finished a 1-day event at the new gorgeous IBM Innovation Centre, here in Dublin, with an excellent presentation about IBM's offerings around real-time interactive dashboards, balanced scorecards, BII ( Business Intelligence Integration ) etc.

As a WebSphere Portlet Factory advocate, I knew this stuff, but it's just soooo great to see it pitched properly by someone who is enthusiastic and passionate about her subject. If you've not seen Baiju, then be prepared to be impressed.

Here's her pitch: -


Dashboards.pdf

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Forget Rhapsody in Blue, this is Symphony in Yellow

For those of us old enough to remember Lotus Symphony ( a Personal Information
Manager or PIM from the 1980s ), IBM Lotus have now released .... Lotus
Symphony.

The major difference is that this one is cool and works and ...

In essence, the open ODF-based editors shipped with Lotus Notes 8 have now been
decoupled from the product, and are available for download FOR FREE.

Check out: -

http://symphony.lotus.com

for further details.

Did I mention that they are OPEN and FREE ?

Enjoy !

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tuning up

Was Googling around for something earlier and found this: -

IBM WebSphere Portal Version 6.0 Tuning Guide

http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=688&uid=swg27008511

A bit of light reading, perchance ?

Friday, 7 September 2007

Draft Redbook - IBM WebSphere Portal Express - Customizing Portal Express for Small to Medium Business

An excellent piece of work from a mixed IBM/BP team, with some great sections on Lotus Component Designer, WebSphere Portlet Factory, themes etc.

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/redp4316.html

Ooooh, shiny stuff

A colleague just informed me that the open beta of WebSphere Portal v6.1 is available.

Features include: -

Simpler download/install

  • New Web 2.0 support to dramatically improve performance of the browser based user experience
  • New Site management capabilities greatly improve abilty to promote portal applications from test to production
  • Step-up authentication providing options to extend end user security options
  • New Theme customizer portlet improves ability to create and manage portal themes
  • Updated out of box example web sites with new support for preconfigured internet security and virtual portal support

Please see: -

https://www14.software.ibm.com/iwm/web/cc/earlyprograms/lotus/wps61beta/

for further details.

Have downloaded, and am installing as I type .....................

*UPDATE* September 8 - have installed and am impressed - looks very nice

A_First_Look.pdf

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Scheming with Themes

Have been playing around with WebSphere Portal Express 6.0.1.1 and its
themes. I've not done much with themes since Workplace Services Express,
so it's been a fun time,

First thing I'd recommend anyone do is read this redpaper: -

IBM WebSphere Portal Express - Customizing Portal Express for Small to Medium Business

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/redp4316.html

because it's got an excellent chapter (2) on theming, and shows how
easily the out-of-the-box Express theme can be modified if you're merely
looking to add a customer's logo into your portal.

Having done that, I started to dig a little deeper, and got into some of
the underlying Cascading Stylesheets (CSS). This is where I'm a little (
OK, a lot ) rusty, so I had great fun playing with the
default.properties file, which is referred to by many other JSPs.

It's important to remember to switch on dynamic JSP reloading; this
allows you to change things and see the effects of your changes, without
restarting the portal each time.

See: -

http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/wpdoc/v6r0/topic/com.ibm.wp.exp.doc/wps/dgn_reload.html

for further information.

As with all things, backup, backup, backup and keep a track of your changes - change something, test something.

This section of the Information Center may also help: -

http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/wpdoc/v6r0/topic/com.ibm.wp.exp.doc/wps/dgn_ptlcst.html

Enjoy !!