Sunday, 27 April 2008

Lotus Sametime 8.0.1 released

As per Adam's blog, there are a number of fixes and enhancements too numerous for me to post ( especially given that Adam has already done so ).

More to download .....

Lotus Quickr Entry 8.1 Released

Lotus Quickr Entry provides:

  • A content store
  • A set of Web services that provides personal file sharing
  • A set of downloadable connectors (similar to plug-ins) that provide access to Lotus Quickr entry places from within desktop applications
See here for the PDF press release.


Friday, 25 April 2008

Beanscene - Food Coffee Music ( but, more importantly, food )

Despite being a big fan of Starbucks, it's always nice to see some
healthy competition - Beanscene seems to have it cornered up here in
Scotland; open at 0700, closed at 2300, serving coffee and FREE wireless
( well, free for an hour anyhow ) all day.

My colleague and I used one in Glasgow a few weeks ago, whilst we were
getting ready for a client proposal - hey, it was 2200 but we were
"working" so coffee was close at hand.

Sitting here now, feeling very glad that I chose to avoid the
potentially high-cost breakfast at the hotel around the corner, and grab
a coffee and a honey-bran muffin.

The other thing I like is that they sell their coffees by the shot -
forget tall, grande and venti - try 2 Shot, 3 Shot and 4 Shot - it does
what it says on the (coffee) tin.

Nice.......

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Met a man in an Edinburgh bar ....

and he was running Lotus Notes on a Mac.

So I did the decent thing and went over and said "Hi" and shook him by
the hand, and we exchanged business cards.

Friends are strangers that you've yet to meet.

:-)

Potty about PoTs

Have just spent an excellent and exciting two days with my colleagues,
delivering a WebSphere Portal PoT ( Proof of Technology ) event for one
of our customers.

As you can imagine, given the title of my blog, this was a predominantly
portal-based pitch, but I had plenty of chances to drop in related Lotus
content, including Notes, Sametime, Quickr, Connections, Forms ( and
Total Forms, totally awesome ) etc.

I had a great time and, perhaps even more importantly, I believe our
customer got a lot out of it.

We'll see what the satisfaction survey forms look like .....

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Wow, what a Experience ...

Spent a worthwhile day yesterday in our London offices, working through
an IBM tool called WebSphere Portal Experience Modeler ( aka Portal
Experience Modeler aka Day In The Life Demo Builder ).



This Eclipse-based tool allows one to quickly build a walk-through
demonstration of a role-based portal, allowing pages, portlets and
navigation to be rapidly set up. This is a visualization tool; it does
NOT build real code. It is, however, a most excellent way to allow a
reasonably technical user ( not necessarily a developer ) to build a
highly visual demonstration for a customer, as part of a consultative
selling process.

The look and feel of a Portal 5 or 6 environment is preserved, with
themes, skins, portlet/people palettes, linked navigation ( an action in
one portlet invokes a change elsewhere ), presence awareness and instant
messaging etc. etc. etc. Despite knowing that it's only generating HTML
and JavaScript, it's still awesome to watch an expert ( Peter ) at work.

The end-result is a <10MB ZIP file containing all the relevant assets;
this can be shared with a client who can then run through their own
personalized demonsrtation, without needing to have a real portal server
on tap.

Looking at the existing assets, it's easy to see how this tool can help
build value around a portal solution; it's all about visualization; how
can we quickly help the client understand the value of a portal
solution, without needing to deploy servers and write code. It's one of
the first steps on the ladder, and may well lead to a real demonstration
in due course.

Nice ..........

Friday, 18 April 2008

Mac-tastic

Saw this and thought "Mmmmmmmmm, shiny" :-)

Me Geek, Me Evangelist

Well, it's been a grand week, with plenty of miles under the tyres and, perhaps more importantly, some great client meetings.

Spent yesterday morning talking about the wonders of XML-based intelligent documents ( aka e-forms ), useful in all sorts of environments. Was well received, although I really need to remember to quit when I've made my point - and just stop talking :-)

Spent some time with my colleague, Rob, this AM, talking with a client about the wonders of Lotus Notes as a "portal", bringing applications, data and processes into the client, using composite applications, JSR 168 portlets, widgets etc. This, along with the other well-known features of the Notes client ( Sametime, Activities, Feeds, Quickr etc. ) made the difference.

All in all, a most excellent week.

Now for the weekend and, come Monday, it's back to my roots - WebSphere Portal n' stuff.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

WebSphere Portlet Factory - A Sheep Dip

Had a good day today ( as always ) - took my extended team through WebSphere Portlet Factory from soup to nuts ( well, from soup to appetisers ).

Focused on getting the Designer installed, patched up to the latest 6.0.2.2 version and then demonstrated how it can be used to rapidly build and test web applications using WebSphere Application Server Community Edition.

Also showed how WebSphere Dashboard Framework can be used to extend the reach of WebSphere Portlet Factory, allowing the developer to build real-time dashboards via web applications, portlets *AND* rich client applications ( via Lotus Notes or Lotus Expeditor, using JSR 168 portlets or SWT components ). I also demonstrated how easy it is to deploy onto a "real" WebSphere Portal environment.

From the feedback, I think I hit the sweet spot, and hope that the word continues to spread .....

PS The wiki went down well.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Theming and Scheming

Serendipity strikes again - during a recent Portal Interest Group (PIG) meeting, we were talking about the joy of theming in WebSphere Portal.

As if by magic, here's an excellent developerWorks article on the subject ...

Enjoy - I know I will 8-)

WebSphere Portal 6.1 Announced ...

"...The expanded Web 2.0 features of IBM WebSphere Portal 6.1 software will help people be more productive and find key information faster. Its new live text tagging feature allows a user to click on text, in context of the business process being used, and see supporting information right there related to the job at hand.

For example, a sales representative clicks on the address of his customer and a map with directions appears; or he clicks on the name of the customer and an electronic business card pops up.

IBM's new software also has the ability to instantly update any aspect of a web page without the need to do an entire page refresh, for example, when a person makes an update while placing an on-line order. The elimination of this wait time makes the user's experience more satisfying.

The portal software will also enable new classes of applications to be created in a much more intuitive and responsive fashion, as well as offer new portlet functionality and increased portal security. It will feature an assembly of highly interactive composite applications with dynamic, contextual access to data and services both inside and outside a company.

Other new features include out-of-the-box templates and site creation tools, more installation options, and new portal "Site Wizard" for self-help. The new portal supports IBM AIX, HP-UX, IBM I5/OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Sun Solaris and Microsoft Windows Server..."

Check out the article here.

I haven't yet seen/found the announcement, but I'll keep on looking.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Web Application Integrator for IBM WebSphere Portal

I've just had a quick "play" with the Web Application Integrator (WAI), as per the following screenshot ( my blog delivered through a normal portal page ).

The WAI documentation is pretty good, and seems quite simple ( for me, which is important ). I downloaded it from here.

Once I'd deployed the WAI code onto my portal server, I merely needed to: -

a) Create a new URL within my page hierarchy, pointing at the external URL of my blog - http://www.davehay.f2s.com
b) Use this newly created URL to generate some custom JavaScript code ( WAI does this for you at the click of a mouse )
c) Paste this JavaScript code into the <BODY> tag of my blog ( this is part of the blog template on blogger.com )
d) Navigate to the portal page

As you can see, the portal page navigation is preserved, although I lost the Launch menu and the breadcrumbs: -










I did the same thing with a much simpler HTML page, with the following effects: -










Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, nice !

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Fun with WebSphere Portlet Factory

Hit a couple of challenges with WPF today; one I was able to resolve, the other is still taxing me :-\

In the first instance, models that ran perfectly via the Run button in Designer failed with "This portlet is unavailable" when deployed to the portal page. After some digging around, it transpired that the project had been set up incorrectly in terms of deployment; in this case, the portal was running on port 10044 rather than the normal 10038 - see here.

This meant that Designer wasn't setting up the correct file paths for the Portlet WAR, as seen in this screenshot.

Note that the EAR file that's deployed to the portal server can have any old name - this system-generated name is unique, so it's nice to know where to find it ( otherwise you'll spend time digging around on the server for it ).

Once I fixed this, all worked according to plan.

The other problem relates to the use of the Excel Import - Enhanced builder when accessing an Excel spreadsheet when the target remote deployment server is based on Linux - I get a nice NPE: -

java.lang.NullPointerException at com.bowstreet.builders.webapp.methods.ExcelImportHelper.getContentSelection(ExcelImportHelper.java:106)

If I use the non-enhanced builder, all is well.

Still, better to have days with challenges than challenges without days ( does that deep, or just dumb ? ).

Friday, 4 April 2008

Lotusphere Comes To You

Well, it was a busy busy week - my colleague, Rob, and I had a bit of a road trip, and covered a lot of business miles from Staines -> Wembley -> Carlisle -> Manchester -> Hampshire.

The Mini performed admirably, even though it was drinking fuel like a thirsty Lotus geek drinks beer anything - when I got my first Mini in 2002, I could fill up for about £35ish - now it costs more than £50 :-(

LCTY in Wembley was fun, and it was good to see so many happy :-) people there. However, the long journey north was definitely on my mind, and I was glad to escape at 1430ish and hit the road.

Once Rob and I had finished our meeting oop north on Wednesday, we headed south to Manchester ( there's not many who can say that ) and met up with the team at the Rad. As we walked in the door, Chrissy handed us a bottle of beer, and the day was sorted. Had a good post-meeting celebration with Rob and Darren, and then headed off for dinner with those nice Polymorph folks, which rounded things off nicely, and I was glad to hit the sack.

LCTY was great - I was possibly slightly more chilled than I had been, and found the whole thing far more fun. I met a lot of my team, including a new recruit to Lotus, and also had a number of most excellent discussions with some of my clients, and also a few of our partners.

We hit the road at 1700ish, and I was home in time for House on C5 :-)

In closing, it was a great trip, and I met a lot of lovely people, saw a lot of cool tech and drank a lot of coffee ( no change there ). My thanks and respect go out to the team who organized this ( Chrissy and co. ) - I'm looking forward to next year already.

PS Did you see John ? Was he smiling ? I bet he was :-)

Keep it (un)zipped

Ages ago, I saw some file attribute/permission problems when I was installing a product such as WebSphere Portal or Workplace Services Express onto a Linux platform - it transpired that these problems were down to the fact that I'd used WinZIP on a host Windows 2000/XP system to extract the images that I was then attempting to deploy to Linux.

Subsequently, I made an (un)conscious decision to always use the appropriate utility on the target platform e.g. tar and unzip on Linux, WinZIP or PKZip on Windows etc.

If you see similar problems, it's definitely something you should check ......

Thanks to Stewart for reminding me to post this - glad he was able to resolve his similar problems in a similar manner :-)

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Lotusphere Comes To You - Sponsored by ??

With thanks to Jordan B for the piccie

Lotusphere Comes To You - London

Well, am here at Wembley Stadium and the turnout for LCTY is awesome -
good to see so many people here.

My WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Portlet Factory demonstrations are
good to go, so bring on the masses ...