Development tip: learn some administration

I have no idea what your administration skills are. Mine date officially back to mid 2000 although I have setup recently servers but then mainly for development purposes only.

So if you want your skills and insights updated like I do or you  perhaps a tip for you could be to order the IBM Lotus Domino Administration 8.5.3 Training at Udemy.  Untill 1 November there is a give away action running to buy courses for 10 euro if you provide the coupon UDEMY10OCT.

Okay, it is targetted for 8.5.3 but how much has changed between 8.5.3 and 9.0.1?

I have no idea about the quality of the course, I guess you have to find out yourself.  For 10 euro: what are your alternatives?

Happy administration =)

Reflections on Engage

Introduction

Last week I had the pleasure to attend Engage, the yearly event for the BeNeLux user-group around IBM’s collaboration portfolio. Indeed it was a pleasure, due to the efforts of Theo Heselmans and his team, the sponsors, the location and of course the participants. Much appreciated! No user-groups without users!

Before the event I read a tweet of someone wishing all attendees at Engage good luck with finding IBM’s roadmap for Domino. I took this tweet with me in mind to the event.

Sessions attended

Here is the list of ‘sessions’ that I attended:

  • Keynote/General opening session
  • Once you go graph
  • IBM Domino App. Next
  • The Lotus position: four degrees of freedom
  • Round table: IBM Domino Development
  • Speedsponsoring
  • Live on the edge of innovation with IBM bluemix
  • Creating mobile apps: an introduction to Ionic
  • Troubleshooting XPages
  • The xpages of things
  • Break your Domino Designer dependency

I will not review each individual session but just let my thoughts run around things heard from speakers, attendees and IBM-ers.

IBM

The new general manager for IBM Collaboration Solutions gave a fresh impression and her perspective on collaboration. I am not sure how good and bad this is for the products in her portfolio and time will tell.

All the brag about project Toscana, the interpretation of Slack by IBM for me is just a bit painful. It gives me the impression that the distance between IBM Labs and the product managers in ICS have just grown through the years and makes me wonder who is holding the prophetic views within ICS?

I also talked with an IBM salesperson and my frustration with IBM Connections and trying to integrate applications with it was down-played as ‘not knowing how to use the platform to it’s full potential’ and ‘is providing links to these applications not sufficient’? Why may I not use my collaboration tools in the way I would like to and not confirm to the limitations/restrictions the manufacturer tells me to?

Sometimes I wish that IBM would train their sales personnel with the help of Watson, or something. In the meantime is was directed to TimeToAct and their web content tool for Connections.

Graph

I like the concept of graph data modelling where you ‘on the fly’ bind objects together via relationships. In a recent project we established something similar, but than specifying these relations in Notes documents and load them whenever an object was loaded. The major problem is that there is just 1 level depth of relationships, so advanced computations like ‘related’, ‘mentions’, ‘similar or most in common objects’ were not possible.

Having digged through Oliver Busse’s example and Nathan’s presentation I see the potential of Graph with Notes data and I frankly do NOT understand why IBM is not assisting the OpenNTF Domino API team to get the Graph feature available in Extension Library as from TODAY.

Graph capabilities would be a good argument for customers to keep their data in Notes (for now) and in the meantime give them the opportunity to understand and explore the (new) opportunities Graph can bring to the platform. Perhaps these customers remain dedicated to the Notes platform!

But perhaps involvement of IBM would slow down the ODA team when hearing the comment on project Toscana “only IBM would brag for two days for a feature that requires 15 minutes of coding”.

Nevertheless it hurts to read tweets from IT managers how wonderful Microsoft’s Office Graph is while IBM has nothing to offer to us.

Bluemix

And then there was Bluemix, IBM’s hybrid cloud development platform where Xpages and Notes NoSQL database are recently available.

Recently I moved a Teamroom application to Bluemix which took me a bit more time than expected due to the architecture of the application. John Jardin demonstrated some entertaining examples of services on Bluemix that can bring new functionality to Xpages applications.

Definitely a cool area to explore new paradigms and technologies.

Mobile

Mark Leusink held a nice introduction to Ionic, a hybrid mobile app framework. For me mobile development never came from the ground, mainly because lack of demand. Delivering an XPages app with responsive behaviourcapturing touch gestures and more bells and whistles did not feel like mobile development. You simple need access to and use native services to capture a mobile application full potential.

I never took the time to look at IBM’s MobileFirst platform and I wonder how many Notes customers are interested lifting multiple application straight ahead to mobile instead of cherrypicking one or two applications. For me it is also not clear where data on Domino stands in this MobileFirst story 😕

Reflecting back on the projects I have been working on, having to rewrite the java classes to some client-side javascript in order to work with Domino data, would be a nightmare in the Ionic paradigm.

XPages

Aah XPages, my comfort zone. Too bad no stories or demonstrations of highly complex or smart solutions build on XPages on the conference.

Node

Niklas Heidloff‘s to have the option to have a Node.js server on Domino with capabilities to access NSF’s via Domino Access Services would be a nice option to deliver full CSJS solutions and attract a different (new) audience of developers.

Being able to develop similar applications but then on Node instead of XPages and hereby following the trends in web application development would be something I would favour. Even if that would mean to be forced to cast away all that XPages knowledge.

During the days I have spoken with developers who were irritated by lack of roadmap for XPages. I have to admit hearing Peter Janzen talking about Domino App Dev futures were giving me flashbacks to his presentation in 2015 at IBMConnect. I am not sure how big encryption is for web development. Bootstrap we take for granted nowadays. How can we integrate Domino into Connections? And (again) when can we have Graph capabilities?

Roadmap

Coming back on the tweet mentioned in the introduction. So did I find the roadmap for Domino?

It was not said where the data for project Toscana, IBM’s late adaption of Slack, would reside. Verse is (partly I guess) on Domino.

During a round table discussion with Peter Janzen about Domino App dev concerns where made by developers to have a modern Designer, preferably as a plugin in Eclipse. Peter mentioned that the Forms and View (probably also the Agents) design elements hinders IBM to move in such direction. Having worked with now with Spring Tools Suite some parts of Domino Designer are a crime (source control, build automation).

Being able to develop inline with most other web development projects like Keith Strickland demonstrated is in the benefit of Domino developers and of the Domino platform.

So excuse me for not finding this roadmap.

Wrap up

The best thing about a user-group conference is being able to talk with users and share thoughts. And a have drink and go out for dinner. I like to thank everyone I met.

One comment that I may make to the Engage organisation is perhaps the type of sessions. I met a developer who said he had submitted an abstract on developing with React and Domino and got it rejected 😦

 

So this brings me to the conclusion that after having attended the conference I probably have as much (different) questions as I had before. Nevertheless I had a nice time with my fellow “experts in the field”.

Getting frustrated with Eclipse & Liberty server

I am trying to run a lab to install a custom app in connections cloud. Only I have a problem with Eclipse and installing a local Liberty server. For another project I performed the Liberty installation earlier. Piece of cake! But for this project I started with a clean sheet: re-installed Eclipse and when I choose to install Liberty server from a repository Eclipse (Lunar 4.4.1) simply collapses.

As a check I installed Eclipse and a Liberty server on a clean OS and I do not have the same problems there. Do you recognize this?

install liberty eclipse 01

After this screen it goes wrong. I choose no additional add-ons and select Next
install liberty eclipse 02

*crying* I never get to this next step.
install liberty eclipse 03

install liberty eclipse 04

install liberty eclipse 05

install liberty eclipse 06

 

As I said, it worked before and it was easy as pie 😕

Certified Application Developer Notes 9

Today I passed the second exam for my certification for IBM Application Developer Notes and Domino 9. My last certification dated from the Notes 7 era so I was forced to take the two core exams as explained in the image below:

vlcsnap-2014-10-01-20h45m37s40

 

This second exam was much more focused on development with XPages, using the Extension Library and the Mobile controls. I guess according what you would expect in modern Domino development. There were the ooccasional LotusScript and @Formula questions, but the majority of the questions were XPages related. Personally I find the setup a bit odd. I Hardly use @Formula or LotusScript in new projects. I wonder why IBM is not defining exams within each technical area seperately e.g. XPages, @Formula & Functions, LotusScript, Java and Extension Library if you wish.

Overall I liked the second exam better, no odd questions about Notes client installation, parameters in the client, more practical development questions. But also expect questions on JSF, XSP configuration etcetera.

A tip I could give is to take a look at the API documentation:

XPages configuration file format

I have not considered to upgrade my certification to the ‘Advanced’ level since I have not worked with administration so intensively lately. I expect though that the XPages mobile advanced topics would be a “piece of cake”. What are your experiences? After all it is also a financial question because the exams are not free. Maybe there will be the option to take an exam on IBM ConnectED 2015?

 

Softlayer Fundamentals Infrastructure-As-A-Service

Last week I attended the Softlayer Fundamentals Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS) course in Stockholm.

The SoftLayer Fundamentals instructor-led training course introduces SoftLayer Infrastructure-as-a-Solution (IaaS) solutions through instruction and hands-on activities. The course provides learners with the basic fundamentals to become more proficient in SoftLayer and empowers them to make informed decisions about IaaS solutions based on business requirements.

This course is designed to teach you how to:

Via the following link you can check if there is a course planned nearby:

http://www-304.ibm.com/events/idr/idrevents/detail.action?meid=16229&ieid=9200

Personal reflections

First the course was led by Susy Gottberg and she is a great presenter. For a present developer / former administrator it was interesting to be educated on NAS, SAN, CPU’s, memories, routers, data storage, virtualization, firewalls, antivirus and what SL has got to offer here. Overall I am very impressed.

 

Icon UK (retrospect)

On the Friday 12th of September 2014, I attended the Icon UK in the IBM Southbank Customer Centre, London. This review is a bit late since the attendance was part of my vacation.

Achieving Developer Nirvana With Codename BlueMix

BlueMix is a platform for composing and running virtually any application in the cloud without having to worry about the hardware, software, and networking needed to do so. This means that developers can be left to do what they do best….CODE! By eliminating the need to deal with the infrastructure typically required to deploy an app to the cloud, and providing a catalog packed with services from IBM and its partners, BlueMix allows developers to get their apps in the hands of their users with the lightening speed, quality and innovation their users demand. It doesn’t matter if your next app is targeting web, mobile, or the internet of things, you too can achieve developer nirvana with BlueMix, and it all starts by attending this session!

Ryan Baxter explained and demoed Bluemix. Earlier I have watched some demo’s on YouTube (link 1, link 2, link 3) but a demo with some interaction with the crowd is always nicer.

The question ‘what is in it for me as a Notes specialist?’ was partly answered by Ryan. If I understood it correctly IBM is investigating the options how to integrate Notes with Bluemix. More information on this topic you can start to surface on Mark Roden’s post.

I was not able to attend the Bluemix hands-on workshop. I wonder if that material is still available somewhere?

The Unofficial FAQ for Connections Integration Development.

Developing Connections Plug-ins and applications is full of “What the??” moments, from what browser technologies and versions are supported through to common functions working in different ways in different parts of Connections, any of these can put a real dent in your delivery date but most are easy to cure and avoid with a little bit of hindsight and knowledge, here is that knowledge for you to take home and help you deliver on time.

Mark Myers talked about his experiences on developing and customizing IBM Connections. Shortly summarized: expect surprises.

The lazy administrator, how to make your life easier by using TDI to automate your work

IBM Connections can be the data source or the data destination for many other applications. In this session we will show you how you can use TDI to automate tasks like wiki page creation, maintain Community membership through a Domino application or how to use Profile data for Sametime Business Cards. Come and see how you can reuse data without any headache and how your Admin life gets easier by using TDI scripts.

Klaus Bild talked and demoed how you can use Tivoli Directory Integrator to automate tasks in IBM Connections. A video where Klaus demonstrates the usage of a Notes database to create the data for the assembly line for TDI you can find here.

It was nice to see IBM Notes can play a role in supporting IBM Connections.

Escaping the Yellow Bubble: experiences with rewriting a Domino app using AngularJS and MongoDB

If you haven’t lived under a rock, you probably noticed a huge trend in web application development: client side JavaScript frameworks to build your apps with, using REST APIs to connect to data stores. You probably also noticed that MongoDB, a NoSQL database, has been getting a lot of attention lately. Both technologies are adopted by more developers and companies every day. For a recent project we wondered what it would take to rewrite a well known standard Domino application using the MEAN stack: a combination of MongoDB (NoSQL database), Express (a NodeJS application server), AngularJS (a client side Javascript MVC framework) and NodeJS (JavaScript server). In this session I’ll share my experiences with that process and provide you with practical tips from a long term Domino developer’s perspective. As you might know, I got a lot of love for Domino and XPages, so this won’t be about bashing those. It’s all about keeping your eyes open for what’s happening outside the bubble.

Mark Leusink talked about alternative techniques for Notes and XPages. Although the technical alternatives are there I didn’t really get the impression they compete with a strength of Notes: RAPID APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT.

IBM’s Social Business Transformation

IBM’s leadership in social business software grew from internal roots – the adoption of collaborative technologies and practices inside the organization. In this session, Ed Brill – VP IBM Social Business Transformation – will describe how IBM has adopted a culture of participation, and the practical business benefits from becoming a social business.

Biggest news from Icon UK: Ed Brill is back at ICS? Probably one of the smallest audiences Ed Brill presented in front of, but it was great to hear ‘social’ is still in his veins. Probably the hardest part of social transformation is getting people participating. It is understandable that people are reserved in ‘dare to share’ when business future is under movement.

From XPages Hero to OSGi Guru: Taking the Scary out of Building Extension Libraries

You’ve built up standard controls, resources and SSJS/Java libraries you use in your applications. Surely there’s a better way than copying and pasting from NSF to NSF? We’ll show you best practices for setting up a development environment, how to build your code into an OSGi plugin, demystify the XSP Starter Kit, and show how to test, debug and deploy your plugin efficiently.

Paul Withers talked and demoed how to create an OSGi plugin. I am not sure if I followed it all the way.

Thank you

Icon UK had a pleasant atmosphere. Besides the presentations it was nice to meet people who share the same interests. I would like to thank especially Martin MeijerKnut Herrmann and Vanessa Hutchinson. Hope to CU at another event 🙂

Update

On youtube Ryan Baxter demonstrates how to use Domino Data in Bluemix apps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=322NPTgUS7E.

Handsons from EntwicklerCamp 2014

Subject Download Presentation
Javascript – Die ersten Schritte http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/aa9f566f61ab0287c1257be200295c9d/$FILE/H1-Javascript_HandsOn_1_0_0.pdf
Lotuscript – die ersten Schritte http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/4865dda7cb38ffc0c1257be200295ca0/$FILE/H2-LotusScript.pdf
Formeln – die erste Schritte http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/f33e4cd0f2817177c1257be200295c99/$FILE/H3-Hands%20Out%20Formel.pdf
C-API – die ersten Schritte http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/ab13b5dfac044f51c1257be200295c9a/$FILE/H5-C-API-Erste%20Schritte.pdf
XPages Grundlagen http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/715e4cb5349a351cc1257be200295c9b/$FILE/H6-XPages_0_0_2.pdf
Webservices unter Notes/Domino http://www.entwicklercamp.de/konferenz/ent2014.nsf/bc36cf8d512621e0c1256f870073e627/41dc29a6c9b3d108c1257be200295c9f/$FILE/H8-Webservices%20unter%20NotesDomino.pdf

Engage – signed up

Funny, but a motive when moving to Sweden was to combine work with a bit of holiday. Recently I signed up for the Engage event and will do it the other way around in the Netherlands: combine holiday with a bit of work.

I am looking forward to the event because of it’s great line-up. I am curious how the ‘collaboration market’ nowadays looks like in the Netherlands and Belgium and what the opportunities are.