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Opening General Session. For the past few years members of of the Notes Development community have had to adjust as the focus moved away from Notes to a broader message about Collaboration.

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opening general session
Opening General Session
  • For the past few years members of of the Notes Development community have had to adjust as the focus moved away from Notes to a broader message about Collaboration.
  • This year the message broadened even further as IBM focused on communicating a message about how it provides an Exception Web Experience and a Smarter Workforce.
  • Any mention of Lotus was reduced to an impromptu reference to a game of bingo being played in the IBM Champions section of the crowd.
  • The addition of Jay Baer as the compare made the session flow much better.
  • Music from American Authors and guest speaker Seth Myers were very entertaining.
  • It is definitely time to retire the Greenwell concept from the show. It was at times confusing and the “actors” were not of the same caliber as the rest of the show.
  • Product? Not a lot of product information or true demos in the OGS. For Notes/Domino enthusiasts there were brief mentions of IBM Mail Next, the consolidation of ICS products to the Connections brand and the announcement of Domino Applications in the Cloud.
other keynotes
Other Keynotes
  • Perhaps more members of the Notes/Domino community attended Tuesday’s keynote than previous years. The attraction being guest speaker Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert.
  • Scott proceeded to explain his view that:-
    • Goals are for losers
    • Passion is overrated; and
    • Luck can be manipulated
closing general session
Closing General Session
  • The closing session provided little content. Not even a summary of the key announcements made during the week.
  • The session was devoted largely to a great “geek “presentation by Dave Lavery from NASA about his experiences designing the Mars rover Curiosity.
  • In a world moving agile it was interesting to see how NASA projects that last 10+ years operate and only one chance at success.
rebranding lotus ibm connections
Rebranding: Lotus  IBM  Connections
  • IBM have announced plans to rebrand its suite of Collaborative Solutions to Connections. Yes, yet again the Lotus products are receiving new brand names.
  • It is somewhat confusing that we now have a Connections brand and a Connection product.
  • We also have a product called Connections mail and a large number of other mail products now part of the Connections brand all offering mail solutions.
    • IBM Mail Next
    • Connections Mail
    • iNotes
    • Notes Mail
    • Traveler
    • New Outlook Client
  • The rebranding effort doesn’t seem complete as nobody seemed to know what the brand names would be for Notes/Domino or the Connections product itself.
  • The branding is expected to be implemented as new versions of each product are released during 2014/15.
  • On the positive side… at least Notes is not being rebranded as Alcatraz.
social mobile analytics cloud



The amount of information stored is growing exponentially, making search capabilities, by themselves, less and less useful.

Looking to smartphone and tablet apps for larger and faster ROI.



Corporate social networks becoming the vehicle for sharing information.

Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud
  • Introduced at the OGS and reinforced throughout the week by IBM was its focus on four key areas:-
    • Social
    • Mobile
    • Analytics
    • Cloud
  • A similar message of Cloud First, Mobile Always, and Flexible Choices was also repeated.
  • These seem to all be defining the priorities for IBM in 2014 for product development.
  • For Notes/Domino this means efforts to make Domino work better as a cloud service and (hopefully) greater emphasis on mobile controls for XPages and/or better connectivity with IBM Worklight.

Web APIs replacing proprietary languages as the language of choice for enterprise applications.

  • There were a number of sessions on Mobile but not a lot was disclosed about IBM’s strategy for bringing Notes/Domino to the fore as part of its mobile strategy.
  • A number of sessions focused on making Notes/Domino work with other technologies such as Twitter Bootstrap or IBM Worklight.
  • Outside the session there were a lot of discussions about the use of alternate mobile platforms such as Titanium and jQuery.
  • XPages is still playing catch-up in the mobile arena. The XPages team and product manager Pete Janzen discussed some of the projects it is considering working on for XPages mobile controls as part of Notes/Domino Next (9.0.2).
  • It is expected that a beta for 9.0.2 will be made available towards the end of 2014 with a final release planned in early 2015. Yes, a mobile platform with yearly release cycles……
  • Given its position as a key focus area it was surprising the lack of detail of how IBM plans to address the needs of providing Big Data and Analytics.
  • In some ways Connections itself seems hamstrung because of the decision to build its implementation on DB2, a relational database engine, rarely used by major players in the social media industry.
  • At the Innovation labs several examples were provided of mining the data collected in Connections. These solutions involved exporting the data first into a graph database for more efficient query and visual display.
  • In the product showcase solutions such as Kudos Badges showed one approach for providing analytics by directly accessing the DB2 data in Connections. A great technical session by Julian Robichaux and Mark Myers provided details about how this can be done.
  • During the week we heard a little less about social and a little more about mail as IBM moved to position mail as an important part of any social strategy.
  • The biggest “Notes” news of the week was the announcement of IBM Mail Next.
  • In many ways IBM Mail Next is an extension of the thinking formed as part of the Vulcan Project, a new (social) way to approach the the mail box.
  • Mail Next will be available in both the cloud and on-premises with both versions most likely requiring Connections.
  • A beta is planned for 1H 2014 before going into production at the end of the year.
  • As part of its Cloud First initiative the cloud offering is likely to become available first.
  • A new version of the Social Business Toolkit has been released.
social notes next
Social: Notes Next
  • A roadmap for Notes shows a new version (Notes Next) to be released to the cloud before the end of 2014 and on premises version in early 2015.
  • A number of “candidates” for inclusion in the next release are smaller things currently available in competing mail products or things long requested.
  • Based on the proposed feature set this seems to be more a 9.0.2 release. Given 9.0 was initially proposed as 8.5.4, it will be a long time between true major releases for the product.
  • As part of plans to focus on the use of mail files store information IBM announced it will adopt Apache Solr as its search engine.
social connections next
Social: Connections Next
  • The next version of Connections (the product not the brand) will focus on:
    • External collaboration
    • Desktop and mobile
    • Creating a personal experience.
  • Key features to be included:-
    • It will be possible to add external users via an email address.
    • The Ephox editor is to be made available as part of Connections.
    • Infinite scrolling is to be added to activity streams
    • Media gallery merged into files
    • @mentions will be universal
    • Ability to select start page for community
    • Integrated file sync with desktop
    • Addition of TOC to wikis
    • A new communities dashboard
    • Notification center
social social business toolkit
Social: Social Business Toolkit
  • IBM’s strategy for application development focuses heavily on the Social Business Toolkit SDK.
  • A new SDK API 2.0 is to be available soon after Connect
  • Playground and API Explorer have been enhanced and available on IBM Greenhouse
  • New UI Controls based on Dojo being added based on OneUI or Bootstrap.
  • A new library for PHP can be consumed by Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla etc.
  • An SDK for native mobile applications will be made available (iOS pre-release now on GitHub).
  • Adapters being developed for use with IBM Worklight.
  • IBM announced plans to move Domino applications to the cloud using its Soft Layer technology. Not a lot of details were provided but it is expected to include an onboarding process.
  • It should be noted that Ed Brill made a similar announcement at Lotusphere in 2011.
  • Outside of mobile it is expected most of the enhancements for 9.0.2 will focus on making the XPages (and Notes Classic) platforms more robust in a cloud environment.
  • The rebranding of Notes Mail to IBM Mail may help differentiate the Notes application development platform.
  • Many great technical sessions throughout the week. Attendance was a challenge due to the appalling scheduling which often saw three XPages session in a single timeslot and nothing in the next few.
  • A lot of debate also took place over the use of SSJS versus Java as the primary programming language for XPages.
  • A second edition of Mastering XPages is to be released soon.
lighter moments
Lighter Moments
  • Jay Baer provided a lighter moment in the OGS when he called out Brad Balassaitis for the winning “number” (Lotus) for those playing OGS Bingo.
  • Ed Brill joined the fun when he pre-announced a Mac version of Domino Designer in his session.
  • Perhaps the funniest session ever held at Lotusphere/Connect EVER was the Geek102 70’s Game Show Extravaganza. Wes Morgan, turned in a stellar performance as host to keep the crowd entertained with a “Lotus” spin on Family Feud (The IBMers versus the Champions) and the Dating Game.
  • The Trivia challenge was held again and many IBM Champions had fun playing with legos.
connect 2015
Connect 2015
  • Yes, its on again next year January 25-29, 2015.
  • Expect to see:
    • Less technical sessions for Notes/Domino development
    • Better integration with Kenexa World
    • IBM Mail Next about to hit the market
    • Consolidation of the mail offerings
    • A new name for Alcatraz.
    • More cloud offerings on the showcase floor.
    • A smaller crowd with more suits and less t-shirts.
    • Mat Newman in a yellow suit giving everyone in sight a big hug.