Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: January 2012

AD106, AD111 and AD114 slides posted

Now available on Slideshare: There are a few more. Enjoy!

Posted by on 25 January 2012 | Comments (0) | categories: Lotusphere

Lotussphere Session evaluations

With AD106, AD111 and AD114 my colleagues and I delivered 3 development sessions. I always find it difficult to strike the right balance, so different levels of audience can benefit from them. Hunter, Viktor and I spend a lot of time discussing, creating, revising and starting over when we prepared for the sessions. It seems we were well accepted. Here are the ratings and comments:
  • AD106 - IBM Lotus Domino XPages anywhere - Write them once, See them Everywhere: 97.5% good & excellent ratings for quality and content and 90.0% good & excellent ratings for quality and effectiveness of speakers
    • Excellent
    • Good info ...not *quite* as relevent for us as some of the other sessions, but when either of these gents is presenting, I try to be there ...always take away useful knowledge
    • Lot of material and very useful stuff
    • Already moving down this path
    • With XPages, we can now integrate applications with Connections, Portal and for mobile devices
    • Knew what they were talking about and kept it moving for late in the day
    • Well qualified and entertaining. Definitely kept my attention even after a long day of sessions
    • fantastic session and presenters
    • Good session, lots of information
    • Lots of good and useful content
    • Packed house with people standing. Needed a larger room
    • Viktor and Stephen always enjoyable, informative and relevant. Looking forward to Stephen's promised blog postings!
    • well done
  • AD111 - The X Path: Practical guide to taking your IBM Lotus Notes applications to Domino XPages: 93.6% good & excellent ratings for quality and content and 90.41% good & excellent ratings for quality and effectiveness of speakers
    • Awesome session
    • Gearing up to convert some apps to XPages, so timing and material was perfect
    • Great session. Practical stuff
    • Interesting presentation
    • Knew the material
    • Slides about learning curves are not relevant. Expected more focus on xpath. Or is this just a misunderstand? X Path versus XPath?
    • Too much info, liked the specific items like use ls for this and no this and info like that
    • Very good information. Great examples and good tips
    • tremendous help!
    • we will be going Xpages...
    • Yes, made me want to move forward with more xpage development
    • Cool team
    • Fun group, made me feel less intimidated by xpage development. Made me feel more comfortable with the time difference and learning curve with xpage development. Made me want to go back to work and play with xpages
    • i think stefan wissel is a really irritating, narcistic speaker. disturbing ! (see I keep the negative comments too! - whoever wrote this: I dare you to do better)
    • Main speaker communicated good info, but seemed a bit uncomfortable. Secondary speaker was very engaging
    • Stephen is always wonderful -- lots of great info, energy, and humor. Hunter was likewise good, and played a great straight man :)
    • Even the overflow room was standing room only. Pretty frustrating...
    • Great session
    • It was clear beforehand that this would be a crowded session. Why didn't you plan for a bigger room? Re the overflow session I had to attend: We have all the cool technology - why do you just relay poor audio and the slides but no video? Fail
    • Looking forward to Stephen's promised blog postings and watching Hunter
    • Needed bigger room!
    • Room too crowded again. Second time in one day they had to use an overflow area
    • This was a very practical session with great content. Could have had this for a longer time
    • Tx guys
    • Very good information
    • Very good information in this session, would like to have seen some code take-aways, but overall very good
  • AD114 - Don't be afraid of curly brackets reloaded - even more JavaScript for LotusScript Developers: 93.55% good & excellent ratings for quality and content and 96.77% good & excellent ratings for quality and effectiveness of speakers
    • A little misled by the title i thought it would be a deeper dive. Having said that, it was a good refreshment
    • Excellent material!!!
    • It was a little to basic
    • well presented -- good material
    • Time to learn JavaScript!
    • Enjoyed the refreshing, light-hearted style of the presenter. Made topics very clear
    • Excellent!!!
    • funny and full of information Great presenter, funny, and very knowledgeable
    • I found the content to be a bit too basic and would have appreciated more depth and comparisons between doing things in Lotuscript and Javascript
    • Simply cool and funny
    • Stephan's sense of humor transcends all language barriers, a very engaging speaker!
    • Steve did a great job and kept a very dry topic fun and light
    • Excellent topic and speaker. The session ran late, and it was too good to leave. I could have spent the whole day in this session!!
    • Great speaker!
    • Lots of good and useful hints and tips, all nicely presented
    • Lotusphere needs WAY more of these sessions!!!!
    • Solid, practical info. Well-presented
    • Speaker suggested that this was for folk who had not written much javascript.... well I have written buckets of it, and I learned a bunch more...
    • Stephan is an effective speaker and I appreciated his live demos of what he was trying to show in his slides. I only wish those examples he demoed we're in the slides explicitly
    • Thank you
    • Thank you! You explained a few things that had been puzzling me for months!
    • Thanks for a great session
    • Worthwhile, a *lot* of information to convey in such a short time, I thought the Speaker did a great job
Thank you for the feedback! And watch out for code take-away over here.

Posted by on 24 January 2012 | Comments (0) | categories: Lotusphere

AD111 - What's your investment in Notes Applications?

One of the items in our AD111 presentation that got a lot of attention was the CoCoMo II analysis of existing Notes applications. I'll explain what it is and how to run your own analysis:
CoCoMo stands for COnstructive  COst  MOdel, first published in 1981 by Dr. Barry Boehm of the Center for Systems and Software Engineering of the University of Southern California and later refined in version 2 (you can read all about it on their website). In a nutshell: If you know how much lines of code you need, how complex the task is and how experienced your developers as a team are, then CoCoMo II can determine how long it will take to develop a software, both in calendar as well as person month. So you will know your staffing requirements and by adding your average hourly cost the total project price. The number your get out of such an CoCoMo II analysis is easy to communicate to business users:
" Rewriting/migrating application A costs X dollars, needs Y developers and will be ready in Z month, backed by 30 years of research in software development efforts"
(then lean back and wait for the howling). When deciding about the fate of a Notes application a CoCoMo analysis can provide a much more accurate account than the 4 bucket approach certain migration tools try to sell you (bucket 1: standard IBM templates, bucket 2: lightly modified, bucket 3: highly modified, bucket 4: to be retired -- shame on you for your lack of control if bucket 4 contains a single database).
You can make a few simple assumptions: Migrating the application to a different platform will need at least the same amount of code. This is already generous since you can write fully functional applications in Notes with almost no code and you have hierarchical and solid access protection build into Notes which can be complicated to reproduce with other databases (read: needing lots of extra code). XPage enabling on the other hand will need less than half of the original lines of code. We don't have solid statistics but the effort is typically between 5-35%. The more apps you have, the less the percentage since XPages components are primed for reuse.
The big question: how to get the SLOC (source lines of code) count for a Notes application that you can then fill into the online CoCoMo II calculator? Enter DXL and DXLMagic. The process has 4 steps:
  1. Extract your database as one DXL file. You can do that using the DXLMagic GUI, the command line or the DXL Exporter wizard. To setup DXLMagic to run from the command line check this post (where you actually should/could use the Java runtime of the Notes client) and the section about DXL in the DomDoc Redbook. This is the step that takes the most time, so be patient. You only need to do that once for every database since the exported DXL doesn't get modified. I also recommend to only export local NSF/NTF to avoid network congestion
  2. Run the DocumentDesignTags task for DXLMagic. It takes as file name or a directory name as parameter. What it does: checks for its configuration file com.ibm.sg.dxlmagic.DocumentDesignTags.properties in the current directory and creates it with default settings if missing. Then parses all the tags inside the given DXL or for each DXL file in the given directory and subdirectories. For each DXL file one .metrics file gets created. In that file the number of tags found are listed as well as line of code counts for everything inside a <code> tag. The properties file helps to classify code entries (e.g. UI Code, DBCode)
  3. Run the DocumentDesignMetrics task for DXLMagic. It picks up all .metrics files in a given directory including subdirectories and creates one file that contains one row for each file found. The com.ibm.sg.dxlmagic.DocumentDesignMetrics.properties file contains the list of tags you want to see in the output file. If missing the properties file gets created with default entries
  4. Open the result from step 3 in your favorite spreadsheet and add row and column sums. The grand total is the magic number. One could argue "a form is graphically created, that isn't LoC", but counting the paragraphs and fields is a good approximation for that. Some developers argue: a field definition should have a factor > 1 since it takes more time to code a field that to do a "Create - Field" in Domino Designer. Our experience shows the approximation is pretty good. But feel free to experiment
I use the following 2 command files (actually their Linux equivalents) to do the work (presuming your Notes install is in C:\Notes, and your output goes to C:\Work)
@echo off
REM Export Utility for NSF
ECHO Exporting %1
SET CLASSPATH=.;C:\Notes\jvm\lib\ext\*;%CLASSPATH%
java -Xmx2048m com.ibm.sg.dxlmagic.DesignExporter C:\Work %1
SET OLDClassPath=

Using this command file I can export nsf/ntf easily, e.g.: exportnsf crm\customers.nsf. Once all databases are exported I run a second batch file:
@echo off
REM Document Utility for DXL
ECHO Documenting C:\Work
SET CLASSPATH=.;C:\Notes\jvm\lib\ext\*;%CLASSPATH%
java -Xmx1024m com.ibm.sg.dxlmagic.DocumentDesignTags C:\Work
java -Xmx1024m com.ibm.sg.dxlmagic.DocumentDesignMetrics C:\Work C:\Work\Report.csv
SET OLDClassPath=

This will result in the file C:\Work\Report.csv you can open in your favorite spreadsheet to add the final totals. For detail setting this up on Linux or Mac, please check the Redbook. I wonder if we should build that into Domino Designer an optionally allow to post statistics to IBM on that. As usual: YMMV

Posted by on 24 January 2012 | Comments (4) | categories: Lotusphere

Give your web applications a speedboost and HTML5 compatibility boost in Internet Explorer

With the accelerating emergence of mobile devices HTML5 takes centre stage. While the first round of the " browser wars 2.0" was all about speed, the second round is about HTML5 compatibility and behaviour. With the dominance of Android and iOS in the mobile market Microsoft's Internet Explorer isn't the gold standard for browsers anymore, the test results rather show IE as trying to catch up. Furthermore, since it isn't a standard if it doesn't allow for divergent interpretation, Microsoft implements HTML5 features different than the rest, creating a headache for developers. The irony in the whole situation is, that Microsoft won " browser wars 1.0" because the implemented HTML more faithful that its then competitors.
Quite some organisations claim (with various levels of credibility) to be stuck/standardised on IE (which I usually reply to with: "Interesting, what version of IE is running on your CEO's iPad?"), so you can't use all the new fancy stuff you could use on the mobile devices (until Windows Phone7 becomes popular and the "IE does it differently" headache starts on mobile). Luckily there is a cure: Chrome Frame. It installs inside IE and doesn't load any pages until you tell it so. So all the legacy code can still run with IE, but your new stuff uses Chrome's webkit rendering engine, solves a lot of XPages/Dojo headaches too. There are a few steps to get going:
  1. Add <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1"> to your HTML head section. This will ensure Chrome Frame is activated when rendering your page. If all of your applications on your (Domino) server should use it, you also can use a HTTP header (that's the web/Internet Sites section in the Domino directory) X-UA-Compatible: chrome=1
  2. Add discovery and download options to your page(s)
  3. If you are the system administrator, you want to download the MSI Installer and push it out (I like OCS Inventory for that). Make sure you read the admin guide
You can install it now. As usual YMMV.

Posted by on 18 January 2012 | Comments (2) | categories: XPages

Lotusphere announcements (The OGS)

Starting Lotusphere with a Geek Band was quite enjoyable. Alistair opened the session going directly to to the most burning of questions: Who's the speaker: Entering the stage Michael J. Fox got standing ovations. This response to people lamenting about problems is " There was a lady who had a baby in a tree, what have you got?"
Alistair's key message: " Get social, make more Money!". Getting there requires collective intelligence, rethink, reinvent and transform businesses. The product announcements confirmed that IBM is deprecating the Lotus brand in favour of a stronger emphasis on the core IBM brand. While that might upset members of the "Yellow bubble" it is IMHO the right move, given the strength of the IBM brand recognition. In no particular order:
  • IBM Connections "next"
    The big new item is the integration of Activity Streams and embedded experiences (leveraging OpenSocial) into the IBM Connections homepage. This is the Vulcan vision come to fruit. eMail and Calendar also has been integrated into the user experience. Tthe demo made clear, that IBM wants you to use IBM Connections as the main interface of your daily work. This includes the ability to edit office documents directly in the browser using IBM Docs. Using Sametime and Polycom Connections includes Google Hangout capabilities inside the control of your network. Connections next adds the capability to share content between internal and external communities.
    Key takeaway (for developers/ISV): Make yourself familiar with the Social Business Toolkit and transform your applications. Try OpenSocial integration today in the OpenSocial Sandbox to get started
  • IBM Connections Mail
    Being part of Connections it allows to surface calendar and eMail from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. As mentioned earlier that is IBM's assault on Microsoft's perceived eMail dominance. I wonder how this will work offline or sloppy (read: high latency, patchy) networks. Folding eMail into the broader context of collaboration will allow boosting productivity and user satisfaction
  • IBM Docs
    Using any browser (no IE6) spreadsheets, text documents and presentations can be collaborative edited concurrently online. Individual parts of a document (paragraphs, cell ranges, slides) can be assigned to individual editors and tracked using ToDo items in a Connections Activity. Since HTML(5) != RichText format and feature capability are a challenge. IBM docs, using ODF as its native storage format, uses a preservation engine to ensure features that don't map to HTML are preserved and won't get lost in a web editing
  • Mobile
    Traveller, Sametime, Symphony and Connections will now work on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Microsoft Phone 7 (Nokia will be happy). Sametime video chats are now supported on mobile devices. Traveler and the Connections client are deeper integrated. More details will emerge during the week
  • IBM Customer Experience Suite "next"
    The beta for the new version starts today. Mobile interaction is fully supported now. Swipe interactions and mobile content editing make mobile devices first class citizens in ECM. The ECM system can not only publish data to the corporate intranet but also to social sites. An integrated doodle function lets you comment visually on a page. Social analytics is deeply integrated in the suite, to see customer sentiment. With dashboards like this endless reports can finally be retired. A new highlight in content management is an integrated survey editor, looks quite promising
  • IBM SmartCloud for Social Business
    LotusLive has been the odd child in the IBM cloud strategy with its own branding and availability. In a short while it will be folded into the IBM SmartCloud family of offerings and will be known as "IBM SmartCloud for Social Business". Finally it will feature a "click here to buy" button
  • Notes browser plug-in
    Later this year IBM will deliver a lightweight Notes client that has been wrapped into a browser plug-in. From the demo it looks like it will be compatible to the Notes basic client, not the full client. Details about supported browsers or operating systems will emerge later on
  • Lotus Notes NEXT
    The next version of Lotus Notes will be called "Lotus Notes Social Edition" and come with the capability to surface Activity Streams and embedded experiences in the Notes client and the Domino server. It will be based on Domino 8.5.4, so no mayor upgrade cycle is required which will make adoption much easier
In summary: IBM Connections is the new centre of IBM collaboration. Everything is moving to embedded experiences that are also mobile enabled and evolve around open standards. Looks solid to me

Posted by on 16 January 2012 | Comments (4) | categories: Lotusphere

Famous German chocolate manufacturer to cater to Singapore taste buds

Ritter Sport is famous Ritter Sportall over the planet for their square shaped chocolate. Now in an unpreceded move they designed a chocolate especially for South-Asian taste buds:

This is part of a wider initiative to extend their product range. The information probably leaked before the intended April release date (thx Thomas).

Posted by on 08 January 2012 | Comments (2) | categories: After hours

Learning XPages

This entry is my reference for the collection of learning materials around XPages and adjacent technologies. I get asked a lot and in the spirit of sharing I make my recommendations public. There are a number of technologies and skills touching XPages, so it looks like a long list, but you don't need them all to get started.

Read more

Posted by on 06 January 2012 | Comments (c) | categories: XPages

Nachlese München, Hamburg und Düsseldorf Februar 2012

Das Team von Edcom und TimeToAct hat mich wieder zur Nachlese nach Deutschland eingeladen. Ed Brill, Ron Sebastian und Volker Weber sind mit von der Partie. Die Tage in München und Düsseldorf bieten immer gute Gelegenheit sich fachlich auszutauschen und viel über mein einrostendes Deutsch zu lachen. Die beiden Themen die ich zum Besten geben werde sind:
  • X Path: XPages aus Ihren existierenden Lotus Notes Applikationen machen
  • XPages Starter Kit - eigene Erweiterungen schnell und sicher schreiben
Das erste ist der Vortrag den ich in Orlando zusammen mit Hunter Medney (IBM ISSL) vortragen werde, das zweite ist eine Einführung in das OpenNTF Projekt XSP Starter Kit.
Sehen wir uns im Februar? Die Veranstaltung ist in München am 6/7 Februar und in Düsseldorf am 9. Februar. Noch gibt es Frühbucherkonditionen.
Update: Ich werde auch bei der LCTY Hamburg vortragen.

Posted by on 05 January 2012 | Comments (0) | categories: Lotusphere

Customer Service failures 2011

" Quality is when the customer returns, not the product". A key by-product of quality is good customer service. Unfortunately customer service seems to be perceived as "cost centre" rather than "customer retention", so it is often questionable. Here are my favourite 2011 failures:
  • A Telco, that requires to call them when you lost your phone - but has all other transactions online and needs a week to reply to a cancel request eMail
  • A device maker who sends eMails replies on service requests that bounce back when one replies and has no other means indicated how to continue a conversation
  • A bank that uses easy to come by information to authenticate on their rewards website (but uses mandatory tokens for eBanking - so they actually know about security). On top the checkout process is all mangled up.
    Update: To add insult to injury they claimed in an email today: "We wish to assure you that it is safe to use {the easy to obtain data} for the redemption of DBS points." Someone confuses "secure" with "recoverable".
  • A public utility that can't hold its water and goes into denial
  • A Telco's mobile shop that requires flash and doesn't work in the latest Chrome release
  • A money printer where published contact eMails don't work
  • An airline who verschlimmbessert their web presence and jumped onto the bad habit to try to charge for "premium seat" when checking in online (their presence service, when you talk or interact with people on the other hand is pleasant and outstanding!)
  • A Fibre Network provider, that has installed in December a fibre endpoint next to the lift on my flat's floor but tells me it will take until April or June before I can have fibre internet
  • Another bank, that offers to upgrade a credit card and then cancels the old one before the new arrives, removes all electronic statements and can electronically only be contacted by eMail and not the eBanking site
Next stop: who got it right.

Posted by on 05 January 2012 | Comments (0) | categories: Business