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5/29/14

What new features are coming in IBM Connections 5


IBM announced the new release of IBM Connections 5 for June 2014 including some new features like:

External Collaboration 

External users will only see content shared with them and only the people associated with that content. Administrators can see who is external and manage or invite them. External communities are explicitly flagged.  External members cannot be a community owner.  External users can see business cards but not profiles. External users can search but will not see public data returned nor can they see the company directory. External users are always flagged somehow in the view (name or icon). External files are also flagged in the community. 

Deployment: You edit LotusConnections-config.xml to enable "visitorModelEnabled" to True. You then restart the server.  Enable Waltz Profiles Integration (WPI) to make sure profiles_directory_service_extension_enabled is enabled in LotusConnections-config.xml 

Disable Anonymous Access for the Connections Instance 
Register external users into the Profiles DB 
Set employee.extended role 

Licensing: CCM not supported with External Collaboration. Only authorized users may provide External Users access to IBM Connections. 


Files 

Files gallery and preview : grid view of thumbnails. More information when hovering over the thumbnail. Information like Externally shared, public, private and more via thumbnail. Plus a quick access download link.  Files Gallery can be added to the community to showcase files.  IBM File Viewer is used to generate thumbnails (free download of 1.0.6). All the files will need to be converted. You can run wasadmin for existing content.  The Media Gallery can be migratred with a few steps. The Media Gallery Feature will no longer be able to be added to a community and replaced with the Gallery App. Existing Media Galleries will keep working. 

File sync: Sync to a native mobile app or desktop. Bandwidth can be taperd to Wifi only.  Desktop File sync can save directly to Connections from any desktop app. Round rip editing.  Using the web UI you can mark files to be available offline. File Sync requires Windows 7 or 8. Also available on iOS and Android since IBM Connections 4.5 CR4. Works for personal files. 



Some of the new additional features coming in C5:

  • New Activity Stream algorithm to show relevant information
  • View all notifications in one area
  • Link Previews to summarize content
  • See recent Collaboration Spaces you have accessed
  • Users can now reorder the navigation how they want
  • Mark content as important using a Star like Google Mail
  • People Typeahead from the search bar using name
  • Activity Stream Search to look for any content like hashtag and content
  • Custom landing pages in communties
  • Rich text editor with Ephox EditLive!
  • Expanded @ mentions across blog comments, Ideation Blogs
  • Activity stream updates include conversation updates/responses inline
  • Use of hashtags in status update comments
  • See threaded comments from the Forum Embedded Experience.
  • Some Community updates including multiple ideation blogs and recovering deleted communities
  • Threaded comments in blogs (finally) and the ability to edit blog comments


Furthermore a new release for IBM Docs ( 1.0.6 ) will also be released.

5/27/14

Custom Name TypeAhead using IBM Connections


Source: IBM Digital Experience Wiki

Introduction

Connections has an inbuilt support for name typeahead, which is very limited and available within connections for some specific inbuilt controls. If you want to use the name typeahead within your custom code or in your other application then here is the way..


Name typeahead screens









Prerequisite

Below are the prerequisite.
  • IBM Connections
  • JQuery Library with autocomplete plugin(click hereexternal link for more information on jquery autocomplete)
This example is certified with jquery v1.9.1 and IBM Connections v4.0.

Accessing the service

As of IBM connections v4.0 and v4.5, the name typeahead service is located at below location.
/profiles/html/nameTypeahead.do
the above service takes name as parameter and returns an array of json objects as text format, shown below.


/*{
    "identifier": "member",
    "label": "name",
    "items": [{
        "name": "Member's Name",
        "userid": "userid",
        "uid": "uid",
        "member": "",
        "type": "type",
        "ext": {
            ext attributes key-value pair
        }
    }]
}*/
 
If you want to use this name typeahead control outside of ibm connections then you may need to use AjaxProxy or alter url rewrite rules accordingly.

Changing the javascript

  • Copy below code to a js file called nameTypeAhead.js
 /**

 This function applies name typeahead to the input html control.

 params:

 inputControlSelector : A selector that jquery understands. e.g. "#id_of_the_element"

 urlPrefix : Prefix to the service url, including server name and port,

             if the function is called from connections itself then this can be passed as blank string i.e. ''

             if the function is called from outside of the connections context then you may need to use ajax-proxy

 maxRowsToFetch : Maximum number of rows to be fetched from connections server. Default value is 20.

 selectCallbackFunction : A callback function, that is to be called when you perform the select.

 dataFormatFunction [optional] : A callback function to format the data, recieved from server.

 */

 function applyNameTypeAhead(inputControlSelector, urlPrefix, maxRowsToFetch, selectCallbackFunction, dataFormatFunction){

     var cache = {};

     maxRowsToFetch = maxRowsToFetch || 20;

     $(inputControlSelector).autocomplete({

                 minLength: 2,

                 source: function( request, response ) {

                     var term = request.term;

                     if ( term in cache ) {

                         response( cache[ term ] );

                         return;

                     }

                     if(urlPrefix == null)

                         urlPrefix = '';

                     

                     $.ajax({

                         url: urlPrefix + '/profiles/html/nameTypeahead.do',

                         data: {

                             count: maxRowsToFetch,

                             lang: 'en_us',

                             extended: true,

                             name: term

                         },

                         dataType: 'text',

                         success: function( data, status, xhr ) {

                             data = data.trim();

                             if (data.startsWith('/*')){

                                 data = data.substr(2);

                             }

                             if (data.endsWith('*/')){

                                 data = data.substr(0,data.length-2);

                             }

                             

                             data = $.parseJSON(data);

                             var formatFunction = null;

                             

                             if (typeof dataFormatFunction === 'function') {

                                 formatFunction = dataFormatFunction;

                             }else{

                                 formatFunction =  function(item){

                                 return {

                                     label: item.name + (item.ext.email != '' ? " - (" + item.ext.email + ")":""),

                                     value: item.name,

                                     uid: item.uid,

                                     email: item.ext.email

                                 };

                             };

                             }

                             

                             var localList = $.map(data.items, function(item){

                                 return formatFunction(item);

                             });

                             

                             cache[ term ] = localList;

                             response(localList);

                         }

                     });

                 },

                 select: function( event, ui ) {

                     event.preventDefault();

                     if (typeof selectCallbackFunction === 'function') { selectCallbackFunction(event, ui); }

                   }

             

     });

 }

 

 function applyNameTypeAhead(inputControlSelector, urlPrefix, maxRowsToFetch, selectCallbackFunction){

     applyNameTypeAhead(inputControlSelector, urlPrefix, maxRowsToFetch, selectCallbackFunction, '');

 }

  
 
  • Include the nameTypeAhead.js or copy + paste the applyNameTypeAhead function in any of the existing js file.
   e.g. <script src="/applyNameTypeAhead.js">script
 

  • Note down the selector for the input element on which you want to apply name typeahead.
        e.g. if the input looks like
 <input type="text" name="testNameTypeAheadName" id="testNameTypeAheadId"> 
        then selector could be "#testNameTypeAheadId" or may be '[name="manageProfileProxyField-displayName"]'
  • To apply the name typeahead, you must call applyNameTypeAhead() with below parameters.
inputControlSelector : A selector that jquery understands. e.g. "#id_of_the_element"
urlPrefix : Prefix to the service url, including server name and port,
            if the function is called from connections itself then this can be passed as blank string i.e. ''
            if the function is called from outside of the connections context then you may need to use ajax-proxy url prefix.
maxRowsToFetch : Maximum number of rows to be fetched from connections server. Default value is 20.
selectCallbackFunction : A callback function, that is to be called when you perform the select.
dataFormatFunction [optional] : A callback function to format the data, received from server.

Example code

Here is an example:
Assumptions
  • jquery and autocomplete plugin are included in the page.
  • There is an input element on the page.
     <input type="text" name="testNameTypeAheadName" id="testNameTypeAheadId">
  • Call is from connections server itself
 var formatFunction =  function(item){

                                 return {

                                     label: item.name + (item.ext.email != '' ? " - (" + item.ext.email + ")":""),

                                     value: item.name,

                                     uid: item.uid,

                                     email: item.ext.email

                                 };

                             };
  
 var selectFunction = function(event, ui){

     console.log('select function called..');

     console.log(event);

     console.log(ui);

     $('#testNameTypeAhead').val(ui.item.email);

 };
 applyNameTypeAhead('#testNameTypeAheadId', '', 20, selectFunction, formatFunction);
 

Now your input control should be able to provide you suggestions as you type names.

About author


Navin Manwatkar a Product Consultant (IBM Connections and WebSphere Portal) working with Lab services division of India Software Labs. His skills and interests include WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Application Server, IBM Connections, Java / JavaEE development and Web Designing. You can reach him at navinmanwatkar@in.ibm.com

5/21/14

Gartner Calls Sharepoint an "Evolutionary Dead End" that "No One Likes Using"


Source: sharepointappsdev.weebly.com

As per the views of Jeffrey Mann, a Gartner analyst, Microsoft should soon do away with SharePoint and companies that are largely dependent on the platform should actually consider a more cloud-based future. The Gartner analyst also said that though a majority of the companies make use of SharePoint, they do not quite like it. SP is also less functional and less useful in many respects. Moreover, it does not facilitate smooth content migration and requires greater amount of online management.

With SharePoint being customized in most organizations, it also appears to be excessively big and complex. Certain businesses are also making use of older versions of this web application development platform. With regards to the question of whether to move to cloud or move out of it, Mann says that Microsoft should essentially move SP to the cloud by means of killing its current form.

The enterprise social networking platform, on the other hand, comes up as a hope for Microsoft, as both of these compliment each other in multiple ways. SP, on becoming more cloud- based, will have a strong influence by Yammer.

However, the problems regarding the on-premise deployment of SP, slower arrival of upgrades, lower functionality will remain the same. Hence, a cloud- based solution is considered more beneficial for the large-sized organizations. In fact, Mann advises the technologists to start developing plans for post- SharePoint scenario.

Reasons behind People Disliking SharePoint

While Gartner declares SharePoint to be an evolutionary dead end, there are quite a few reasons behind people hating SP. Surveys conducted at different points of time also point out to negative sentiments. Here is an overview of some of the causes behind this dislike:

It Takes Too Long a Time to be Deployed

One major problem with SP is that the deployment process is quite elaborate and time- consuming. Presence of technical difficulties often make it rather impossible to get done with the deployment process within the allotted time. An unnecessary delay is certainly undesirable because it compels organizations to lose valuable time and resources.

SP Requires Assistance of Third-Party Tools

Enterprises realize that SharePoint cannot be used “out-of-the-box”. Augmentation of the platform for the purpose of fulfilling the specific business requirements is nearly impossible without the use of the third-party tools. Governance is perhaps the biggest technical issue when it comes to the implementation of the development platform. Managing the metadata and taxonomies is equally difficult. It is for these reasons that 50% of organizations are planning heavily on having the third-party add-on products.

SharePoint Promises to Handle Too Many Tasks

SP has always been promoted and marketed as a solution to several problems and issues. Now, whether it is document management, corporate intranet, project management, wiki or blog, SharePoint promises to handle it all. Consequently, the end result is often far from being satisfactory.

User Experience is Nothing Satisfactory

It has been revealed by certain surveys that users are not really happy using SharePoint. Individuals who find it difficult to handle this particular platform prefer going back to the original business process for smooth operations and better accomplishment of projects.

Lesser Mobile Device Access to SharePoint

SharePoint's mobile device access is slow and ineffective. The dissatisfaction about the matter has been expressed by many users. The issue automatically prevents the users from staying updated and productive, no matter where they are.

How to Lead to Successful SP Implementation and User Experience?

In spite of the many difficulties associated with SharePoint, the platform is actually of several benefits. Here is a list of tips and strategies, following which SP can be made more acceptable. 


  • A well-defined deployment process should be planned beforehand. This plan should also consider the needs of the business users apart from that of the tech savvy ones.
  • The project must focus on business solutions. For instance, it should take into account the ease with which SP can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Integrating SP into the everyday work flow of a business user is also essential.

Apart from the above-mentioned strategies, one can also go by Jeffrey Mann's advice, that is to use the third party tools to cover up for the deficiencies of SharePoint.

5/17/14

New Release of the IBM Connections Mobile App


Yesterday IBM announced the update to the IBM Connections Mobile is now available in the app stores. 

The app provides a native set of collaboration capabilities so you can work seamlessly with your team, anytime, anywhere.  In this update you will find that you have a new hidden navigation which provides for more on screen real estate.  The new navigation also can be personalized based on the individuals needs and preferences,  so that you can organize the navigation based on what is most important to you.  

Some of the new capabilities include:

The Favorites section allows you to add content that is more relevant and important to you.  

You can rearrange your Apps or Updates section based on your preference or usage.  The personalization provides quick access to the apps that you need or use most often.

image



The History view allows you to scroll through all the items you has recently accessed and provides a quick and easy way to find information you have previously seen.  This history view is unique to the IBM Connections Mobile app. Now with just 1 tap you can go back to any item reducing your time searching for it again.  

image



The newly redesigned Blogs provide a Blogboard to allow for easy scrolling of all recent posts and your blogs.  The design provides easy navigation and ability to mark a Blog to Read Later even while you are offline.

image



This is just a small preview of some of the exciting features in this release of the mobile app.  

For more information about the app and the upcoming release of IBM Connections Next, join us on May 21 for our Virtual Event - REGISTER TODAY - and check out the awesome mobile demo there!  

Download it today at the Apple App Store or Google Play