Monday, 28 January 2008

Lotus Expeditor

In the past, I've mostly got Lotus Expeditor, but always felt that my
understanding was incomplete.

Thanks to an excellent presentation, and demonstration, delivered by a
colleague, I really do get it.

In my language, using WebSphere Portlet Factory to write once, deploy
twice makes so much sense - WPF gives me the user interface ( a JSR 168
portlet ), Expeditor gives me the mechanism to create an offline,
replicated database model.

I'll have to try it but, as far as I can establish, I can create a
portlet using WPF that pulls data from a relational database e.g. DB2
UDB via a JDBC datasource.

Rather than "hard-coding" the JDBC datasource name in code, I have my
WPF model refer to an externalised resource e.g. a property file.

When I deploy the portlet to Lotus Expeditor, I update the property file
to point at a local DB2 Everyplace or Apache Derby database ( running
within the client ) and the portlet continues to function. I then use
the Lotus Expeditor server ( -OR- DB2 Everyplace on a server ) to
sychronise the data from the back-end DB2 UDB server to the client's

Sounds good to me - will give it a try and report back.

Stuff rocks :-)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Back Home

To my beautiful wife, my lovely home, my most affectionate cat, a real
log fire, decent food (*) and a fine dram of Caol Ila.

* nothing wrong with Lotusphere food - as a Room Monitor, we were
provided with a fine dining room with helpful staff and excellent
food. However, I did miss real food eg organic veg, brown bread,
porridge, decent filter coffee, HOT tea, whiskey etc.

Back to work tomorrow - am downloading Portal 6.1 and will shortly
download Quickr 8.1

Life !!!

Sent from my iPod

Friday, 25 January 2008

Lotusphere 2008 - Cooking Up A Storm ...

Well, Lotusphere closed as it opened - on a high.

As I sat in the closing session in the Dolphin, watching the room fill up with those who hadn't yet headed out to the scrum Ctrl-D airport, I heard the name of the guest speaker and thought to myself .... wow, they got Gordon Brown.

Sadly, I was mistaken - it was Alton Brown, who's more like Gordon Ramsay than Gordon Brown e.g. a TV cook.

However, unlike Mr Ramsay, he was actually very funny - lots of tech jokes, lots of geek humour, lots of generalizations about geek food ( which, of course, are completely irrelevant in the UK, where we IT folks like nothing more than cordon bleu, and never go anywhere near Pot Noodle, coffee, Red Bull, beer, coffee, kebabs, pizza, coffee etc. ).

A perfect end to a perfect week.

What's more, Lotus confirmed Lotusphere for 2009 ... and 2010 .... and 2011 ... and on and on and on until 2015 ( which must've made the S&D folks fairly happy ).

Will be going home tomorrow night ( Friday ), room is packed, Blade is on the telly, and I'm ready to go hit the malls to shop until I ( or, more likely, my credit card ) drops.

PS I say Tomato

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Lotusphere - The T Shirt

Saw this on Sunday or Monday, but forgot to blog about it until now: -

If my understanding is correct, the chap wearing it was/is Nathan Freeman


The right to party ( nope, not the Democrats or Republicans this time )

Well, as mentioned, this year I lost my Lotusphere cherry (!) and, as part of the whole experience, the post-departure party was absolutely great. We got a free pass to Universal Studios -- Islands of Adventure, with free food and .... best of all, free beer.

A good time appeared to have been had by all concerned ( even the staff seemed to be smilin' ) and my UK colleagues had a great time in the shops ( you know who you are ) as well as being snapped wrestling The Green Goblin.

The Cat in the Hat ride was enough for me, especially with a tummy full of yummy ice cream ( with sprinkles ).

The sugar rush should wear off in about 5 hours time, just in time to get up and go back to Lotusphere for the final day.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ..................

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Yawn - end of a long day !! Still got the big Lotusphere party to go.

Lotusphere 2008 - Phrase of the Conference

"Composite Widget" == a widget that includes other widgets ( meta-widget ? )

Forms - The Front End of a Business Process

I've been an evangelist of IBM Lotus Forms ( fka IBM Workplace Forms ) since the product was first announced on 21 October 2005, following the aquisition of PureEdge in the middle of that year.

I've always got the value, and have been able to describe the architecture, components, use-cases etc., and have been demonstrating forms through the Designer, Viewer, Webform Server and, of course, via a portal.

However, one feature of Lotus Forms 3.0 ( released in 2007 ) kinda passed me by - the Forms Services Platform ( FSP ).

However, I sat through a most excellent session here at Lotusphere, where one of the product developers showed how to use the data pipes architecture of FSP to rapidly build connectivity between a data file ( an XForms data model, of course ) and a Web 2.0 client-side application built ( sooooo quickly ) using the newly announced Lotus Mashups tool.

He then showed how the mashup could be quickly extended to bring in data e.g. a personal photograph from Lotus Connections into the composite application, merely by extending the pipe through Eclipse and a configuration file.

Thus, I'm converted, and will start to learn more by doing more with FSP.

On a related note, I watched another demonstration of "Total Forms", which was designed to be used by the developer's mother ( no kidding ). The speed at which a XForm was designed, deployed, stored, shared and completed is totally amazing.

The final killer blow was that my colleague, who specialises in Microsoft Sharepoint etc., was impressed and confirms that TF is a much more simpler solution.

In short, old dog, new tricks ( me, that is )

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Rub the lamp, find the GENII

Oooops, forgot to mention that the most excellent Lotusphere Agenda Database for PDA Synching and Session Planning, available from: -

Am running it within Notes 8, replicating back to those nice folks at The Turtle Partnership, updating my Notes calendar, and then synching back to my Nokia 6021 using the ever-improving free Nokia software.

Nice !

WebSphere Portal 6.1

This one slipped me by - apparently, we refreshed the beta WebSphere Portal 6.1 over Christmas, so a new download is required ( as son as I get back to some real bandwidth ).

This came out in Stephan Hesmer's AJAX in Portal session which was deep on technology and (sadly) a bit light on demonstrations. It would've been nice to see a dual screen type presentation, with slides and concepts in one window and real live stuff in another.

However, I picked up enough to be dangerous - it reassured me that WebSphere Portlet Factory is definitely the way to go for me - developing for AJAX, DoJo, JSON, DOM, ATOM, RSS, REST etc. is quite scary, even for someone who started writing portlets in WebSphere Studio back in the day.


Analogy or Metaphor ?

Paraphrasing Chris Crummey: -

"If WebSphere Portal is your face, Lotus Forms is your mouth"

I think I know what he's saying - my (English) version is that Lotus Forms represents the front-end of a business process.

Either way, you get the point, right ?

Total Forms - Totally Rocks

Will be attending a session about Total Forms etc. tomorrow, so will post more then *BUT* the OGS demo suggests that it's going to meet a lot of business requirements, especially in terms of non-technical forms development using web-based layout and reuse tools.

Watch this space ->

Want to come to our house ?

"Bluehouse" is an innovative and powerfully intuitive set of business applications designed to meet the essential needs of your business, no matter the size.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Wow, so much new stuff ...

Even though I'm a n00bie, that was the most amazing event. The recorded music was banging, the Orlando Symphony Orchestra was most excellent and the speakers were brilliant, even though I didn't know who Bob Costas was :-(

As a portal dude, I was majorly impressed by the enhancements to Notes 8.0.1, especially with regard to: -
Lotus Forms has been extended massively ( Total Forms ), with the ability to create reusable XForms within a web browser. Dr John Boyer has blogged about this further: -

Lotus Mashups looks very very cool, especially in the context of Notes and Portal composite applications. The expected extensions to WebSphere Portlet Factory were well received, and the new Web 2.0 enhancements to WebSphere Portal 6.1 are totally awesome.

From a SMB perspective, Lotus Foundations, is just what we've been waiting for you - prebuilt, preboxed solutions ready to go. Added to this, Lotus Bluehouse ( Software As A Service ) is going to be massive.

Quickr 8.1 does look better, and the ECM integration with Filenet P8 will go down well for customers needing end-to-end document/records/content management.

As a demonstrator, Ron Sebastian and Suzanne Minassian both did GREAT jobs, and I'd certainly like to steal their material, as it looked magnificent.

In short, a totally excellent session. Will digest further, and post more later......

Meantime, please checkout Ed and Alan.

Lotusphere General Session

Starting now. Music banging. Excitement building.

More to come.....

Sent from my iPod

Survival Sunday

Well, that was interesting. Being a naive Brit, I assumed that travelling from my hotel ( which is at the entrance to the Disneyworld complex ) to the Swan and Dolphin hotels, where Lotusphere is (mainly) at would be a relatively simple matter.

Think again, my young friends :-)
Getting back was (slightly) easier - a walk along the lakeside from S&D to MGM, a bus to Magic Kingdom and then another bus to the hotel ( missing out the hour-long wait in the bus park ).

Hoping I'll get it sorted by, say, Friday :-)

Also noted that it's cold here in Orlando - no surprise, I guess, considering it's January in the northern hemisphere, but it did teach me that NEXT YEAR, BRING A DARN JACKET :-)

Still, the first day experience was a blast ( being a Lotusphere virgin ) - showed up, registered, did my duty as a room monitor, ate food by the lake ( it's 10 degrees C, darn it ) and then walked away.

The two sessions that I was monitoring; Notes/Domino integration with desktop applications ( Office and OpenOffice/Symphony ) and Notes/Domino security were great, especially given that I'm a portal guy so am a (l)user of Notes rather than anwhere like an expert

Learnt lots that I can tell my customers about e.g. integration is fun but takes coding and patience and a knowledge of MS Visual Studio in many cases, ND security is excellent IF you use it effectively and Domino Domain Monitoring seems to make so much sense etc.

In short, an interesting but most excellent day.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Lotusphere - here we go ...

Well, arrived at Orlando airport bang on time, despite leaving Gatwick 10-15 minutes late.

It was a long flight, especially in the somewhat ageing Boeing 747-500, but at least there were no major dramas at any point in the journey :-)

Took an hour to get through US Immigration and Customs - no real reason, apart from the fact that they only had 50% of the booths open. Again, a pain, but no real drama.

The taxi journey to my hotel was exciting, mainly because Mother Nature decided to totally trump the man-made attractions, with a very impressive thunderstorm, complete with sheet lightning and sheeting rain ( why oh why do they call it driving rain, when you really don't want to drive in it ? ).

Right, enough blogging - time to get a shower, and then go get a beer :-)

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Test post

Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Oooo, thanks Apple, more stuff on my iPod Touch

May be useful for "live" blogging @ Lotusphere - now where do I plug the PS/2 keyboard ??

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Lotusphere 2008

I am one very very lucky boy. My company has kindly sponsored me to attend this year's Lotusphere event in Orlando: -

I'm totally wow'd by this, and am looking for to the most excellent sessions and speakers ( a break from the current UK weather would also be rather nice ).

Will do my level best to post as I attend :-)

Saturday, 12 January 2008

It keeps getting richer

As a follow-up to my earlier post: -

here is another PDF showing how I installed the JSP Bridge Compiler *AND* my WebSphere Portlet Factory (WAB) application into Notes 8


Hope this is of use to someone :-)

Monday, 7 January 2008

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, rich :-)

Have just spent an hour or so with WebSphere Portlet Factory 6.0.2, generating a rich client application that I was then able to deploy into Lotus Notes 8.

I'm a bloomin' long way from being able to do anything really useful, but I was able to create a composite application in Notes 8 that displays data from a portlet created using WebSphere Portlet Factory ( using builders from WebSphere Dashboard Framework - Excel Import and Summary and Drilldown ).

Having done this, I changed one of the resulting column headers ( using a Data Column Modifier builder ), regenerated the WAB file, refreshed the Notes application and ... voila, it worked.

In order to deploy the WAB file into Notes, I had to follow this document: -

Installing the JSP compiler bridge for Lotus Notes 8.0.0

I also found this PDF to be of great use.

More to follow ....WPF_into_Notes.pdf

Saw this and thought of ..... well, you work it out :-)

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Changing Lotus Quickr to display in stretch mode

Read all about it here.

Worked for me.


Previewing documents in Lotus Quickr

Another chapter in the RTFM series ....

I couldn't work out why I was getting errors such as: - extractDocument unable to convert

and: -

Stellent Conversion Error: File I/O Error

when I tried to preview files from Word, Excel, Autocad etc. using Lotus Quickr Services for WebSphere Portal.

Given that this had worked o-o-b on Windows, I was surprised to find that, on Linux, I needed to do some more setup to make it work.

Having read this section in the Information Centre, I found that I needed to set three environment variables to the script that I'm using to start Quickr: -

export PATH=/opt/IBM/Quickr/PortalServer/shared/app/oiexport:$PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/IBM/Quickr/PortalServer/shared/app/oiexport:/usr/X11R6/lib/
export GDFONTPATH=/opt/IBM/Quickr/AppServer/java/jre/lib/fonts

Having done this, I restarted Quickr and all was well.

Again, a useful lesson learnt.

Learn by doing, not by reading ...

Well, it works for me anyway and, providing you have the time to make mistakes, lessons learnt in this way normally stick.

What triggered this post ? I've spent the past two days installing and configuring Lotus Quickr Services for WebSphere Portal v8.0.0.2 on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux VMware image.

No major problems *until* I ran into a "Too many open files" error within SystemOut.log. I saw this when I was navigating the Quickr environment.

This rang bells from way back in 2001 when I was first playing with WebSphere Application Server on various flavours of Unix. The fix was always to increase the OS' file descriptor limit which, on Linux, is done using the ulimit command.

Well, I thought to myself - surely I can't be the first person to find this with Quickr which is, after all, based upon WebSphere Application Server ?

Then I remembered an email exchange from a colleague, Rob H, who'd pointed this out as one of the "gotchas" with Quickr on Linux.

I checked the Information Centre here and, lo and behold, found: -

Setting File Descriptor Limit

Prior to installing Lotus Quickr, set the file descriptor limit to 40000. For example: ulimit -n 40000 If this is not done, the Lotus Quickr installation may fail.

Well, I managed to survive the installation and fixpack upgrade, but fell at a later hurdle instead.

Never mind, I've increased the limit, rebooted for good measure, and restarted Quickr.

One lives and one learns ....

Happy New Year

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