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Entries in Lotus (35)


Taking Notes Podcast Episode 113 - All about WildFire!

Check out the latest Taking Notes Podcast. Bruce and Julian interviewed myself, Mat Newman, and lead developer Andrew Welch.

Keep a close eye on OpenNTF as well for release 1.3 coming later today.

I will try and put out a new video this weekend as well. 


Pre-Populating Lotus Connections Tags - A manual test run!

I am working with a client implementing Lotus Connections 2.5 and they want to look at ways of pre-populating some tags for the user profiles. After digging around the database structure you can see there is a table called PEOPLE_TAG. This is the table that stores all of the tags.

Image:Brownies Blog - Pre-Populating Lotus Connections Tags - A manual test run!

The columns are PROF_TAG_ID (This is simply a UUID randomly generated), PROF_SOURCE_KEY (This is the user that created the tag), PROF_TARGET_ID (This is the user that the tag is assigned to), and lastly the PROF_TAG (which is the actual tag itself).

So as a test I used the DB2 Control Centre to create a new row in this table. For the PROF_TAG_ID i used which will generate a random UUID for you (Version 4 is needed for Connections). I then looked up a user in the EMPLOYEE table that will be the source (our Admin user) and used another user for the target. You simply copy their PROF_ID and add it to the appropriate column for the new tag record. And then just enter your tag in lowercase in the PROF_TAG column.

And that is it! Go to your connections, open the target user in Profiles, and they will have the tag.

The next step will be to automatically populate this table using TDI! 


Lotus Connection x 4

Every now and then I like to set myself and ISW a short term target around specific offerings. In November last year I set a personal target of ISW working with 4 clients to review and decide to implement Connections before Xmas. Well we nearly got there with 3 out of 4 sales completed before xmas. Pretty good but not the 4 out of 4 I was aiming for.

Well I have just found out that we just received the order for the 4th order on Friday so I am wrapped.

The customers come from a range of different industries and each have approached Connections from a different angle:
 - First is a large truck company that has a significant investment in Notes/Domino and Portal already. They want to use Connections initially internally to enhance the sharing of Profile/Expertise knowledge as well as the ability to create shared bookmarks. We will be integrating Connections fully with their Portal environment.
- Second is a small business of about 30 users however they are also the largest international racehorse transport company. They operate in offices in the UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand and use Notes & Domino to co-ordinate the business processes required to move horses from country to country. They are very successful and Notes is a big part of how they do it but that is another story. They are going to implement Sametime and Connections to increase the awareness and collaboration between their sites. They are one team and they want to share their knowledge and make themselves "closer".
- Third is quite interesting. They are part of the Catholic Education Office in Australia and they wanted to provide an online White Pages Directory of up to 70,000 school teachers/staff etc. They have gone with a Connections Extranet server and initially will just implement Profiles however as this grows to the other features I think it is quite exciting.
- Lastly, the 4th is the Australian division of a multinational printer and copier company. They rolled out 20 users a couple of months ago and have found is has spread well. They have now increased their user count by another 50 and plan to let it spread thru out the entire business over time.

So Connections is a very hot product for ISW and IBM. I will be spending plenty of time at the various Connections sessions at Lotusphere to pick up some tips that might help. I wonder what target I should set for other new customers for the next few months!


Real world outcome of Domino Designer becoming Free

I was just working with a client to optimise their IBM software maintenance which is coming up in Dec. Amongst other things they are currently licensed with Lotus Notes Collaboration and Domino Enterprise Servers and also have 4 Domino Designer licenses which were all up for renewal.

I explained to them the recently announced changes with Lotus Notes licensing, in particular that come Feb next year their Lotus Notes Collaboration licenses will convert to Domino Enterprise CALs and that as part of this they get an entitlement for Domino Designer with each license. There instant reaction to this was to ask "So does that mean every one of our users can have Designer?" which off course the answer is yes. They were wrapped with this and said that while they certainly wouldn't give it to every user that it is great that they can enable more people to build apps and don't have to be restricted by their 4 Designer licenses.

This has to be on of the exact outcome IBM is hoping to achieve, encourage organisation to do more with Notes and Domino. Back in the early versions of Notes before Designer came along any user could build basic databases and Notes flourished. Obviously Domino Designer was a great step forward when it was introduced however the cost of the license definitely had a negative impact of preventing that grass roots development occurring from basic users.

So then off course the question is should they renew their existing Domino Designer licenses now? I have suggested probably not. They have current maintenance up until Dec 31 so they are entitled to use Domino Designer 8.5.1 and it is probably unlikely there will be another release between now and Feb when their licenses convert. The only reason they would do it I guess is to have support for Jan but this is not likely to be needed, and also the fact that the Designer licenses will also convert to CAL's which they don't really need. So I guess the short term negative of the change is a small loss in revenue for IBM for clients no longer buying/renewing Designer but this should be insignificant to the positive impact that more people building Notes Apps will have on the usage of Lotus Notes within organisations and hence the ROI they get from the product.

So I say good one IBM, Domino Designer for Free is definitely making a positive impact on our clients usage of Notes & Domino! 


Starting up Lotus Connections automatically

Having installed Lotus Connections using WAS Network Deployment to start the Lotus Connections servers up I do the following:

restart the server (This also starts the Deployment Manager as a Windows Service)
Start the Node Agent  - D:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01\bin\startNode.bat
Once the Node Agent has started I can start the Connections servers (I have server1, server2, and server3) from the Deployment Manager Integrated Solutions Console.

I want to change this process so that the Node Agent and the Connections server's all start automatically when the server is restarted.

So here's how:  

Setting up the WebSphere Node Manager as a Windows service

First, you need to set up the Node Manager on each physical server to run as a service and restart after a reboot:

   1. Open a Command Window and go to the ..\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\bin directory
   2. Type in the following command (adjusted for your install paths):

    WASService -add "IBM WebSphere Node Agent" -servername nodeagent -profilePath D:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01 -wasHome D:\IBM\Websphere\Appserver -logFile D:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01\logs\nodeagent\startNode.log -logRoot D:\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer\profiles\AppSrv01\logs\nodeagent -restart true -startType automatic

Setting up the member servers to automatically restart

Once the Node Manager is running as a service, you need to set the individual WebSphere servers to automatically restart using the following steps:

   1. Log in to the Integrated Solutions Console
   2. Navigate to Servers > Application servers > servername
   3. Expand Java and Process Management and click on Monitoring Policy
   4. Change the Node restart state to RUNNING
   5. Click Apply
   6. Click Save to save the master configuration
   7. Repeat for each server in the cluster

And that should do it. So when you restart your server the nodeagent should firstly start as a service and then it should monitor the servers and start them automatically.