End of year wrap-up

Normally in these posts I just wrap up what I’ve done in the last year with work stuff and then maybe mention something in my real life in passing. This year has been different, work has very much taken a back seat as I’ve got married, celebrated the birth of our first child and, in the last couple of weeks, moved house. I’m not sure it was entirely sensible to try and do three of the most stressful things in life all within the same year, but we did it, and it’s been great fun!

In February, post Lotusphere, we were lucky enough that nearly a hundred friends and family made it to south London on a freezing cold, snowy Saturday afternoon to see Alison and I get married. The day really was pretty much perfect.


But we didn’t get much of a chance for recovery post wedding. In April, Miranda was born, a little late but perfectly healthy and, as you may imagine, our lives changed dramatically right away. We’ve been really lucky on the sleep front but even so the old days of being lazy in the evenings and weekends have pretty much gone. But the changes are all for the better, having Miranda in our lives is a wonderful thing.

Boy I am just a walking cliché aren’t I?

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In between the feeding and nappy changing there was actually quite a lot of work to get done. The London Developer Co-op continues to go from strength to strength. We’ve completed several large projects this year, some of which are public, some not so much (yet). The common theme for the projects I work on continues to be XPages. But increasingly it’s also with a view to mobile, so that’s mobile first or at the least a responsive design that handles all screens. 

The main issue I faced for the year was that we ran out of space at home so I ended up renting office space and having to commute. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day to get all the work done and still see my new family enough. Which is what pushed us to move house. We’ve stayed very close to where we were, in West Norwood but even after only two weeks we already feel very settled in the new place.

So what awaits for next year? Well on the family front I think it’s time to slow down a little and recover, maybe take some holiday (which got rather neglected this year with everything else going on). And we have plenty of projects to get on with in the new house, so lots of painting and decorating ahead there!

The better news (given that I’m terrible at DIY) is that work projects continue to show up, we’ve got things booked up into March at the moment, which, if you’re a freelancer you’ll know, is a nice situation to be in. But the LDC can always handle more (or we can put you in touch with people we trust and work with).

And then of course there’s IBM Connect (formerly known as Lotusphere). I’m lucky enough to be speaking again with Tim Clark and Warren Elsmore. It looks at the moment as though I’m going to be on stage every day of the conference, plus there’s the usual meetings and parties. Hopefully I’ve become a little better at doing without sleep.

I suppose I should also commit to blog more, but I think we’ll just see how I do there.

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy a fruitful New Year.


New Unplugged Templates released

Over the last few months I’ve been working with Teamstudio to create several templates to be used with their Unplugged product. The aim was to take some of the most commonly used Notes/Domino application templates and make them available and looking nice for mobile devices.

So we created a bunch of design elements which handle the layout of applications and shared those across the Teamroom, Document Library and Notebook (formerly known as Journal). And today Teamstudio have released them so that you can use them with your existing databases or, if you’re a developer, you can dig into the code and see how we put things together.

It’s all covered in a lot more detail over on the Teamstudio site, but if you’re interested in mobile development in the Domino world then this is a very good place to start.

New XPages Mobile CRM Application Released

Over the last few months I’ve been helping out Vigilus with a new XPages Mobile Web CRM application. ACT! For Notes is a long standing Notes client based application and what we’ve added in VMobile is a fairly significant subset of the features in the full client application designed to work in iPad, iPhone, Android phone and Blackberry. 

Given the size of the application it’s taken a while and there have been some challenges, but overall I’d say it’s a very capable CRM application that will now work on every device you work with day to day.

Well worth a look if your company is wanting a CRM application.

Here is the press release.

UKLUG 2012 – Call for abstracts

Warren announced that UKLUG is happening again this year, in Cardiff in September. Hopefully you’ve registered already, but have you thought about presenting?

You’ll often hear Lotusphere speakers mention that their first taste of speaking was at a User Group like UKLUG, indeed it was mine four years ago when I presented with Bruce Elgort and Sean Burgess. A truly terrifying experience, but so worthwhile.

This year, as ever, we have three tracks of sessions; Admin, Management and Development. But what are we looking for? Well the high level response is that we want interesting sessions about anything to do with Lotus technologies (Notes, Domino, Connections, Sametime etc). Your session will need to last for just under and hour (55 minutes or so) and it can be aimed at any level of audience. The key thing is to write a clear and concise abstract.

The nice thing about LUGs vs Lotusphere is that we have somewhat more leeway in what we can run sessions on. So if your session is tangential to Lotus technologies but still relevant then it’s worth putting it in. If you have a “real world” session which uses technologies which maybe IBM wouldn’t want to highlight on the Lotusphere stage, then maybe the LUG format will suit you better. The key thing is to write the abstract (and title) to attract people to your session. Remember, when you’re speaking there will be at least two other sessions going on, you have to sell yourself.

Myself and Steve McDonagh are running the Dev track this year, and I just thought it would be useful to run through the process of how we choose the sessions.

Firstly I move all of the session titles and abstracts into a spreadsheet and remove any names from the list to try and avoid falling into the trap of automatically selecting “the old dependables”. Just to give an idea, last year we had three times as many abstracts as we had sessions, so this next bit of the process is very hard. We go through the abstracts and we rate each one so that there is a league table. 

Next we add in the speaker names. We try our best to get as many speakers in as possible, so if someone has played a blinder and submitted multiple abstracts which we like we’ll either pick the best one and remove the others, or contact them to see if maybe they could speak with someone else, ideally someone new to the speaking circuit.

After much arguing and horse trading with the other tracks (sometimes we can stretch the definition of Admin or Dev or Management!) we end up with a list and we’ll send out the notification emails.

And that’s where the real fun starts for you!

So please do have a think about whether you want to try out presenting in a smaller, less terrifying setting than Lotusphere. The Call For Abstracts closes on Friday 29th June and we’ll aim to let people know as soon after that as possible.

Dojo 1.7.2 in XPages

I had need to make use of some of the more advanced Dojo Mobile controls for a project last week which ship with Dojo 1.7.2. For various reasons I needed the Dojo files inside the nsf rather than on the file system, and if you’ve had to do that before you’ll know what a massive pain it is to get the files loaded. So I thought I’d share a simple nsf with the files loaded.

You can either clone the database from Github here: https://github.com/whitemx/Dojo172XPages

Or you can download the nsf here: Dojo172.nsf.zip 

The other changes I’ve made to the database are to disable the standard Dojo libraries (1.6.1 in 8.5.3) in the xsp.properties file and also turned off the default theme settings as well so no CSS will be downloaded unless you manually specify it in the resources.

Creating a new XPages application in 8.5.3 UP1

I suppose most of you know about XPages101 now, the first eight videos on the site walk you through creating a new XPages application. I recorded them two years ago now and they are still useful when you’re starting with XPages. But since 8.5.3 and more specifically UP1 (or the Extension Library) became main stream my eight videos can make things seem a little like too much work.

So over the next few weeks at XPages101 I will walk you through creating roughly the same application using the more up to date tools available to us. What’s interesting is that I have recorded three videos already (the first one was released yesterday here) and have already reached the point of having a functional application with navigation and UI. It’s obviously not a scientific measure, but the extra controls which are provided for us out the box with UP1 (or ExtLib) really make a difference in development time.

Anyway, if you’re a subscriber then go ahead and check out the new video which I uploaded yesterday, if you’re not a subscriber… well, I shall say nothing!

Get your LDC t-shirts here

Well Lotusphere has been over for a week now and people are just about recovering from the post LS flu and getting back into the swing of things. But did you miss out on getting an LDC shirt. Julian, Mark and I were only able to physically carry over a 150 or so shirts this year and we had to apologise to so many people for not having the design or size they wanted.

So we thought we’d try and rectify that by adding all of this year’s designs, along with previous t-shirts that we’ve given out at other conferences and allow you to buy your own. The most important thing to note is that this is not a money making exercise, anything which we make will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Association who we have previously donated money raised by the Lotus community to.

The store we use is called Zazzle and the link to the latest shirts is: http://www.zazzle.co.uk/londevcoop/?qs=&dp=0&pg=3#homeProducts 

Please feel to buy as many shirts or other products as you like, hopefully we can raise even more money for the CCA.

Lotusphere 2012 OGS Liveblog

Along with Paul, Gab, Stuart and Bill I will be liveblogging the Lotusphere 2012 OGS, you can see the transcript below…

XPages101 Lotusphere Discount

I’m not sure if it can be a tradition after two years but it’s a good deal either way.

If you enter the coupon code “LS12” at checkout at XPages101.net then you will receive a 33% discount on the cost. So if your new years resolution is to learn XPages then this should help you along.

There are currently 68 videos on the site which total up to almost 13 hours of back to back content or well over 3.5gb of video!

Review of 2011

In many ways this year has been much the same as previous years, well on the work front anyway. 

In late January we had the annual trip to Florida for Lotusphere, Tim Clark and I presented a couple of sessions which I always enjoy. The Lotus world is lucky that Tim has stuck around now that he’s left IBM, and I am lucky that he agreed to present with me again in a couple of weeks when we head back to Florida for Lotusphere 2012. This year I will also be doing a session with Warren Elsmore, something we’ve been trying to do for a couple of years but only this year have we managed to get around to putting something together, it should be a fun session.

But this is meant to be a review of 2011, not a sales pitch for my sessions in Florida!

The other events of the year were UKLUG and IamLUG. I had to do slightly fewer LUGs this year due to work pressure elsewhere, on which more later. But the two I did go to were, as ever, well attended, informative and well organised. Despite all of the other things going on with the world economy, or maybe because of that the LUGs seem to be flourishing and long may that last.

The other travel I’ve done this year has been related to speaking, after a fashion. 2011 seems to be the year that XPages reached the tipping point, lots of new people want to start creating XPages applications so my two offerings of video training at XPages101.net and classroom based training have become increasingly popular over the year. So in the last few months I’ve flown all over Europe giving classes and meeting some interesting new people along the way.

We had a great summer holiday in Canada exploring Montreal and Newfoundland and were lucky enough to see icebergs and many whales along the Atlantic coast.

My year has been dramatically different for other reasons though. From silly things like finally going to Glastonbury for the first time right through to some of the best things which have ever happened to me. In just 5 weeks I will be getting married with many family and friends attending what we hope will be a wonderful weekend here in London. And then in April, our first child is due to be born. As you can imagine the first half of 2012 promises to be a fairly busy time so I expect to be doing a lot less travelling and a lot less sleeping!

Times are so exciting right now that I can hardly wait for the next year to begin, but I will try and reflect for a while on a great year which is just finishing. 2011 was so amazing I can but hope that 2012 matches it.