If you are following me on twitter, you will know that I have had my first tastes of the Lotussphere / Connect experience. It has been quite a day, and I could not be more ecstatic with some of the information I am receiving. The ideas that I am seeing are astounding and the people are wonderful. In all honesty, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to come here. I have shaken the hands of people that I have held in incredibly high regard, as well as even had the opportunity to meet someone that I was able to help with my blogs and videos (as bad as they might have been….) I am not certain at the moment how much information I am allowed to just blurt out on this blog, so instead I am going to write a quick evaluation of the session I attended.
The general morning sessions with IBM were very entertaining. Acting and role playing, promises and announcements… It was a fun and the time went quick. But… But…. It reminded me of a stay at Disney World. Lots of fun, lots of pretty facades, but no background. Of course, how can you go into background information during a sales pitch, and therein lies my problem with those sessions. It was a sales pitch. If we needed a sales pitch, we would not be at Connect. (I think). Dont get me wrong though!!! I loved what they were trying to sell! IBM Verse with Watson and all of the Cognitive Business ideas are something that I am really going to have to research, and I am definitely interested. But I was really missing was the part where they mention the cons. Hours of pros and no cons leaves me with a twitching eyelid and a stiff neck. It leaves me wondering where the caveats are. So let’s just disregard the obvious sales approach and lets get into the real reason why we all came. Let’s get into the sessions with the interesting people.
My first ‘real’ session of the day was entitled ‘OpenNTF – From Donation to Contribution’ done by Christian Guedemann. It was a small room, but comfy. (how sad is it that my browser does not recognize comfy as misspelled!) #disturbing!!!! Anyway, The general topic was getting involved. I have been a member of openNTF for quite some time now, and I really want to get involved, but other things seem to always get in the way. Mostly I am just lazy and lack original ideas. [Did I just really write that?] Well, he went into the main shift in the way openNTF works over the years. How people mostly just threw their old stuff onto the site, trying to save it from simple deletion, and to its new main focus of community involvement and getting to contribute in any small or large way. Yeah, monetary donations are nice, but really getting involved is a much better way to contribute. The best part of this presentation was being shown how the community does not need to just contribute code, but rather can contribute in pure theory.
Let’s take me for example. The lazy one…. 😛 who does not want to come up with a new idea for a project and write a lot of code can instead ‘only’ help contribute in words. As talked about in a few sessions today, the XPage Knowlege Base is a wiki based online encyclopedia with everything we as a community need to know. This wiki is going to be a collection of a ton of blogs and resources already completed, as well as people coming up with new stuff that needs to be documented. You want to know more about ODA (openNTF Domino API)? [I think I coined that phrase and love how I see it everywhere here, though I actually call it O-duh, as in Oh, duh! I knew there was something else we needed] Go to wiki.openntf.org and get the info you needed. You have a question not answered? Contribute the question!!!!!!! Let the community answer it. OF course questions about a specific problem still remain in StackOverflow, but topics not covered should be mentioned! This truly allows the community to get involved in every small way. I love it.
As for the presentation itself, I enjoyed it. The slides were well made, the information was well presented (both verbally and otherwise), and I only wish Mr. Güdemann gute Besserung and a good nights rest!
My Second session was with Nathen Freeman covering the topic of Graph databases. There I had another oh-duh moment, though not the good ODA kind, but rather the ‘oh that was embarrassing’ kind. Once You Go Graph… truly was the name of the session, and no, the app did not shorten it for size. **hangs head in humiliation**
Fun aside, using graph concepts for webpage development is nothing overly new, but when presented with it, and knowing we can use the technology with what is already installed on my dev Domino servers….. Nathen Freeman, you challenged the way I look at developing for domino AND I LOVE IT. All I can say is, the more you know, the more you know you dont know. (Yes I did post that to twitter) Well presented, explained in an understandable manner, good slides [kudos to your slide assistant], and now the question why no one else including me did not think of it sooner! I cannot really say much more to this session because I have a lot of work to do to fully comprehend this technology. I can only add #ODAForTheWin.
My second last session for the day was Optimus XPages which focused on best practices. This was done by John Jardin. Very nice guy! As I have done XPage dev for a while now and have been hung by the learning curve on more than one occasion, it was great to see how another programmer has learned the software and found his own way. His suggestions for frameworks and just the ideas that he suggested are something that I am going to be looking at in very great detail in the coming months. Again this was someone who challenged the way I think about how I work and what my projects are like. I may not have agreed 100% on everything (alright, only the single application design was something that I question) , but the information is invaluable.
My last session for the day was GIT ‘er Done presented by Henry Newberry. Judging by the attendee count, this was probably the most undervalued session of the day; which I find really sad. The presentation itself may have been a little sloppy, but the information contained therein was excellent. We talked about how we can use platforms like BitBucket and Git to add team SCM to our domino development processes. This again made me question the procedures that my company has in place. Why do we have to use .ntfs and keep backups somewhere to keep versioning in place, and why cant we simply use a SCM system like the modern git? Of course we can. And this was probably the most useful bit of information I got today. So all you people who went to see the other big names, I feel good about my decision. 😛 Alright, I wish I could be in multiple places at once too, but I cannot.
I think the main title for my experiences today was, ‘Question why you do what you do’. I do not think I can put a better point to it. I will be thinking long and hard the next few weeks and perhaps longer about my style, my so-called ‘best practices’, as well as my work style. I am grateful to all of the presenters for giving me so much to reflect on. To those I could not see yet, I am sorry, I will do the best I can! And again, many thanks to my company for sending me here. Looking forward to tomorrow!