This was my second Lotusphere and I felt a lot more comfortable all week. For one, I knew the physical spaces and had a better idea going in of where I was going and how much walking I would actually do. For another, I knew more people. And lastly, I planned to do the entire conference this year (being a newbie last year, I missed the Thursday afternoon fun of Gurupalooza, Ask the Developers and the Closing General Session).
So, along with the tens of other bloggers, I am submitting my summarized experience.
These are so worth the extra day and the extra time. If they don’t directly provide you something you can use right now, they give you a good basis for exploring other things you can do with Notes/Domino. I got useful information on SOA (JMP402), salivated over – for just the first time this week – over the Eclipse SDK (JMP202), got to actually play with Eclipse a little in a hands-on and learned a lot more about DXL than I knew before (JMP302). I didn’t actually see Component Designer or Domino Designer 8 but I am really hopeful that they will incorporate a lot of the features of Eclipse, it is that cool.
Neil Armstrong! Genius pick! The response of the room and feeling I had when he came out were so different from last year. We had listened to a biography of him a few weeks back (First Man) and he came across as the same humble, likable guy he was portrayed as in the book. Thanks to Volker, we can go back to his presentation any time.
I can’t wait for Notes 8! The interface changes are outstanding and the composite applications are what we’re looking for to further leverage the Notes client. The Productivity editors are a great addition – and will be perfect once the LotusScript API is implemented. I also really like that there is an integrated RSS reader because maybe now I can really show others in my group the benefits of RSS.
Quickr looks very cool, and it’s great that the Personal Edition will be free. We’ve thought about looking at QuickPlace but haven’t been able to justify the additional cost. Now, we may be able to counter some of the lean toward SharePoint. And no additional software! No WAS, no Portal. Very nice!
Connections sounds like a good idea but will probably work best in large or geographically dispersed organizations where face to face (or over the cube wall) conversations can’t occur. I could also see smaller organizations that are idea/research driven get benefit from it. In looking at my own organization, we could benefit as a whole, but the IBM/Lotus base is so small, we wouldn’t get enough from it to justify the cost since it requires something beyond Domino to run. I liked Activities last year when they were demoed and they have certainly improved but we would still have a bit of a hard time selling the need for it given that we’d need another server to run it. Maybe my opinion will change if I can get some time with it at bloggingconnections.com.
The closing session with Neil deGrasse Tyson was really good. I had never heard of him and my first thought when he was introduced (as an “astrophysicist”) and he came out and said something about sharing thoughts “over the next 45 minutes” was “uh oh”. But he was really entertaining, even when telling us an asteroid passing close to Earth in 2029 (on Friday the 13th) might cause the destruction of life in 2036. Some of us, mostly bloggers, got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes afterward and he was very personable and gracious, and very relieved to hear that he had sufficient “geek cred” and had made relevant connections. It seemed an odd way to end though: he finished and there was a recorded announcement of “thanks for coming”. Maybe that’s usual though –it was my first closing session.
Overall I was pretty happy with the sessions I attended. With the exception of just a couple, I can say I got something out of each one. I think my three favorites were Worst Practices (BP104), Writing Readable Code (AD502) and Designing the User Interface (BP101). I think Bill and Paul could do their Worst Practices every year because a) they are entertaining and informative and b) enough of us make mistakes for them to come up with 12 new things each year. Rocky’s session was really handy for comparing what we do to what other developers with more experience (and more co-workers) do. Our group tends to develop and maintain our own applications so this is good information for “succession planning”. Nathan and Chris presented some ideas that were way out of the traditional Notes-app box – and that is a very good thing. I had actually started experimenting with layers before, based on one of Nathan’s blog posts on one of the databases he demoed. I think they could easily do the session again next year with new and different interface ideas, and I’d probably attend again.
The OpenNTF and Blogger BOFs were great too. They definitely prove the vitality of the Lotus software community and the value that community can bring. As I said later to Ed Brill, I wish the Blogger BOF had included some time to see if anyone in the room was wondering how to start blogging. As approachable as this group of bloggers is, some people need to be approached rather than doing the approaching.
Labs – If I am able to go again, this is one area I want to make time to visit. I was in the Meet the Developers and DPI labs but didn’t go in the Usability lab. I wish I had so I could spend some time on Notes 8 and all the other software that is coming.
Speedgeeking – This was phenomenal! With all the positive feedback and (I expect) word of mouth, this could get to be huge. And that would make it more difficult to pull off I think. A couple of things I heard and agree with would be larger tables (maybe rectangular and a small mic/amplifier for each speaker to accommodate a larger group.
Swan boat races – I had to bail on this (poor scheduling on my part – and thanks to Turtle for filling in for me) but it was a lot of fun to watch. Which leads me to…
Community – I hope everyone gets to the end of the week and gets a sense of the community among the people who use this software. I hope it isn’t just because of the group that I have connected with over the last couple of years. It started with one person I corresponded with through Notes.net and has grown from there. Maybe it comes from always feeling like we’re coming from behind (“Notes is Dead”, Notes has fewer seats sold, “there is a two-lane highway” – sorry, Alan) but the people I know care very much about this software, how it is updated and how it is perceived in the market. But most of all, they care about each other as people. And that is hard to beat.
Thanks for another great Lotusphere and I hope to be there again next year.