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templates | eKrantz.com - Part 2
Jun 192007
 

Lotus Quickr will ship June 29, 2007. Only 10 days from today. Here’s the release. The 4th and 5th bullet are what we at SNAPPS been working with for the last months.

# # #

IBM Lotus Quickr 8 Expedites Team Collaboration

Open, intuitive standards-based Web 2.0 tool eases users into a more collaborative work style
with comprehensive Lotus and Microsoft integration


Armonk, NY…June 19, 2007…IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announces the June 29th
availability of IBM Lotus® Quickr 8 software, an open standards-based team collaboration tool that helps teams inside and outside the company firewall easily and effectively work together across geographies, working styles and operating systems.

Lotus Quickr provides a rich set of team collaboration capabilities, including blogs, wikis and team space templates supporting a variety of business processes to get a collaboration project up and running quickly. Already an enterprise-ready team collaboration offering supporting both Microsoft and Lotus software environments, Lotus Quickr interoperability will be further expanded with a connector to Microsoft Outlook software currently expected to be released in a beta program for Lotus customers this summer.

Easy to use and install with an intuitive Web 2.0 interface, Lotus Quickr software provides an easy way to share a wide range of business documents and access libraries through plug-ins called “connectors”. These connectors let end users work in their familiar desktop applications without impacting their work patterns – and access Lotus Quickr content directly from IBM Lotus Notes, IBM Lotus Sametime, Microsoft Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office software.

Through a beta testing program conducted since early 2007, IBM has taken feedback from dozens of customers and partners to improve Lotus Quickr 8 to meet the needs of the connected workplace. The result is a clean and user-friendly interface designed to ease users into a more collaborative work style and increase visibility of materials and contributors.

“IBM has developed an extremely competitive content and collaboration product with the ability to be extended and customized to meet specific business and industry needs,” said Daniel Lieber, president of Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc. “The Lotus Quickr interface is clean, consistent, and straight-forward. We found it to be very efficient for working with collaborative content and accomplishing tasks in a personal, workgroup, departmental, or enterprise environment.”

“Lotus Quickr integrates key Web 2.0 capabilities, such as blogs & wikis that expand the type of collaboration possible, and it provides a breadth of integration across everyday applications from Microsoft & Lotus delivering ease of access to content,” said Ken Bisconti, Lotus vice president of messaging and collaboration software. “This flexible tool bridges gaps in working styles and technical savvy — appealing both to workers embracing Web 2.0 internet content tools such as blogs and wikis along with those who are more comfortable accessing content from the familiar Microsoft Windows Explorer interface.”

Key benefits of Lotus Quickr include:

  • Web 2.0 features that enhance usability: IBM has incorporated Web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) into Lotus Quickr to deliver an intuitive, integrated and high performing graphical Web-based user interface. This interface includes dynamic action menus that can be accessed through a right click, and easy drag and drop features to seamlessly move documents into team spaces. Lotus Quickr provides the ability to publish and consume Atom-based news feeds, publish team blogs, use the built-in wiki technology for creating content, and to assign tags and permalinks to content. It is easily customizable and extensible without requiring programming skills.
  • Support for open standards, providing customer choice of vendor: Customers are free to mix and match products as they desire. Lotus Quickr integrates with Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007, Microsoft Windows Explorer on Windows XP and Windows Vista, IBM Lotus Notes 7 and 8 (with planned support for Lotus Notes 6.5) and Lotus Sametime 7.5. Lotus Quickr supports Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers, providing Web access from Windows, Linux, and Macintosh desktops. In addition, IBM currently plans to release a beta version of a Lotus Quickr connector for Microsoft Outlook this summer. IBM also currently plans to release migration and coexistence tools that will allow users to access content in existing Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange public folders via Lotus Quickr’s web 2.0-style collaborative user interface, or to migrate that content out of Microsoft repositories into Lotus Quickr, where it can be easily accessed and widely shared.
  • Easy-to-use features that can be rolled out across enterprise: Many past efforts to create project spaces have been either difficult to use or were not enterprise-ready. Lotus Quickr makes it easy for any team member to get up and running with easy instructions on how to get started, a clean and simple user interface, tutorial style wizards that guide the user. Lotus Quickr also features helpful pop-ups that remind the user when they can opt to place a document inside a shared place rather than send it as an attachment to others.
  • User-driven enhancements that reduce information overload and errors that come with sharing documents among team members through email: When documents are sent from a single user to a group for feedback, the process of tracking edits and changes over email can be inefficient and prone to error. Lotus Quickr allows check in and check out of documents to prevent simultaneous editing and versioning to track changes. In addition, wiki technolology provides an in-place Web editing option with history so a user can revert back to an earlier version of a page. The wiki and library views support posting comments about documents that are viewable in a pop-up screen by rolling the mouse over a document.
  • Business application templates that provide immediate out-of-the-box value and support of common business processes: Lotus Quickr includes business templates, such as a meeting place, project management, image repository, dynamic surveys and more. All templates are customizable, allowing users to easily change the look and feel and add pre-built components, such as a team blog, a project calendar, or an announcement page.
  • Future enhancements to Lotus Quickr include integration with IBM’s enterprise content management (ECM) systems. Customers will be able to use Lotus Quickr to collaborate on content and seamlessly leverage the world-class capabilities of IBM FileNet P8 and IBM DB2 Content Manager software to manage that content.

Lotus Quickr Pricing and availability: Prices will be announced at the time of availability on June 29. For more information, visit: ibm.com/lotus/quickrIBM, the IBM logo, DB2, Lotus, Notes, Quickr and Sametime are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
FileNet is a registered trademark of FileNet Corporation, in the United States, other countries, or both.

Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both.

Other company product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

The information above is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice.

Jun 142007
 

Rob Novak has uploaded our third Lotus Quickr template. This time you’re introduced to QSurvey.

In my third demo, you’ll be introduced to QSurvey, a component that allows you to create surveys, lets users take them, and provides two methods of generating survey reports. I’m loving this one myself, because having been in the Lotus world for nearly 15 years now, surveys have been in demand and really hard to do. There have been and may still be some third party products for this. I’ve even built it myself, many years ago. There was much pain in the days when it was nearly impossible to assemble fields onto forms without being a trained developer, and have it look good on the web.

The implementation here in Lotus Quickr is fairly elegant, as we store all the survey questions as JSON, all the answers as JSON, and simply reassemble it all for the live reports. What I like about QSurvey is how easy it is to use…I can create a survey quickly with a question “wizard”, enable it, and let people take it for either a defined period of time or disable it myself. And of course, there are options for securing the survey, deciding who can see result reports, and choosing whether to allow anonymous access.

Click the link to check out the QSurvey Demo.

Jun 042007
 

Several people have commented and emailed me wanting some sort of forum where I can post updates to code, examples and tutorials and where you can post your code variations, updates and ask questions to me and others.

So I have created eKrantz.com Forums where you can register and ask questions and write your comments about Dojo Calendar and Lotus Quickr code and tutorials. So go there now and register so we can get some good discussions going.

May 072007
 

Rob Novak and I have started a series of demos and tutorials about the upcoming Lotus Quickr templates that we are developing for IBM. Mine are geared to the developer who wants to understand the details of a particular concept, possibly to reuse it or modify it, while Rob’s will be more designed for you to understand what they are and how users will benefit. The “tag team” approach should give you a great education on what is possible with Lotus Quickr. Eventually we’ll have a library of demos and put them all in one list.

The first demo today is for QPhotos. Enjoy and please ask questions below in the comments area.

May 072007
 

Today I’m starting a new series of blog entries about extending the upcoming Lotus Quickr. The series will cover some of the new features, from a developers point-of-view, that will be available for you. You will be able to test most of them on upcoming beta releases, if you’re part of the beta program.

The tutorial today will show you a way of creating modal floating windows that can have any HTML you want in it. Click the thumbnail to see a larger image of what it looks like. The code is developed on top of the Dojo Toolkit that is now distributed as part of Lotus Quickr.

It is a modal window because the end user can not do anything else on the page until he clicks either of the buttons in the floating window or the close button in the top right corner of the floating window. (This “window” does not prevent the user from clicking the browsers back or close buttons.) It really is not a floating window. It’s not a window at all. It is a div object that is set to be on top of everything else on the web page when it is shown. The good thing about this is that we don’t have to worry about pop-up blockers. Another thing that the modal floating window does is that it darkens everything else on the web page to really focus in on the contents of the floating window. On to the tutorial.

First we create a new HTML page in our favorite editor. My new favorite is Eclipse Callisto with the Aptana plug in. Add a script tag inside the body tag. We have to add the script tag inside the body tag because Lotus Quickr will strip everything from our HTML code that is not within the body tag. So we have something like this:

<html>
<head>
</head>
<body>
<script type="text/javascript">
</script>
</body>
</html>

Time to add some functionality to our HTML code. First we add the reference to the ModalInput widget by adding the following code inside our script tag:

<script type="text/javascript">
dojo.require("dojowidgets.widget.ModalInput");
</script>

dojo.require is the Dojo way of referencing one of its JavaScript files. This happens to be a widget created by me and not by the Dojo developers but can still be called this way since it is referenced by its name space “dojowidgets”. Let’s not go in more on that. This tutorial would lose its focus very quickly, if I did that. If you want to read more about the Dojo Toolkit and how to create your own widgets please visit their website.

Next we want to add the button and the function that opens the floating window. Just before the end of the body tag we add:
<input name="mybutton" type="button" value="Open Modal" onclick="openMyModal()" />

Inside the script tag we add the function openMyModal:

function openMyModal(){
var sHTML = 'Your Name';
sHTML += '<br />';
sHTML += '<' + 'input type="text" id="modal_name" value="" style="width:95%;" />';
sHTML += '<br />';
sHTML += 'Your interests';
sHTML += '<br />';
sHTML += '<' + 'textarea rows="3" id="modal_interests" style="width:95%;"></textarea>';


var myModalParams = {
widgetId: "MyModalInput",
title: "My Custom Modal Form",
formText: sHTML,
submitFunction: "myModalSubmit"
};
var myModal = new dojowidgets.widget.ModalInput(myModalParams);
}

This function is what opens or show the “window” and whatever HTML we have chosen pass in. Let’s go over the function in more detail. The first part is where we declare a variable sHTML and add a string of the HTML that we want to show inside the floating window. As you can see we have a couple of labels, a text field and a text area field in the string representing the HTML. In the next part of the function we declare a variable myModalParams and add an object to it. This object represents the parameters that we pass into the floating window widget. More on these parameters in a moment. Last we call the ModalInput widget code and pass in our parameter object. We do this by setting a variable myModal.

Back to the parameter object that we created. As you can see we declared 4 properties to our object: widgetId, title, formText and submitFunction. These are not the only parameters that we can pass into the widget and all parameters, including these 4, are optional. Let’s go over them one by one.

  • widgetId:
    • Default: “modalInput” (string)
    • If you have more then one floating ModalInput on the page it is important to set their unique ID’s.
  • title:
    • Default: “” (string)
    • This is the title text in the window bar.
  • iconSrc:
    • Default: “information.gif” (string)
    • This is the image icon before the title in the window bar. Pass in the full URL to the image. The image should be 22×22 pixels.
  • formText:
    • Default: “” (string)
    • This is the HTML that you pass in to be displayed within the window.
  • width:
    • Default: “350px” (string)
    • The width of the window in pixels.
  • height:
    • Default: “250px” (string)
    • The height of the window in pixels.
  • resizable:
    • Default: false (boolean)
    • Should the window be re-sizable or not.
  • displayCloseAction:
    • Default: true (boolean)
    • Should we display a close button in the top right corner of the window.
  • submitFunction:
    • Default: “” (string)
    • The name of the function we should call when the Submit button is pressed. This function should return true or false if we should hide the window.
  • cancelFunction:
    • Default: “” (string)
    • The name of the function we should call if the Cancel button is clicked. This function should return true or false if we should hide the window. Use only if you need to have a Cancel function. I.E. you need to undo something when the user clicks Cancel.
  • submitValue:
    • Default: “Submit” (string)
    • The text inside the Submit button. Could be “OK” or “Yes”.
  • cancelValue:
    • “Cancel” (string)
    • The text inside the Cancel button. Could be “Close” or “No”.

Now we only need to add one more thing to our code to complete this tutorial, the function we call by clicking the “Submit” button inside our floating “window”. Inside our script tag we add:

function myModalSubmit(){
var sName = dojo.byId("modal_name").value;
var sInterests = dojo.byId("modal_interests").value;
if(sName == ""){
alert("FAILURE!nn" + sName + 'n' + sInterests);
return false;
}else{
alert("SUCCESS!nn" + sName + 'n' + sInterests);
}
return true;
}

We had added the value myModalSubmit to our submitFunction property above so we need to add a function with that name to our code. This function would in reality probably be much more complex than alerting “SUCCESS” or “FAILURE”. However in this basic demo that’s all we are doing. The function checks if you added a name in the field and alert result either way. If we did add a name it will close/hide our modal window by returning true, if not it will leave the window open by returning false. In the code you see that I’m using dojo.byId. That is just a more robust and shorter way of using document.getElementById.

Now all you have to do is to create a new “Imported Page” inside your Lotus Quickr place and select your HTML file as the file to import. Save and you will see the page with the button to click to open the modal floating window.

If you are lazy like me, and don’t want to create the file yourself, you can download the [download#3#nohits] zip file, unzip it and upload like above.

Now you can go and update the HTML to whatever you want and play with the widget parameters to suit your needs. In reality we would add this code to a custom HTML form and save our data down to regular or hidden fields on it. As an example I’ll show you a screen shot of the upcoming Lotus Quickr QMeeting template that we just finished.

If you have any comments about this tutorial, please submit them below. I will have a new tutorial for you as soon as I have another sleepless night.

Mar 282007
 

On IBM’s website you can now listen to a Podcast interview with Rob Novak, president and founder of SNAPPS. They also have a transcript of the Podcast. In the interview he is announcing new templates that will be available, free of charge, for Lotus Quickr. In the interview the marketing manager for Lotus QuickPlace and Lotus Quickr, Megan Moyer asks Rob what these business focused templates are all about.

Some of the examples are: Contact management, Company announcements, Image libraries and Collaborative presentation management. All in all SNAPPS will create 11 templates.

I’m going to post some more articles about these templates in the next few weeks. Why? How? I’m one of the lead developers on this project for SNAPPS. You want to help? Send lots of coffee to SNAPPS!