Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lotusphere 2012: IBM on the outside, Lotus on the inside

The OGS was pretty full, but it was boosted by 750 students that GBS had bussed in from all over central Florida for the day, to expose them to the wonders of social computing in business the IBM way. As seems to have become the norm, the OGS was started with 15 minutes of over-load rock band, this time OK Go.

That was quite quickly followed by Michael J. Fox, who talked of the power of community in the fight against Parkinson's disease, of which he is a sufferer. Call me a curmudgeon, but I failed to see how either of them actually added to the OGS or to Lotusphere itself in any material way, although we all certainly feel for Parkinson's sufferers and want them to have the best tools to fight their ailment.

At least we were spared panel discussions and got to some demos -- for once, good demos -- relatively quickly. Most of the OGS itself was evangelising the whole Social Business theme. Notes and Domino got a scant 15 minutes towards the end, but the three guest on-topic speakers were at least reasonably entertaining.

What I do miss is the year in review stuff that we used to get, talking about what's happened in the year, and maybe highlighting press and blog comments, noting sales successes and even offering some numbers on product penetration. I guess I'll have to go on wishing.

The make-up of Lotusphere in terms of timetable and layout was exactly as in previous years, which meant that the organisation was slick and unobtrusive as ever, stuff just happened as it was supposed to happen.

The showcase was well spaced out, and as times quite sparsely attended, though the vendors I spoke to all said that while footfall was well down, the people they were speaking to were in the main more serious about questions and interest. The Sunday party and the Wednesday party at Seaworld went off as expected too.

Sessions were much as before: two tracks of long, two-hour Jumpstart and Show N Tell sessions. There was an IBM track on Innovation and Strategy and IBM-led tracks on Infrastructure and App Development. There was a customer case study track, and best of all the Best Practices track, which was non-IBM speakers only.

I felt that the quality of the BP track was well maintained, but the IBM speakers in some of the other tracks sessions I attended were not as good as I remember in the past -- a tendency to read slides in a monotonic delivery, and with rather less of the passion that we got from the IBM Product Managers or from the Best Practices speakers.

There was nothing in either the App Dev or Best Practices tracks on traditional Notes/Domino development, forms, LotusScript, except for one IBM session on new LotusScript objects and methods in 8.5.3. There was also one BP session on performance which discussed view and other traditional design elements where they affect performance.

All the rest were on XPages, plugins and related technologies. And across the board, there were more sessions on Connections than before. So the lessons there are that for developers who intend to stay in IBM Collaboration Solutions development, you'll need to learn XPages and Java, learn how to do Eclipse and OSGi plugin development, and start thinking about getting up to speed with OpenSocial and OAuth.