IBM Connections

IBM Connections
Developer(s) IBM
Stable release
6.0
Operating system Cross-platform
Type collaboration, web 2.0
License License
Website http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/conn

IBM Connections is a Web 2.0 enterprise social software application developed by IBM to provide online social networking tools for people associated with a company.

Overview

IBM Connections (or 'Connections' for short) was announced at Lotusphere 2007, and Version 1.0 shipped on June 27 that year.

VersionRelease dateMajor release points
v1.029 June 2007First release.
v1.026 November 2007New plugins for Microsoft Windows Explorer, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
v2.0June 2008Widget based extensibility for Homepage, Profiles, and Communities.
v2.528 August 2009Added functionality: Wikis, Files, Microblogging, and social search / analytics.
v3.024 November 2010Added "wizards" for database creation and profile population, cluster functionality installed out of the box.
v3.0.15 April 2011Name change from IBM Lotus Connections to IBM Connections, Media library functionality, Ideation, Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) integration and advanced mobility possibilities.
v3.0.1.117 March 2012Forums content can be added by non-forum member. Forums question can be filtered on.
v3.0.1.1CR116 May 2012Bug fixes.
v4.015 September 2012Activity Stream, Embedded Experience, Integrated Mail and Calendar, Social Analytics, Mobility.
v4.512 March 2013Content Manager, @-mentions in mobile, two factor authentication in mobile, enhanced ideation, enhanced rich text editing, Microsoft Outlook Sidebar Plug-in, Activity Stream, Embedded Experience, Integrated Mail and Calendar, Social Analytics, Mobility.
v4.5. CR126 June 2013Bug fixes.
v4.5. CR330 November 2013Bug fixes.
v4.5. CR410 April 2014Bug fixes.
v5.026 June 2014File sync, ability to share content with external users from inside the firewall, smart expertise type ahead search, attention management indicators, updated user experience/look-n-feel, push notifications to mobile, redesigned mobile experience, activity stream search, enhanced file viewing and management, community landing, page, new Gallery app for Communities, wiki macros, @-mentions everywhere, copy/paste everywhere.
v5.518 December 2015New Verse-based theme, type ahead search, rich content app, nested folders, attachment search, improved editors.
v5.5 CR117 May 2016Bug fixes.
v5.5 CR2 10 November 2016 Bug fixes.
v6.0 April 2017 New Homepage (first "Pink" element), Communities modernized
"Pink" September 2017 Expected Release Date of IBM Connections Pink

IBM Connections has the following components:

  • Homepage - a portal site which can federate information from many sources.
  • Microblogging - primarily used to stay current with updates from across the social network through the home page
  • Profiles - a social network service - primarily used to find people in the organization by expertise, current projects, and responsibilities. Home page, microblogs, and tags.
  • Communities - a collaborative space for people to work together with a discussion forum space.
  • Ideation - Provides the ability to crowdsource ideas
  • Media Gallery - Used to share photos and videos and stream those videos from the server
  • Blogs - a blogging service.
  • Bookmarks - a social bookmarking service.
  • Activities - a task management tool for groups of people to work together on a specific project or task.
  • Files - a content library for storing, sharing and revision management of computer files.
  • Wikis - a Wiki system for publishing and editing content.
  • Forums - an Internet forum system where people can ask questions, share their experiences, and discuss topics of common interest.
  • Search - for searching across IBM Connections.

At Lotusphere 2010, IBM previewed features being planned for future releases,[1][2] including

  • changes to how user generated content is moderated
  • compliance/auditing capabilities
  • additional integration with IBM WebSphere Portal and Microsoft SharePoint
  • expanded mobile support

IBM Connections uses open standards including ATOM and RSS to integrate with other applications, and provides a REST-like API for developers.[3] Widgets can be added into IBM Connections, including those from Google Gadgets and other services as well as custom developed ones.[4]

IBM Connections has been described as the leading product in enterprise social software market[5][6][7][8] and IDC named it the worldwide leader in marketshare in 2011.

Components

The ten IBM Connections components are built on a set of services according to the service-oriented architecture concept. These components take the form of J2EE applications which are hosted on IBM WebSphere Application Server. This design allows the components to be hosted independently of each other and to support very large scale deployments.

Homepage

The Homepage serves as a portal for user's social collaboration. Out of the box IBM Connections provides 20 widgets[9] which can be customized by the user.

IT administrators can add new widgets and OpenSocial gadgets for use by users.

The Homepage module also includes a 'recent updates' display which shows changes such as new content posts and status updates which are relevant to the user. A system to update the users status via microblogging is also provided.

Profiles

Profiles provides an online directory of people within an organization. People can be located by criteria such as keywords, names, responsibilities, interests, projects they are part of, expertise, business relationships, tags, or their location[9]

A person's profile typically contains their name, job role, base location, reporting chain and details about the IBM Connection bookmarks, activities, communities and blogs in which they participate. Profiles can be customized and new fields added[10]

Bookmarks

Bookmarks is a social bookmarking service which allows people to bookmark web-content, tag it, and share it. Bookmarks can be located via keyword, tags and the person who created the bookmark.

In addition to simple searching, Bookmarks can dynamically refine search results with the user identifying users or other tags of interest to them.

Bookmarks can output bookmarks via standard feeds and provides an API so that third-party tools can integrate with it.[11] As of Connections 2.0.1, the API can be used for:

  • Searching bookmarks
  • Getting a list of bookmark tags
  • Getting a list of popular bookmarks
  • Adding bookmarks to a Web page
  • Adding a list of bookmarks to a Web page
  • Adding popular bookmarks to a Web page
  • Creating bookmarks
  • Deleting bookmarks
  • Retrieving bookmarks
  • Updating bookmarks

Activities

Activities is a task management system which enables groups of people to easily collaborate on a task. Activities are structured in a nested tree hierarchy where entries, to-do items and sections branch off from the root activity.

Any non-section entity in an activity can contain rich-text and custom fields for files, links, text, people and dates. To-Do items can also have a due date and a person the To-do is assigned to.

Wikis

Wikis are a new capability added to IBM Connections 2.5 which facilitate the collaborative creation of web content. Wikis are collections of pages about a particular subject. Wiki members can edit or comment on the pages, or add their own pages. Teams can use wikis to create a central place to collaborate on a project.[9]

Files

Files is a personal file-sharing service that is part of IBM Connections 2.5, used to upload, share, tag, recommend, and comment on files.[9]

Communities

Communities enable ad hoc and planned collaboration around a project or area of interest. A Connections Community can have its own media gallery, event calendar, ideation, microblogging, blog, forums, bookmarks, activities, feeds,[12] member list, Wiki and Files.

Blogs

Blogs provide blogging functionality for groups and individuals.

Forums

Forums is used for discussions. It was added as a component in 3.0, and was previously part of the Communities component.

Plugins

IBM Connections integrates into existing applications via plug-ins. Out-of-the-box, the following plugins are available, most included as part of the license:

Other integration with Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft Office Communications Server has also been done.

ISVs have also integrated into the IBM Connections platform, such as Trilog Group to add Social Project Management for complex projects, ISW & Bunchball to add a gamification layer, Blogsy which serves as a native iPad blogging app for IBM Connections,

References

  1. "IBM's Social Strategy Includes Support for CMIS, User Generated Content and Compliance". CMSWire. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  2. "IBM Lotus Connections Adding Social Analytics, Moderation". eWeek. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  3. http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/ltscnnct/v2r0/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.help.developing.connections.doc/c_api_common_overview.html Archived 2012-07-15 at Archive.is
  4. "Adding widgets to the Home page". Publib.boulder.ibm.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  5. Sid Burgess (25 January 2009). "IBM Lotus Connections 2.5: Twitter-type micro-blogging tool!". Archived from the original on February 5, 2009.
  6. "BlackBerry - Press Release". Na.blackberry.com. 2008-05-14. Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  7. "MySpace Gets a Corporate Makeover" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  8. http://www.enterprise2blog.com/category/conference/page/4/%5Bpermanent+dead+link%5D
  9. 1 2 3 4 "IBM United States Software Announcement 209-210" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  10. "Customizing Profiles". Publib.boulder.ibm.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  11. "Dogear API". Publib.boulder.ibm.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  12. "IBM Connections". 01.ibm.com. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
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