Last night I met up with Mikkel Heisterberg and Mat Newman at Lotusphere. I quickly realized I was in for a long night of bashing about what they hate about plugin development for Notes, and Expeditor in general. (Of course it was all in good fun and they had a lot of great feedback, but it was 2 on 1, not a very fair fight.) One of the many topics they brought up was the ability for plugins that and user installs into Expeditor to effect the whole client. For example Mikkel had brought up an instance where he wrote a plugin that used some third party jar which Notes also used. However the jar in his plugin was a more updated version and when he installed the plugin into Notes it compleley hosed everything. Their question was why should any third party plugin effect Notes at all? Well I had no good argument for that, it's true, they shouldn't.
We (IBM) run into these types of problems a lot. To the end user, when a third party extension, plugin or not, has a problem they think it's actually Notes that has the problem. It got me to thinking what the best way is to handle these types of problems. Obviously we should give the end user some indication of what extension is having the problem. This will end up saving us and the customer tons of time and effort. Mikkel, Matt, and I also talked about giving the end user to disable the extension somehow. That way if the problem is blocking them they can instantly unblock themselves to get their work done. (This is assuming of course the extension itself if not critical to getting their work done.) I am sure there is more we can do, but I will be keeping this in mind as we continue to work on future releases of Expeditor/Notes.
With Lotusphere coming up in about a month now, Project Vulcan will surely be a hot topic again this year. There is at least one session dedicated to Project Vulcan. If you need to refresh your memory on what Project Vulcan REALLY is, than I sugest you watch this video. I would be interested in hearing if there are topics related to Project Vulcan that you are interested in learning more about or that you may be unclear on an want a better explanation. As always leave comments below.
It's offical, I will be going to Lotusphere 2011 this January. This will be my second Lotusphere, last year being my first. Last year I was working in the lab, and I am sure I will be there again this year as well, but this year I will also be giving a session on plugin development with Mikkel Heisterberg. This will be my first session at Lotusphere, I gave a similar one with Mike Masterson, at the View 2010 this past summer. The Lotusphere session is a jumpstart, so we will be able to cover a lot of material to get you ready for other sessions throughout the week. Here is the abstract for the session:
Jumpstart Your "Jedi Plug-in Development Skills" with the Masters
Come to this session to get up and running on plugin development for Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime and Lotus Symphony and learn the ropes to get started. We will take you from getting the Eclipse IDE and Lotus Expeditor Toolkit installed to configuring, testing and verifying your setup. Next you will learn the basics of plugin development and based on real life examples you will see just how easy plugin development can be and how to reap the rewards. As there's no good in having great plugins if they never reach user workstations we will finish of the session with end-to-end information on plugin signing and widget deployment. This is a must see session it you want to get started with plugin development but never knew how.
Mikkel and Bob Balfe will also be having a second session that will cover more advanced topics of plugin development.
How the Jedis do plugin development
So you did your first sidebar plugin for Lotus Notes and deployed it to users but now you're stuck... If you want to do more with your Lotus Notes or Lotus Sametime client, you want to learn cool extension points, learn best practices and see real life examples then this session is for you. Learn about object contributions, fly the magic carpet and do OAuth authentication from plugins. This is how the Jedis do it - may the Force be with you!
If you are at all interested in plugin development, I suggest you attend both sessions. Even if you have no interest in plugin development or have never thought of writing a plugin, I suggest you at least come to the jumpstart and see whats its all about. You may be surprised at what you can do. Also if anyone wants us to talk about anything specific in either of the sessions above please feel free to contact any of us or just leave a comment below.