Today we have an interview with another fabulous IBM partner, Mikkel Flindt Heisterberg. Mikkel is an IBM Champion, and talked with us today from Copenhagen on how he works with the IBM Connections ActivityStream.
How long have you been working with IBM Connections?
Well a looong time :) I've been installing and working with IBM Connections since version 1.0.2 so that's a long time - almost 6 years. Of course the product has come a long way since that and has been steadily evolving ever since.
How long have you been working with ActivityStreams?
Not that long as it's a newer concept and wasn't introduced until IBM Connections 4 but it's fast gaining traction. I didn't really put my mind to it until this December when I participated in the IBM lead Social AppDev workshop in Dublin, Ireland. This was a really good event and gave me some of the foundation and contacts within IBM that I needed. Since then I've slowly worked to get my head around it and finally "got it" this spring.
What approach did you take in learning to integrate with the ActivityStream?
Well the material and labs from the Social AppDev workshop in Dublin was extremely helpful and there is an excellent presentation from IBM Connect 2013 by Brian O'Gorman and Bill Looby from the IBM Lab in Dublin (AD104 - IBM Connections ActivtyStream Integration). The main issue with learning about the activity stream is that good solid documentation, information and examples are still pretty scarce and just reading the OpenSocial specification wont help you much as some of the IBM Connections specific extensions are really important and not documented in the specification. Those are only available in the Info Center or if you know the people to ask.
So in essence I did a lot of reading across the web, perused the IBM Connections wiki and the read parts of the OpenSocial specification. Plus being the fortunately position of being able to talk to some of the developers really helped me tremendously. This is why I put my mind to doing a solid write-up of my own.
What is the best resource for new ActivityStream developers?
Well honestly, and very humbly, I think that the presentation I did at the Norwegian IBM User Group (ISBG) this spring is the best material out there for a number of reasons. Firstly the presentation discusses both the business side and the conceptual aspects of the activity stream, secondly it explains "what" the activity stream is and thirdly it dives into the technical implementation and shows some good examples. The activity stream really requires that you as a developer to think outside the box and think of notifications in a new way and it does take time to get your head around it. But once you "get it" it makes lots of sense.