We continue our rolling release cycle for HCL Connections, with our seventh release in the past two years. We are excited to announce that as of March 26, 2020, Connections 6.5 CR 1 is available for download. Many of our improvements are a direct result of customer feedback — we continue to focus on engaging user experiences, user adoption, and making sure it’s easier to integrate Connections into the applications you use every day. The first thing you’ll notice is a new logo and theme color in the Connections mobile client — we are excited to be fully embedded within the HCL product family with our new look and feel. We also have more mobile advancements, as well as additional new features and fixes.
Email and calendaring improvements
As the first phase in our broader integration strategy, your email and calendar are now in the Connections navigation bar so you can stay focused on your work while keeping up to date on your mail, meetings, and notifications.
Enhanced transfer of file ownership
We are listening to your pain points, and as of this release, users are now able to select multiple files and transfer ownership of all of them at the same time.
New mobile app improvements
The latest Connections mobile app features enhancements that bring more of the desktop strengths to your mobile device — including restoring deleted files and transferring file ownership. We have more mobile support for Android and iOS, and users will notice updates to the the app icon and user interface.
All of the tier 1, 2 and 3 languages previously available with Connections 6.0 are now available in Connections 6.5 CR1.
The latest release of the Connections Component Pack includes upgrades in Elasticsearch, Node.js, and Kubernetes.
We are investing in HCL Connections because we are invested in you and your success. We deeply appreciate all our customers who have helped guide our constant development. Plan your upgrade now to Connections 6.5 CR1 to take advantage of these new features and be sure to update your mobile app with the latest version.
Download from the iOS app store here.
Download from the Android app store here.
Download from flexnet here.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in uncharted territory around the world. We want you to know that HCL Digital Solutions is here to help in any way we can. We are committed to being flexible, responsive, and available. While most of our teams are working from home — to ensure the well-being of our employees, customers, and partners — we are committed to helping with any special circumstances you may have. If you need help during this time, please reach out to your customer success or sales representative so we can navigate this together.
With constraint also comes creativity, and we have been impressed, heartened, and moved by so many stories we are hearing from people everywhere. As we all stretch outside of normal routines, and work together to blend work and home life, we are forced to think differently, act more creatively, and be more compassionate to those who need extra help.
We will be posting a series of blogs and stories about how our teams at HCL Digital Solutions are adapting, what new ways of working and processes we are putting in place, and how we are continuing our momentum and delivering on our commitments. Follow us here and on Twitter for updates.
But first we want to hear your stories. We want to learn your tips. We want to know how you and your organizations and teams have adapted to this “new normal.” We want to know coping strategies you’ve developed professionally, personally, and technologically. We also want to share these stories with other customers and partners, so we can all help each other get through this new, strange, and sometimes difficult time … together.
Tell us your stories. Don’t worry about fancy wording — we will polish things up before we publish. We want this to be as easy as possible for you. Please share:
Please submit your information HERE.
If you have any questions please email Jan Kenney.
We look forward to hearing from you!
The HCL Digital Solutions team
We recently hosted a webinar that was one of the most well-attended ones we’ve held yet (there were almost 200 people there for the full hour). There were more than 300 who registered, so luckily the playback link is here, for anyone who wants to watch it. As usual, those who attended were super active, and a lot of great questions were asked. You can find those questions — and the answers — below. The general availability (GA) for Domino Volt is schedule for April 2020; stay tuned. And for those who helped us with our beta program — you are rock stars. Don’t forget to leave your comments and feedback in our beta forum. And, if you're experiencing issues with the beta, please contact the beta support team.
Q. Is access control explained in a single place?
A. This section in the documentation on securing explains everything related to access control and privileges.
Q. Can we use Domino access levels like reader, author, editor in Domino Volt?
A. Domino Volt has a set of roles and privileges that map to the different workflow stages in your application. With them you are able to define who can read, update or delete documents in your app in each workflow stage.
Q. How do we import data from a Domino database?
A. With the initial release of Domino Volt, you will be able to import data from Domino apps using REST APIs. Going forward we will add capabilities to make it easier to access and integrate with your Domino apps.
DOMINO VOLT PLATFORM
Q. What database does Domino Volt use?
A. Domino Volt uses NSF for the database. All application definitions and data are stored in NSF. Domino Volt apps are real Domino apps complete with Domino forms and views.
Q. Can we leverage agents developed in Lotus Script?
A. In future releases of Domino Volt, we add capabilities to let you leverage Domino agents. This will let you build apps with client-side events that trigger server-side processes through agents.
Q. Is it possible to automatically convert Lotus Script apps to Domino Volt apps?
A. This is not possible in the product.
Q. Can apps be generated as React components?
A. This is currently not possible in the product. A React based runtime is something we may consider going forward.
Q. Does Domino Volt require Domino Server v11?
A. Yes. Domino Volt requires Domino v11 to run.
Q. What are the advantages with Domino Volt compared to HCL leap?
A. Domino Volt is a new capability for Domino whereas HCL Leap is a standalone product which runs on WebSphere. If you are looking for a low-code offering that runs on Domino, then Domino Volt is the answer!
Q. Will HCL replace Domino Designer with Domino Volt?
A. No. Domino Volt is HCL’s browser based low-code option for Domino that is focused on building forms and workflow-based web applications. Domino Designer continues as the best choice for a variety of use cases including Notes applications.
Q. Can we cluster Domino Volt apps, and can we have High Availability?
A. Not in the initial version. We plan to update Domino Volt at some point so that you can leverage Domino clustering.
Q. How can we integrate Domino Volt Apps with our organization structure to determine workflow assignments and notifications?
A. Domino Volt will look to your directory when making role assignments for workflow. These assignments need to be explicit in the initial release. In a future release we will add dynamic assignments as an option. This will let you look up organization relationships in your directory to make dynamic role assignments.
Q. Is it possible to use JSON-Services from a Domino server with session based-auth/SSO instead of basic authentication?
A. Yes, you can use either option in the product.
Q. Is https on the Domino server supported?
A. Yes, https is supported.
Q. How does Domino Volt support heavy workloads? Has there been any stress testing?
A. Testing for the initial release is underway. We are seeing good results and will be able to provide more information when the product is available.
Q. Can we personalize the names of the NSF in order to avoid this c75-c556-cc6.nsf format?
A. Not in the initial release. We will consider this for future releases.
Q. How do we debug Domino Volt apps?
A. Domino Volt has a built-in syntax checker and object picker to make sure your code is clean. Debugging is often a matter of previewing the app to determine is your code works. Preview error messages point to the object, event and code so that you can make quick corrections and test again.
Q. Does Domino Volt have a field type for written signatures?
A. No, not in the initial release. This is an often-requested feature which we will look to introduce at some point.
Q. Is there a sample app that shows how to integrate with SAP?
A. No, but we plan to create an example of how you can integrate with SAP.
Q. Is there a multi-lingual sample app?
A. There are various approaches you can take to create multi-lingual apps. We plan to introduce an example soon.
Q. Can I create responsive layouts?
A. Yes, by default the layout of your Domino Volt app is responsive. You can easily customize responsive settings through the page properties and with rules.
Q. Are the sample apps stored in NSF format?
A. Sample apps are stored as .Volt files. These are package files which contain the application definition in XML format, any application artifacts (images, style sheets, etc.) and optionally data. To import a sample app, you click on create new / from existing and then select the .Volt file.
Q. Can we customize the sample apps?
A. Yes, absolutely. You can also duplicate them and edit the copy.
Q. Does Domino Volt keep track of app versions?
A. Domino Volt will keep track of the deployed version of the app and an edit version. This allows you to make changes, preview the changes and save the changes without disturbing the deployed runtime. Beyond this you can version apps by exporting them periodically.
Q. Will Domino Volt be able to connect with SOAP-based services?
A. Yes. We will introduce this capability and service definitions to Domino Volt in a future release. They exist today in HCL Leap and have not yet been implemented in Domino Volt. Service definitions are xml documents which are cataloged and become available to application designers.
Q. Can I use Domino Volt as front-end to a Java Spring Boot?
A. Yes. Domino Volt should be able to interact with any REST services in your Java Spring Boot application.
Q. It is possible the use of real-time processing like WebSockets?
A. Not at this time. Future versions of the product which offer additional opportunities for extension technologies may allow for this.
Q. Can I modify existing Domino apps with Domino Volt?
A. No. Domino Volt is for creating new applications and not for designed modification of existing Domino apps.
Q. Will HCL replace the FEB based Community Surveys in Connections with Domino Volt?
A. There are currently no plans to do this. Going forward we will look at integration opportunities between the products.
LICENSING AND PRICING
Q. How will Domino Volt be licensed and priced?
A. Pricing will be on a per user basis for Domino Volt. For Domino customers this means they will have the opportunity to pay 'slightly more' per user in order to add Domino Volt.
Q. Is there a licensing issue if we use Domino Volt for anonymous use?
A. The initial version of the product will only support authenticated users. A subsequent release will introduce support for anonymous users. At that time, we will introduce a license option to allow for anonymous users.
A. Can we get an editable version of webinar presentation and information on how run Volt in a docker container?
Q. Yes, we will provide a link to the charts for those who need them and information on how to run Domino Volt in Docker on the beta forum.
Q. Are we allowed to blog about the Domino Volt open beta?
A. Yes, absolutely.
On July 16, 2019, HCL announced the End of Marketing/End of Service of Connections Cloud and SmartCloud Notes (SCN) with services ending July 16, 2020.
If you have not yet made a decision on what your plan is, the time is now to move forward in planning that decision. We are 3 months from the existing cloud service shutting down. Please complete this survey to help us better understand how to best support you over the next 3 months.
As you might imagine, we at HCL are hopeful that our investment strategy in the collaboration products you have inspires you to move ahead with us in a new environment. That being said, we know that some of you will have to make alternative plans. We are doing our best to prepare you in a succinct and clear manner. To that end, you have the following options:
**Note: No data will be accessible on the existing cloud service after July 15, 2020**
If you are currently in discussions with an approved HCL Cloud Hosting Managed Service Provider, we strongly encourage you to sign your contract, and get your data migration scheduled and proceed down this path:
If you are not working with an approved HCL Cloud Hosting Managed Service Provider, but would like to move your cloud data to an on-premises environment, private cloud, or a third-party cloud provider, please see the API documentation about Connections Cloud data extraction and migration.
Below we have outlined clear next steps for each of our affected products:
For SCN/Verse customers, we recommend you start your mail data migration now.
For HCL Connections customers, we highly recommend you:
Office Hours! If you still have any questions about how to get started, we can help! We are hosting 4 cloud migration office hour sessions to answer your questions. You will be directed to a public Box link, where you will be prompted to download an ics file that has all the call-in information there for you to import into your calendar. Pick a date/time that works for you then download the invitation and import it into your calendar and join us!
Finally, allow me to personally introduce myself. My name is Barry Rosen and I have been with this software family in various roles for over 20 years now. Previously, I was the Director of Product Management for HCL Notes, Verse, and other familiar offerings. Effective immediately, I will lead the HCL Cloud Hosting MSP Program, and, moving forward, I will bring my expertise to provide a single point of contact overseeing this process and answering questions you might have.
Please send your questions directly to me.
Director of HCL Cloud Hosting MSP Program
Last week I was at the Engage user group event in the Netherlands. Theo Heselmans and team put together people, sessions and entertainment for over 400 attendees and this year (by my count of hands) nearly 30% were attending for the first time. There are only a few IRL (in real life) conferences I can manage to get to each year and I'm always pleased by what I get out of them, but this year's Engage was for me the best event for several years primarily because of contributions from HCL and all their news about what they have been working on. Oh, and the location! Theo always manages to choose a special location and the Burgers' Zoo conference center in Arnhem that had us walking through a rainforest with the sound of birds each day was certainly that.
This guy walked me in on the first day, giving me side-eye pretty much the whole way.
The only thing that confused me was the milk that was put out for the tea and coffee. I've never seen milk of that color before and since we were in a zoo there was a debate about the animal that produced it. Maybe Giraffe...?
On the closing night Theo organized a trip to a pub/brewery in Arnhem called Taphuis for us speakers. They had over 100 beers and a contactless card you tapped as you poured out your choice. I'm not a big beer drinker but I "tapped" a lot of 5cl tastes and then came up with the not very smart idea of everyone choosing a beer that matched their age. Let's just say it worked out for some better than for others.
An idea that I think really worked was having an open speaker’s area where people could gather and catch up with each other, with other attendees and with HCL. I had several informal meetings there and having no doors encouraged everyone to come and take a seat. The unlimited Belgian chocolate and waffles didn't hurt either.
So, at this point, with major updates to Domino, Connections, Sametime and new products like Nomad for mobile, the question for me was: Where are HCL taking things next? The theme for the conference was "Evolve" and although I didn't get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, there were lots of “a-ha” moments for me where the work I'd been hearing about for a year suddenly clicked into place as solutions for customers.
I could write a lot more on what I came away excited about, but these are my highlights.
Let's start with Sametime. The biggest issue since v9 of Sametime (we're now on v10) was the IBM-driven design that was dependent on the WebSphere and DB2 architectures. I do a lot of Sametime installs and a clustered environment would be in the region of 30 individual server elements. When HCL bought Sametime and asked for feedback on what we all wanted the biggest request was to simplify the install and get rid of WebSphere. Since then, HCL have released v10 and v11 of Sametime, which were primarily the Community (chat) servers and new web and mobile clients, so this time at Engage we got to see and hear about the v11 Sametime Meetings due in the next few months.
Sametime v11 already has user-side integration with any conferencing provider, but Sametime Meetings will now be delivered as a single Docker container (instead of nearly 20 servers) with everything needed to deliver its own meetings, audio, video and screen sharing in one single install. The entire architecture for Meetings has been replaced with open source servers, removal of java, and a fast, lightweight browser client. The focus for v11 has been ease of use for clients and simplification for administrators and it looks like they are delivering.
If you're interested in the new Sametime v11 mobile clients, you can register for the beta here.
As development continues on Domino, including making it the backbone for many of the other products, it was tremendous news to hear that they are now extending the investment in its function as a mail server. The news that Domino continues to be updated and enhanced, such as adding 2-factor authentication for both web and Notes clients in v12, is what many of us had been hoping to hear from HCL. For on-premise customers, Domino continues to be the only strategic mail solution and the only one currently being extended.
HCL Nomad Web
Hopefully you already know about and are using Nomad for mobile, available for iOS, iPadOS and (as of last week) Android. The Nomad brand delivers the Notes client experience through a mobile OS allowing you to access your existing Notes applications on your Domino servers without installing any server-side software or making any programming changes. The next Nomad product is Nomad Web which is truly a new option as a Notes client. It's not a replacement client but it will be a go-to for many people who want to access Notes applications without managing a client infrastructure.
Nomad Web is based on browser technology so it will work on any operating system (Windows, Linux , Mac) that can run any standard browser, giving you a "Notes client" with a small install footprint (they are aiming at less than 100mb) and running anywhere. This is all very exciting; it looks like a Notes client, it doesn't require a client install, it can run on multiple platforms, and since there is no server-side installation it will work against older versions of Domino as well as current.
That's innovation, offering an easy-to-maintain-and-deploy client as an option to both existing and new customers. HCL Nomad Web will be going into public beta in the next couple of months.
Volt is a Domino-based, visual, low-code development environment that is delivered through a browser. What does that actually mean? I attended a workshop at Engage to learn how to develop an application using Volt because I'm absolutely not a developer and so consider myself a good test case. After logging in to the Domino server I can click to create a form, drag and drop to position all kinds of fields, images and text, and even click for simple workflow. It provides a way for anyone to create simple applications that can be extended for more complex work by a developer who can still use all the Domino programming tools, integration, and reporting technologies.
The introduction of an entirely new development tool aimed at non-developers and delivered through any standard browser is really interesting and I recommend attending the upcoming webinar as well as signing up for the Volt beta that is now publicly available. Working with the beta allows you to feed back to HCL on what features you think might be missing and to contribute into getting the product right.
Register for the Domino Volt beta here.
Register for the Domino Volt webinar here.
If you go to the Engage site, you can already download many of the presentations. It's not the same as being there in person, but there's a ton of valuable content even for those of us who didn't get to as many sessions as we wanted.
Looking forward to Engage 2021 already!
The Turtle Partnership
HCL thinks about diversity the way we think about product innovation -- both are essential to the success of our business. When we relentlessly innovate, our products become more valuable and essential for creating growth and positive business outcomes for our clients. When we focus on diversity and inclusion for our employees, we create more room for innovation and concrete results for our business. We believe that our focus on diversity in the workplace as a core value gives us and our clients the freedom we need to achieve our goals.
And to be clear, the business case for diversity is well-known — companies with higher diversity in management earned 38% more revenue in the last three years than those with less diversity.
Our commitment to gender equality
For more than 40 years, HCL has been at the forefront of employing and empowering women. We have consistently and consciously furthered this cause through various initiatives, as well as creating a larger social environment that facilitates gender-equal workspaces.
We, along with #IWD2020, believe an equal world is an enabled world. We want to celebrate women's achievement, shine a light on and combat gender bias wherever we see it, and take meaningful actions to drive gender equality.
HCL has been very active in spotlighting the crucial role that women play in the technology industry through our own Red Ladder Initiative that celebrates, advocates, and fosters women’s leadership. The program identifies and recognizes top-performing and high-potential women leaders and uses them as role models for other aspiring women — and men — in STEM fields. The initiative was a winner of Stevie’s Award for Women in Business 2017, in the category of “Women Helping Women.”
To foster stronger career development, we’ve launched focused programs for our mid-level women managers to quicken their elevation to leadership positions, and delivered programs for senior women managers which focuses on their career progression with key learning elements like one-to-one mentoring by senior leaders, peer coaching for domain and technical skill enhancement, and blended learning with multimedia programs from globally acclaimed learning partners. These programs were recognized by Brandon Hall with the “Best Advance in Women Leadership Development” (Gold Award, 2017) and the “Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” (Silver Award, 2018) by Brandon Hall.
Yet, there is still a long way to go to forge a true balance for the better.
Just this past month, our team, the HCL Digital Solutions portfolio, comprised of HCL Domino, Digital Experience, Sametime, Connections and Leap, was very excited to announce the grand opening of our new HCL Lab in Vijayawada, India, hosted by our Chairman, Shiv Nadar, which will be staffed with 70% women engineers.
Not only does this lab help us build a diverse global team, but it will be the genesis of our HCL Domino Applications Modernization team, with the mission to enhance and extend the value of the millions of applications used by our 20k+ clients. This team will also drive overall increased velocity and engineering efficiency for our HCL Digital Experience and Connections products. As with everything we do, this site’s opening represents the investments we are making in our products, but more importantly in delivering on our commitments to you, our clients and partners.
In my career and life I have been fortunate enough to have women in both my professional and personal life that I have learned from. And I am happy to say that I continue to learn from women — every day.
With our relentless goal to provide more value and innovation to our customers -- and delivering on our mission of “Relationship Beyond the Contract” — the HCL Digital Solutions portfolio is positioned to deliver enterprise digital transformation to our customers for many years to come. But we can only do this if we consciously hire, promote, and empower women from a diverse spectrum of races, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, and religious beliefs.
Join me in our mission, and challenge yourself to ask, “how will I help forge a gender equal world?”
General Manager and Vice President of Development
HCL Digital Solutions