Learn about Smarter Loyalty for IBM Commerce

The team over at Exchange Solutions have really out done themselves this time. Their Smarter Loyalty plugins for WebSphere Commerce are clean and easy to use. They have created seven easy to use widgets that can be placed on page templates for use throughout your store. These widgets deliver a personalized experience to  your shoppers and your loyalty program.

Smarter Loyalty

Check out the video to learn more about Smarter Loyalty (or click here to see the full-page).//videos.sproutvideo.com/embed/e89bdbb61f19e3cd60/3f67e1dd0e6df443?type=sd

Integrating IBM (Unica) Interact with WebSphere Commerce Part 1

In this video I show off the GreenWheels demonstration where I created an IBM Interact Widget. In this first part I show how Interact and WebSphere Commerce connect together. I explain the setup of the zones in Interact and how I mapped those zones to areas within the product page layout in Commerce Composer. I then walk through how I used the new widget framework to call into Interact and construct the offers for the web page.

Calling all Business Partners, Developers, Hackers, and Consultants alike!

So this week I got the opportunity to create my first widget for the new WebSphere Commerce Composer in feature pack 7. I have to give big kudos to the documentation team and the InfoCenter because I followed the five steps in this tutorial and after a couple of hours got it all up and running in my first attempt! I am not going to say what kind of widget I created to extend WebSphere Commerce but I will say its pretty cool and I am excited that I got past this first hurdle. The I could barely contain myself as I rebuilt the Management Center project and then launched the Commerce Composer to see if my widget was listed with all of the other widgets to be inserted into my page layout (and no, I am not showing my widget name in the screen shot, more on that on another day):

Widgets Panel

The instructions are very easy to follow if you have the development environment for FEP7 already up and running, however, the info center accounts for this if you don’t and shows you how to install things like JET.

Speaking of JET, while the emitter is not 100% with its output, it is pretty darn close, I would say about 99.9%!  Mainly because there is a file or two you have to merge into existing files. All of the source code for the widget was generated for me from this simple XML:

[codesyntax lang=”xml”]

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<pageLayout vendor=”IBM” targetFolder=”src”>
<widgetDef identifier=”BobsWidget” UIObjectName=”BobsWidgetObject” displayName=”Bobs Widget” description=”Bobs Widget” widgetDisplayGroups=”AnyPage,SearchPage”
widgetRestrictionGroups=”AnyPage,SearchPage” >
<property name=”channeldID” displayName=”Channel Id”/>
<property name=”maxNumberOfOffers” displayName=”Max Number of offers”/>



Once you run the XML through the JET emitter class specified in the instructions all of the code is generated for you. This also gives you an idea how the architecture of Management Center works and is a great primer just for that.

So in short, if you want an integration with the one of the largest ecommerce deployment packages in the world (ie. WebSphere Commerce) then get your widget created today!

New Lotus Notes Attachment Viewer 2.0.1 posted

The Attachment Viewer 2.0.1 for Lotus Notes is now posted on this site. I fixed a couple of problems reported and it looks like the Microsoft Office Converter EXE is now behaving a bit better. From the original post (click here), you may need to install the inter-op libraries for your version of MS Office in order to use it. You need to be running at least Lotus Notes 8.5.2 for this update.

Drag this to My Widgets in Lotus Notes

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IBM’s Dojo Widget Gallery – at your fingertips!

@DavidLeedy, the XPages video, tutorial, and overall master, passed this site on to me in a Tweet mention earlier this week – thanks!

The gallery actually uses Dojo for its presentation, it looks like it has all of the ones the Dojo campus has and its pretty easy to navigate. Best of all it links to the documentation and has the source code right there for you, I love it.

Click image to launch gallery

From Julian: OSGI sidebar app for Lotus Notes

I just had to plug this to the Eclipse Developer community:Free Sidebar App: OSGi Sidebar Console

Tracking downloads – Part 2

After a few days with the new download tracking plug-in installed on my blog I am already seeing its value – somewhat.  The release of the Multiple Database Search plug-in for Lotus Notes on OpenNTF shows 35 people have downloaded the source and install site.  The download manager WP-DownloadManager, shows 56 downloads of the widget that installs the plugin.

The problem is the log shows eight of those downloads (of the widget) to be either duplicates or multiple downloads from the same IP address.  This means the net difference is 13.  So even though the numbers are close this does show some people have more interest in just using it versus scanning the source code.

Must have social plugin for Lotus Notes

At this point, there are many plug-ins available for Lotus Notes.  Since the Lotus Notes 8.0 release the Notes client has been pushed into the world of Eclipse plug-ins and re-usable Java code.

Today I am going to introduce, for those who may not know it already, what I consider one of the coolest social plug-in for the Notes client – it is WildFire by ISW.  The plug-in is great from many perspectives but the key things I like best are these:

  1. The preference screen!  Well done ISW!  You made it dead simple for me to “connect” to the different social networks out there.
  2. The UI.  Having all of my “feeds” coming to one place in the side bar is very nice

So you have a chance to check it out then do it!

Multiple database search widget

Myself and colleague (Igor Belakovskiy) will be publishing a new widget on OpenNTF that gives the end user the ability to search N number of local databases.  The first version only supports local; and yes we have plans on supporting remote servers also.   I wanted to get a broader interest in this plug-in from my reader community.  It will be distributed internally for now until we work out any glaring issues.  We plan on publishing it within the next couple of weeks.  Some key takeaways from a developer perspective are this:

  • Eclipse preference page integration
    • Preference store use
  • Back-end Java API use
  • Lotus Notes Search integration (using the extension point)
  • Integration with the search results page
  • Multithreading techniques

So in short, this solution integrates naturally with the existing search options in the Lotus Notes client.  So the user get’s a familiar look and feel.  The performance will be based on whether the databases you select are full text indexed or not.

More to come…

Properly updating your Features and Plug-ins Widgets

My Widgets is a very powerful and easy method for deploying Eclipse features and plug-ins to the Lotus Notes 8.5.1 clients and above.  If not careful,  it can however bite you.  So here is my story…

I had some strange behaviors when I was sending out the attachment viewer in the beginning so I figured I would share those experiences.

When you create a Features and Plug-ins widget using the “Getting Started with Widgets…” icon in the Notes client you basically point it at an Eclipse update site on some HTTP server and select which features you want to install.  The wizard generates the extension.xml you see below.

The problem I had was; when I changed the update site (compiled new features and plug-ins) the versions for the features and plug-ins were updated (remember the .qualifier post?) and no longer matched the versions specified in the widget.  So I generated a new widget using the wizard based on the newly compiled feature versions in the Eclipse update site.  This would be fine if I wanted whole new features to be installed but in the end I only wanted one widget.  So what did I have to do?

Well, I had to save the extension.xml locally and edit it.  The reason is, I needed to retain the widget Id (in red below) so the Notes client would prompt me to update the existing widget – versus installing a new one.  You can see the widgets extension.xml below.  I would then change the feature version (install and requirement versions), also in red below to the new versions.  You then post this in the catalog or send back out to your users via email to have the new Eclipse features install and the existing widget “upgraded”.  I actually ended up storing the extension.xml in source control with the update site so the Id will always be retained.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<webcontextConfiguration version="1.1">
<palleteItem contributeToSideshelfOnStartup="false"
             hideThumbnail="false"     i
             singletonSidebar="false" title="Attachment Viewer Feature"
     <installfeature version="">
             <feature version="" match="compatible" />