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. The IBM collaboration suite, Notes / Domino, Sametime, Portal and Connections was sold to HCL technologies (https://www.hcltech.com/) in December 2018.
6 CR5 / 2019-05-30[±]
|Type||collaboration, web 2.0|
IBM Connections (or 'Connections' for short) was announced at Lotusphere 2007, and Version 1.0 shipped on June 27 that year.
|Version||Release date||Major release points|
|v1.0||29 June 2007||First release.|
|v1.02||6 November 2007||New plugins for Microsoft Windows Explorer, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.|
|v2.0||June 2008||Widget based extensibility for Homepage, Profiles, and Communities.|
|v2.5||28 August 2009||Added functionality: Wikis, Files, Microblogging, and social search / analytics.|
|v3.0||24 November 2010||Added "wizards" for database creation and profile population, cluster functionality installed out of the box.|
|v3.0.1||5 April 2011||Name change from IBM Lotus Connections to IBM Connections, Media library functionality, Ideation, Enterprise Content Manager (ECM) integration and advanced mobility possibilities.|
|v220.127.116.11||17 March 2012||Forums content can be added by non-forum member. Forums question can be filtered on.|
|v18.104.22.168CR1||16 May 2012||Bug fixes.|
|v4.0||15 September 2012||Activity Stream, Embedded Experience, Integrated Mail and Calendar, Social Analytics, Mobility.|
|v4.5||12 March 2013||Content 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. CR1||26 June 2013||Bug fixes.|
|v4.5. CR3||30 November 2013||Bug fixes.|
|v4.5. CR4||10 April 2014||Bug fixes.|
|v5.0||26 June 2014||File 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.|
|v5.5||18 December 2015||New Verse-based theme, type ahead search, rich content app, nested folders, attachment search, improved editors.|
|v5.5 CR1||17 May 2016||Bug 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, 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. Widgets can be added into IBM Connections, including those from Google Gadgets and other services as well as custom developed ones.
IBM Connections has been described as the leading product in enterprise social software market and IDC named it the worldwide leader in marketshare in 2011.
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.
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 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
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
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. 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 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.
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.
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, member list, Wiki and Files.
Blogs provide blogging functionality for groups and individuals.
Forums is used for discussions. It was added as a component in 3.0, and was previously part of the Communities component.
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:
- IBM Lotus Notes
- IBM Sametime
- Microsoft Office including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Windows Explorer
- Microsoft Sharepoint
- RIM BlackBerry
- Apple iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch
- Google Android Phones
- WebSphere Portal
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,
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