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OpenNTF and IBM

Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President, Messaging and Collaboration, IBM, mentioned today in the Opening General Session at Lotusphere that IBM has agreed to sponsor a new collaboration with OpenNTF.org. He said that IBM intends to offer resources to invigorate the community, donate templates and samples, and make code available under widely-accepted open source community license terms.

I really like this new collaboration and I’m happy that I am one of the resources Kevin talked about. There is already a great community but supporting OpenNTF really helps to communicate that Notes/Domino is open, standard based and innovative. I’ve had a couple of meetings with people from OpenNTF and some of my colleagues. We’ve discussed many different good ideas. Let me share some of these ideas with you. At this point none of this is final and/or committed.
New XPages based Wiki template
As a first deliverable of this new collaboration I’d like to provide a new wiki template on OpenNTF. The wiki template shows how the new application development feature XPages in Lotus Domino 8.5 can be used. The template should be made available under the Apache License v2. In the first stage only IBMers are contributors of the project but the intent is to open it up as soon as possible for other people in the community.
Extended catalogs with simple samples
OpenNTF has already today the code bin catalog with snippets of code and the sidebar widget catalog with plugins, widgets and composite application components. The code bin catalog is a catalog for developers to find re-usable code. The widget sidebar catalog should be renamed since it can contain more than just sidebar widgets. That catalog contains components that can be installed via drag and drop into the Notes client by power users (and developers).
I’d like to extend the UX of these catalogs so that you can much better find samples. I think a better ranking (explicit ranking/voting and implicit ranking/amount of downloads) is important as well as mandatory descriptions and/or screenshots. In addition to only changing the catalog infrastructure we also need better samples esp. to demonstrate the new application development functionality in Notes 8.0 (composite applications) and Domino 8.5 (XPages).
New projects/templates
Notes/Domino is much more than just mail. In order to demonstrate the value from Notes/Domino as application development platform we should have more of these sophisticated samples. This helps people who need to demo Notes/Domino capabilities but also developers who can use free templates as starting point for their own apps.
I’d like to kick up new projects as ‘red ntfs’. Similar to redbooks a couple of experts work (virtually) together on a concrete deliverable in a short amount of time. In difference to redbooks the main deliverable however is not text, but code.
Component development contest
It would be great if OpenNTF could host a component development contest. Many people could benefit from such a contest. We’d able to produce/get a lot of new samples that we can host on OpenNTF. And I hope we could motivate new developers, esp. students to learn about Notes/Domino application development. With Notes being an Eclipse platform and XPages being an extension to JSF and using DoJo I think many younger people should be able to participate. A contest would certainly also generate excitement around Notes/Domino in the market.
There are many more things OpenNTF could do (e.g. hosting of apps, super catalog including commercial solutions, etc,) but I’d like to prefer to work agile in iterations and do the most important things first. We should be as flexible as possible and open for suggestions from the community. In fact I think that even for the next iterations the community should decide which things to do next. For example there could be a voting for which new templates to do next and then maybe in a second stage which features of which highest ranked templates first.
In order to evolve OpenNTF we need to establish a more detailed and professional governance model. It needs to be clear that OpenNTF is a community effort, not something from IBM. We need to define the different roles, their duties and responsibilities. For example I think there should be a board of directors with a executive director as chair who defines the strategy and direction of OpenNTF. In this board I’d like to see representatives from different companies showing that OpenNTF is an open community. We also need to define how to do financial things. And there are also legal topics that need to be defined, e.g. what you have to do to be allowed to contribute code (contributor license) and how OpenNTF scans code for potential IP issues.
Unique license model
In order to allow IBM to contribute code to OpenNTF and to make the reuse of code between projects easier we should have one maybe not unique but preferred license model. We should also pick a license that allows as much re-use as possible including reuse of OpenNTF samples in commercial products.
Success depends on the community
This effort is a community effort and it will only be successful if people from the community help. So please get in contact with me and let me know your ideas and how you would like to participate. Please reply to this blog entry, or post your comments in the OpenNTF forum or send me a mail: niklas_heidloff at de dot ibm dot com.

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