Screwing With The IBM Connections Activity Stream

Customising the IBM Connections experience is a growing field, and the activity stream seems to be one of the most popular area for those customisations to take place…

It all started with this [blog entry: I love it! in IBM Connections]( ) by Luis Benitez and a clients need to not use a third party library with associated API calls to generate their updates, and ended with a bit of swearing and chunk of JavaScript.

So what we want to do is loop thought all the status updates on any given connection page, and if we find a suitable bit of text i.e. a url we are going to pop that URL in an Iframe, but basically we could do anything we wanted

First lets steal most of the install instructions from Luis’s posting (these work for both V4 and V5 of connections)

  • If it is not already there, copy footer.jsp to the customization directory. e.g., copy <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>/installedApps/Activities.ear/oawebui.war/nav/templates/footer.jsp to <IC_INSTALL_ROOT>/data/shared/customization/common/nav/templates †
  • Repeat for header.jsp e.g, copy <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT>/installedApps/Activities.ear/oawebui.war/nav/templates/header.jsp to <IC_INSTALL_ROOT>/data/shared/customization/common/nav/templates
  • Switch to the <IC_INSTALL_ROOT>/data/shared/customization/common/nav/templates directory ‡
  • Edit header.jsp
  • At the beginning of the file, look for the last <div class=”lotusRightCorner”> Just before that, add the following code:

<script src=""></script>

– Save and close the file
– Edit footer.jsp
– Scroll to the bottom of the file and now its time to add our own code

<script type="text/javascript">    
var customEmbed = {
    invoke: function(){
        //First Lets look for all the activity post contents and loop though them
        $(".lotusPostContent").each(function() {
        // we are looking for a youtube url in this example with regular expressions
        var pattern1 = /(http://)?(|youtu.?be)/; 
        var testhtml = $(this).html();
            //As we are continusly looping thought the page content we dont want to embed the extra content twice
            //So im checking to see if there is already an iframe in the post content, also im looking to see if the html
            //at the start of the .lotusPostContent contains a vcard class, as that means that is not a real post but 
            //rather a "this posts was made by User X" kind of thing and can be ignore else you get mad nested updates
            if (pattern1.test(testhtml) && testhtml.indexOf("iframe") == -1 && testhtml.indexOf("<span class="vcard">") != 1) {
    addhtml: function(html){
        var pattern2 = /(http://)?(|youtu.?be)/; 
        var srcrul = html.match(pattern1);
        //here we have used match to get the url we want so that we can stuff it into the iframe
        return '<div><iframe width="500" height="600" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen scrolling="no"src="' + srcrul[0] + '" ></iframe></div>'7;
// I find that a 4 second loop is about right for this kind of thing

– I’m using a setInterval vs a setTimeout, because some page navigation in connections only requests an update to the central pane not the footer and also we want items to update on the basis of user actions.
– I using $(this).append rather than directly updating the html as Connections uses a load of dojo attach for its social functions such as “like” buttons and messing with the HTML directly brakes these.
– The best place to test your Regular expresions is at [](
There you go, the template to do anything you want with status updates

† <WAS_PROFILE_ROOT> is where the profile for your app server is located, normally in windows somthing like X:IBMWebSphereAppServerprofilesAppSrv01
‡ <IC_INSTALL_ROOT> is where you installed connection on windows normally somthing like X:IBMConnections

A Happy Notes House

I saw something the other day that is unfortunately rare these days, a company HAPPY with IBM/Lotus Notes..

Now roll back the clock 10 years and this was the case all-over, the once proud product that used to be my bread and butter and now only accounts about for about 20%-30% of my work (the rest being taken up by Java and Javascript on Websphere/Jboss/Node with a happy side line customising IBM Connections) was loved by a huge number of its users and they bought it in droves… so what did this this office have that kept them in this happy state?

It turned out to not be what they had but what they DID NOT have, they had no limitations on who could create databases on the servers* also they all had the full Notes client with the designer, so departments created apps just like they did in the old days, they took the standard templates and altered them to fit their needs just like the do with Excel spread sheets, MS Access databases and indeed to some extend Sharepoint,

Notes had not become controlled by the management and techno elite, it was used by everybody, there was no fighting for “engagement” as is the case for modern social platforms, it was achieved organically without the need for HR and marketing to stick their hoof in.

So if you want my opinion about the real reason that notes is not as popular as it used to be, blame IT and management for wanting to control everything, for taking the users that want to be pioneers and making them drones.

*Though there were a few sane guidelines

Coding in the Country

I don’t get up to Yorkshire half as much as I would like (it being my home for about 8 years of my life and where my dad took me hiking), I miss it a lot and any excuse will see me at Kings-Cross piling into a GNER train, however this time I had a great excuse, Rob Wills my fellow LDC’er asked me to come up so we could sit down and do a nice development to production environment for his latest project using Maven, Vaadin + plus plug ins, GIT, and AWS (some of the components were not playing quite as they should should so he wanted a second set of eyes)

I got to stay at their fab house, well it’s actually 3 houses, the main house and the 2 guest houses you can see/rent them here

It has amazing views (and its not even a nice day)



The house is practically off the grid but has all the proper comforts, a wind turbine provides plenty of electricity (they feed more back to the grid than they pull from it, enough to run the awesome outside hot tub), the property has its own spring so is self sufficient water wise, but still has internet (my 3G even works up there), much to my surprise I even discovered they even had electric car charging port.





Its set in a few acre of its own land (moorland and lawns) more than half a mile from anyone else (perfect for parties)



After a hectic day of coding and swearing at Eclipse I was sent home with fresh picked kale (for my better half)…sigh!