Category Archives: insidelotus - Page 2

Custom URLs in IBM Connections Mobile Apps

UPDATE: See this technote for a complete, up to date list of the urls.

Connections mobile apps for iOS and Android include ‘custom urls’ in the app. Custom URL schemes are like a little command API into the app. Basically, your app creates a namespace that it registers with the OS so when the URL is called on the device, it knows to execute the command. These work on both iOS and Android. 

Use Case 1. Deployment scenario. Since Connections is typically deployed on your own servers, with their own unique urls, this is a place where users can immediately fail, either by not knowing the correct Connections server URL or their user name/password. Now you can provide specific instructions to your users in a custom HTML page they can access from their mobile devices. And to make things even easier, all they have to do is tap on the custom url that you provide to properly configure the device. Here’s the custom URL format:


ibmscp:// is the base URL that will open the app with optional parameters that will create the account with the specified information, if it doesn’t already exist.

For example, you could include in your deployment HTML page a link to the app store, to download and install the app along with a custom URL to configure it. The following URL launches the app and creates an account named “Renovations Connect” to the server named “ and fills in the user name field with the string “”.


Then the user simply has to complete their name and enter their password to log in to Connections from the device. We have been using this internally because we install new builds of the apps every day and this makes it much easier to do. 

Use Case 2. App integration. The second scenario has to do with opening a specific Connections service in the app. Here are the custom URLs for you can use to call into the Connections app. There are some interesting things you can do with these. I’ll look forward to hearing about it. For example, if you have an app with people’s names in it, you could link over to their profile in the Connections app.

Launch the Connections app to My Communities page.

Open Connections to a specific communities by uuid for the last logged in account.

Specify a particular account if more than one on the device.

Launch the Connections app and show profiles.

Launch the Connections app and show profiles on an existing account.

Launch the Connections app and show a specific profile for the last logged in account.
or if you know the email address of the user.

Launch the Connections app and show a specific profile for an existing account.

All of this information will be in the Connections Wiki soon, but I thought I would get it out there now.

Chris Reckling</accountserver=encoded_url&accountuser=encoded_username></accountname=encoded_account_name>

Chris Reckling | 13 July 2012 03:00:00 PM ET |

Connections Mobile – Files and Downloads

One of the most-used apps in Connections is the Files app. See this link for a full description of the features and benefits. In a nutshell, you can upload and share files with people and communities. In the mobile apps IBM just released, we put a lot of effort into making the Files experience simple, useful, and as full as possible. As mentioned in a previous post, we focused on core use cases for the mobile user:

  • Access to my files
  • Find a file anywhere in the system.
  • Open a file for viewing.
  • Commenting on files shared with me.
  • Uploading a photo from the device.
  • Share a file with other people.
  • Download a file for viewing offline.

Let’s just focus on the download use case – yes, you CAN take it with you. Once you find a file in the list or through search, you open it to its details page. Tapping on the file name allows you to quickly download or open it. There is a special view accessible from the file list or your account page to show you all your offline downloads. Files are encrypted on the device.
Here’s the iOS version. Android is quite similar.
Image:Connections Mobile - Files and Downloads

Now, if you happen to be off the network for some reason, you can still access your files and open or view them. You still won’t be able to enter comments for synching later, but this gets you 90% of the way there.


Chris Reckling

Chris Reckling | 18 June 2012 05:15:00 PM ET |

Microsoft relents on file formats issue…sort of

Using his best political newspeak, David Leblanc at MS explains, “We did a poor job of describing the default format changes.” You can do a lot in the name of security these days, it seems. Who needs to use those old formats anyway? Apparently, enough people for Microsoft to correct “a couple of mistakes”. As a fellow software vendor, I sympathize with Mr. Leblanc’s situation – do the right thing and take the hit now and hope it blows over soon. We had our own mini-flaps over various UI issues in re-designing Notes (see the feedback on View icons, for example). Luckily Mary Beth asked customers before we shipped the product so adjustments could be made or decisions explained. But this whole thing could have been prevented by a more open discussion of the changes coming up. I cannot believe that this was anything more than an error in judgement – no conspiracy theories here!

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Microsoft asked their customers publicly (say, in a blog) in order to gauge reaction to the change in default behaviors. 2 positive outcomes would have been possible:
1. The outcry would have occurred before the release and appropriate measures could be taken to either educate their users and administrators, or even to change the behavior.
2. Customers could have prepared for the changes, understood the reasoning behind it, and yes, even gotten behind MS on this one.

I applaud Mr. Leblanc’s openness on his blog post and quote him further:

“We also recognize that we have not made any of this as usable as we’d like, and we apologize that this hasn’t been as well documented or as easy as you need it to be. We’re also going to take a hard look at how we can do better in the future.”

Now that’s something I can appreciate. In the new year, we can all do better in the future.

Chris Reckling
Program Director
IBM Lotus MA UX Design Studio

Chris Reckling | 5 January 2008 10:28:07 AM ET | Home 

Symphony Kudos

Lotus Symphony has been getting a lot of attention in the last week. My team worked on the user interface improvements to the Open Office editors that we are using (which first appeared in the Workplace Client – you remember that one, right?). I think one of the excellent changes is the addition of the properties panel to the right (see below). The only complaint I have is that I wish more properties were exposed there. Oh well…something to do next time.
picture of Symphony Documents property panel

I’m not the only one who is noticing the UI – PC World has an article online that says:

Despite the fact that it is free, Symphony is powerful, deep, well written and well documented. Aside from a minor formatting issue, I had no problem opening and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations created with Microsoft products.

Not having used IBM Lotus products for many years, I still was able to edit using my favorite features in just a few minutes. When it comes to core office applications, it isn’t hard to navigate.

The writer concludes with: “In the end, Lotus Symphony is a solid offering and will certainly meet the basic office needs of many users. And you can’t beat the price!”

Nice job, UX and Dev teams!

Chris Reckling
Program Director, MA UX Design Studio, Lotus Software

Chris Reckling | 28 September 2007 08:31:59 PM ET | Westford, MA 

News on OOXML

Rob Weir has another post worth reading about the drama going on with MS attempts to make Open XML a real standard. Nothing more to say here except go read it.

How to Hack ISO

Chris Reckling
Program Director, MA UX Design Studio, Lotus Software

Chris Reckling | 6 September 2007 05:28:35 PM ET | Westford, MA 

Must Read Blog

I “discovered” this blog from Ed’s blogroll, but thought it was worth pointing out here, too. It’s called An Antic Disposition, written by colleague Rob Weir. Rob’s an interesting guy, a great developer, and writes well. I first worked with Rob on K-station, where he led a team to analyze and fix performance problems. He really broke down the problem and we got some enormous improvements. He’s recently been on a real tear covering open document editors and ODF format issues:
Document Migrations – discusses and analyzes the pros and cons of migrating your document formats from one to another. I think the table and guidelines are useful lessons for anyone to read.
The Case for a Single Document Format: Part I – in Rob’s words: “This will be a multi-part post, mixing in a little economics, a little history and a little technology — an intellectual smörgåsbord — attempting to make the argument that a single document format is the inevitable and desired outcome.” This is an amazing, Koranteng-sized post. (Koranteng was another K-station team member…awesome group!)
Cannibalism – a response to Bob Sutor’s observations on OOXML.

If you are interested in open standards and ODF (and raspberries and Roman coins, apparently), then check out this blog.

Happy reading.

Chris Reckling
Manager, Product Design

Chris Reckling | 21 March 2007 10:01:25 AM ET |