I find it ironic that my first real post is about connecting SharePoint and IBM Lotus Connections…, but that’s the real-world nature of customer environments today. Yesterday, Luis Benitez an IBM Sales Engineer and Social Computing consultant extraordinaire, blogged about an integration he did from Lotus Connections using an iWidget to Microsoft SharePoint – with CorasWorks smack dab in the middle. He is showing a site directory structure from Breeze in Lotus Connections. This is what is happening in our enterprise accounts; so, here’s the scoop…
A few months back we worked with IBM Lotus to integrate IBM Lotus Connections into our applications in SharePoint. The requirement was to wrap the robust Social Collaboration capabilities of Connections around the items that are in the business process. We went ahead and did this and included the technology in our v1.2 release of the Data Integration Toolset. The demonstration app is a Vendor Work Order Management process – here is the profile in Applications (via this link you can see it running live in Breeze).
In that case, we were effectively bringing Lotus Connections info into our Breeze environment. The cool part is Connections is running on Lotus Greenhouse and CorasWorks Breeze is our environment – thus it is a real live business mashup. (BTW, no custom coding required.)
After engaging with IBM and customers, we found that customers also wanted to get information out of SharePoint. This is a good sign. So, working with Luis we did just that. First, we opened up Breeze, by adding our SharePoint Data Provider to the Dataspace. It outputs XML of the Breeze site hierarchy (You can see the XML output at http://breeze.corasworks.net/data/HDefault.aspx). Then, Luis created an iWidget in Lotus Connections. The user can now navigate Breeze, our workplace, from within Lotus Connections. (Again, no custom coding)
As Luis states, it is a 3 way mashup consisting of Breeze on our domain, the iWidget on Luis’s server, and Connections on IBM servers.
The goods news is that the CW Data integration Toolset not only brings external data into SharePoint, but, it pumps it out via XML. A key point is that we can support multiple data connections within SharePoint to aggregate data, or mash it up, or mashup SharePoint data with external data. Thus, the developer on the outside just makes one connection to our XML API to read/write to the SharePoint environment.
As more data gets loaded in SharePoint, we are going to see a lot more interest in making SharePoint part of a federated work environment. So, here you have it – IBM and Microsoft all connected up and made rather easy via CorasWorks. Kinda gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling.