Learn, share and Engage in Antwerp

Next week it is time for Engage Usergroup again. This time Theo Heselmans has chosen a very special location, next to the ZOO of Antwerp. Looking forward to meet everyone again and see what the sponsors have to offer.

Theo and his team has put together a amazing agenda with top notch speakers and IBM Champions.

This year I am very privileged to be a speaker again.

My session

Dev03. How Watson, Bluemix, Cloudant, and XPages Can Work Together In A Real World Application

The role of a human resources employee can be hard work when it comes to filtering hundreds or thousands of job applications. Often, the cover letters are submitted in unstructured formats making keeping data in order and identifying interesting job applications difficult.
In this session we will give a look behind the scenes of the award winning HR Assistant application which uses a combination of IBM Bluemix, Watson and a Cloudant database to improve the recruitment process. We will explain how we integrate the different technologies and display the content graphically using XPages along with how the development progressed and the challenges we faced.

  • My session on Tuesday May 9th at 9 AM in Room A (Okapi 3).


Hope to see and meet you next week in Antwerp. And hope to learn more about IBM Think 2018 in Las Vegas

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Bulk import in a Cloudant database

After some issues with HR Assistant I was thinking it would be a good idea to create a separate database with only the Design documents as schema database.

So I replicated all the documents from the original database to a brand new one and called it hrassistant_schema. After the successful replication I kept all only the design documents.


Today I got a question about the schemas and discovered it should also be a good idea to add all the configuration documents to the schema database of HR Assistant

In that case I have a basic set up and can use it all the time to generate a new instance of the database.


Prepare the JSON

In a Cloudant database it easy to get all the documents in JSON format from a certain view via the build in REST API. In my case I needed the configurations view JSON.

The documentation of Cloudant helped me to prepare the JSON to a certain format to remove everything before the doc entry and the } add the end of each document entry in the JSON. Include all the entries in array and assign it to docs keyword.


Insert the JSON in Cloudant

Using Postman on my MacBook to post the JSON directly into the Cloudant database. You need the url to the database on Cloudant and add to the url ‘/_bulk_docs’

At the authorization, select Basic Authentication and add your username and password.

In the Request body you add the prepared JSON and press post. In the Response body you get feedback of the operation. In my case all the documents, 24, are inserted successfull.


Meanwhile in Cloudant

When I checked the configuration view in the hrassistant_schema database I see all the new documents.


Happy coding and come to see me at my session at Engage on 9:00 Tuesday 9th of May, where I will show more technical details about the development of HR Assistant.

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IBM InterConnect 2017 as a developer

As promised in a previous blogpost, I will zoom in on the technologies I have seen and used at IBM InterConnect

I was surprised the amount of technical sessions at InterConnect. More then I then was expecting as lots of people told me It was all about middleware.

Below my impression as a developer

Open Tech Summit

On Sunday InterConnect for me started with the Open Tech Summit, a gathering of tech nerds, to learn more on Open Source software. In a TED talk style every speaker got 10 minutes to shine their light on the Open Source world.

There were lots of great speakers, Tony Tam from SmartBear ( Swagger ). Further Open Stack, JSFoundation, CloudFoundry and of course Apache Foundation.

Was good to hear there views.



Since the rebrandig of Softlayer . Bluemix has become a total platform of bare metal with on top a broad collection of services. I was really surprised who mature it has become. One of my complaints about services not available across all datacenters has been taken seriously 😉 They are busy to rebuild all the datacenters from the ground up, like the way Softlayer has build all their datacenters. But this time they will not forget the services.


In the end all the datacenters will be identical around the world and will have also have all the services, Very good news in my opinion.

During InterConnect I noticed also that I could select Germany as datacenter, now we have also a datacenter on European mainland. You never know what happens after Brexit.



OpenWhisk is serverless, using business rules to bind events, triggers, and actions to each other. Before InterConnect I heard the term a few times.

At InterConnect there was the posibility to build an application with OpenWisk at the DevZone.

I liked the simplicity of OpenWisk. The actions can be triggered on a time based schedule, which is a good alternative for the Crone Jobs in Java. But the actions can also triggered by events.

And the good thing is, you pay per run of a task, which normally takes a few milliseconds.

It availaile on Bluemix, but that will not be the only place, in the left menu of your account.


Swagger/Open API Specification

Swagger was everywhere at InterConnect. At my current customer we use Swagger for every new API we deliver. Very convenient for documentation and you have immediately a playground where you can test your API.


Swagger is based on a YAML or JSON file which describes all your endpoints and what to consume and produce as output.

The editor of Swagger comes with a Codegen, which can generate a skeleton backend and frontend, for several languages and frameworks, like AngularJS, but also JAX-RS and SpringBoot.


Swagger, from SmartBear, is donated to the Open API Specification, which tries to get an general specification of API’s.

At InterConnect version 3.0 was showed, which will be released soon, with some great enhancements. For example you can change API calls together, like get me the Company and via links get also all the addresses based on compayId.


IBM API Connect

IBM has API Connect, a gateway to manage all the API’s in your company, for example how can use the API, which endpoints are exposed, but also create and run new API’s.  Got a few demo’s, looks impressive. It will except a Swagger YAML/JSON file to get all the endpoints. And Loopback is integrated to run all the new API’s

I think It can be very useful for larger organizations with lots of API’s to keep an overview and manage access of these API’s



The biggest buzzword at InterConnect was Blockchain. At IBM Connect 2017 Chris Miller did a great session about the concepts of Blockchain. Go check his slides for a better understanding.

At InterConnect keynote there was a great example of Blockchain by Everledger, about the diamand industry where they now use Blockchain to have all the transactions in the whole chain, from the mining to the shop, are in a Blockchain.

I attended also a session about the Plastic Bank, where they use Blockchain to registrer all the transactions in the chain between plastic collector and factories and every step in between. The story behind the Plastic Bank was touching, and good to see how they use Blockchain.

Bottom line, where a transaction is between people or companies or whatever, there you can use Blockchain.


At the end…

As a developer I was pleased by such wide range of topics. There was so much to learn. A tip is, pick a few topics to focus on, or you will drown is so many sessions. My topics where Blockchain, Swagger/Open API Specification, Bluemix. As a bonus I know more about OpenWisk, API Connect.

I can recommend InterConnect for every developer.

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IBM InterConnect 2017 – something completely different

viva las vegas

IBM InterConnect 2017 is over, I must say I totally enjoyed it. Lots of attendees, it was crowded everywhere, but it gave a good vibe.  I have met a lot of new people

I heard that it was Lotusphere in the old days. I totally agree with the blog by Gabriella Davis, it is time to get out our own yellow bubble and integrate it in InterConnect. There is so much both worlds can learn from each other.



On Monday there was the InterConnect Welcome keynote with, of course, a lot of announcements. IBM Cloud Storage Flex, ‘yes we have a marketing department’, to provide flexible storage.

There was great example of IBM Blockchain in the diamant industry. IBM is pushing hard on Blockchain and their offer is way ahead of the competitors. You can test your own blockchain app on 4 nodes to see if it works, FOR FREE.

The keynote ended with Will Smith. He was very funny and relaxed and was certainly not scripted.

The central message of the keynote was your data on the IBM Cloud is your data, and will not be shared with others. The security is one of most important factors on the IBM Cloud. They told us that the IBM Cloud would be more secure then your on premise data center.


On Tuesday the CEO of IBM, Ginny Rometty was on stage, first time I saw here in person, to speak about IBM offers. She interviewed some companies, like AT & T about there network and sensors. Really big data. Most important, what to do with ths data.

Marc Berniof, CEO of SalesForce was on stage to talk about the recently announced partnership between IBM and Salesforce.


At the ShowCase

The Showcase was packed with lots of vendors, the most I never heard of so that makes it more interesting to learn what they have to offer.

Of course IBM has also good presence with booths about their various products and offerings, like Bluemix, IBM Cloud, IBM Blockchain, Security and many more. The Dev Zone was my favorite. The area where you can talk to the devs, but also build your own


Champions @ InterConnect

As an Champion we were pampered by Libby Ingrassia and her other Champions wranglers. We had our own desk, on high traffic location. VIP seating at the keynotes and at the IBM Rocks event.

I felt very special to attending InterConnect as an Champion. Thanks to make is even more special for us.

Nice thing was also to meet ‘other’ IBM Champions from Cloud, Analytics and Security.


My session

My session about the HR Assistant application, was at Wednesday 22nd of March at 2 PM. There were 20 people, not many, but for InterConnect it was ‘not bad’ ;-). It went well, as far I could see it. Bluemix was up, so I could demo the HR Assistant .

Explaining the XSP runtime was may be the hard part. No one knows this runtime as it is still experimental and I think it will stay there.


Next year…

As I look back at the conference InterConnect showed me so much value. Lots of new technologies, meeting new people. I will be back next year……


In my next post I will zoom in several technologies which were mentioned at InterConnect.


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Speaking of Las Vegas

Speaking of Las Vegas

In 1 week I will leave for my second trip to the USA for an IBM Conference. This time it will be IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas. Not only to attend, but also to speak again. A friend of my will join me on this trip. We will fly to Los Angeles and drive up to Las Vegas. After the conference we will have some time get back to LAX, a sort of mini road trip.


Out of my comfort zone

IBM InterConnect is a much bigger conference, compared to IBM Connect, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It is focused on Cloud, Watson and Internet Of Things. There are 2000+ session, labs and hands on’s to choice from. I have primarily focused on a few topics to made it manageable to fill my schedule. And still I have a lot of time conflicts. I will see how it will work out.

Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, will do a keynote at Tuesday and will be joined by Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce. Will be the first I hear her speak in person.

As far I can see there will be some great sessions and as a developer there will be a lot to learn. IBM Connect, which I attended 5 times, is smaller, cosier and lots of familiar faces. Lots of the same people, which you see or 1 time a year or at other User Group events, like Engage or Icon UK.

So InterConnect will not only be bigger, but there is also an opportunity to meet other people, so great to network. I am very curious to the whole experience of InterConnect


IBM Champions @ InterConnect

As an IBM Champion you get a lot of extra attention at conferences and user group events. So that will also be the case at InterConnect. At the concourse there will be a ‘Meet the IBM Champion’ desk, where always be a few IBM Champions around or one of the Champion wranglers, like Amanda Bauman or Libby Ingrassia. But don’t hesitate to speak to IBM Champions ‘in the wild’. As far I know IBM Champions, they are always open to discuss about various topics. After my session I will also be at the desk to extend the Q&A.

At InterConnect there are also IBM Champions from other products, so it is, for me, a good opportunity to meet more IBM Champions than just the one from the Collaboration Solutions. Looking forward to that.


My session

It is a great year for me so far, first time speaking at IBM Connect, and as (big) bonus, I will also speak at IBM InterConnect.

My session is on Wednesday 22nd of March at 2 PM in Mandalay Bay North, Level 0 – Islander C.


See How Watson, Bluemix, Cloudant, and XPages Can Work Together in A Real-World Application


The role of a human resources employee can be hard work when it comes to filtering hundreds or thousands of job applications. Often, the cover letters are submitted in unstructured formats, making data organization and identification of interesting job applications difficult. In this session, we will share a look behind the scenes of the award-winning HR Assistant application, which uses a combination of IBM Bluemix, Watson and a Cloudant database to improve the recruitment process. See how we integrate these different technologies and display the content graphically using XPages, along with how the development progressed and the challenges we faced.


Hope to see you all at my session, but…….. next door at the Islander B is also a great session by my fellow IBM Champions Chris Miller and Gabriella Davis about ‘Embracing IoT in the Enterprise and Blocking the Top 10 Risks’.



As all conferences there is always a lot of fun and special events, like the Zac Brown Band and Andy Grammer on Wednesday evening. Will Smith will be at the Keynote at Monday morning.


I am looking forward to IBM Interconnect to learn new things and meet new people. To Las Vegas, because it a city so over the top it will be funny again. The weather, because I need some sun.



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New Release: Generic XPages and HTML Widget For IBM Connections 5.5

new release

Yesterday I have created a new release of the OpenNTF project, Generic XPages and HTML Widget For IBM Connections.

There was a problem with the widgets in IBM Connections 5.5, which was caused by some tags who were not in the expected DOM structure and small problem in the javascript.

But many thanks to Christoph Stoettner of Panagenda who found the solution and provided me the modified files to release.

Christoph, Thank you very much for the time you spent on this.

Want to try it out on your IBM Connections 5.5 environment get the 1.2 Release of the project.


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My take on IBM Connect 2017

IBM Watson

IBM Connect went to the west coast of the USA, to the famous Moscone Center in the middle of San Francisco.

Last week I have attended and spoken at IBM Connect. Here are some thoughts about the event.


San Francisco

I had visited San Francisco for 3 years as end point of our road trip through the west coast. I found it and still do it a pleasant city. Not that all American, but with a bit of Europe. It is a very expensive city, especially the hotels.

I stayed at Powell Street near Market Street, a very convenient location between Union Square and Moscone Center.



At Monday I attended the OpenNTF Hackathon. The day started with an inspiration of Jason Gary, the new man on IBM Connection. He explained about the story behind Connections Pink.

Next, to my surprise,  I received the award of the ICS World wide Development Competition, which we won.

The actual Hackathon was for our team not very successful, but that can happen. It was fun to try to build an idea into a real application.


Connections Pink

In the OGS there I saw for the first time Connections Pink, it looks impressive. Good bye Websphere and DB2 and hello NodeJS and MongoDb. Modern tooling to speed up the delivering model, in the cloud and on premise.

Later on I attended a session of Maureen Leland an Martin Donnelly about the development possibilities in Connections Pink. Looks very promising both for non technical people and the power developer, LiveGrid and Important To Me, will be your friend. Almost everything is opened up with REST API’s. Good work IBM


Domino App Development

When I first hear and see the information about the App Development strategy on Domino, I was a bit disappointed. IBM will adds a few API’s to open up Mail Contacts, Directory and Database changes and for the rest they rely on 3rd party tooling for the modernising of the applications, like Darwino and Aveedo.

After some thinking I am more positive about this approach, with REST API’s IBM will totally break free from the IBM Notes Client. And I think that is a very good thing.

As front end you can choose what you like, XPages, AngularJS, React or what ever frontend framework. It is also a clear message by IBM for all Domino Developers, to take action. Go to learn Javascript or Java. As Stephan Wissel stated in his ‘Beyond the Designer’, go learn NodeJS, Source Control and Javascript.

With this directions it opens up so many possibilities it can be overwhelming. So look around which new technologies fits you best, but also have a look which skill is needed in the marketplace. It is a good indicator where to look into.


IBM Champions

As an IBM Champion you have a good visibility, not only on the big screens with your photo and quote, but everywhere. Amanda Bauman and Libby Ingrassia did an incredible job to feel very special. Kudos for both of them.


My session

I did my session at 8 AM on Thursday morning, not the ideal time, just after the special event. Before the session I was a bit tense, not nervous, and I had the feeling it went well. Received some good feedback. I hope everyone who have attended my session has the same feeling. More details and slides, see my previous blog post.

The Future

As a developer I think it would be a good idea to merge IBM Connect in one of the bigger conferences, like IBM InterConnect or World of Watson. I think the latter will be the best fit. You can still attend the sessions from the ICS track, but ,as I am curious, you can also attend sessions from other tracks which give you the opportunity to learn new technologies and widen your focus.



In 2,5 weeks I will fly again to the USA, to attend and speak at IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas. Looking forward to attend a very different conference with some very interesting topics. As far I know, my session will be at Wednesday 22nd of March at 2 AM.



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My slides from my presentation at IBM Connect 2017

Today I came back from San Francisco where I attend and speak at IBM Connect 2017.

It was for me the first time speaking at such a big conference. And I must say I enjoyed it very much.



DEV-1129 How Watson, Bluemix, Cloudant, and XPages Can Work Together In A Real World Application


The role of a human resources employee can be hard work when it comes to filtering hundreds or thousands of job applications. Often, the cover letters are submitted in unstructured formats, making data organization and identification of interesting job applications difficult. In this session, we will share a look behind the scenes of the award-winning HR Assistant application, which uses a combination of IBM Bluemix, Watson and a Cloudant database to improve the recruitment process. See how we integrate these different technologies and display the content graphically using XPages, along with how the development progressed and the challenges we faced.

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Preparing for IBM Connect 2017

IBM Connect 2017In about 1 week I will jump on a plane and will fly across the Atlantic Ocean to San Francisco for IBM Connect 2017.

This time not only as an attendee, but also a speaker and IBM Champion.


My session

Who wants to attend my session, need to get out of bed early. It is planned on Thursday 23rd of February in room 2003.

The title is ‘How Watson, Bluemix, Cloudant, and XPages Can Work Together In A Real World Application

I will talk about our HR Assistant application and show the techniques we used to build and integrate it with Watson and Cloudant

More details, https://myibm.ibm.com/events/connect/all-sessions/session/1129A

The coming days I will do the final preparations of my session.


Since this week the IBM event app has been updated with all the information about IBM Connect 2017. Plan your schedule, connect with speakers, IBM Champions and other attendees.

When not yet installed on your mobile device go get it in the specific app stores




Looking forward to meet every one and see you in San Francisco.

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Bye Eclipse, hello IntelliJ Ultimate

IntelliJ IDE

In Januari I started on a new role, Full Stack developer at Rabobank.

One of the developers in my team is a big fan of IntelliJ from JetBrains, so I gave it a try over the past weeks.

I must say I don’t miss Eclipse at all.

Currently I am running it on macOS, but also in a VDI of the customer, which runs Windows.


What is IntelliJ

It is a very complete IDE, not for Java development only, but also Front end development, like AngularJS, because WebStorm is part of IntelliJ Ultimate.

Lots of integration is already build in and if still need other plugins, JetBrains has a plugin catalog.

There is a free version, but when you want to go down the road the Ultimate version is your friend.


What do I like the most

Here are some things I found I liked the most, and I only scratched the surface.

  • Autocomplete when coding is much intuitive then you know from Eclipse. Makes coding easier and quicker.
  • Maven actions are easy collected in one panel, where you get a direct overview of all the Lifecycle action, but you can also create custom extension, like ‘mvn clean install’. If profiles are used in the pom.xml you can select them when package or deploy an project
  • Build in Terminal or CMD. Very convenient, no extra window need to be opened
  • Click on a Java class and a select the action ‘create Test’. It will give a choice which methods need to be tested and with which JUnit version. It will generate directly a test class, and packages in the test folder. Gives you a head start to write unit tests.
  • When running tests. in sidebar icons are visible to run the whole test class or only one method in this class.
  • The IDE identify new files or languages, and give you suggestions, what can or need to be done. For example I added a Docker file to deploy our Spring Boot application to Docker. IntelliJ made the suggestion to set up an Docker environment. Cool…
  • Build in tooling for Spring Framework, for me the defacto lately.
  • Build in database connectivity with SQL datasources, easy to set up via the settings. Which makes the use of PL/SQL developer not necessary anymore.
  • Really extended integration with Source Control Systems, like Git, with good visibility of all the branches which I liked about GitFlow in SourceTree.
  • I can immediately also develop an AngularJS application, without switching IDE.


For me it will be the main IDE and I discover every day new features. Admit that Eclipse can full fill lots of these features, but IntelliJ has taken it a step further. Which gives my a total IDE.


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