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Top 10 Things to Know for IBM Connections Cloud

top10_speedometer-350Deploying IBM Connections in the cloud is a quick and cost efficient way to quickly start reaping business benefits and efficiency of IBM Connections.  The IBM Connect 2016 conference had a great session by IBM’s Manish Kataria, Top 10 Things to Know for Creating Successful Solutions Based on IBM Connections Cloud.  This had many great best practice tips from multiple perspectives including development, architecture, performance and more.  Key highlights are below.

1) Shifting Mindset from On-Premises to Cloud

  • You need an organization administrator and not a WebSphere administrator
  • Administration is available through the IBM Connections Cloud administrative page
  • Customization is still available (attributes and UI)

2) Managing Connections Cloud

  • Business Support Systems (BSS) is a solution for managing and administering process that support SAAS
  • Options are available for managing organization, subscribers, subscriptions
  • Comprehensive REST APIs are available

3) Customization – Making it Your Own

  • You can choose your theme along with some UI extensions
  • You may add custom profile attributes consistent with your organization
  • Updates to organization specific information are supported

4) Developing Social Cloud Powered Applications

  • The design and architecture phase should capture the client’s interactions with an application
  • Key design decisions include caching strategy, volume and frequency of API calls, authentication, mobility support and data modeling
  • The design as it translates to user experience can impact adoption
  • Recommended development best practices include
    • Use loosely coupled design
    • Support mobility through responsive design
    • Implement robust error handling

5) Authentication with Connections Cloud

  • Connections Cloud supports two types of authentication and authorization.
    • Basic Authentication (pass encrypted credentials with each API call)
    • Open Authentication (Third party industry standard authentication without sharing credentials)
  • Can configure and register OAuth providers through the administrative UI

6) Leveraging API Management Solution

  • IBM Connections Cloud is a multi-tenant environment.
  • One tenant could consume excessive resources slowing other tenants down
  • API management ensures optimum experience for all tenants by throttling excessive resource usage

7) Finding the Right Connections Cloud Services

  • Available services include blogs, surveys, profiles, activities, etc
  • Avoid common mistakes
    • Use the right service, e.g. if the use case is to share files, use Files and not Activities
    • Don’t use the Blogs service where scenarios demand multiple edits.  Use Wikis instead
  • A strong architect who understands what is available and how to use APIs is important to consuming services, e.g. ask questions such as:
    • How is search used?
    • Who are the owners?
    • Are comments used?

8) Performance

Common performance best practices include:

  • Always honor cookies – Affinity and language cookies
  • Use the correct APIs
  • Use the right fields
  • Leverage batch requests when possible
  • Keep API calls minimal (e.g. use URL parameters to limit pageSize or includeTag)
  • Pick the right data center closest to users

9) Leveraging Cloud-Specific Event and Logging Services

  • Journal service
    • Records all activity of all users
    • Available as a zip file once per day
    • File can be retrieved via FTP
  • SwitchBox is under development
    • Allows listening to real time events
    • Code to capture and handle events will be similar to on premise

10) Right Tools for Getting the Job Done

Use the right tools to get the work done for API consumption development.  Common tools include:

  • cURL
  • Poster / Postman
  • Fidler
  • Wireshark
  • FireBug
  • Browser Tools
  • API Explorer

Detailed information on these best practices and success tips as well as comprehensive developer documentation are available at the IBM Connections developer site at


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Glenn Kline

Area Vice President, Custom Development and Mobile Solutions

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