How to download and install the IBM Connections plugin for IBM Lotus Notes


(New versions of these plugins are now available.  Read here.)

Summer vacation is over.  I was deliberately taking a break from my blog to enjoy the fantastic summer and give focus on the business.  While I was quiet on the surface, I’ve been very busy in the background.  More on that later, but for now, some useful content…

IBM Connections with Sametime is amazing.  It’s like a useful combination of features you will find on Linkedin, facebook, WebEx or GotoMeeting, Skype, dropbox, wordpress and IdeaJam  and it’s ideal for any business larger than 1 person.  And it is no more dependent on your email client than any of those apps are.  But if you use IBM Lotus Notes, as many Connections customers do, you will get even more value with your Notes client by using the IBM Connections Plug-ins for IBM Lotus Notes.  There is a version for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  So where do you find this cool plug-in?  How do you install it?  Here are step-by-step instructions.  And while you’re in the application catalog, be sure to look around at the other useful plug-ins, like the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-in for Microsoft Windows, or the IBM Connections Widget interface to LinkedIn.  Have an iPad?  Cool.  Be sure to go to the App store and search for the IBM Connections app.  In some ways I find it even better than the website.  Here is a screen shot of the app.  It will give you an idea of the features in IBM Connections:

IBM Connections app for iPad

IBM Connections app for iPad

Now here are the instructions for getting the IBM Connections plug-in for IBM Lotus Notes:

1.  Click on this link:  http://greenhouse.lotus.com .  The following website will appear:
Greenhouse website

(Addendum: If you don’t already have a Greenhouse account, go ahead and click the Sign Up link now and get the process started.  You will need an account before you can complete the download.  Among other things it will prompt for an IBM contact.  If you don’t have one, mention me and this article.  They use this to validate accounts as real people.)

2.  Click on the link for the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog. Info about the catalog will appear:
Greenhouse app catalog

3.  Click on the Launch button.  The Catalog will appear.  At this point you can click on the Most Popular tab and you will probably find the plug-in at the top. (it’s very popular)
Connections Plugin

3a. If you don’t find it at the top of the Most Popular list, you can select IBM Connections in the product list.
Connections Plugin

4.  Click IBM Connections Plug-ins for IBM Notes.  The description page will appear.
Connections Plugin download

5.  Click on Start Download in the top right corner of the page.  The License Agreement will pop up.
EULA

6.  Click I Agree. The download button will now appear in the top right corner.
Connections Plugin download

7.  Click the icon to download.  It will prompt for where to save the file in the usual way depending on your browser. (These screen shots happen to be in Firefox.)  The file is about 80 MB.
save download

8.  Once the .zip file has downloaded, unzip it.  You will find it contains 3 zip files, one for each supported operating system.
Zipped files

9.  Unzip the one you need and run the installer as per your OS.  For Windows it is setup.exe.  When the installer runs, it may prompt to be trusted.  Click Yes.  Then the language option appears.
language selection

10. Choose the language and click OK.  The installer will run.
Installer 1

11. Click Next.  The license agreement will appear.
installer 2

12.  After printing and reading the agreement and getting written approval from your legal department, select to accept the license agreement and click Next.  It will remind you that Notes must be closed before continuing.
installer 3

13.  Close Notes if it is open and then click Next and then click Install.  The installer will take surprisingly long considering how small it is.  Be patient.
installer

14.  Launch Notes.  Pull down File – Preferences.  Click on the Connections section.
ConnectionsPlugin14

15.  Fill in the info for your Connections server.  If you want to test it out on Greenhouse to see everything it can do, enter the server URL of https://greenhouse.lotus.com and use your username and password for your Greenhouse account.  (You should have had to create one before you could download the plug-in. Don’t have one?  Go back to that browser window where you downloaded the plug-in and click Sign Up in the top right corner.)

16.  Click on Status Updates, Files or Activities to expand the section and see content from Connections.  Note that when it is first expanded it may take a bit longer to load the content.  So be patient.
Sidebar widgets and plugins

That’s it.  Be sure to search for me in Greenhouse and connect with me there and I can share some communities and activities I have already made to demonstrate how they work within connections.  And don’t forget to go back and browse all the other cool apps at Greenhouse as well as the iTunes app store for iPhone/iPad apps on Connections, Sametime, and more!

Let me know if this was helpful.  I am considering doing these as a video.  Would you prefer that format over an article?

ADDENDUM: If you get the following error:

AuthenticationError

Then recheck the User Preferences.  Click on the Advanced button and make sure it is using the Java Form with the authentication URL of:
https://greenhouse.lotus.com/activities/j_security_check

ConnectionsAdvancedPreferences

If that doesn’t fix it, there are several knowledgebase articles on the topic.  Search for that error message to find them.

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Posted on September 15, 2013, in Cloud, Greenhouse, IBM Connections, IdeaJam, iPad, Quick Tip, Sametime, Software and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. It would be useful if IBM replied to people’s requests for a Greenhouse account! Then we would be able to download the plugin.
    What is the point of restricting access to the Connections desktop plugin when its useless without the Connections infrastructure??

  2. It would appear I overlooked that you must be a member to download the plug-in. When did you submit your request? If it was just today, expect a bit of a delay as I seem to have driven quite a few requests there with this article. It helps if you can mention an IBM contact. But if you don’t have one, mention me and this article in the IBM Contact field. They actually validate the account requests.

  3. I have followed your steps for setting up the plug-in for IBM Notes, but everytime I try to do this I receive the following error (same for Files & Status Updates):

    ‘Cannot connect to the Activities Server
    Either the URL is incorrect, the server is down, or a firewall may be preventing your from reaching the server. Check the URL, your firewall settings and the server status and try again’

    The URL is the one that you gave, so I believe this is correct – https://greenhouse.lotus.com
    I have checked my firewall settings and even disabled it, but still same error.
    I have logged on via the web so I suspect no server issue.

    Could you advise me on how to diagnose the issue or what the problem could be.

    Thanks
    Ian

  4. Ian, tough to troubleshoot it from here, but see the screen shots I added to the end of the original post that includes more configuration details. If You still can’t make it work, there are several knowledgebase articles on the topic in general. Google the phrase “cannot connect to the activities server”.

  5. Heck, I’m just trying to get thru the registration process. It’s complaining about my not supplying a ‘business email address’. Input validation must be finding the yahoo.com in my email addr. Hey, I’m an individual, not a business, I’m an out of work Domino developer trying to keep up to date with this stuff. Are they sure they’re ready for prime time?

  6. I know exactly what you are talking about. I encountered the same issue years ago when they first opened Greenhouse. I might have an answer for you soon. Or you can send and email to LGHTeam@us.ibm.com

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