Although IBM Connections has many social business capabilities as well an attractive user interface (both desktop and mobile), there are reasons why IBM Connections might be used as a platform as opposed to a product:
- Specialized use cases - There could be social business use cases that are very specific to the organization. These use cases can be built using the services provided by IBM Connections.
- Targeted use cases - Value could be gained by providing only a small, powerful subset of the functionality to end users in a customized way.
- Social in context - There might be new, or existing business applications that could benefit from social capabilities.
- Cost of customization - The cost of customizing an entire IBM Connections installation to suit an organizations requirements might be more expensive than building on top of the IBM Connections platform.
IBM Connections offers a number of platform services to assist in these scenarios that facilitate social objects and information being placed in a business context when the out of the box components are not sufficient.
IBM Connections platform services
A number of different IBM Connections platform services are available. The business and technology requirements will dictate which of these service types are most appropriate.
IBM Connections REST APIs
The IBM Connections applications (Activities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Communities, Files, Forums, Profiles, and Wikis) and the IBM Connections Home page all provide application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable you to integrate them with other applications. Using these interfaces, it is possible to programmatically access and update much of the same information that is possible through the IBM Connections user interface.
For more information, see the IBM Connections REST API documentation.
IBM Connections SPIs
IBM Connections provides Service Provider Interfaces (SPIs) to enable third parties to integrate services and function into the IBM Connections product. Unlike the REST Atom-based APIs, SPIs are Java-based and require some deployment and configuration before they can be used.
For more information, see the IBM Connections SPIs documentation.
IBM Connections OpenSocial APIs
There are a number of REST APIs that can be used to interact with the Open Social APIs implemented and extended by IBM Connections. One such API is that of the Activity Stream which is based on the OpenSocial implementation of the Activity Stream. Other important APIs are those for microblogging and people.
For more information, see the IBM Connections OpenSocial API documentation.
Implementing different user interface technologies to realize use cases
Essentially any technology that can invoke REST services can utilize the IBM Connections APIs to create the eventual user interface to realize the social business use case. Some examples include:
- JSR-286 Portlets (and the new scripting portlets).
- OpenSocial Gadgets
- IBM Worklight mobile applications
- .Net desktop and web applications (For example MS Dynamics CRM)
- PHP applications (For example Sugar CRM)
Examples of IBM Connections as a platform in this guide
There are a number of examples where the IBM Connections platform services are used in this guide.
- Extending a WCM activity post using an OpenSocial Gadget - See Example
- Using a Scripting portlet to upload a file from WebSphere Portal to IBM Connections - See Example
For more information, see:
Using IBM Connections more as a platform than an application - Part One