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First Impressions: IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration from Packt Publishing
05/04/2011 12:27 PM by Chris Toohey
Written by Keith Brooks, David Byrd, Mark Harper, and Olusola Omosaiye, IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration from Packt Publishing is a 12-chapter "step-by-step manual for Systems Administrators and Business Analysts who need to facilitate the effective and efficient performance of diverse teams in an interconnected world".
First off, this is going to be awkward. I consider Keith a friend, and know Mark and David... so reviewing a book by people you know is always, well like I said, awkward.
That being said, I went into this book with an open mind and an understanding that I am not the target audience. I haven't done admin work without a gun pointed at my head in a long time and I, thankfully, am no business analyst.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Team Collaboration with IBM Lotus Quickr
This chapter is the basic here's what you're getting into... but not as so much with the book but Quickr as a whole. It's not a product overview, that's for an upcoming chapter, but rather an overview of what could be a paradigm shift for those companies that view "team collaboration" as something that you can only pull off in a large conference room equipped with an overhead projector.
I got an idea, let's arrange the seats into a U so we can collaborate better!
Hard-core admins can all but skip this chapter unless you have a need to sell IBM Lotus Quickr as a team collaboration-ware within your company to non-technical folk.
The mention of Bruce Wayne Tuckman's group dymanics theories was a surprise, and had me abandoning the book while reading more about Professor Tuckman.
Y'know he was born in 1938? Showing my immaturity, I immediately pictured a Dumbledorian collaborative wizard... A Google Image Search quickly brought me back to the subject at hand however when there were no apparent connections to Horcruxes or Hallows...
The chapter, which is only 5 pages, ends with an essay on adopting social collaboration in the enterprise, and prepares us for our intro to IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5.
Chapter 2: IBM Lotus Quickr Services Overview
Offering an overview of the product, the various deployment architectures, and even the integration capabilities, this chapter gets the ball rolling for those of you who prefer a more "skip the fluff and get into the solution" technique.
The interaction capabilities are covered as well, with sections discussing IBM Lotus Connections, standard ECM solutions, and even Windows Explorer via the Quickr Connectors.
The chapter concludes with a promise that the book will dive deeper into the "Lotus Quickr for Domino product installation, administration, customization, and integration".
Chapter 3: IBM Lotus Quickr Domino Architecture
This chapter is more geared towards the admin crowd and sheds more and more of the analyst-speak; kicking off with an overview of the Server Architecture and Browser Architecture and concluding with Desktop Connector Architectures and single, cluster, and extended deployment scenarios.
At this point, as a reader I'm ready to dive into the product and really get things started...
Chapter 4: Installation of IBM Lotus Quickr
The Before you get started section states that "at the time of this writing, IBM requires that IBM Lotus Quickr for Domino 8.5 is installed on top of an IBM Lotus Domino 8.5.1 Fix Pack 3 Interim Fix 2 server or earlier version".
And this chapter covers the installation of Lotus Domino 8.5.1, Fix Pack 3, and Interim Fix 2.
14 pages of installation and setup wizards for Lotus Domino 8.5.1.. and then you continue with installing Fix Pack 3...
It's not without levity, mind you:
Take 2.8 seconds to read the first line and then click I accept the terms in the license agreement...
After 21 pages into Chapter 4, you begin to install Quickr 8.5.
Now, there are certain to be fringe deployments where the step-by-step [and they ain't kidding!] guide for installing a Lotus Domino server is needed, but there are a few things that jumped out at me -- one in particular comes to mind -- that would make me assume we're not talking about that level of expertise... and I don't know if I should blame the section author [see awkward above], or Packt for the page layout.
Page 57, step 12 [near the bottom of the page] states the following:
When Quickr asks for a User name, it does not want you to enter ANYONE that is listed in the Domino Directory. This is where you need to create the QPADMIN account...
Page 58, step 14 however shows a screencap from the Lotus Quickr setup wizard where the User name is set to NOT YOUR NAME.
Now, if you're dealing with an admin that needs to be walked through step-by-step how to install and setup a Domino server in a book about an add-on product for Domino... how many of those admins will have NOT YOUR NAME as the Quickr Admin account?!
Moving forward with the chapter, we are given an overview on setting up the Domino Servlet Manager, configuring Internet Site Documents and SSO via LtpaTokens... and I run into two more things that make me question either the section author or the publisher.
Page 62, we're given a screencap with the Web SSO Configuration... and the DNS Domain is Domain.com. Again, assuming we're dealing with people who need a step-by-step for setting up Domino, they're now supposed to know that their own DNS Domain goes in that field? Again, I fear there'll be a lot of misconfigured Web SSO Configuration docs out there if that's the case.
And continued thru to Page 63, we have steps 6 thru 28 on how to configure the Web SSO Configuration document. Two pages covering 22 steps to setup what most seasoned Notes Admins will never touch in their daily work, but 14 pages to configure a Domino server?!
Notes.ini preferences complete the chapter... which -- don't get me wrong -- contains some great and much-needed content for someone new to Quickr, but I question the page count given to setting up a Domino server versus configuring a shared LtpaToken for multiple-server Web SSO.
Chapter 5: Clustering IBM Lotus Quickr
Great chapter on clustering, which really deep-dives into the concepts, installation and setup, and troubleshooting of Quickr 8.5 for Domino clustering.
Nothing much more to say here... except a screencap on Page 75 which uses quickr1.example.com and quickr2.example.com as the Host Names for two Domino Quickr servers... which doesn't sync with the Web SSO Configuration document from the previous chapters.
Look, you and I know that those are placeholder values used to illustrate the overall point... but I still go back to 14 pages for Domino setup, and an overall inconsistent "story" of the examples if you do have an admin trying to get this stuff up and running to demo to their boss just how awesome IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 on Domino is and how it can really address their business needs...
So far, the step-by-step manual would leave an admin following it to the letter lost, or at least a little confused.
Chapter 6: Managing IBM Lotus Quickr Servers
This chapter covers account, content, and site-wide security for your Quickr environment... and is filled with great content.
Whenever I see an XML structure for admin tasks like addmember, I think "there's a $5 app in there!"... and this chapter delivered that sentiment on several occasions with it's detailed overview of the various maintenance tasks and bulk-processing formats.
The chapter concludes after making sure you understand replicamaker and how to automate and manually employ the qptool command for various administrative tasks.
First Impressions: Conclusion
There is some great content in this book, and I learned a lot of things that -- quite frankly -- I would not have picked up otherwise... but I am not the target audience for this book. But that's okay, really -- this book is specifically targeted to admins and business analysts [well, at least the first two chapters are for the analysts].
As a step-by-step manual... well, I still fear that any admin that requires 14 illustrated pages on setting up a Domino server [and that's not including the Fix Packs] will be lost on the minor inconsistencies in the "story". Again, it's something that I think an editor would have picked up on and asked that the screencaps be redone with more common nomenclature, or perhaps had the author clarify with more text.
So, for the official First Impressions review of IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration from Packt Publishing...
This book is recommended for:
- IBM Lotus Notes Domino Administrators new to Quickr
This book is not recommended for:
- Business Analysts -- seriously, find a Subject Matter Expert and just ask them...
- Seasoned IBM Lotus Quickr Admins
Now, I put seasoned Quickr Admins in there quite frankly because while a lot of the information is great information to have for a Quickr Admin, I've yet to see anything that was a "I need this book!"-driver for someone who is currently managing a 20-Domino server Quickr Cluster that's serving up over 5,000 users across 500 teams...
... but I am only up to Chapter 6!
Want to win a copy of IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration from Packt Publishing courtesy of Packt Publishing? Get ready to leave a comment on the upcoming complete review for your chance to win.