Being in the modernization business requires devoting quite a bit of time to keep abreast of the latest developments and trends in technology, especially as they relate to application development. Over the past few months I have been exploring a number of ways of both monitoring news as well as disseminating that information. The following are the conclusions I have reached so far in my efforts to find a happy balance between effort and outcome leading to the publishing of our first e-magazine Modern Domino.
Content sources such as PlanetLotus and Collaboration Today seem to be experiencing a steadily falling amount of content. In the era of XPages web development it has become necessary to follow a lot of web-related technologies, many of which do not receive a lot of attention inside the yellow bubble. Twitter has become a great source for aggregating this information. Many bloggers now promote their blogs via tweets and a growing number of technical magazines also tweet articles in real time. Long gone are the days of waiting weeks for the next edition of Lotus Advisor magazine.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Twitter, and even PlanetLotus is the time it takes to sort through the vast volume of information to find the articles worth reading. In the end the solution I found best was Flipboard. With Flipboard I can subscribe to my twitter stream, Google+, LinkedIn and a growing number of technical magazines. So I can aggregate even more than with twitter alone. What really works for me with flipboard is the visual presentation with images and great typography that allows me to quickly scan a large number of articles to find the material of interest. When I get busy I need only scan my cover stories to get a good guess at the major stories.
The standard for content selection is a single click. Twitter, Google+, and Flipboard all provide mechanisms to flag or republish material with a single click. I would contrast this with something like Collaboration Today which requires considerable effort to defining the source of each article and providing an abstract.
I started writing blog articles to consolidate the information. But this has proven to be time consuming and the publication quality is questionable without taking a lot of extra time and effort to work on layout. This approach also leads to weekly cycles in getting the news out there. In today’s world this seems too slow. Getting content read outside of the yellow bubble is also something of a challenge for blogs. Making slide decks and sharing on Slidehsare provides extra options for being read outside the yellow bubble but can consume even more time than a blog. For a while retweeting on a Red Pill twitter stream provided a reasonable solution. Content was more immediate. The Twitter stream is a little more modern in its formatting but it is also easy for the content to get lost given how rarely people narrow their twitter streams to specific accounts.
I tried paper.li. The format was a little more promising. The content was not really curated and the layout was almost impossible to control. In the end the solution that has worked best has been Flipboard again. The experience is quite good on a web browser but goes to another level when viewed on a mobile device with the native application. I am sure the technology will continue to improve. I have a wish list of things I would like, but for now I am quite impressed with what I can accomplish for the effort.