I had the good fortune to attend JiveWorld 14 in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. This was my first JiveWorld and I was honored to be co-presenting a topic ("The When, Whys and Hows of integrating SharePoint with Jive") alongside my friend and fellow SharePoint MVP Tom Resing. I really got a lot out of the event. I met some super-smart and passionate people (Jivers, partners and customers) and there was a great spirit of sharing and comradery. One of the things that Tony Zingale said at the keynote was (I'm paraphrasing) "don't leave without getting your questions answered. All of the answers are here!". Boy was he right - and nowhere was this more true than in the Hacker Lounge.
I wanted to take a moment to share two quick experiences, in part to express my gratitude, but also to encourage others to tap this great resource at the next JiveWorld.
During the event, I was meeting with one of my customers and a question came up about whether we could change a particular bit of text in the edit user profile pages. We couldn't find where to do this in the admin screens and wanted to quickly confirm whether this was possible natively or if we needed to customize. We swung by the Hackers Lounge and found a Jive engineer who popped open his laptop, pulled up the JIVE source code, found where this text was set and was able to confirm this message was not editable via the admin interface. Then he told us how to go about doing this with some custom code. How's that for a satisfying experience? Forget researching and reading documentation, go straight to the source!
The second example is even cooler! A couple of weeks prior to JIVE World, the same customer surfaced a requirement to download all of the primary user profile pictures so that they could use them in another system. Though the JIVE API makes this is a pretty simple bit of code to write, the customer doesn't have anyone on staff with the skill set to do this. My company offered to do this for them, but it was out of scope for our project and would have required a change order that there was no budget for.
I knew I was coming to JiveWorld, so I thought I would try to have someone talk me through doing this. I'm not a true developer, but if someone got me started I thought I could probably hack my way through this in my spare time and hopefully provide it to the customer at no (or little) cost.
With these requirements in hand, I went to the Hackathon in the Hackers Lounge on Tuesday. As I mentioned I'm not really a developer, but when I do write code I'm most comfortable with .NET and there's not really a lot of fully baked .NET examples of calling the JIVE API to be found. Tom Resing knew what I was trying to do and quickly spotted Nils Heuer who's done a lot of great work with JIVE from .NET and has created something of his own .NET SDK. I told Nils what I wanted to do and asked if he could point me in the right direction. He responded by saying, "why don't we just create the thing". So we pulled up a bench alongside other developers and, over free pizza and beer, Nils proceeded to walk me through the process of doing this and over the next hour wrote a fully functional .NET console application that downloads all the primary profile pictures. You can find this project, as well as a number of others on Nils' github here.
Here's Nils (right) working hard on the application while I enjoyed the free pizza and beer. Tom Resing (left) providing moral support :
Even though this was relatively simple (at least for Nils), this was a nice win for me and my customer and earned some good will for my company and JIVE as well. It also certainly helped to justify the trip out to this great conference.
Tony was right - all the answers are there at JIVE World. The size and culture of this conference are perfect for making these types of interactions possible (interactions that are tougher to come by at some of the super-sized conferences I attend throughout the year). Make sure you attend the next JIVE World, and come with your questions. I know I will!