Engage 2019 Recap

Theo Heselmans and his wife Hilda have once again pulled off a wonderful event in Brussels. The world’s biggest ICS conference attracted attendees from all over the world, from as far away as New Zealand, Japan, the U.S.A and even La Réunion.

HCL continued to impress with its energy and commitment, but in terms of news there was nothing newer than what was divulged at the HCL Milan factory tour.

The sessions which I thought most thought provoking were Knut Herrmanns’ Web-component session, which demonstrated the creation of custom HTML tags (enticingly, he created a new tag <domino-view>). Knut does have a bad habit of saying ‘this is really easy’ at the moment that I am struggling to understand.
Jesse Gallagher suggested compelling ways of recycling skills learned with XPages, since it has become clear, if not officially admitted, that XPages will not receive much investment in the future.

Gab Davis made an enlightening comparison between the on-premise Mail servers Domino and Exchange and I discovered that Microsoft has made a sterling effort at making the local e-mail client experience very configurable, whereas Domino has crafted an experience which is apparently more admin-friendly. This surprised me, as I thought the admin interface for Domino was not first in class. Frank van der Linden made an honest comparison between the currently popular front-end frameworks Angular, React and Vue, and ended up with preferring Angular. There was some huffing and puffing from the back rows from Thilo Volprich (who prefers Vue) and Knut Herrmann (who prefers React)

Daniel Nashed and Thomas Hampel were obviously having fun showing us how to implement a Domino server within a Docker file; they will make the images and the scripts available to us. I imagine this should simply deployment, especially for small contained applications, but I can’t yet see the direct use case for this.

For me it was also a first at Engage as I presented a session on Software Documentation. I must admit that I didn’t really relax until after my session was over. If you’re interested the presentation can be downloaded here:


One point that was reinforced: if you want to really know something, you should
present it. Turns out the risk of being asked a question that one can’t answer
is a powerful motivator. In the case above, there was a certain amount of
voodoo magic in the Makefile syntax, which I had previously just shrugged off
with a ‘well that works anyway’ and which I now understand.

I was impressed that Peter Straxx, of the Belgian GroupWave company (one o SNoUG’s sponsors last year), actually owned a Lotus car and had showcased it at
the venue entry.

As to the venue, Autoworld is certainly impressive and the cars a wonder to look at. It did sometimes feel too big, where even for the first and last keynotes, when we were 440, the place is so spacious that it looked like we were too few.

I learned a lot, ate too much, drunk too much lovely beer, and caught up with
old friends and acquaintances. Wonderful.

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