PSC Tech Talk: AI in Action – Azure Cognitive Language Services

In this short but interesting presentation Mark Roden and Jalal Benali talked about how they had used Azure Cognitive Language Services (Translation API) to elegantly solve a client’s need to have their intranet available in multiple languages across multiple territories.

Background

One of PSC’s¬†clients has sites in multiple countries and as part of their intranet consolidation they wanted to provide a manner by which their corporate messages could be translated for the various countries/languages. The intranet was hosted on DotNetNuke CMS system and needed to be configurable, flexible and above all easy to use for the business. The business had looked at publicly available services like Google translate, but determined that on a private intranet site, they did not want any corporate information being taken outside of their control.

Azure Cognitive Language Services Translation API was selected as the solution because it is secure, private, easy to use and surprisingly flexible when it comes to converting web based content.

Solution

PSC created a custom module for DotNetNuke (DNN) which allowed content managers to create translated versions of the data at the click of a button. The solution was tied into the out of the box language capabilities of DNN whereby the languages available to the user for translation were those enabled in the DNN core configuration. In this manner if a new site, in a new country was purchased, the administrators need only turn on the new language for it to become available.

Because the Azure translations need to be reviewed for accuracy by a local admin in-country, PSC created the ability to have the new message held back for administrative approval. Once approved it is then published on the appropriate language version of the intranet.

Once the translations were created the global administrators would be able to monitor which ones were then subsequently modified by the local content manager. In this manner content corrections from the original English would not necessarily be translated and overwritten onto the newly corrected translated versions.

Limitations

  • The number of characters which can be translated at any one time is 10,000
  • No automated translation will be perfect, but for normal conversational English we found it to be better than we expected. For technical documentation the results were not as successful.
  • Some languages were better than others on the accuracy when they were reviewed by the testing teams in-country

Pricing

Depending on which service you use and usage, the pricing varies from free to $4.50 per million characters translated (as of May 2018).

Retention of HTML formatting

One surprising, significant, benefit of using the Translation API what that when fed an HTML string, the HTML tags were ignored. This meant that the formatting of the translation returned was identical to the original. While this does increase the size and number of characters translated, this would not approach the limits necessary for this effort.

Conclusion

The solution PSC implemented allowed the client to securely translate sections of their intranet and then manage the translated pages once they were published. Overall our experience with the Translation API was a very good one. We found it very easy to set up and simple the implement.

PSC Director of Technology Solutions

I am very humbled and excited to have been given the title of Director of Technology Solutions at PSC Group.

It has been a fascinating and varied 5 1/2 years since I joined PSC. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in almost every role at PSC and experience how client delivery excellence is achieved at all levels. I get to professionally hang out with some of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s so much fun!

I am really excited about what 2018 holds. PSC Labs is going strong and we continue to receive reassuringly positive feedback from clients who truely value our role as trusted technical advisors. In 2017 PSC successfully branched out into a number of new and challenging emerging technologies and we have plans a plenty to continue to learn, evolve and grow.

I love what I do and I am very grateful to have a job which gives me the opportunity to be the best I can be, and still challenge me to be better.

It’s going to be a fun year, but then it always is… ūüôā

Speaking at SharePoint Chicago Dec 2017

I will be speaking at the 2017 SharePointFest Chicago conference December 8th, at McCormick Place, Chicago.

I will be talking about how O365 adoption can be made easier by having and internal emerging technologies team try and solve some simple business problems and lead to a broader adoption of the platform within an organization.

This will be the third time I have spoken about “the Labs team” this year and I am really honored to be able to speak at SharePointFest again this year ūüôā

————-

BV 205 – Enabling O365 adoption from within – How an emerging technologies team can make a big difference

Too often when an organization makes major technology shifts, it is often not the technology change which causes problems, it’s the people and how they adapt to change. While we often associated this to end users, the same is just as true for developers. If we want to retain our best development talent then we have to give them a part in the transition. Allow them to understand it and own it.

With so many new technologies and capabilities being exposed within Office 365 and Azure, many business are frankly overwhelmed with the possibilities and often fall back on the bare minimum of mail, calendaring and SharePoint. This talk will demonstrate cost effective measures to keep developers engaged while providing benefit to the company in a mutually beneficial manner.

An internal research and development team can create a sustainable balance of creative knowledge growth for the individual, matched with a method to future proof the overall organization. How changes in technology affect the success of a company need to be understood, managed and the effects managed. With the unrestrained freedom to explore emerging technologies and without the constraints of today’s corporate development policies your best talent can achieve great things, stay engaged, and more importantly stay.

In this presentation Mark will discuss and demonstrate how a creative ‚Äúlabs‚ÄĚ team can lead to short, medium and long term benefits for any business willing to invest in people and technology.

Speaking at Dreamforce 2016 – Unleashing the power with Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365 Add-ins

I am so SO excited to annouce that I have been accepted to speak at the largest technology conference in the world, Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.¬†I will be co-speaking with my very good friend¬†old¬†Winklebeard himself (Ren√© Winkelmeyer). This opportunity is all down to him and I will be forever grateful. Ren√© became a Salesforce Evangelist back in May¬†2016. While we were at Engage.ug back in March this year we hatched a far fetched plan to be able to speak together and who’d have thought our world would have come together outside of the IBM Bubble.

We are going to talk about using Office Add-Ins to integrate with Salesforce. We are going to go well beyond the out of the box Office Add-Ins which Salesforce make available and show developers how to create their own from¬†scratch. There will be lots of cool demonstrations,¬†and hopefully we will both make it off stage without killing each other ūüôā

I am really excited !!

https://success.salesforce.com/Sessions?eventId=a1Q3000000qQOd9#/session/a2q3A000000LBjBQAW

Title
Unleashing the power with Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365 Add-ins

Abstract
Salesforce has created great out-of-the box integrations for Office 365. But have you ever thought about creating your own integrations for maximising your Salesforce and Office investments? That‚Äôs where Office 365 Add-ins and Lightning come to the rescue. Based on real-world scenarios you‚Äôll learn in this session all about the ‚Äúhow‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúwhere‚ÄĚ of connecting Office and Salesforce. After starting with needed authentication setups between the systems we‚Äôll quickly dive deep into the programmatic aspects. Be it RESTful or Lightning Out, we‚Äôll get you covered! Come and see the session where Mark and Ren√© will demonstrate custom integration between Salesforce and Office applications on all platforms. Source code will be provided for all examples shown.

PSC is hiring: XPages Senior Architect/Developer position

PSC is hiring Рwe are looking to add to our existing team of 10 XPages developers. The ideal candidate will be able to work directly on client engagements and interface with sales, marketing and consulting managers internally. The position is a great opportunity to work with and help to grow the largest XPage consultancy team in North America.

Please apply online: http://www.psclistens.com/careers/open-positions/

Due to the nature of some of the work, candidates must be situated within the United States.

Job Details
XPages Senior Architect (000782)
Job Number:  000782
Job Title:  XPages Senior Architect
Number of Openings:  1
Country:  United States
State/Province:  Illinois
City:  Chicago/Schaumburg
Salary Interval:  Per Year
Job Schedule:  Full Time
Job Category:  Computers/Information Technology
Position Description
PSC Group is an Information Technology and Business consulting firm that helps companies withstand the challenge of change. We specialize in the development of solutions that help our clients achieve their strategic business objectives.

We offer Full-Time opportunities for people who thrive in both a challenging and rewarding environment. With our world class Five Points of Excellence program, we set the foundation for success for our consultants by providing a clear vision. Whether that is from the technical standpoint, the consulting side of the business, or on the management side, we help our consultants achieve their goals. If you want to be part of an exciting opportunity with a company that is both an IBM Premier Partner and a Microsoft Gold Partner, contact us!

We are working, not only with cutting-edge technologies, but with some of the brightest, most talented consultants as well.

Candidates will be familiar with the oversight and implementation of enterprise XPages application deployments.  The successful applicant will interface with PSC Solution Directors and Sales Directors to provide analysis, insight and estimates for upcoming projects. Candidates must demonstrate experience and a broad understanding of customer relationship management.

 

Candidates outside of the Chicago area will be considered, however must be located in the United States of America.

Position Requirements
Required Skills

  • Broad experience in architecting, developing and delivering solutions utilizing IBM XPages
  • Experience with XPages extension library
  • Strong web development skills and experience utilizing Javascript libraries, JSON and Ajax
  • Take part in the full lifecycle of software development including; analysis, design, development, testing, documentation, and implementation.
  • Ability to effectively communicate to both technical and non-technical individuals at all levels throughout the organization.
  • Strong attention to detail with a focus on quality of work
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work well in a team or independently

 

Desired Skills:

  • Strong knowledge of Java and Java Server Faces (JSF)
  • Knowledge of responsive design and Twitter Bootstrap
  • Proven track record of success in consulting engagements

 

Benefits:

  • Full-time salaried position commensurate with experience
  • Comprehensive Benefit package, including 401(k) match
  • Paid Vacation, Sick Time, and Holidays
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Opportunity to develop your career with our Five Points of Excellence Program
  • Company Dinner Meetings, Recreational Activities, and Rewards Programs
  • Billable Hours Bonus Program

 

IBM is a platinum sponsor of the new node.js foundation

Take a look¬†at the video from Angel Diaz IBM VP Cloud¬†it is only¬†90 seconds¬†–¬†IBM’s now big behind Node.js

Angel also wrote this article on node explaining is some more detail about the foundation and IBM’s involvement

http://www.thoughtsoncloud.com/2015/06/node-js-embarks-on-open-governance-journey/

IBM are a platinum sponsor of the new node.js foundation.

Here’s a quote from the linux foundation press release

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/announcements/2015/06/nodejs-foundation-advances-community-collaboration-announces-new?utm_source=nodeweekly&utm_medium=email

IBM

‚ÄúAn independent Node.js Foundation built on open governance is a major industry wide event as it ensures the continued adoption and growth of one of the world‚Äôs most ubiquitous programming languages. The Node.js foundation will provide developers with a top development platform that when combined with the power of IBM Cloud and Mobile will accelerate time to application concept, deployment, and refinement. ¬†As a platinum member of the foundation, IBM looks forward to continued partnership in developing and promoting Node.js and the inevitable expansion of this vibrant community,‚ÄĚ said Angel Diaz, Vice President, Cloud Architecture & Technology, IBM.¬†

Speaking at GRANITE User Group in Chicago – 16 March 2015

I was very flattered to be asked by my friend Richard Moy to speak at the next GRANITE meeting in Chicago later this month.

I will be doing a repeat of the Angular.js presentation I did with Mark Leusink at ConnectED a this year. Mark unfortunately was not able to make it so it will be only the Marky Blank show this time.

Here is the information on the presentation and if you want to come the sign up link is at the bottom.

Hope to see you there ūüôā

Register

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-granite-lug-meeting-march-16-2015-tickets-15911798618

Abstract

The Future of Web Development – Write Once, Run Everywhere with AngularJS and Domino

AngularJS is currently the most popular JavaScript MVC framework. It’s driving more adoption and interest in the MVC/ REST API application architecture model. The ease of use, portability and re-usability of the code makes it an ideal solution for modern web developer needs. We’ll show you how to use AngularJS to modernize your existing Domino apps, while leveraging Domino’s best features. The speakers will also demonstrate how the power of architecting a solution based on AngularJS allows your Domino application to be made available through other platform interfaces. Taking “Write once, run everywhere‚ÄĚ in the literal sense, you will see the same Angular/ Domino based app running natively in XPages, IBM Connections, Bluemix, IBM Worklight and more. Client-side JavaScript frameworks such as AngularJS are the future of web development – come and see it in action.

 

Also at the meeting

8:30 AM – 09:00 AM
Breakfast provided by GRANITE09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
IBM Verse: Deep Dive and Futures
Luis Guirigay, Global Technical Ambassador, IBM Analytics & Enterprise Social Solutions

10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Break

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM
The Future of Web Development – Write Once, Run Everywhere with AngularJS and Domino
Mark Roden – PSC Group LLC

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Break

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
IBM Hawthorn
Luis Guirigay, Global Technical Ambassador, IBM Analytics & Enterprise Social Solutions

12:30 PM – 01:30 PM
Lunch provide by GRANITE

01:30 PM – 01:45 PM
MWLUG 2015 Update
Richard Moy, Managing Director, Phora Group

01:45 PM – 02:00 PM
Direction of GRANITE
Richard Moy, Managing Director, Phora Group

Group discussion on future sessions and social communication to members.

 

Dynamically changing form labels into placeholders for mobile devices

When building a mobile interface with bootstrap, one design option is to use placeholders to signify the field label.

a1

This approach has many critics who questions the page accessibility, the fact that when you click into the field and start typing you lose the context, and so on. It is however an approach which is frequently¬†used. In this article I wanted to show how I made the PSC contest submission form go from “Labels” to “placeholders” using media queries.

Labels

Looking at the form normally we see labels and fields

a2

If we have Labels and placeholders together at the same time, the effect is not really all that pleasing to the eye

a3

As the screen size is reduced the bootstrap styling kicks in around the Galaxy Note 4 size

a4

But when we get to the phone size screen the labels are removed and the the placeholders are made visible.

a5

 

If you go the https://contest.psclistens.com site you can play with it yourself by resizing the page

How does that work then?

The labels are easy – they are hidden with a media query

@media screen and (max-width: 460px), screen and (max-device-width: 460px){
	label:not(.projectSponsor) {
		display: none !important;
	}
}

The placeholders are not so easy though. The first problem is that the “placeholder” attribute does not have a¬†CSS value to “display:none”. The second is that they are as yet not governed by a non-vendor prefixed style. Although you cannot hide the placeholders you can color them.

The code below is a media query which basically says that when the screen is above 768 pixels then the placeholders get a style color of white. I had to !important then to get it to override bootstrap properly. When the screen gets smaller the white override is lost and the bootstrap grey is seen.

	@media (min-width: 768px) {
		.form-control::-moz-placeholder {
		    color: white !important;
		    opacity: 1;
		}
		.form-control::-moz-placeholder {
		    color: white  !important;
		    opacity: 1;
		}
		*::-moz-placeholder {
		    color: white !important;
		}
		.::-webkit-input-placeholder {
		    color: white !important;
		    opacity: 1;
		}
		::-webkit-input-placeholder {
		    color: white  !important;
		    opacity: 1;
		}
		*::-webkit-input-placeholder {
		    color: white !important;
		}

	}

 

So the labels are hidden at 460 but the placeholder is displayed at 768 – so yes if you watch carefully as the screen is reduced you will see a screen size between the iPad and the phone where both are visible. This was done for effect so that you can see it happen.

Conclusion

Without going into the merits of whether or not this is an appropriate design method for displaying information to users, this served as a nice example of what is possible. This was all done within the context of an XPage.

Check it out –¬†https://contest.psclistens.com

Best ConnectED ever !!!

All one of it, and it was the best!!

Well OK seriously, it was also the best Connect-o-sphere I have been to in all my 4 years.

  1. Above all else I had an excellent time hanging out with and speaking with the most excellent Mark Leusink. It is kinda hard to coordinate a presentation when you only have 48 hours to prepare together, Mark made it very easy. When people like Mark Myers (who I have an inordinate amount of respect for) say things like this about you, it is very hard not to blush.
  2. I stopped hearing “Java is the way to go, if you are not using Java then you are doing it wrong”. What I started to hear was “you need to use the right tool for the¬†right job and Java¬†is not always the right tool”. The transformation is stunning, the eyes are open, the possibilities are boundless. I also think I shocked a few people by accepting and encouraging that their is a very good place for Java as well ! Collaboration, whodda thunk it.
  3. I cannot wait for Bluemix to enable me never use the Domino HTTP engine again. Well OK not quite…..but the possibility of writing an application on a node.js server to use Domino as my NoSQL data source makes me all gushy inside. Many questions remain and I will get into that in future¬†posts, but¬†ooooh the possibilities.
  4. Almost every vendor I spoke to had their best year in ages Рprimarily due to the large number of technical people in attendance I guess, but there was a sense of optimism which was severely lacking after last year.
  5. I have a new respect for Rene Winklemeyer and¬†Theo Heselmans. Two excellent guys I really didn’t know so well before – they were entertaining, educational and¬†exceptionally engaging speakers.
  6. There are a number¬†of people who have intentionally (or not) made my community participation possible and Susan Bulloch is one of¬†them – I will *always* be grateful for the opportunity to speak¬†in Orlando and she gave that to me. (yeah I cried too ūüė¶ )
  7. Multiple¬†attendees stopped me in the corridor and said *thank you* for the Angular presentation. The main reason was¬†because it makes more sense to them than going XPages. Serves to remind me that when this is all over I want to be a teacher…..
  8. I went to more sessions this year than any other РI also missed more sessions due to conflicts than any other Рthis is a GOOD THING because more choice means a better conference and more attendees.

Thank you to everyone who sang Happy Birthday in the middle of the Dolphin bar – I am¬†humbled ūüôā¬†Thank you to @woowar¬†who invited me to the Penumbra social so that I could have a glass of¬†Champagne on my birthday – very classy. Thanks to Darren Duke for paying for it ūüėČ Thank you everyone who attended the session(s). That’s well over 150 people, and only one guy walked out before they were finished –¬†very flattering. Thank you to Andrew Barickman and PSC who gave me the opportunity to attend. Thank you to everyone who stopped me and said hi – love meeting people and sharing stories. Thank you to the¬†bouncer for¬†my presentation with Mark Leusink who encouraged people to come back for the¬†second session – we had a full room the second time and it would not have happened without him. Thank you to Mac Guidera who let me speedgeek, gotta tell you by the end of it I was sick of the sound of my own voice !

Thank you to everyone I met – I have no idea when we will meet again, but I know we will talk soon ūüôā

Marky