Engage 2024. Thanks Theo. Welcome Kris & Tom

One more Engage. And this year had been a really special one. The great Theo Heselmans leave the Engage board. This was his last engage as organicer, celebrated on the beauty “Handelsbeurs” building with the usual high quality of service.

First of all, I want to deeply thanks to Theo and Hilde. From my personal experience, they allways have managed the event as a ‘meeting of friends’ atmosphere even though it is a very professional event prepared every year to receive more than 300 attendees. Theo has shown me on more than one occasion that we are not just numbers, but that he truly cares about people.

I Welcome Kris De Bisschop y Tom Van Aken as the new Engage organiers. I can’t think of anyone better for the job, and I’m sure they know how to handle an event like this. I’m completely confident that they will do an excellent job, no matter which direction they choose.

Generally speaking, it can be observed that every year, the number of attendees, and more importantly, the number of sponsors offering their services and products related to HCL Software, is increasing. Additionally, this year also saw a high percentage of new and young attendees, ensuring the future interest that HCL’s work awakens in users and partners.

The Handelsbeurs was first opened in 1532 as the world's first purpose-built commodity exchange

In the Keynote, Richard Jefts and Jason Roy Gary discussed a topic that is highly conducive to being discussed at Engage: the ‘Community’. In the coming days, a centralized community will be opened to the public, promising to be a meeting point for developers in relation to HCL products. In addition to this announcement, and as in any self-respecting current technology event, the topic of Artificial Intelligence came up, discussing its role in code creation and how HCL plans to integrate it into its various development environments.

AI is becoming more and more important in the Engage sessions. Little by little, we see that there are two topics that are monopolising the sessions year after year: Volt Mx (and its equivalent in Domino, Volt MX Go) and Artificial Intelligence (in any of its variants). This contrasts with the few announcements that the Domino and Notes versions have had, even with few hints of what will be included in its next version “Rio Grande”. There are big annoncements in NOMAD, with the future support of COM objects, which opens the door to the use of Libreoffice, Word, Excel, etc …

We should highlight the introduction of a ‘Design Session’, where attendees could offer their opinions about the product in a face-to-face session with the product managers of Domino and Notes. Attendance to this session was limited to those with a ‘Golden Ticket.’ Personally, I was fortunate to find one of these ‘Golden Tickets’ under my seat during the opening session. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend any of the sessions as I had to finalize the slides for my own presentation.

The Golden Ticket

I’ve noticed that attendees seem to have assumed that the XPages framework is already a product with no further developments expected. For many years, it has been scarcely mentioned, if at all, and it appears that people have stopped asking about it. What’s new is the question of whether we will ever see the innovations that Voltscript is collecting inside Domino Designer. The fact is, there are still many of us for whom Lotusscript remains one of the languages in our day-to-day work.

The heart of Engage lies in the two days it is held, but it’s worth mentioning that the day before, on Monday, there are usually very interesting workshops available upon registration for all attendees. Two workshops that have been repeated in recent years are the one organized by Panagenda (a reliable choice for its quality) and the one I typically attend related to Volt MX Go. I have to thank my friend Milan Matejic, who helped me with a horrible headache I had and allowed me to finish the workshop in a decent way and be able to attend one of the events I enjoy the most in Engage, the HCL Ambassador Drinks.

Another highlight of Engage are the evening events for sponsors and speakers. Dinners are organized, typically in quality restaurants and often in fantastic locations, where you can get to know the people behind these great professionals in a more relaxed atmosphere. This year, I had dinner together at the same table with Bill Malchisky, a HCL Lifetime Ambassador with a fascinating story behind him.

Among all these events, on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to present my session on applying domain-driven design in Lotusscript. It’s a topic that was challenging to condense into a 45-minute session, so I’ll likely submit a proposal next year with the material I didn’t cover, as I believe it holds significant value for Lotusscript developers, particularly in complex applications. The slides from the session are available on the Engage page, and the code will be accessible on my public github repository in a few weeks.

My session on Engage 2024

Finally, I would like to mention the emotional closing session where the HCL ambassadors presented Theo and Hilde with a special gift. As expected, there were many tears and a lot of emotion on stage.

On top of that, I can only speak from my experience (over the last five years), but the standard of the speakers, the venues, the sponsors, the catering… everything was meticulously taken care of by Theo. It’s only been a few days since Engage 2024 ended, and I’m already looking forward to what 2025 will bring. Not only to see what Domino ‘Rio Grande’ will offer but also to would see the direction Kris and Tom have taken in organizing the event. I have no doubt it will be another successful year.

2024, HCL Ambassador and speaking at Engage


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