Wednesday Nov 21, 2012

SunSpace - a sentimental moment

I just came back from California where I had a little sentimental moment.

With the great help from some former Sun colleagues we move the old SunSpace gear into a new data center in Santa Clara.

We will re-purpose the hardware as a new development infrastructure to build integrated demos around Oracle WebCenter products, Business Applications and Social Services.

now - I could not resist to restart the SunSpace applications and see if it still works. And hey - even though we had to re-IP the entire  stack ( domain is gone) and with some little hacking (thanks to Apache reverse proxy) -  we got it back!

Hey Max - now I just need to change your SSO hack to get login working again :-)

Hmm - I won't - but it is really nice to see it working again .. and it's time to switch it off and to work  on the next cool things ..

Do you know Oracle WebCenter Sites (formely Fatwire)? Its Oracle's Web Experience Management Solution - a pretty cool technology and a very slick User Interface.

I specially like the drag&drop functionality which allows non technical users to easily publish content. 

Why do I mention it here ?  Because we will use the SunSpace gear to build cool  Oracle WebCenter Sites demos and proof of concepts integration  into Business Applications and Social Services :-)

 This is a sneak preview what we are working on. Stay tuned.....

Friday Jan 13, 2012

A tribute to SunSpace

The sad news is that SunSpace has been decommissioned on December 2011- the good news is that the SunSpace content and communities have a new home on Oracle WebCenter. :)

Read the story about SunSpace - one of the coolest Social Enterprise implementations ...

[Read More]

Thursday Nov 26, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 ist zurzeit ein digitaler Graben

Mein erster Blog Eintrag in Deutsch :) . Ich wurde von Christian Walter bezueglich ECM und Enterprise 2.0 interviewed.

Anbei der Artikel

Enterprise 2.0 ist zurzeit ein digitaler Graben

Aus dem Web 2.0 wird im Unternehmensumfeld Enterprise 2.0. Dabei soll mit viel Gedankengut aus den

Social Networks das Wissensmanagement in den Unternehmen revolutioniert werden. Ob diese Loesungen

den Markt aber jenseits von transnationalen Firmen erobern koennen, ist noch unklar. von Christian Walter.

Thursday Jun 11, 2009

SunSpace wins Atlassian Charlies award

I had the pleasure to present at the recent Atlassian summit in SFO last week.

During the summit Atlassian announced their Charlies awards.

SunSpace won the The "Not just another wiki" Award: Best use of Confluence.

Thanks to Atlassian and big cudos to the SunSpace team !

Friday Mar 27, 2009

Enterprise Microblogging - so what ?

A couple of weeks back we started an internal project called !sweet to pilot an Enterprise microblogging service.
We defined following project objectives

  1. Learn how to apply microblogging in an enterprise200903301809.jpg
    • Technical: how easy would it be to integrate such a service ?
    • Business: what should we do with it ?
  2. Build an internal open source community
    • motivate people to participate in an internal open source project
    • capture ideas from various teams and implement it quickly
  3. Have some fun :-)

It took us about 3 weeks to get the pilot up and running and since about 4 weeks we are running the pilot.

Lesson learned so far

  • internal micro blogging is about "What are you working on" and not "What are you doing ?"
  • integration into existing social services is key (SunSpace, Enterprise search)
  • ease of use and ease of access is key (email, SMS, microblogging clients)
  • Microblogging has to be a complementary service -not just a "new tool/toy"
  • user want to access this service from the Internet - not from the Intranet

!sweet is based on Laconica and has following features (bold are own extensions)

  • Corporate LDAP integration and SSL support
  • Dynamic user profile creation
  • Twitter gateway ( 2 buttons :-) )
  • SMS-out
  • email-in
  • Micro blogging clients support like twhirl
  • Badge support
  • Enterprise search integration
  • Regular expression engine
  • Smileys support
  • RSS and ATOM feed extensions (userID and tags for search integration)

Entry page


SunSpace integration (Badge)


SunSpace integration (feed)


Search integration

  • !sweet as a search collection
  • show last three !sweet's in the persons search result

Friday Feb 13, 2009

SunSpace - Atlassian Webinar - Q & A

Thanks a lot to all who attending the SunSpace webinar with Atlassian. We had a lot of attendees and Atlassian told me that
recorded webcast has been viewed quite a bit already.

We received some questions from Atlassian (thanks Morgan - great webcast organization) which I could not answer during the Webcast.
Instead replying to each person individually I thought I post the
Questions & Answers here. 200902161720.jpg

I appreciate your feedback/comments (which will help improve my blog equity :-) )

and a BIG thank to the twitter community for the great feedback you provided in real time

Q: Can you share what you have used for showing / editing the personal page?

We are using the portal feature from Bubbles in combination with Themebuilder   and have created a set of widgets for the personal spaces of a user. Bubbles has some variable support like %owner% %users% etc. which makes personalization of the myProfile page pretty easy - means we have ONE portal with a set of common widgets for ALL users. When a user logs in the first time - we create the personal space and home page of the user and just add {portal:user} to the home page.

Example: excerpt from the Who am I widget

# shows picture - Confluence macro
# shows Role Communities with medals - Bubbles macro
# shows user detail - Sun macro

Q: What is the relationship between SunSpace and the recently announced Glassfish Web Space?

As I explained in the webcast - SunSpace is build on a federated services architecture. That means we can integrated any Web properties into the architecture
We are actively working on the integration of the Community Equity Services (rating/commenting, tagging, equity calculation engine) into Glassfish Web Space.
Please contact me if you want more details.

Q: Do you employ dedicated community moderators/content managers? What is the process for onboarding new groups into this environment from a people perspective

As part of the community methodology we established a community driver model and community. Each community has one or more community driver(s) who actively facilitate the community.
On a global level we facilitate the community of community driver and help them to
- establish common policies (publishing, tagging, measures etc.)
- facilitate best practices among the community drivers
- use the community driver community as a sounding board for feedback and RfE planning   

Q: What is the process for onboarding new groups into this environment from a people perspective

If someone wants to add a new community to SunSpace, she/he has to fill out a template to request a community. We review the template and create the community within 3 business days.
We decided for this model to validate if a similar community already exists - so we can connect other people and communities and avoid replication of work.

Q: Do you feel the contribution equity will work against the goals once the population get too big. people may feel it is not possible to overtake the rest in terms of C.E?

Absolutely - One of the Community Equity widget shows the ranking of a person across all communities. With the Tag Equity model we provide a much granular model e.g. Top Contributors,Top Information, Top Country of a specific community or subject (e.g Java, HPC computing etc.). That means that each individual community can build their specific value system and can leverage the tailored Community Equity Services. (I will post soon a blog post on all the community equity widgets we have today)

Q: Is it possible to share more details on the search. Is it an open source solution too?

(Intranet) search is only as good as the metadata it gets. (e.g. garbage in/ garbage out). The goal of the Community Equity services is to metadata enrich URL's
That means we automatically add metadata like tags, equity values, author information, hits, rating information etc. to each URL during the content authoring process.

Then we have a simple three step model how we can turn the search in an extremely powerful mashup service:

1. constant feed (RSS/ATOM) of metadata enriched URL's into to search engine (more or less realtime update of search index)
2. leverage standard search technology (in our case Ultraseek/Verity) to search for terms
3. take the search result as XML stream and post-process the search result to generate dynamic mashup services
as example:
- build tag cloud of search result
- show related communities
- show experts related to search result
- etc.

In theory you can take any search technology as long as we can programatically read the search result and do our "magic' with the post processing.
Currently we using "perl" for the post processor :-)

We have not yet decided if we open source this technology...

Q: Will the hardware configurations they are using be discussed?

Infrastructure: The architecture is designed for secure deployment in an Intranet or on the Internet. 200902161439.jpg
We use Zeus as the firewall/load-balancer and Appgate for the secure admin access
The hardware is based on Sun X4450 servers for the Web and Application tier and on SPACR M4000 for
back-end tier, search, Zeus and Appgate.

Tuning: We spent a lot of "brain cycles" on tuning the infrastructure, caching model, Java JVM settings, Confluence
and our web services.
We are happy to provide you the infrastructure and consulting for your project :-).

Q: Do you use internal Confluence user accounts, or have you integrated with an external LDAP directory service?

We use a combination of both. When a user logs in the first time via LDAP , we create the Confluence user on SunSpace and auto-populate
- confluence user
- create a user in our back-end user/group service to provide federated access control across all web services  
- personal space including home page
- add the user to specific groups according her/his profile in LDAP
- and more ..

Q: How do you motivate people who perhaps do not care very much about the ratings on the system? or perhaps the question is how do you identify the critical motivating factors ?

1. easy to use
The entry barrier for rating (or commenting) should be as low as possible. We have a simple rating widget on each page which allows to provide rating feedback with a single click
2. real time feedback
For each page we have an activity feed were the author (or others) can see the latest activities (update,tagging,rating,comment,views,download) around the content
3. Community Equity an Methodology

As discussed in the Webcast - the most important question we need to answer is "What is in it for me?" . Since all social activities (like rating) count for a person's personal equity, people
are more motivated to provide feedback. But this is not enough. The overall Community Equity model need to be linked to recognition / incentive programs were people get recognized for their community work. And hey - be creative here - getting a distinct T-Shirt for the best community contributor of the month could already make a big difference. :-)

Q: Will sun consider selling this technology for other users?


1. Consulting - we provide consulting on how to build "vibrant communities" and we can "clone" SunSpace for your business
2. Open Source - we plan to open source the Community Equity Services (rating/commenting, tagging, equity calculation engine) in the next few month.
3. Productization - we plan to productize some of the technology as part of Sun's web infrastructure offering

Please contact me if you are interested peter.reiser(at)

Q: Also wondering whether you see a future link to extrernal social networks?

Absolutely - we are looking carefully into the emerging Social networking standards like Open Social , APML , ATOM activity extension and others ..
The Community Equity model is already prepared to add Personal Sociometry Equity (

Q: What kind of ontologies are involved?

Currently we support folksonomy tagging and so called controlled vocabulary which are focused around product, technology, geographical coverage (Region Country), industry and best practices. Daniela Barbosa from Dow Jones published an great ebook called Folksonomies and Taxonomies Cookbook which includes SunSpace as a use case.

Furthermore as part of our participation in the EU project KIWI, we are actively working on the integration of Semantic Web into our Community Equity model.

Q:I heard Peter from Sun mention that they have configured Confluence to start with the Personal Space of a user (at login). Do you have any idea how that was done?

We added a script to the default home space of SunSpace which redirects the user to her/his personal page


Q: did you have performance issues - especially with the theme builder and bubbles plugins - and if so, were you able to resolve?

Good question:-) We are constantly fighting with performance bottlenecks versus user expectations/experience. Generally performance is good and theme builder and bubbles are scaling nicely. I would categorize performance challenges as follows:

1. page load (http calls): Increasing functionality and customization is increasing page load trough additional JavaScript, CSS etc. If you have a good network with low latency this should not be a problem.Since SunSpace is used globally - network performance and latency can be an issue. We are addressing by- CSS: we consolidating as much CSS as we can- JavaScript: standardization on a single JavaScript Framework (jquery). (Confluence used to have customized JS libraries which generate a lot of issues (name space etc.) with other applications. I think with Confluence 10x they standardize on jquery as well and I hope that all plugins will be switch to the new model soon...) -
Caching: caching,caching.. this helps a lot but with a highly personalized website this can be tricky. If you can - use http instead https as client caching is much better

2.Confluence platform tuning: As describe above we doing a lot of infrastructure tuning. On the application level we carefully monitoring the Confluence cache sizes and adjust if needed. Also we are moving to a clustered infrastructure pretty soon which should balanced the load to different servers. One of the bottlenecks we discovered is the large amount of spaces (> 25'000 users spaces, > 500 global spaces) and Access Control. Since we SunSpace will be accessible from the Internet (Sun employees only - sorry :-( ), we have each single page access controlled and anonymous pages are disabled. We have seen various issues with some macros and actions (e.g. dositesearch, feed, {blog-post} etc.) which seems to do recursive access control across ALL spaces (Global and Personal). Atlassian is aware of these issues and is working on it...

Q: How do you manage people and content they created when some leaves the company in your "people" directory?

Thanks for this questions :-) Unfortunately Confluence has no function to disable a user nor delete a user if she/he made a contribution.Luckily - as part of our Community Equity Services we maintain our own user/group management model to allow Access Control across multiple web services. Every night we running a scheduled job which compares our user table with LDAP and automatically disable users which are not found in LDAP anymore. This disables the users in all web services (attachment etc.) except Confluence. What we can do in Confluence is to display a message on the Profile page that this user does not exist anymore.
Hello Atlassian - please add a disable user function which disables the user in Confluence including email

Monday Feb 09, 2009

SunSpace explained - Atlassian Voice of the customer webinar

Here is the presentation for Atlassian's - Voice of the customer webinar

Date: 12. February 2009
Time: 9am - 10am Pacific Time

Sunday Jan 18, 2009

Trusted content through facilitated communities

Recently I got a lot of questions on how to build trusted content with communities.

At Sun we have a community called Onestop. This is a community of around 300 subject matter experts who voluntary maintain a page around a topic like a product, a technology or a best practice. The people in the field are really trusting this content.

As example I got some feedback from a user who told me

" If its not on Onestop it does not exist."

This is pretty cool and probably the dream of any online marketeers. Community created content is TRUSTED by the community !

But how can you build trusted "bottom up" content?

Its all about how you facilitate the communities !

Content and Trust

As more process you add to the content creation/maintenance as more its get trusted by the user.

Example: Wiki content might be pretty untrusted but a product page maintained by the product group is a highly trusted as it is the System of Record for the product description.


Reputation and Trust

As higher the reputation of a person is as more people trust the content

Example: In this example we look at the overall Java community. If John Doe, a newbie in the Java world blogs about a Java topic the trust is pretty limited but if James Gosling blogs about a Java topic the trust is likely pretty high


Community model and Trust

When we look at the community model e.g. a completely open and unmoderated community versus a facilitated community we discover that well facilitated communities have more trust then open and unfacilitated communities.

Example: A wiki were everybody can publish whatever she/he want is less trusted then a highly facilitated wiki like Wikipedia

Lesson learned for SunSpace

ok - what did we learn when we build and deployed SunSpace internally ?

1. We need to build a content trust model

We learned a lot from our existing Onestop community and applying these best practices to other communities
(read the Onestop blog for details)

2. We need to build a reputation model

People want and need to be recognized for the contribution and participation in communities. With our integrated Community Equity model we now can evaluate the reputation of a person based on their Tag equity related to their contributions.

3. Facilitated community facilitation

Community need active community management !!!

As part of the SunSpace Community methodology we facilitate the facilitation of communities trough our Community Driver community

more about this in a future blog ..... :-)

Feedback is always highly appreciated !

Sunday Dec 14, 2008

SunSpace 1.3 released

This weekend we released some new and exciting features for SunSpace .

1. Federated Tagging widget

The new federated tagging widget allows to build tag clouds around federated content (e.g attachments,wiki pages from Confluence and MediaWiki), communities and/or people.

Example 1: Show a tag cloud of all Communities from SunSpace and order the tags by Tag Equity (Tag Equity is the social value of all information attached to a tag)


Example 2: Show a tag cloud of a person's contribution tags in a given Community and order it by Usage (How many times a tag has been used by the user)


(you might notice that above tag cloud is my tag cloud from my contributions to the SunSpace dev community :-) )

2. Inter-widget communication

Now - our widgets can talk to each other. We implemented an inter-widget communication based on the Open Ajax Hub specifications.

3. Social Activities (Minifeed)

We added a new widget which shows the social activity around an information (wiki page, attachment etc.)


Due to data privacy concerns we don't show the name of a page viewer - instead we show the country ..

(Hey Data Privacy is very important .. and you don't wont get get in troubles with these guys :-) )


Sunday Oct 26, 2008

SunSpace first 100 days ...

SunSpace is in production for 100 days and we experienced dramatic growth

We now have over 20'000 registered users (which is close to 2/3 of all employees) and around 2'500 and 3'000 active users per day.


We had to tune our platform quite a bit to handle this load and I guess we now have one of the best tuned Confluence installation on a Sun infrastructure.

There is a lot of interest internally and externally to leverage/implement a similar value driven community framework.

Also we got quite some requests for screenshots of the current system ..

so here they are

Wednesday Sep 03, 2008

SunSpace featured on Global Neighbourhoods

Shel Israel did a follow up interview on our former CE 2.0 project .. now called SunSpace

200809031541.jpg sun_space.gif

[Shel Israel, editor of Global Neighbourhoods. Photo from his blog.]

Excerpt summary:

When I first saw CE 2.0, I was pretty certain that the work of this 25-year veteran of IT would closely resemble a Rube Goldberg drawing, filled with complexity and confusing we of a nontechnical ilk.

I was wrong. More than anything, it looked like Facebook. It looked like it would be fun to play with. It had all sorts of "consumery" features. For example, you got ranked for your contribution and the ranking was public.

Read the full interview here

Thanks Shel !

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

SunSpace is live

On July 14th we released the production version of SunSpace (formerly CE 2.0) to our global technical community @Sun.


This is probably one of the most advanced Social Networking implementation in a large Enterprise today !

It provides a social networking-enabled community framework and enables our user to:

1. Build their own social network and present themselves in a Facebook-style via My Profile (see video)

2. Join and start communities and collaborate using wiki, forums, and news feeds (see video)

3. Experience the value of their community contribution and participation through integrated rating, commenting and Community Equity services

4. Post and share documents, presentations and files with My Share ( see video )

5. Find what they need in ONE location by merging the main field's collaboration tools into a single Web 2.0 venue.

Currently we have over 10'200 registered users and around 90 communities .. and we growing about 100-200 people a day !.


Friday May 02, 2008

CE 2.0 in action: Fileshare

Can you imagine to have an enterprise wide file share service which

  • accepts any type of files
  • automatically analyses content and proposes Title, Description, and Tags
  • suggest related tags
  • automatically writes back metadata like title, description,tags to Open Office documents
  • provides easy way to allow community members to rate and comment
  • allows you to see all social activities around your contributions
  • automatically calculates an Information Value of the loaded information based on all social activities

then check out the 2 minute video

CE 2.0 2MT Files and My Share from CE 2.0 on Vimeo.

and yes even in open communities you have sometime the need to control access to your content.
Lets see how we implemented this in our Fileshare service

CE 2.0 2MT ACL from CE 2.0 on Vimeo.

The cool thing about this is that our access control is based on enterprise wide groups so its inherently works for wiki, forum etc. as well..


About Enterprise 2.0,Community Equity, Semantic Web, Social Enterprise and how to Build Vibrant Communities


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