If you build barriers, people will build around you. If you are lucky.

by Volker Weber

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Showstoppers is a press event at MWC, IFA and other conferences. I like to attend that event since you can meet a larger number of vendors within just a few hours. As well as it is organized, it is a pain in the butt to download the press materials from their site, since there does not appear to be a simple way to download them all. Well, actually there is:

wget -r -np -k "http://apps...

You just scrape the whole site into a directory on your computer and then share it from there.

Of course there is a much better way to share this information:

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You put it on OneDrive, Google Drive or any other shared folder and then distribute the link to that folder. All press agencies do that. You can select the files you want to download, or you can just download them all in one go.

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If you don't provide an easy way to bulk download a lot of files, people will work around you, and they will collaborate doing so. We have been doing this for 20 odd years for Lotusphere, where Lotus and then IBM would bury their presentation slides in Notes database/web applications. Scrape the site, download the files, apply a sensible naming scheme and then share the result.

This is an important lesson for Enterprise IT. If you cannot supply the tools users need, they will build their own. Cloud computing is the enabler. You will lose this fight either way.

Comments

Scraping the site in one way or another was exactly how I could populate the Lotusphere Sessions db for all those years. One year somebody at IBM actually tried to provide data for me, but it was static and out of date so quickly, I had to scrape the site anyway. I honestly never understood why IBM wouldn't ever make the data available from the source databases where it was stored and updated. But as you say, it never stopped us. It just made them look stupid.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2019-05-22

Too often we feel inclined to use our only tool. There is only a tiny group of people who want to build everything around a Notes server. Sometimes it is the right tool but very often it is not.

Volker Weber, 2019-05-22

Volker: Ben did not do what you did. He scraped a site to get the files in order to populate a Notes database, not a folder.

Theo Heselmans, 2019-05-23

He did what he could do with the tools available for him: Scrape a site and make the files available for replication. Now that we have replicating directories, things became even easier. You should try it. You can share both the directory and link to individual files.

I honor your request to not publish the link to my shared directory, although it pains me to inconvenience people.

Volker Weber, 2019-05-23

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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