Some more feedback from our virtual event earlier this week. We had a lot of questions from the audience ( thank you for your engaged participation) and we had most of them answered by our amazing HCL panelists. Posting a recap of them here.

Q: Where can we see demo version of connections 7
A: There is a public beta of Connections 7 available. Here’s the link to get registered

Q: Will we see email integration in connections, like adding a community mailbox with verse-like widget UI for easy sharing mail content to a community?
A: We can see the value of a capability like this but it is not something that is on the roadmap right now. Let’s continue to discuss it!

Q: I personally felt that Kubernetes Hardware Requirement (3 nodes minimum) is too high for company with < 50 users. Is there alternatives for very small environment ?
A: We are working on different sizing recommendations. We have internally tested a single node component pack deploymentt and will make that documentation available. More on that tomorrow during my slot

Q: Are WAS and DB2 installation still needed for Connections 7.0 ?
A: Yes, 7.0 will still run on WAS and DB2 (or other supported database, as in previous versions.)

Q: Is the community template a one time (at time of creation) action only, or can I push the template’s (design) updates later to all communities which inherit this design change?
A: With 7.0 it will only be available at the time of creation. We understand the value of being able to re-apply a template, but because it applies not only layout but also applications and content (unlike, say a WordPress layout), applying a template to an existing community adds a different layer of complexity.”,”Also it changes the nature of the relation between the template and the community. The way we currently think about a template, it’s like a stencil and you create several instances of it. Ongoing updates is almost like inheritance. Which is also valid but needs to be clearly separated from a UX perspective, so that end users know what will happen”

Q: Any functional changes improvements to highlight widgets itself? New widgets, improvements, fixes planed? The CNX 7 preview mainly showed css updates and new combination possibilities?
A: Yes, you will see some updates when we refresh the Preview server, including surfacing traditional Connections overview widgets in Highlights. A lot of improvements have been made since the Preview went live (agile development!).

Q: what about Docs, any news or it will be replaced by 365 integration
A: We’re not going to be releasing any updates to Docs with 7.0, but it will continue to be available

Q: Is this new Microsoft integration just for teams or do we also get such a nice integration of your in-house chat solution Sametime?
A: The existing Sametime presence and chat integration will continue to be available, and we’re planning for integration with the latest updates in Sametime based on the new Sametime APIs that will be available soon.

Q: Any other chat integrations planned? Like Webex Teams e.g.?
It is my hope that these patterns of integration that we are showing with conversational collaboration will apply to other similar tools – of course with ST we should be able to do a LOT better

Q: Will 7.0 be an in-place upgrade like 6.5 or a side-by side ?
Yes the upgrade will be in-place. We are aiming to always provide in-place upgrades as the default, and will call out explicitly should a future upgrade require a side-by-side upgrade

Q: Teams – messaging extension: Does the files dropdown include Community files?
at this point not yet, we do offer My Files, My Drive, Pinned, Shared with Me

Q: Did you check the teams apps on mobile teams also?
Yes we did. Our usual restrictions with CNX content on mobile browsers still apply, so it doesn’t scale properly on the mobile phone but it looks fine on the ipdad

Q: How is the SSO for Teams app tabs done? How often will I have to relogin? Can my AzureAD identity be reused?
We are actively working on SSO support with Azure AD and plan to release that with 7.0

Q: Is a Microsoft Teams license required to integrate with Connections?
Yes, you will need to have your own license for Teams.

Q: Sharing a file with Teams: will it a be a copy of the current version or will the file get updated with new versions, too?
It is a reference to the file in Connections, not a copy. So you still keep the single source of truth in CNX

Q: Where can I get hands on the beta outlook integration?
We don’t expect to release a beta of the Outlook integration, sorry.

Q: How is the concept regarding roles? Will new Connections Community members be automatically added to the corresponding / linked MS Teams?
for v7 no, the community and team will not push membership changes. We have definitely thought about this – will work on making it possible (broadly speaking, this should be possible because connections at least has events for all actions – so it is about doing a IFTTT type of thing). But the teams to communities push needs event monitoring from teams (some of those apis are still in beta iirc).

Q: How about the mobile applications ? Do we still have a separate native application for mobile ?
Yes we are continuing our native mobile apps for Android and iOS

Q: Do you plan to offer a (graphical) preview of SharePoint Files planned (preview picture etc.)?
good question, since the file is not stored in Connections the usual preview creation step does not work, I have to check if we can get the info from SP but my assumption at this point is no 🙁

Q: Will the SharePoint library post to the feed of events on create/change events?
At this point the integration does not cover event creation in the activity stream 🙁

Q: Maybe already asked but will the plugins for the Notes Client get an overhaul too?
There won’t be a new version with C7 but generally speaking we will focus more in 2021 on integration of products within our own portfolio, so stay tuned

Q: Any improvement on desktop plugin ….
For C7 we will make sure the desktop plug-in is tested with late versions of Office etc, so with C7 we will have currency in terms of supported versions. No new features at this point

Q: Will the roundtrip editing for Office Files be available for Mac, since you do not have a Mac desktop plugin so far?
it does require the Windows desktop Plug-In, so not for Mac at this point 🙁

Q: When will the outlook integration be released?
It should be available in November

Q: Is there any documentation on the requirement for features in 6.5 / 7.0 (whether they need WAS / Component Pack) ?
Almost all features added since 6.0 require ComponentPack, so it would be faster to list the features which only require WAS. I have a slide later which features are contained in CompPack and which pieces of the stack they require. That might be helpful for your analysis. Make sure to watch Andre’s Slide or video

Q: We are on 5.5. What do you suggest how to upgrade?
For 5.5 you need to go from 5.5 to 6.0 and then follow the regular route. if you don’t require a side-by-side, you can do 5.5->6.0 and then in place upgrade to 6.5cr1 and then 7.0

Q: 7.0MT for MSPs can be expected when?
We’re looking at a 1Q update to the MSPs so they can roll out the 7.0 capabilities for their hosted customers.

Q: is there a way to migrate component pack, metrics specifically, side-by-side?
It should be enough to copy the persistent storage. Or do you want to migrate websphere metrics to cp?

Q: A general feature question: couple of months ago HCL was talking about a files approve / reject workflow in Connections which should be released with 6.5 CR2 in Q2 20. Any news on that feature?
Hi Nina – Yes, this was on the original enhancement list targeted for delivery this year, but it is not something that we were able to include in 7.0 in the end. We still have it on our list for a future release.

Q: it is possible to deploy 7.0 it on openshift without helm charts
No, as of 7.0 we will support Openshift via Helm charts. We are looking at Operators but that won’t be available for 7.0

Q: When will a newer version of K8s supported? The current supported version is very out of date.
with cnx7 we will be current. Also – with support for deploying in other envs coming with 7 (eks, openshift e.g.). I forget the exact version – but can get it for you

Q: Will the new images work with “root-filesystem-is-read-only” security policy on OpenShift? And which OpenShift version is minimal
os4 and yes all security policies of OS are adhered to

Q: Is there a go-live Date for Cnx7 yet?
C7 will be available in early December