I had the chance to have an interview with Roel van Bueren, a well known name and face in the Novell communities.
Gert: Who is Roel van Bueren now and how has he come to be where he is now?
Roel: Roel van Bueren is an enthusiastic entrepreneur / developer / IT pro who likes to come up with new creative solutions and ideas for his customers and partners. When it comes to Novell products, I focus on GroupWise and ZENworks only.
Gert: What is the importance of developing apps for GroupWise and other Novell solutions?
Roel: It’s very important for whatever OS, solution or product in IT to have good partners and ISV’s. The more solutions available, the more useful the system is considered to be. Look at the Apple App Store and Android Market for example. Those really drive the sales of the devices on which the apps run on.
Gert: What solutions have you developed for GroupWise or other Novell solutions?
Roel: Most known are GWAVA Reveal and GWAVA Vertigo. Those were developed for GWAVA with my business partner Ronald de Zwart. Reveal was developed out of many forensic investigation projects. It evolved into an eDiscovery and forensics solution targeted for HRM and legal personnel.
It became very popular in the USA and Canada, because regulations and compliancy laws demand such a solution, where nowadays archiving is a far better option. In Europe, where regulations are significantly different, we were asked to come up with a different approach. This evolved into a product which was called ‘Vertigo’. I really don’t have a clue where the reference to the U2 song came from here nor the black Fender guitar from GWAVA in my office 🙂 Vertigo is an administration solution which allows the GroupWise Administrator to manage several elements inside a mailbox.
Things like Proxy Access rights, Rules and Folders. As always, we’ve put a lot of effort and energy in making the User Interface as intuitive and attractive as possible. Since the beginning of this year I’m working on a new project called ‘Bundle Commander’.
Gert: Do you have direct access ot the development team of GroupWise or others within Novell?
Roel: Yes. I’ve worked with Novell for more than 20 years now. They are very pleasant and easy to work with. I admire their dedication, also when things are not progressing as fast as we all would like. Since Novell has been acquired by Attachmate, a lot of things have changed positively from my perspective.
Gert: What is on your wish list? What definitely not? Why?
Roel: The current GroupWise Web Service API lets you access data of one ore more selected mailboxes. Novell has had a similar web service but then for administrative purposes on their roadmap for a long time. Last Brainshare we all learned that a REST based ‘Administration API’ will be available with the next major release of GroupWise after Ascot which is codenamed ‘Windermere’.
What’s encouraging is that Novell is going to use the same interface for their own administrative solution. This will therefore improve the overall quality. I’m looking forward to this new REST based interface, this is a major step. I would also like to see the GroupWise Win32 client API”s to be extended to get more access to GroupWise Win32 client UI elements in order to make better extensions used for user automation.
Gert: Choice: GroupWise or Exchange?
Roel: GroupWise or Exchange -> I’m not that much of an advocate for products. I have my preferences, Exchange is not on that list to be honest 🙂
Gert: Choice: Independent or always part of a team?
Roel: Independent -> Most of the time independent, alone or in a small team which is lead by either me or Ronald. Working in a small team just works best and most effectively, I don’t like to waste time on overhead.
Gert: Choice: coffee or beer?
Roel: Coffee or beer -> If I have to choose, it’s easy: coffee, without a doubt.
Gert: Choice: The Netherlands or the U.S.?
Roel: Country -> the Netherlands. I can’t think of living anywhere else.
Gert: Choice: Home or on the road?
Roel: Home or on the road -> Home of course. I love to travel, a lot, but being at home and spending time with my family is key to me. They are very dear to me.
Gert: Choice: dot Net, dot Not, dot Nitwit or your choice (tell, tell)?
Roel: Dot net -> .NET (dot Net). I was never that much of developer, but .NET changed all of that. By taking away so many boring and time consuming developers task, it allows you to focus and emphasize the ultimate goal: to build a great solution
Gert: Choice: Jeff Hawn or Bob Flynn?
Roel: Jeff Hawn or Bob Flynn -> I haven’t met either one of them, so I can’t tell. The best managers are the one’s who focus on their customers, partners and their customers. And from what I’ve seen at Brainshare these two are doing a great job already to Re:focus.
Gert: What is the importance of eDirectory for developing for GroupWise?>
Roel: The Brainshare 2011 Friday keynote at 2:42 demonstrates perfectly the complexity of the architecture GroupWise developers have to deal with when it comes to eDirectory. It’s not only complex and slow, but you have to have a lot of expertise to know how to catch exceptions when needed.
Gert: Is GroupWise still interesting or has it lost some weight?>
Roel: GroupWise has lost a lot of interest, although the product is very stable and reliable. But that’s not enough nowadays. Novell was very open about that at Brainshare, but also very eager to point out that this will change.
A lot of significant investments have been being made, a lot of new developers have been being hired and will be hired. That’s very good news. Novell Data Synchronizer is getting there when it comes to syncing GroupWise with iPads, iPhones and Android devices by using the Mobility Pack. The ‘Connector Marketplace’ is definitely a good step in the right direction to promote other connectors written by 3rd parties.
But not every GroupWise integration can be build based on Novell Data Synchronizer. What would be great is that Novell will invest again in the GroupWise Developer Community. GroupWise Developers like Tim Draper did a fantastic job in the past with his GroupWise SOAP sessions and training here in Europe. Developing GroupWise Win32 Client extensions based on either the Formativ Framework or .NET/c# is still something we are asked to do regularly. That needs more attention too.
Gert: What is your latest invention?>
Roel: Bundle Commander for Novell ZCM provides a new way of creating Windows Bundles in a simple and intuitive way. Creating Windows Bundles, finding and deploying installation parameters for software which need to be deployed is one of the most time consuming and troublesome tasks that administrators must undertake to deploy Windows applications. Bundle Commander lowers the cost associated with application management by automating the manual steps that have to be repeated for every new application.
Watch this! a GWCheck exclusive: demo for deploying a GroupWise client, using Bundle Commander. (press right below corner of the video for a Full screen view)
Like what you see about BundleCommander? Register at BundleCommander‘s website and you can download/get a license the Standard Edition for free!