(Apologies for it’s been almost a year now since my first, second and last post)

As always, Sortova has diligently covered DevJam 2013 quiet nicely over at Adventures in Open Source but I’m taking this opportunity to introduce a new Cast member of Inside OpenNMS and our community’s most recent addition to the OGP Family, Christian Pape.


Hello, Christian!

So, here’s my take on DevJam 2013, in a little more detail, and from a Kiwi “bird’s-eye-view”.

Last year, the OGP introduced a new UI framework to the OpenNMS web application called Vaadin. This was done to create a new network topology visualization tool, that we call STUI, as well as a new MIB compiler and JMX configuration tool. You will find these and more new UI features in the up coming release of OpenNMS 1.12. Today, I want to talk about work that Christian began during DevJam (and has since completed) using this new technology. But first, a little history…

Earlier this year, I hoodwinked Marcus Hellberg into accompanying me to the Papa John’s headquarters in Louisville, KY. While we were there, we defined a new Dashboard specification as well as a new feature we call the OpenNMS Wallboard. Marcus is not only a phenomenal software engineer, but also quite the usability expert. We worked directly with the PJ’s operations center staff and identified the need for an automated display of OpenNMS’ UI components running on their “big screen” displays. The idea of the Wallboard UI is to have a automated display of UI components viewable on a 60″ (153 cm) display from 20′ (6 m) away. Within just a few hours, Markus had a prototype ready for demonstration which the PJ’s ops team thought was fantastic!

As you can see in this photo of another customer’s NOC:

most operations centers have the NASA style wall with many large screens used to keep an operations team (surveillance) aware of the status of mission critical systems and applications. With the new OpenNMS Wallboard, UI components can be imbedded into a screencast style animation so that multiple OpenNMS components can be displayed on a single screen. Each Wallboard component has individual configuration properties, such as setting filter criteria, as well as Wallboard workflow properties for settings such as display duration and priority in the rotation of each configured component. This makes for an intelligent self running situation board that will be valuable in every NOC.

Marcus also was tricked into attending DevJam where he worked with Donald and Ben to migrate the OpenNMS codebase to Vaadin 7 which was no small feat but was a tremendous help and really shortened our development cycle on other projects that depended on this upgrade. Thank you, Markus!

(Just a note about the comic: While they were working, Donald and Ben were quite perplexed about the meaning of the Vaadin logo that Markus so proudly wore on his shirt everyday. “What the heck is that??? locks like an animal or even a code symbol. Ah, okay, Vaadin means reindeer in Finish, doh!”)

In the meantime, Christian took over development of the new Wallboard and Dashboard. His ability to pickup a new technology is simply amazing and he and I immediately started improving on their use cases. As you can see from the screenshot below, we came up with a nice enhancement to help make the Wallboard even more effective by giving each component more logic that, based on it’s own internal conditions, can boost its own priority and display duration.

configuring dashlets

So, while a component might not generally be a high priority in the rotation, there could be a situation where it is temporarily the most important component. Here’s a screen shot of one of the components in action on the Wallboard:

Wallboard Compentized Geographical Map

Wallboard Compentized Geographical Map

So much hacking happened during DevJam it makes my Kiwi sized brain hurt just thinking about it. OpenNMS is what it is today because of the people involved in the project and we’re very happy to have Christian as an OGPer and Marcus from Vaadin so involved in the project.

This week I’m with Ronny in Sweden and were working on another customer’s very large network (which is often why OpenNMS is chosen). Typically you will find OpenNMS has been chosen for it’s scalability and ability to integrate with your business and not for it’s UI. But, with several new features like these, adoption of technologies like Vaadin, and, most importantly, a great and growing community of developers like Christian and Marcus, OpenNMS is well on it’s way to being *the* premier, community developed, network management platform.

w00t! (Next post on 1.12 release).