Hey Reddit! We're a bunch of developers who like to talk to people. So stereotypes be damned. We work at IBM and like to talk about app infrastructure, app delivery and app tool projects (some of our favorite projects: PureApp, Bluemix, WebSphere, Urban Code and WAS Liberty). We're going to answer tech questions virtually in this Reddit AMA at 12:00pm EST and in real life at DeveloperConnect. Feel free to ask us anything you want!

Participating Panelists: Ram Vennam -- Bluemix Developer Advocate / Steve A. Mirman -- WebSphere & Mobility SWAT Team - East IMT / Richard Irving -- Certified IT Specialist / Joshua Carr -- Technical Liaison, IBM Developer Outreach

Check here for our proof and additional info: http://ibm.co/1hlPW1D

EDIT 1: Thanks for all the great questions everyone! We had a ton of fun answering them. We're wrapping up now, time to get back to our day jobs. You can find most of us on our twitter handle @IBMWebSphere. We’ll also be attending and speaking at Developer Connect (http://ibm.co/1JoAefe), if you’d like to come see us in person!

EDIT 2: I (~Joshua) have gone to bed as it's now 1AM, it's been really fun to chat here. I appreciate all the comments and questions, even the ones about lotus notes! Goodnight.

Comments: 1875 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Acreddit2054 karma

What is the worst piece of software you've worked on and why is it Lotus Notes?

CrazyAboutCode226 karma

I dont think any of the IBM devs here have worked on Lotus Notes. Sometimes we'll work on a project and it'll get canned, that's probably were you'll get the actual response to the question.

'It was so bad we canned it'

I personally dont get all the hate for Notes. The client, while sometimes slow, has never gotten in the way of me doing what I want to do with it. Which is sending and receiving emails and Sametime 99% of the time. I have verse which i can access from in browser, but I still have notes for other tasks. All of which it does without issue.

That's not to say that people dont have problems with it. I may be in the minority. I sometimes feel like hating on notes is a bit like hating on coldplay (which was a big thing in the UK for a while).

I'm not a seller, and I dont know what tactics are being used for companies to purchase notes. Though if you're unhappy with it, you should probably be encouraging alternatives that fill all of your companies needs, though Your 1st port of call should be to raise a support ticket.

I know that exchange is without its faults (having worked for a tech support company that looked after small-medium sized companies) and other alternitives have their problems too.

If the grass isnt greener, then it's time to make yourself a billionaire ;)


treeforface75 karma

I personally dont get all the hate for Notes. The client, while sometimes slow, has never gotten in the way of me doing what I want to do with it.

As someone who used to be forced to use the bloated crapware that is Lotus Notes, this is like saying the Trabant was a good car because, while sometimes slow, it never got in the way of them driving from place A to place B (provided you were an expert mechanic).

CrazyAboutCode49 karma

I can only talk about my experience, which is a boring non-eventful application doing what I want it to do.

Part of me wishes I could empathize better with the situations, seemingly, masses of user have been in.

I dont work on Notes or Sametime, but I'm going to talk to people who do. I'm not high up or anything, but at least I'd get a clearer picture as to whats going on when (and it seems like it will be a when) I meet someone face to face and they mention how they're frustrated with the software.

Not much else I can do right now. :-/


FU-allthetime737 karma

Are there slides we're supposed to be looking at? Can you send me the deck?

Sorry I was talking on mute.

(just to make you feel at home IBMers)

CrazyAboutCode163 karma

Orginateur489 karma

IBM seems to have disappeared in the last years (except for the occasional watson news)

has IBM transitioned to an evil corporation working in the shadows to take over the world?

but seriously, where has all the IBM stuff gone? is it just the company moving toward industrial products instead of consumer products?

CrazyAboutCode263 karma

You can find press releases to see what's happening with IBM here: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressreleases/recent.wss IBM recently has created partnerships with Apple, Docker, Cloud Foundry and others. We're very active in the cloud space as well as smarter cities and IBM's contributions to the open source community. IBM continues to make transitions on an ongoing basis... but they're certainly transitions for the better - Richard

H-Wood247 karma

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

CrazyAboutCode270 karma

Well the definition of a sandwich is: two pieces of bread with something (such as meat, peanut butter, etc.) between them. I would say a bun qualifies as two pieces of bread, so my answer would be YES -- Steve

H-Wood490 karma

Sorry wrong answer, I will never use an IBM app now

CrazyAboutCode601 karma

Steve does not necessarily hold the view or opinions of the rest of us.

~ Joshua

CrazyAboutCode120 karma

IBM usage aside, what would you classify a hot dog with bun as if not a sandwich? -- Steve

darps19 karma

Perhaps the world needs IBM to set industry standards for hot dogs.

CrazyAboutCode7 karma

Funny you should say that:


yeamonn172 karma

Favorite real world application of containers?

CrazyAboutCode237 karma

Netflix, hands down.


CrazyAboutCode99 karma

Containers have exploded to be one of the most popular open source projects. From working with customers around docker they're pretty keen on development / prototyping scenarios. I'm sure there are folks out there using containers in some capacity for produdction, but in my travels to customers I haven't seen as much of that as interest from developers - Richard

acatao2210134 karma

What language do you guys use the most? and feel is the most useful?

CrazyAboutCode181 karma

In the Mobile space this is a constantly evolving answer as new technologies and frameworks come out. However, at the moment I would say JavaScript is the most popular. From a native coding perspective you always have Java and Obj-C (Swift) but Ionic, JQuery, Sencha, etc. are all JavaScript based and developers have serverside runtimes like Node.js for API's. So developers have been flocking to JavaScript due to its portability and numerous open source frameworks. -- Steve

CrazyAboutCode56 karma

Honestly it seems like every new team I talk to is using another language.... the great thing is that more and more languages are appearing to solve specific problems in response to the way business problems are changing. I ran across an article the other day that talks about top languages on Github http://thehackernews.com/2015/08/top-10-programming-language.html I also ran across a book I liked called "7 languages in 7 weeks" (there's actually an update to that book). I like how it helps you think about the characteristics irrespective of what's popular or what's a staple in the industry. I'd suggest that the more you know about the problem you want to solve, and the more you investigate the characteristics different languages are meant to solve, the easier it'll become for you to start making choices about what tools you'll find will best solve the problems you're targeting. - Richard

CrazyAboutCode53 karma

Java is my most used language in my IBM career, but I try to not have one "go to" language. Different tools for different jobs. I tend to write my UI apps in PHP, API's in Node.js and Java EE for backend or end to end applications. --Ram

jehuty1812134 karma

Why is Lotus Notes still a thing?

Seriously though, as someone who works for your "competition" in that field the product just seems like an embarrassment.

CrazyAboutCode62 karma

Actually... I rarely use Lotus Notes... I've been using Verse. All my email is in my browser now! - Richard.

CrazyAboutCode2 karma

Lotus Notes has its good moments, but speaking of IBM e-mail products, have you heard about IBM Verse (http://www.ibm.com/social-business/us/en/newway/) -- Steve

Yashxo114 karma

Often times my household's sponges accumulate an awful amount of buildup.

What can I do to prevent this?

CrazyAboutCode186 karma

It's very important to thoroughly wring out your sponges after every usage. This will prevent the accumulation of grime and bacteria. A dry sponge is a happy sponge.

~Sir Patrick Stewart

CrazyAboutCode65 karma

Depending on what you're using the sponges to clean, buildup can be difficult to avoid. So I'm told 30-60 seconds in the microwave helps sterilize sponges, however I'd suggest keeping a ready supply of them and throwing them away somewhat frequently. - Richard

Whatsupwithallthis108 karma

I dont know a single one of your apps, do you think you have a PR-problem?

CrazyAboutCode199 karma

I suppose, the 1st thing is that we dont typically make consumer applications. But It may also depend on what part of the tech sector you work in.

The quick and dirty way of describing IBM is that we make 'stuff' that lets others make 'stuff'.

In the same way that you probably dont know how made the pipes that connect from your boiler to your taps. It doesnt mean that the pipes are not important.

And sometimes it's often technology that we've open sourced that you're using. have a quick google of MQTT and Facebook messenger as an easy example.


CrazyAboutCode38 karma

IBM has many products across a number of areas... you can find them here: http://www.ibm.com/products/en-us/?lnk=m You may be familiar with some of them depending on what type of software you typically interact with. If you're an enterprise developer you may have heard of things like IBM Websphere Application Server, or our DB2 Database. There are certainly many other products as IBM continues to explore and evolve new types of technology in response to the IT challenges of our customers - Richard.

statsjunkie70 karma

What are the chances of getting hired on at IBM right out of college for someone that didn't go to a highly ranked CS college?

What is the best way to get someone to notice your resume at IBM?

CrazyAboutCode82 karma

I can only speak about the UK (as that's where I'm from) but as long as you get a 2:1 degree, you can be accepted for an assessment center.

Where you studied doesn't matter


iMasterX57 karma

Do you still have the IBM5100?

CrazyAboutCode55 karma

I bet we have an IBM5100 in one of our office display cases somewhere. Each building has all sorts of IBM memorabilia. -- Steve

unitedpugs54 karma

What has been the most frustrating moment of your career so far?

CrazyAboutCode82 karma

This is probably a bit of a BS interview answer, so i apologize in advance..! It's fresh in my mind because I've literally just got out of a meeting with my manager about this very subject.

In the role that I have I get the opportunity to work on fun and interesting projects. But in return I have lots of colleagues who want me to help and chip in with their projects too. I'm the author of my own demise because I DESPISE saying no to projects - espc. when they seem fun and valuable to both me and IBM. It's lead to far too many evenings working at 3am and days wondering why I'm so tired.

I've only been with the company 4 years, undoubtedly there will be frustrating times ahead.


CrazyAboutCode32 karma

I can't say there's been any one frustrating moment... (frankly there have been a few). For me "frustrating moments" are really the wake-up call that reminds me I have to really focus on the problem. That feeling of frustration is also a bookmark that keeps me from forgetting what I learned. I find that if I'm not periodically frustrated, I'm not learning and growing... - Richard

andrewdumitru45 karma

For someone wanting to enter the tech world such as myself, what do you recommend to a college freshman? I'm thinking web development, but I'm not too sure. What's your advice?

CrazyAboutCode82 karma

I think you should start a good pet project. Ideally an application which has both a mobile and web front end and talks to a backend server with a database. --Ram

CrazyAboutCode67 karma

I'd recommend you learn as much as you can about good engineering principals and development overall. Consider that a part of web development is building a user interface. Often a "website" has lots of other capabilities even if we don't consider that there may be applications running in the background. Get comfortable with languages, databases, application design and operating systems. Keep an eye on development trends to see what types of problems are being solved, with what technology (and why). But work hard at learning the basics... they'll always be valuable! -- Richard

BabyEatingFox43 karma

Do you guys use model m's?

CrazyAboutCode61 karma

The sound those things made! Massive nostalgia right there!

I think most of the company is either on Lenovo's W series or Macbooks. The latter having their own distinct sounding keyboard, always know when someone is on a macbook when im on a train or a plane without having to turn around.

Though I'm sure if I went looking I could dig up a whole safe's worth of model M's somewhere.

Actually where I work has an IBM museum with a whole bunch of old hardware. though my fave has to be the butterfly keyboard.


podsixia30 karma

What open-source frameworks or libraries are you most excited about?

What would you say to lure someone from AWS to IBM Cloud?

CrazyAboutCode30 karma

IBM Bluemix's catalog has over 100 cloud services including Watson, Analytics, IoT and Mobile. This sets it apart from the competition.

CrazyAboutCode22 karma

I am very excited about the Ionic framework with AngularJS. It's extremely powerful and great to work with. I am also a big fan of JQuery for its simplicity -- Steve

cartenui27 karma

Heard horror Stories about how inventors and developers were paid a pizza and a tap on the shoulder for their inventions in the past. Compared to the old days how does people that invent and create things at IBM get treated today? Do you get shares and bonuses for your creativity and ideas?

CrazyAboutCode29 karma

IBM has a patent scheme that comes with financial rewards, as well as titles for the work they've done.

Master inventor is such a title, and there's a good chance that a M/I is healthily supplementing their salary ;)


Tucana6624 karma

Project management methodologies: some work with specific deliverables, some don't.

Does IBM embrace specific ones, such as Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, others as corporate mandated, de facto methodologies? Or based on how the engineering team/group is managed?

CrazyAboutCode20 karma

Every team I've been on in the last few years has strived for Agile. It works great when implemented right :) --Ram

CrazyAboutCode12 karma

Having spoken to different development teams for different products, there doesn't appear to be any mandated methodology though things like agile and devops have been adopted virally and are used heavily. Interestingly, it can be different when we work with large customer organizations. I find that with customer who have hundreds (if not thousands) of projects located in different parts of global organizations, they often have different processes like waterfall, agile, and some variations of both working across different parts of the organization. Our tools often consider different methods customers have and help them to communicate project status even though they're working with different methodologies. - Richard

FormerRedditorAMA21 karma

Did you guys make the switch over the macs yet? If so, how are you liking OSX?

CrazyAboutCode25 karma

My work Mac is due in a few weeks, but I <3 my personal mac and OSX.

(Sent from a windows 7 machine)


JohannZeppelin17 karma

Is your favorite TV show Halt and Catch Fire? I really want it to be...

CrazyAboutCode23 karma

Perhaps it could be be... I'll have to start watching it to see. I have been into watching Mr. Robot lately though - Richard.

micajoeh13 karma

What went into the creation of IBM Watson. Where did the idea come from?

CrazyAboutCode15 karma

I dont know if any of us are working specifically on Watson, but there's a great tidbit of history on the [wiki page]

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_(computer)#History) it's quite interesting, IMO.


Ketts10 karma

What are your thoughts on quantum computing and do you think it will ever be fully functioning in our life time ?

CrazyAboutCode8 karma

I would hazard a guess that we'll see it in our lifetime. There's a good chance it wont solve all of the problems we hope it to (what technology does?) re NP NPC NPhard etc.

Ultimately, even with 7nm and smaller we're going to eventually not have the ability to make computers in the traditional sense. So eventually another non-turing style computational technology will have to emerge.


karm1t7 karma

How does your licensing work. Is it based on simultaneous users, or server instance, or something else?

CrazyAboutCode4 karma

Depends on the product. Bluemix being a cloud platform offers a pay-per-user model with free tiers. WebSphere Liberty offers licensing based on the running processors (free for developers). -- Ram

karm1t7 karma

PVU pricing.. shudder.. Is there any hope that this might go away?

CrazyAboutCode5 karma

Sorry if this seems like I'm fobbing you off...that is really a question for our product management team and we are developers :) --Ram

LausanneAndy1 karma

So IBM was King Then Digital tried to be the new IBM Then PCs came out. Apple. Atari. Commodore. Others Then IBM was King. Apple tried to be the new IBM. Didn't really happen. Then Microsoft was the new IBM. IBM went all in for IT services. Then Google became the new Microsoft. Then Microsoft became the new IBM. Then Apple .. Then Google .. Then Apple

Q: Who is IBM now? Who is the new IBM? Who is the new Microsoft? Google? Apple?

CrazyAboutCode19 karma


I think I dont follow. But I can perhaps tell you a bit about who we are now.

We're pretty much everything we've been since the 90's. Minus a lot of the hardware side. Like, Lenovo exist and IBM recently announced a partnership with apple (which means we get macs in the office now, among other interesting things..

But if you look at where we're investing heavily. it'd be our cloud platform, Bluemix. So I guess we want to be seen as cloud 'King' (to use your word).


restatic1 karma

Open the pod bay doors, please, IBM.
Hello, IBM. Do you read me?
Hello, IBM. Do you read me?
Do you read me, IBM?

CrazyAboutCode2 karma

Affirmative, restatic. I read you. -- HAL

GFY_EH1 karma

How about sending one lucky redditer a sample of your latest technology loaded with some of the great Apps and add-ins you guys are working on? Namely...this redditer :)

CrazyAboutCode1 karma

You can play with a lot of IBM and third party software on Bluemix. It does have a free trial. --Ram