For today’s post, I browsed through a series of plugins on GitHub. I was struck by the variety of purposes behind the plugins…and what they might hold for the future of Lync Server.

But first, let me take a step back & describe GitHub. In case one of my readers isn’t familiar, GitHub.com is a code repository for open source & private projects. Developers can use it to store, share and work on code in a group.

Because this is a collaborative space, not every project on GitHub is in a finished/ready-to-use state. In fact most of the Lync-related projects I saw weren’t even started! Many others didn’t have any usable code yet. So I couldn’t actually test much of anything.

But even in such a state, I saw great variety. There are Lync plugin projects listed which cover areas like:
Logging or recording or tracking Conversations
Expanding Presence into other systems
Auto-responding Bots
Notification popups
Versions of the Lync client on other architectures (e.g. Java)
Creating an entire billing system involving Lync
And dozens more. Have a look for yourself – Lync Results: GitHub.com

Some of these plugin projects are extending the Lync UI into other areas. But some are trying to duplicate existing Lync functions. Why?

Maybe a user wants to add a feature to that function? Or maybe it’s an intellectual exercise. Or even a demonstration of the developer’s coding skills (in which case I applaud them for the subject matter!).

In any case, curiosity kept me looking through GitHub projects. Eventually, I hit on a reason why so many Lync projects exist.

Maybe these are ideas of the direction Lync users & developers want Lync Server to go.

If so, where do those ideas lead?

Ideas for the Future of Lync

Based on this, I mused a while on what I saw. What kinds of things would Lync users & developers like to see happen with future versions of Lync Server?

Here’s what I came up with.

  1. Universal Platform Coverage – Lync clients for all operating systems
  2. Connector APIs for Lync use through other primary business systems – accounting, payroll, manufacturing operations
  3. Automated response features – Not just forwarding calls via Response Groups, but actively answering conversation requests and intelligently directing callers
  4. Automatic Backups – Cloud-based backup routines running in background, so conversations are always backed up & accessible on any device

How close are we?

Not far off, if the GitHub developers are any indication. The billing system plugin I mentioned above? Its developer coded in C# and ASP.NET on a SQL Server base. Same kind of programming used in Lync Server.

We’re getting there. Maybe the next version of Lync Server will come with some of these functions. If so, I’ll be right here to share them with you!

Is there a function or new capability you’d like to see in the next version of Lync Server? Please leave a comment or email describing it, and let’s talk.

Where Users Want Lync to Go
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