18 month to wait … What the heck is IBM working on?

In a recent post Ed said, that the next major release of Notes will come in about 18 month. That is a long time … a very long time, probably too long for many companies where „I-want-Outlook“ type of CIOs are on the helm. I do have faith in the hardcore Notes guys, but the decline in installations will continue, even though Notes is hot in some countries, even in Europe.
Just lately I had an example of the power of Notes. I had a stupid thing to do, a mailing. Which means checking addresses of old contacts, who is where, who is new, doing a serial letter (snail mail) and so on. A lot of manual work. I thought a Notes application (or is it database again?) would help me. Took me just a few hours (I am out of training) and I had a tool ready that is ugly, but does the trick. Others have asked to use it, too. It’s just a form (you never see), a view and some code. That reduces the time from a few minutes of work per address, to a few seconds. If that does not show the power of Notes, I don’t know what does (and no, before my political correct readers go into overdrive and need their blood pressure medication, it’s not a spam database, all nice and legal).
BUUUUUUUT. Who is allowed to write his/her own Notes application in a company today? Admins get dermatological problems (die kriegen Pickel) only thinking about it. Eyes twitch on the thought of massif overload on servers, because users actually use the stuff. CIOs fear the decline of their departments relevance if anybody could build tools that do not require a complete project and the evaluation of 10 different tools over several month.
And do not forget the security implications. Malicious code could come inside the precious corporate network and infest the ERP. Governments could be overthrown, volcanoes erupt, revolutions and anarchy everywhere. That must not happen. Therefore the only sensible solution to prevent such suspicious behavior, is doing what everybody does. Use ready to use tools that everybody else uses. Be as good as your competitor. Go mainstream (no joke, I have heard this from CIOs). Don’t allow any creative solutions of your employees which probably could make their life and work better, that’s not what we want, do we? We want them to suffer on earth, otherwise they end up in hell, as any christian fundamentalist will tell you. We do them a favor, actually. Looking at the app isn’t an option, because it would not reach any standard set by independent boards.
If you are seriously thinking about building tools that fits your way of work and makes you more productive, look for professional help. You are close to the loony bin and your teacher, who always said, that you will end up in the gutters, will be right. You may be allowed to write some formulas in Excel or even do a little macro, but not a inherently evil tool like Notes. It is a database after all. The summit of the IT universe. The pride of any administrator (just for those with a irony recognition disorder, that was irony, if not sarcasm).
But back to IBMs Ed. The new client could have a name with X in it. Oh my, not another one. That marketing departement should get more time outside the cubicle.
Citation X, X-Files, XServer, X Work Server, X Series, Generation X, Xtra, Xing, X Tools, Sikorsky X2, Eurocopter X3 and any adult site out there. Does it have to be X again? I would think about it. You have 18 month. But desbite of the name, I eXpect something great … and a public beta like „Hannover“. 18 month should be plenty of time for something that brings tears to my eyes and lets me dribble over my keyboard.
Yes, I know, I said about 6 month ago, that if there isn’t something new at LotuSphere, I think about moving on. I did actually. I looked at other products but could not find anything that gives me the flexibility and the ease of changing it to my needs other than Notes. I even dug out an old Notes CRM (sort of) I wrote not so long time ago for an architect and a medical company and use it for me again (I am thinking about giving it to OpenNTF), replacing a much too big tool from another vendor. That’s what it is all about. Using tools, changing it to my needs without a lot of hassle, using Mac, Windows or Linux. Another reason is certainly that I know Notes better than anything else, but still, the flexibility argument stays valid. Looks like I stay with Notes for the time being. So much for intentions (and idle threats).

6 Gedanken zu „18 month to wait … What the heck is IBM working on?“

  1. I think you misunderstood me.

    The next feature release, Notes/Domino Social Edition, is planned to ship this year, in Q4 2012. It is in beta now, we just provided „code drop 4“ to beta customers.

    BEYOND the Social Edition 8.5.4 release, THEN the subsequent release will come in a timeframe around an additional 18 months, so early 2014.

    We have been very busy – if you are interested in the beta of Notes/Domino Social Edition 8.5.4, please let me know!

    1. Oh no, I did understand you right. But I do not consider 8.5.4 a real major release like 8 was, although I like the look of the Social Edition a lot. I meant big changes. Within 18 month I am sure you can do miracles.

  2. Just curious. Where have you seen IBM doing miracles?
    Ok, seriously speaking.
    It seems you compare the old Notes development model with the world outside and come back with the feeling that hardly anything compares to Notes.
    I do agree in some way but the old development model is dead and your future is the IBM XPage technology. Not that XPages are bad but I am not sure it still has this genius touch of doing things different (and sometimes better). At the end it might just be one web technology out of many.

  3. Henning, how much time have you invested trying to build XPage apps? Specifically, have you explored the impact the Extension Library has on developer productivity and end user experience? Of course it’s just one web technology out of many… nobody ever claimed that XPages would be a PHP-killer. But they do make it simple to create apps that have all the strengths of Domino (flexible storage model, built-in robust security, etc.) but also the kind of user experience people have come to expect from modern software.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel compelled to mention it again: I frequently see you criticize, but never see concrete contributions. If you’d hesitate to critique a movie before you’ve seen it or a restaurant where you’ve never eaten, before you write off XPages (as you frequently do), TRY THEM. You may find you have specific grievances; IBM can address those. They are VERY responsive to constructive criticism. But there’s little worthwhile they can do in response to vague, negative generalities… how could they? What should they fix if we can’t (or are unwilling to) even communicate what is broken?

    1. Well Tim,
      again you are making assumptions because you don’t know me.
      I probably built one of the first public web sites using IBM XPages in 2009 (that is still alive but slowly moving to another technology now).
      I develop in Java although I don’t consider myself a (Java) developer.
      I have the „Mastering XPages book“ although haven’t looked at the other titles. You think I am one of those grumbled Lotuscript developers that still live in forms and agents!?
      You are completely wrong again. You think I complain all day. Maybe I do because this is what IBM customers do. They complain to me all day and it makes me a bit angry because I cannot help them with their mess anymore.
      You say that XPages is not the next PHP killer but to be honest I think in some way this is what would be needed to keep this platform competitive. Because PHP is free (as in beer) and XPages is not. You have to be better if you charge for software.
      If you think it is me who is causing Business Partners struggle then think again. I am yet to meet a single customer who is migrating away from this platform because they read one of my comments. When I am at customer sites IBM Business Partners are calling me because they want to sell Sharepoint and Exchange. They want to actively migrate those customers (Hello!?). I would say that 80% of all IBM Business Partners are also Microsoft partners. More than 50% are using Exchange for mail. They do it behind the scenes and they are doing much more harm to IBM than I do with some of my critical comments.
      In this cases I haven’t even said much negative about XPages anyway. I have just suggested the same as you. Look at IBM XPages and then decide. Use the public resources that are available and learn this stuff. But don’t look at your old Notes applications and think Notes is cool.
      Not because XPages are bad but because they are completely different. Some say better some say not.
      If you are going to design Web applications you have to compete with other web frameworks. And because you develop for an open environment (the browser) there is much less space for proprietary enhancements that make your platform special. I develop on the Mac, I am not good enough to work without a debugger and there are platforms offering me all this without hacks (on the Mac). I accept that IBM thinks a Mac Designer is not worth the hassle.
      I am an IT whore. I code in Java, .Net, HTML, VB, Lotusscript, Javascript. And if I am asked I will code in XPages too and I even will use the beloved extension library. And even if I don’t know a language I am just going to learn it. Scala, for example, is next on my list. But if I have the choice then I won’t be using XPages. My decision, yours for sure will be a different one.
      Why is it so hard to accept other (different) opinions!? Why are Xpage developers all genii and the rest stupid, uneducated morons who are doing it wrong!? Maybe I don’t contribute enough what is worthwhile to you but is that my problem? You said you are uncomfortable with my comments and I think I didn’t post on your blog since that time.
      When you close your eyes all bad things go away. This worked for me as a child but failed miserably in my later life.
      I wish you all the best. I really do.

      1. Henning, I sincerely apologize for jumping to conclusions based on unfounded assumptions. Thanks for providing some additional background. You’ve also raised some interesting questions which merit further reflection. If I feel I have something constructive to say about some of these matters, I’ll post a followup, and would welcome your candid feedback.

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