XPages Workshop … proudly presented by IBM

The last three days were packed with XPages. I had the chance to attend IBMs free XPages Workshop in Zürich (which is also available online, if you need it).
This was the second try to attend the course, the first time it was cancelled. I wonder why. Not enough attendees? Who knows.
First, it was worth it. If you are like me, who likes classroom work, it really helps to focus several days just on one subject and have people around who can help, should you run into problems (which we all did).But there are a few things I would change, if I had the chance. I feel, and I asked others if they feel the same, still a lack of basic knowledge. Things like, how the different elements work together why I have just done what I have done during the lab. While the labs are really good, the time you get to explore them is a bit short. I only made it through all of them, because I worked on them during not so interesting parts of the presentations. While traveling back and forth, I reread them, because there was so much more information to digest, than just the steps to make something work.
The presentation were packed with information. No way, I could read them, understand them and listening to the instructor. I do not understand why IBM still does not get it to do good slides. For Oms sake, IBM look at Apples presentations just once and do less, that would help more. There were several hundred slides and that dug into the time we had for the labs. Unfortunately the slides had seldom something to do with the actual lab (or I did not get it). They had the same subject but did not explain anything helpfull. It looked like slides for technical sales, not developers. Some slides, like the XPages road map, appeared several times. That did not make the job of the instructor any easier, who was obviously very competent, but could not share his knowledge due to the slides. His explanations were extremely interesting, when he diverted from the slides and talked about his experience.
We were a bunch of old farts. Quite a few of us were there, just for good old times sake. More than half of us, don’t do any Notes development anymore. Only two young apprentices attended the course (apprenticeship is a highly regarded form of professional education in Switzerland). Both from the same company. There is hope …
But still, the discussions during the breaks were always the same. Especially the smaller partners don’t see a bright light at the end of the tunnel and Connections isn’t an opportunity either. To complicated, too many servers for small companies and so on. Even truly yellow bleeders turn their back at Notes, sometimes just because applications they need and can afford, integrate with Outlook and not with Notes.

There is one thing, that did struck me suddenly. Why the heck didn’t we develop a bunch of different mail clients, when we were still ahead of the game. That could have been a USP. Use Notes and take the client (sorry, app or whatever .nsf is called today)  that fits you best and change whenever you want. There was once a Outlook-look-a-like client. We should have continued doing that. And do a good consumer client. Maybe I am obsessed with the idea, but droping Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook wasn’t very clever either. Imagine what we could do today with the REST services. Does not matter, if they use Outlook, but the Domino server would still be there and Xpages could nicely integrate with both clients (with a few quirks I suppose). NonSQL is in vogue today and who invented it?
Oh my, I am an old sentimental guy.