Notes X

Will IBM announce Notes 10 next week? I don’t know, but I think it would be about time.
Since Ed’s departure to mobile, I feel a bit cut off. Nobody within IBM is really satisfying my need for news. The only thing I heard, is a new project about connecting MS Outlook, which is a good thing, that will save a ton of money for companies who suddenly find themself in the hands of some Outlook fan boys/girls. But that’s about it.
Now what? Whenever the number „X“ comes into play, we expect something eyewatering (or naughty). OSX was something almost completely new, the Citation „X“ is the flagship of Cessna (and Cessna employees will look extremely annoyed if you say „X“, it’s „ten“, got that?).
What could be the big step forward, to make Notes even in the eye of the general public THE thing to have?
First, an absolute must for the normal user is the ability to have several mail accounts, preferably in one view. Shouldn’t be that big of a deal. And for the security freaks we throw in policies controlling that stuff for good measure.
Second, making little applications should become easier again. Otherwise it will be Excel as the number one management tool for the forseeable future. I am still convinced (I am probably a slow learner), that Notes is the best management tool, as long as they let me do my apps. Third party solutions always have tons of features, that are not relevant to the problem. On the other hand, only 80 percent of the problem is solved, leaving me with the remaining 20 percent, which generate normally 80 percent of the effort.
Third, putting files in a Notes document as attachment, should be a thing of the past. That is probably the hardest part, but as long as files can be stored as XML, they could be imported and „kinda“ rendered as Notes documents. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Since there is an ODF standard, that might even be possible without reinventing everything. I doubt that anybody could implement Microsoft’s „standard“ without getting suicidal, but who knows.
It is great, that you still can use a Notes 2 application in Notes 9 and IBM does a hell of a job here, to make it happen, but one day, it’s just time to put an end to it and move on. I think it’s about time. Lotus Expeditor is way behind eclipse and I fear that it’s a dead end. It was a good idea, but Expeditor could not keep up with the rest and Eclipse itself has more and more problems to keep afloat. IBM has to cut the link between Eclipse and Notes sooner or later. IBM gave the open source community the IDE of choice for many years, but nobody can expect IBM to finance it endlessly. The idea of open source is, to develop its own momentum. If it doesn’t, it slows down and will eventually stop. That’s just the way it is. On the other hand, IBM can not expect, that Eclipse is developed in a way, that supports Expeditor.
But another question pops up. Is there still the need for a Notes client? Why not go web entirely? As long as I can not have wireless connections everywhere (even in that stupid tunnel after Bern), I probably want a client that works offline. But that problem has been solved before. HTML 5 is pretty strong. Now why not just ditch that old-fashioned client and concentrate on web? The problem could be, that we suddenly would have to deal with WebSphere. Although one heck of a good product, but probably not the first choice for an SMB. Buuuuuut, Quickr has gone that direction, Sametime too, why not Notes? Worse could happen. As long as there is some kind of migration path, it would not be the end of the world. Frankly, I would rather have a Connections Mail server based on Domino and easy to develop XPages applications, which work with a Connections installation, than continuing the beaten path which eventually is leads into oblivion, because as of today (that’s now, next week probably have changed my mind) Notes is sold as email with a twist. But that twist is not going to change a lot of minds anymore. Apparently IBM had success getting old customers back onto Notes, for whatever reason. Often only because the promised easy migration to SharePoint failed (and here we have to fight hard, not to look smug. That would be very unprofessional). That proves, that IBM is not abandoning Notes, but I am pretty sure, that some IBMer are also fed up with the old Notes and would rather start something new and leaving some ballast behind. After 25 years of backwards compatibility, that would be ok with me. And if it is still called Notes, I can pretend, that’s my old friend, but that only works if I (and that’s just me) get more of the daily general management stuff and not just some new email feature. Otherwise I can live quite happily with Apple Mail. That thing does what I need. It has its quirks, but so does Notes.
Oh and yes, there is all that cloud stuff. I am really thinking about moving to SmartCloud, but the on premises solutions will always have their market. More today than ever, because nobody likes the feeling, that some guys in trench coats and dark glasses are looking over your shoulder. It’s a matter of principle. Some will say, what the heck, the price to keep my own installation is too high and what does the NSA want with my CRM data anyway, others will pay for having better control over their stuff (or just the feeling). That’s ok. And there are those who had Notes for decades and use it to the max. They need something that replaces it without too much cost. And here comes the question that nobody today is ready or willing to answer. Can we live just with XPages? Can LS and Formula Language be abandoned? They are already on the move to the sideline and one day, there will be a Domino server without it. I personally am looking forward to it.
But since IBM and I never agree, next week will bring a lot of surprises. Either good or bad. Let’s see.

7 Gedanken zu „Notes X“

  1. I am always surprised when people write that removing something will bring more success to a product. The legacy of Notes in my opinion is the only thing that keeps this product alive. Switch it off and you will save few development money but hardly gain any customer (and loose some). Of course there already had been a PIM client without legacy. IBM Lotus Workplace provided PIM capabilities and an Eclipse based rich client. It was neither much faster nor successful in the market. IMHO it was a disaster. IBM Notes and Domino would need more love from IBM. More resources, more investment, more marketing. If this is not going to happen you can remove whatever legacy part you are afraid of and it won’t change much.
    nsf is a huge burden and IBM Notes and Domino are in need for a huge technical overhaul but I am considering the current approach redundant.
    The world is really waiting for clever software solutions but unfortunately I consider neither XPages nor Expeditor being in this category.Especially XPages are broken beyond repair (just my opinion). You won’t be able to fix it. It failed before it was implemented in the Domino stack and it only has impact on some hardcore Domino shops.
    Someone recently wrote about OrientDb (or a new performing datastore for Domino). This sounds really like a great idea, at least better than storing data in a mix of nsf, DB2 and Apache Derby.
    Let’s see what IBM Connect 2014 will bring. You will be able to use Outlook against a Domino server. We’ve had this before. It did not work well. If you want announcements you all better become IBM Connections fans.
    Still I always hope that IBM surprises me with something spectacular. Not that I expect it but IBM is one of the companies that at least would have the power to do so.

    1. I always look forward to your comments.
      More love: Yes
      More ressources: Yes
      More Marketing: Don’t need to answer that
      More Legacy: No
      The difference is, if you want to keep it alive for another 5 years until it is really a mess, keep that stuff. If you want a new life, a real new version, a new start, new customers, bring something new.
      That has been done before and will be done in the future.
      Oh, yes. NSF has served us well, but it is time to retire that, too.

  2. I’m confused – you say you want it to be easy to build small easy apps… but you also want to ditch formulas and lotusscript and make everyone do XPages and Java.

    You cannot have it both ways.

    1. You are absolutely right … and I agree with you now, but one can hope that IBM could come up with a much easier way to build XPages.
      Right now, I wouldn’t say XPages are messed up beyond repair, but it is certainly not the tool for everybody, but I still believe, that something has to go and LS and Formula Language are not a target for heavy investment.
      In an ideal world, IBM would have made the two most used languages available in a XPages framework, but that just wasn’t possible apparently.
      Probably it’s just time to start from scratch, instead of endlessly trying to improve something, that went in the wrong direction several years ago and in the process make it even worse in some cases.

      1. Oh, I did it myself. For the browser I can now develop with the tools I want on my Mac (no Virtual Machine nonsense) or a PC with Windows / Linux. It works quite good.
        Starting from scratch isn’t hard, moving your old stuff often is.
        But I can assure you that IBM has no interest doing a significant investment in Formula and/or Lotusscript although I am far away from being an IBM insider.
        This is not what is going to happen (and it is not what I would need anyway).

  3. “ I would rather have a Connections Mail server based on Domino and easy to develop XPages applications“. My kinda thought too.

    For simple apps provide some sort of form / view builder functionality. If people can setup surveys with survey monkey they can setup forms and views via a web browser. (also a missing link in Connections; the ability to create your own temporary tiny world apps).

    If the desktop is killed by the tablet, phablet, smartphone then IBM should kill the desktop client when they propagate „mobile first“.

    Not sure if there is enough love at IBM. Capacity I have no doubt in.

  4. „Third, putting files in a Notes document as attachment, should be a thing of the past.“

    Yes, total agreement! I’m still unpleasantly surprised how many organisations translate „collaboration“ into „emailing attachments back and forth“ !

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