First the rant. I am with Volker Weber and the annoying stuff one has to do to follow a web meeting with IBM.All started well until it actually started. I had an image but no sound. In the chat window phone numbers appeared. Toll for anybody outside the US or Canada. IBM, that’s not nice. Is anybody on another continent a lower life form?
I restarted the whole shabadoing and had to install the latest Java Version. A little window asks if I want to start the plugin which did not start anyway (just an empty window and nothing happens) or it started and did not say so. I continued without the plugin and had sound. I missed the first 15 Minutes due to a half backed web tool.
But it got interesting in the end. I am not going to describe all the things I saw. I suppose almost everybody got invited. What struck me is the new openness of IBM. Last year there was the big silence and now Kramer and Scott show even prototypes and concepts. Scott said about ten times not to take the current design as a final version.
It is either because IBM tries a new way of promoting Mail-Next or they are just not sure, if the concept holds its promise. But the curiosity how it will look, almost kills me.
Now IBM, let me tell you this: You set the bar high by promising a new mail experience that should help all of us to keep the mail flood under control. What I have seen, there are some ideas that immediately struck me as great. Some were more like „told you years ago“ and some were „great, but …“. All in all I can see some huge improvements for the mail experience.
The calendar bar (name might change … or will certainly regarding IBMs tradition of killing easy to remember names with multi word gibberish) is nice. I would like that, but I would not use it, because I still try to keep my calendar in my head. I always thought, that what it’s made for, remembering things. But it think that will help a lot of people managing their time better … as long as they can do it on the smart phone, too or the tablet for the matter.
I definitely liked the search. Finding not only mail but also links, attachments and other stuff is great. Adding the search to the bar as a single button is the way to go. I would even go a bit further and add a tagging possibility for adding stuff I know it belongs to the search but did not show up for whatever reason. That could replace folders. And to make the transition easier for every folder addicted user, call it something like smart folder. Click on it and it shows everything that is tagged and everything that is found in the search.
We can do what we want, folders are not going away. We can just stop pretending having found a better way. If we would change „Tagging“ to „add to Folders“, the acceptance would be much better. The Folder Cloud with different sizes for different numbers of mails, would be a good idea, too.
Many claim not using folders but still move everything to the old mail folder just to have an empty mail box. Why not just leave it in the inbox? Because it looks tidier. I just use one folder in Notes, the inbox. Works too … as long as I remember to clean the crap out once in a while. One day I am going to add that „remove from inbox“ button again.
Now what about the Notes client? Mail-Next is browser-based. The browser has become the universal framework for a lot of great tools. It works. If IBM wants to keep the Notes client, it should have the same user experience as the web client. With Mail Next for the first time the web version has surpassed the client version. Now what? Either kill it or find another solution. The only reason for the traditional client are the applications. In case of killing, the solution is either the browser plugin or move to XPages. The later even enhances the app experience and helps us developers make a few bucks. In case of matching the capabilities, IBM has a huge problem to solve. Expeditor can’t do all this very good. Rewriting to Notes client as a kind of browser and expeditor based client just to be able to do in a new client what you can do with all the other web tools already, does not make a lot of sense. What would you do? I think we all agree, building a new Notes client does not look very useful. Except IBM comes up with an idea, that is so awesome, that everybody is going to uninstall the browser immediately. We know the answer to that. And if some traditionalist thinks he can not live without a mail client, move down to Outlook and leave us alone.
I am looking forward to Mail Next and I am just now looking at Smart Cloud to get the last Domino server into its retirement home. And if I am really nice to everybody I can probably sneak my way into the advisory group and test Mail Next early.
And due to the NDA I could tease everybody that I have seen great stuff but can not talk about it.